Page 4186 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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MR DOSZPOT: Will the minister accept the recommendation made by the education commission to reopen Hall and Tharwa schools?

MR BARR: I am not aware that the education commission has made such a recommendation.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Burch?

MS BURCH: Can the minister advise the Assembly of the community reaction to the government’s reforms?

MR BARR: I can say that the community reaction to our new early childhood schools has been very positive. Enrolments are very strong and they are growing. One would suspect that within the next two or three years these schools will be fully subscribed. Many hundreds of people turned up last weekend for the official opening, and I am pleased to acknowledge that members of this place were in attendance.

It was great to see Ms Hunter at the Southern Cross school. Ms Burch was at Isabella Plains. Ms Porter was ill and sent her apologies to the Southern Cross school. It was even pleasing to see that Brendan Nelson was welcomed to the Isabella Plains school on Saturday.

Mr Smyth: What?

MR BARR: Actually, it was Brendan Smyth who attended. It is unfortunate that the shadow minister for education did not see fit to attend any of the openings of this very important event.

Thank you very much to those members who did show their strong support on Saturday. For many on the other side of the chamber, it has been belated support for the early childhood model, but it was good to see a Brendan from the Liberal Party in attendance.

In reflecting on which Brendan it was, it is worth noting that Dr Nelson has today been appointed as an ambassador for this country, proof pudding that there is life after politics for Brendans from the Liberal Party. Perhaps this one over here might well consider he could make a greater contribution to the people of the ACT in some other role.


MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. When I asked recently about the potential conflict of interest because Thiess runs the Mugga Lane tip, weighbridge and reusables site, you said you would “find it very surprising”. However, the 2004 Auditor-General’s report on ACT waste found—and I quote:

A conflict of interest exists for the business that has the contract for managing both the operation of the weighbridge and the Mugga Lane landfill.

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