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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 1850..

MR BARR: Through this investment the government targeted an area of high growth within the ACT community, where there is a growing population of school-age children. We are investing $23 million in this new facility. Construction commenced last summer and will be completed by December of this year, with a view to the school opening for the 2008 school year.

I congratulate the P&Cs from the surrounding schools, particularly Amaroo, which has been so supportive in working towards the establishment of a P&C for the school and which has already undertaken a fundraiser to assist the newly forming Harrison P&C to get underway. It has been a tremendous partnership from all of those in the local community. I particularly acknowledge the work of the Gungahlin Community Council.

Again, these sorts of investments and quality public school facilities would not have been possible had the government not made the difficult decisions to reprioritise expenditure last year, to put quality first and to ensure that our public education system, our schools within our public education system, lead the nation and the world in the quality of facilities, the quality of teaching and the quality of learning that takes place.

There is no doubt the parent community of Harrison and surrounding suburbs is thrilled with the quality of facilities it will get to begin the 2008 school year. We are seeing already, with the level of enrolments and the level of interest in the community, that this will be a tremendously successful school in an area of high demand. That is where the government should be investing in new education facilities, where we have a growing school-age population. (Time expired.)


DR FOSKEY: My question, which is directed to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, concerns community consultation on the use of so-called surplus school sites. Minister, you described this process as a two-stage process to be completed by November this year, with the first stage being about possible uses of the school sites generally and the second stage being about particular communities and specific outcomes for those sites. In May you advised us that the first stage would occur in July-August. However, the consultant who will conduct that process has only just been appointed. Can the minister advise the Assembly whether that consultation will still run for the four or five months, which is what was first promised, or whether the timeframe will be cut in half so that the report can still be finalised and handed to government by the end of November?

MR HARGREAVES: Before I go into some of the detail I thank Dr Foskey for her question. The delay in the acquisition of a consultant will not cut anything in half. We have had an extension to the time that we had hoped to take to finalise the awarding of the contract, but it is not 50 per cent of that time. The delay in the selection of the consultant occurred when expressions of interest were sought in the first place. The amount put forward by proponents—and I will not detail those amounts—was considerably greater than we had been advised and we asked people to revise their expressions of interest, which is why the delay occurred.

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