Page 1040 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 19 March 2013

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Schools—ACT School Canteen Association

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. The minister may be aware that one of the ACT school canteens task force members, the ACT School Canteen Association, is to hold their AGM tomorrow. It is likely that after nearly 30 years the association will be wound up, due in part to an inability to fund a manager to continue the work. Minister, has this association sought financial help from the government? If so, what was the government’s response?

MS BURCH: This is really a surprise, Mr Doszpot. I have gone through my records and I have asked for checking of any emails or contacts with my office from the School Canteen Association. There have not been any, but I do have regular contact and communication with the P&C council. They have been very active in the space in support of school canteens. On radio this morning, Hugh Boulter was talking about our school canteens and spoke about the work being done by the school canteens task force, which will report to me in the first half of this year—May, June. He is on the task force; he has probably got a closer sense of the time of when it will report than I would, being here. I was quite happy with his response and his recognition that the task force is doing good stuff to support P&C canteens.

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, over a month ago, when I alerted you to the possible closure of the association, which at the time you were unaware of, you did say that you might consider other options outside the budget process. What other options are you considering or have you considered?

MS BURCH: I think there was a media story about the concerns from the canteen association. Again I refer you to Hugh Boulter’s comment. I am not hoping to misrepresent him but—

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, will you be quiet and listen to the answer, please? Minister.

MS BURCH: That is about the lack of volunteers willing to step up and take on a leadership role within the association. Can I remind members here that the ACT Labor Party went to the ACT election with a clear canteen policy.

Mr Doszpot: Why haven’t you honoured it?

MS BURCH: Where was your canteen policy, Canberra Liberals? None! Where was your canteen policy? I have been asked are we honouring our investment and interest in canteens, and I am trying to tell that man over there that has not closed his mouth since I stood up that we are honouring it, that we have the task force in place, that it will report to me by mid-year end, that we have an election commitment around supporting P&C canteens. Can I tell those members here that the P&C association is

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