Page 102 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 February 2010

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school closures. The report highlights that he misused research in his decisions, in particular, his decision to close 11 primary schools.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that such allegations have been levelled at this minister. When the committee process began in relation to school closures, they had an unprecedented response to their call for submissions—a total of 78 written submissions—and a good number of these community members appeared before the public hearing. This amazing response from the community clearly highlighted that the hurt and frustration and feeling of injustice surrounding the school closures continues to this day.

However, putting aside the typical response of the government, it must be said that the response of the ACT Greens is also quite disappointing. When push came to shove, the Greens caved in to the wishes of their ACT Labor partners in government. We did have an indication of this prospect when they failed to allow debate in the chamber on the merits of opening Tharwa, Hall, Flynn and Cook schools. It effectively gagged debate on a topic that the community wanted and had every expectation that the Greens would have supported. The ACT Greens must take some responsibility for falsely raising the hopes of the community devastated by the closure of their schools by the Stanhope government in 2006.

There is no doubt the Greens gave the community the distinct impression they would act on school closures. When the inquiry into school closures concluded, Ms Bresnan was asked in a televised interview how far the Greens were willing to go on these recommendations and she replied, “All the way.” Prior to being elected, Ms Hunter distributed a flyer in Ginninderra that said, “Our public transport has deteriorated. Our schools have closed. The Greens will work hard in the Assembly to solve these problems.” They made a start on that promise, but the follow-through action was just not up to the expectations of many in the community.

The committee’s inquiry into the school closures validated the long-held policy of the Canberra Liberals to reopen schools at Tharwa, Hall, Flynn and Cook. The Greens would have us believe that they had a similar policy and that they were committed to healing and rebuilding these communities, but it is now clear that their commitment lacked substance. It is a sad indictment on this place that, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the viable school communities of Tharwa, Hall, Flynn and Cook will not see a reopening of their schools. It is a sad indictment indeed.

Well Station Drive extension

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Members, Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Seselja be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The realignment of the Well Station Drive extension.

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