Thursday 2 November 2006 - Part 2 - Pages 29 - 81



Mr FINCH (Question) - My question is to the Leader. In view of Beaconsfield miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb's establishment of the Russell-Webb Legacy, partly to help provide recreational facilities in Beaconsfield, will the State Government throw its support behind this aim and consider some support funding for such facilities?
Mr PARKINSON - I thank the honourable member for his question. The Government welcomes the generous contributions of Todd Russell, Brant Webb and others for the future of the children in the Beaconsfield area through the establishment of the Russell-Webb Legacy. The Beaconsfield mine collapse has placed a significant strain on the Beaconsfield community and surrounding communities and initiatives such as this help the community to move on. The response of the local, State and Commonwealth governments to the mine collapse has been an excellent example of how all levels of government can work together to deliver real and timely outcomes for communities in need.
Through the Beaconsfield task force we were able to mobilise our collective resources to provide targeted support to the Beaconsfield community in areas such as professional counselling, careers and income support, business advice and community development. Together with the Commonwealth Government's $8 million support package we are delivering very positive outcomes for the Beaconsfield community, both in terms of community development and by ensuring the Beaconsfield mine has every chance of reopening, provided mine management is able to satisfy Workplace Standards that it is safe to recommence operations.
Giving Tasmania's children the best possible start in life is a priority for the Tasmanian Government. We are funding a wide range of programs to support literacy, numeracy and recreation opportunities for children statewide, including $22.5 million over five years to reduce class sizes in all primary schools to 25 or less; employing 27 additional early learning teachers to support literacy, school readiness and families through Launching into Learning; providing over $17 million for literacy and numeracy programs statewide, including extending the literacy support program Reading Together for a further four years; providing $750 000 annually to the Early Years Foundation to support learning and development for children from birth to six years of age; and building new playground and improving sporting equipment through the $5 million Playground Blitz Program.
The new Russell-Webb Legacy complements these statewide programs. Whilst the Government has no current intention to directly contribute to the fund, we would welcome an approach from the legacy to consider ways in which we can work together to secure a positive future for children in the Beaconsfield community and surrounding communities