Page 4013 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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MS BURCH: You can make all the fun you like about Google apps for education but this is transforming our teachers and students alike to learn, teach, create and be innovative around the classroom. I would suggest that those opposite may want to visit a school to see how Google apps for education is transforming education.

As to the fourth part of the question: what am I doing to support STEM training in schools? Again, I refer those opposite to our commitment for a STEM centre of excellence in Caroline Chisholm School.

Expenditure review—concessions

MRS JONES: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, in March this year you announced a public consultation on the expenditure review of the ACT concessions program. On 15 November you released a discussion paper on the review, which outlines possible changes to the concessions program. Chief Minister, why has it taken more than six months for you to release the discussion paper and submissions on this review?

MR BARR: These are important issues and the government is taking a careful approach to its consideration of all the complex issues that are associated with the concessions program. I add that there are two specific challenges that we need to respond to. The first is that Mrs Jones’s colleagues in the federal government have cut the national partnership on concessions. So the Liberal Party has cut $2.2 million out of the concessions program in the territory. The second is that there is obviously an ongoing debate in relation to various eligibility provisions at the commonwealth level for various commonwealth concessions. In this instance there are impacts on the ACT concessions program around the eligibility criteria that the commonwealth set, because eligibility for a number of our concessions is linked to commonwealth eligibility criteria.

Mr Hanson interjecting

MR BARR: I do find it a bit rich that the Leader of the Opposition and others would interject and seek to score political points on the concessions issue when their colleagues and their political party have cut funding for the concessions program. There are many choices that the federal government faced in their previous budgets, and they made the choice to cut the national partnership on concessions, to reduce funding. The only decisions taken in the past two years to reduce funding to concessions have been taken by the Liberal Party—imposed upon all Australians, all states and territories, by the Liberal Party through their cuts to the national partnership on concessions. Missing from any of the commentary from those opposite through any of this process has been any acknowledgement that their own party is in the business of cutting concessions.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Chief Minister, why did you wait until the second stage of public consultation before releasing public submissions from the first stage of consultation?

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