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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2600..


MR BARR (continuing):

Infrastructure has already been provided to buy the replacement of school servers, proxy servers and core infrastructure upgrades. Wireless networking is being progressively introduced to public schools to significantly enhance the flexibility of ICT provision. Other projects include video-on-demand, video conferencing, video projectors, podcasting and datacasting, all of which will improve access to information and allow the classroom to move beyond the school.

Parent portals will be established, particularly to provide a window for parents to access their child's class work and what is going on in the school environment. Secure and private online access for senior secondary students already allows these students to access their year 12 grades and UAI scores.

The final phase of the smart schools: smart students program will provide an online library system shared by all schools, providing access anywhere, anytime to school library catalogues. A new multimedia and innovation centre will be the showpiece for ACT public schools, providing a facility where they can evaluate and utilise the latest technology.

This $27.7 million in ACT public schools builds on the investments made by the Stanhope government since 2001. This includes $11 million invested in improving information technology for all schools and over $1 million towards the provision of interactive whiteboards, leading to a 570 per cent increase in the number of these educational aids available in ACT public schools.

Now that we finally have a federal government interested in investing in education, the ACT government has been able to work closely with them to deliver the first round of the $1.2 billion digital education revolution. This has meant that nearly $3 million in new funding has been made available to ACT schools—2,847 new computers in classrooms in ACT schools.

This is a great example of the commonwealth and ACT governments working together to achieve a positive outcome for students in the ACT. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity—when you have an ACT Labor government working with a commonwealth Labor government—to deliver tangible benefits to public education. Only one political party in this country is interested in this area: the Labor Party. Both the ACT and the federal Australian Labor Party are working together to deliver outstanding benefits for our public schools.

Schools—closures

MR STEFANIAK: My question is also to the Minister for Education. Minister, can you confirm to the Assembly whether your department has received an approach from the non-government school sector to reopen schools that have been closed? If so, can you indicate which schools are subject to these discussions?

MR BARR: I understand that at least one non-government school has formally made an application for the registration of an additional campus. That school is the Emmaus Christian school. I have met with Emmaus and indicated that the government's preference for new non-government schools would be in a new greenfield area


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