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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 327..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I was down there at lunchtime and I saw the monitoring device. It has been placed on a blackboard about a third of the way into the second most northern demountable. Also, some more basic thermometers had various readings, depending on where they were placed in the school, and I do not think it is necessary to go into that sort of detail. We intend monitoring until the end of the likely hot period. The temperatures at the schools at the southern end of the valley will be monitored until 12 April. You will have heard, Mr Hird, that I will be seeing on Thursday evening representatives from the school board, the school principal and a couple of people from the department, including an expect in the positioning of the demountables because that might be a factor.

A number of schools in the ACT have taken steps under school-based management to alleviate problems caused by heat. I think we are relatively lucky in Canberra in that this is not the problem that it is in other parts of the country. We have a relatively short summer and I think, on average, over the last three years the temperature has been over 30 degrees on some 14 school days. However, that is obviously not to say that certain schools feel that for them that may be a considerable problem.

As I have pointed out, a number of schools have taken steps under school-based management to alleviate the problem. That basically is what school-based management is all about. I am advised that Hall Primary School, Theodore Primary and Stromlo have taken steps themselves to put airconditioning into transportables and buildings to alleviate heat problems. That is part and parcel of the beauty of school-based management. That is why we have it. I understand that school-based management was started by Mr Wood. I do not want to anticipate debate on Mr Berry's motion but I am interested to see that he is to move a motion that might go completely against something which his colleague Mr Wood started. Mr Hird, a number of schools have already, because they see this as being a priority, taken steps to do that.

I note that there has been a lot of concern from Gordon. I have spoken to parents and they want to see something happen. I, too, would like to see something happen, if that is their wish. Indeed, I think schools have the capacity under school-based management to take steps themselves. That is something I will certainly be talking to the school board chair about. I understand that she said on a radio station how much they have-the department gives them something like over a quarter of a million dollars a year and I think they still have something like over $100,000 in their bank account. It is a matter of working out priorities. I will be interested to see exactly what they will do in relation to this matter. I am aware of a couple of things that have been done over the last two years but I am concerned that there seems to be a full expectation that the department will provide everything. That is not what other schools have done.

I think it is important to make the point that other schools have seen the alleviation of the heat problem as an absolute priority and they have gone ahead and done it under school-based management. What are we meant to do in relation to those schools-give them the money back? That is not what school-based management is all about.

I am concerned to see that those kids have the best possible learning environment and I think some steps have been taken already. If there are some unique features in relation to Gordon Primary that the department should be responsible for then the department will fix that up. That will be the responsibility of the department and it will pay. I certainly want to make that point and I am getting advice on this matter.


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