Page 2782 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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asked a number of questions of this minister. The only response I got on that was a very angry minister on the end of the telephone when I was travelling in my car who spoke about being betrayed about information that was given in a briefing. There was nothing I divulged in the press release that I put out apart from questioning the minister on some of the methodology that she used.

But ultimately I agreed with her. I agreed with her when she said, “This is a serious issue. We have to get to the bottom of it.” But nearly five months later—that was on 2 April; we are now in the middle of August—Minister Burch still has to bring back to the community anything of any consequence regarding the promise that she made on 2 April.

We have already started to hear the preparatory softening up on this issue with words about privacy, HR matters and the old chestnut protection of “legal advice” restricting what can be reported. We are not asking this minister to give us information regarding individuals or to impinge on the privacy of the people who have been affected—and that includes the whole school that has been affected. As to whether this minister has actually gone to this school and given the reassurance that we asked for quite some months ago, I have yet to hear from the minister whether she even did that. As with the previous recommendation, it does not matter what this government does or says about this. The electorate has made a judgement; in fact, the rest of Australia has also. We expect little based on their response to the recommendations.

Recommendation 95 recommends that if the report is not ready before the August sittings—and, obviously, they conclude tomorrow—the Assembly receive an update on the situation. Again, legal advice was going to be required before the minister could divulge anything. So we are not holding our breath. They have a big hole to dig themselves out of, after all, and this minister is quite capable of digging an even bigger hole. I look forward to hearing what answer she comes back with.

Recommendation 96 relates to CIT and its provision and delivery of Auslan courses. Ms Lawder clearly knows more about these courses than anyone else in this chamber, and it would seem she knows more than many within the Education and Training Directorate. As she demonstrated yesterday, CIT would be foolish to try to confuse her with course requirements and demand.

I would like to record my thanks to the officials from ETD who attended and provided answers to the various issues we raised. I would like to thank also all the members of the estimates committee, who toiled for many long hours on many long days. I did not envy them their task but very much appreciated their commitment, especially to the education component of their report.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (7.46): There is some great news in this budget for education in Belconnen. Most significantly, this government is investing $17 million in this year’s budget for a major refurbishment of Belconnen High School, which will include an outdoor learning area and a new school administration area. The refurbishment reflects consultation with the school community, teachers and parents.

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