Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1651..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
succeeding at school. For those people who think that they have children of average intelligence there is actually almost a stigma associated with this. This is something that the minister must take on board and must address.
The other thing is that some of the schools are physically unsuited to being P-2 schools. Lyons primary school, for instance, is a two-storey school. There is an infant school, or what was previously an infant school, designed to take small children, but that is now occupied by the ACT department of education and various other people. The school that is currently occupied by Lyons primary school is the old year 3 to 6 school. It is a two-storey school that is considered by many educationists to be unsuitable as an infant school.
The other thing that I touched on yesterday in relation to Lyons primary, and it is also a problem with Narrabundah, is the concern in those communities that by turning these schools into P-2 schools, the already established or establishing programs which have a good reputation in the case of the indigenous programs at Narrabundah and the Italian program at Lyons primary will wither on the vine because there will be no receptive organisation to take them on and to ensure that they flourish. The good work that has been done over a number of years at Narrabundah primary school for our indigenous children will be undermined and we will start to see declining standards for many of our indigenous children as a result of this. This is a grave fear in the community.
The other thing that I am particularly concerned about is that two years down the track before this is happening, these schools are starting to bleed large numbers of enrolments. Every one of these schools is losing enrolments on a fairly regular basis. There were people who did not return their children to those schools at the beginning of this year because they did not want to have them disrupted in a few years time. There are people who are now concerned that the schools around them are starting to become full and they may not be able to guarantee getting all of their family into the one school if they wait until 2009 to move their children.
Every one of those schools is already bleeding enrolments. Is this, I ask, what Mr Barr set out to do? He did not have the guts to close some of these schools because it would have been too awful to go over the 40 mark. But he really is going to close these schools through death by a thousand cuts. These are great schools. The ones that I know best are Southern Cross primary, Lyons primary and Narrabundah primary. They do fantastic work and this minister and this department are undermining that work.
Narrabundah Long Stay Caravan Park
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (9.09): Mrs Burke, in comments just now, asked rhetorically from whom I was receiving advice in relation to the Narrabundah Long Stay Caravan Park.
Of course, I receive advice in relation to that issue from my department, and my department takes advice and is consulting with the NCA. I hesitate to take the time of