The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:43): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the minister representing the Minister for Education on the topic of ministerial powers to close or amalgamate any school, but specifically the Springbank Secondary College.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: As you would be aware, the minister does not have the power under his own volition to close or amalgamate a South Australian state school, unless of course a prescribed process of either a voluntary vote or a review, as set out under the act, is followed and strictly adhered to. In correspondence to a concerned parent of a child studying at Springbank Secondary College, the Minister for Education this past week has informed that parent that:
The Education Act 1972 legislates the terms of a review process and as part of the process, the Review Committee will provide me with a report and their recommendations…
The minister goes on to say:
Within three parliamentary sitting days of informing the school, I must table in the SA parliament a copy of the report, the recommendations and reasons for making the decision.
1. Does the minister acknowledge that in fact that report from the Springbank review committee is not required by the act to be tabled in parliament, unless, of course, the minister intends to act in contravention of the recommendations of a review committee and proceed with the closure or amalgamation against their recommendations?
2. Does the minister understand and respect that he only has the power to close or amalgamate a school if he has fully followed the provisions of the act to the letter?
3. Finally, given the minister has already flagged his intention to table a report to the parliament within three days of receiving it, has the minister actually followed all the relevant provisions of the act to the letter of, specifically, part 2A, or does he intend to go through with this process regardless of the law?
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:45): I am happy to refer the honourable member's question to my colleague, but knowing my colleague and how meticulous, assiduous and exceptional he is in handling his portfolio, I am sure he is following everything that he is required to do by the law of the land.