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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2194..


MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the minister for education. Can the minister inform the Assembly about the progress of school infrastructure upgrades for primary schools in the ACT?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question and for his ongoing interest in the upgrading of primary schools in the ACT. The Stanhope government is very firmly committed to a serious, four-year upgrade program for all of our public schools. Looking particularly at primary schools, we have invested more money than any government in the history of self-government in the ACT in improving primary school infrastructure.

As part of our asset management plan, we are upgrading every primary school in the ACT that is older than 12 years with a significant process of capital works upgrades. Those upgrades range, for example, from new halls and classrooms to upgraded specialist teaching areas. Of particular interest to Mr Gentleman will be the range of upgrades that are occurring at schools in his electorate. There are a considerable number of primary schools in the electorate of Brindabella, and they are all undergoing a process of upgrade. These upgrades are part of an overall package of $90 million layered on top of the usual $111/2 million a year. So we are talking about upwards of $140 million worth of school upgrades.

In recent times, I have had the great pleasure of being at the opening of the new Ainslie primary school—an upgrade that was completed in partnership with the commonwealth government. I had the pleasure of opening the new facility with Senator Humphries only last week. It is a fantastic piece of work in upgrading what is one of Canberra's historic schools. I would particularly like to pay tribute to Binutti Constructions, who won an MBA award for their work at Ainslie primary school. They have also undertaken a range of other upgrades at older and historic schools around the territory.

Duffy primary school recently had its autism units completed. I had the opportunity to open them. It is a wonderful piece of infrastructure that is far in advance of anything that was previously on offer. I note that parents, students and teachers from the autism units at Duffy, known as the Griffin unit, love them. They are all saying they are the best facilities that any school has in the ACT, and it is fantastic to see.

To give the Assembly a sense of the scale of the works that are being undertaken, I would like to provide another example—that is, the work that is about to begin at Giralang primary school. Members would of course be aware that Giralang was the subject of some discussion last year. Following a series of meetings with the Giralang community—and I would like to pay particular tribute to Ms Porter for the work that she undertook with the Giralang community—a proposal was put forward for a major restructure of education facilities at Giralang. This government is funding that major restructure. It is part of a package of works that we have recently put to tender.

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