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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (17 September) . .

Page.. 2779..


And this, Ms Burch, is probably the issue that you should have been trying to explain to us—that is, if my understanding is accurate, and it does seem to explain the discrepancy between what is being done compared to the extravagant election promises. I did not run down the schools, Ms Burch. If anything, I ran down—

MADAM SPEAKER: Please address the chair, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Madam Speaker, I did not run down, as Ms Burch indicated, the public schools in Canberra. I did not run down the government schools. If anything, I ran down Ms Burch's lack of understanding and her response to my speech, and the motion highlights exactly that: her lack of understanding and being able to respond to stating what is happening instead of just the political window-dressing that she came up with.

In closing, Ms Burch comments that she finds it quite concerning that I stand here in this place knocking the government school system, yet again I have to stress that, if Ms Burch listened to any of the speech or in fact read the motion, she would have noted that I believe they are an excellent education sector in the ACT. But I have to stress, and I cannot ignore the point, that a majority of our schools are old and that serious decisions need to be made about their maintenance and upgrade.

I take some of the points Mr Rattenbury came up with. As usual, he seems to be torn between accepting some of the realities of life that the opposition presents from time to time and his understanding of those realities of life. He is torn between his commitment to the government and to making sure that the government get his support, as the terms of understanding or contractual terms in their partnership indicate.

But the reality that we have pointed out here today is quite realistic. It is there for everyone to see. But this seems beyond the capacity and the capability of Ms Burch who, through her amendment, has failed. I have to repeat that I think she has failed to understand and address the concerns of the ACT parents and the community. This is not just me talking, Ms Burch. The issues I have mentioned are what I have heard from parents, from the community and from representations from various sources.

We have schools that are under severe enrolment pressure and the only option appears to be the reduction of enrolment areas or to put in transportable classrooms. On the one hand, the directorate suggest that schools can be repurposed and restructured, but at the same time they advise that, when constructed, schools are designed to accommodate a specific number of children. Yes, and those numbers have been or soon will be extended in many schools.

Ms Burch spoke about the document that the directorate put out. Yes, some of the things that are in there obviously have been planned, and have been planned to the best of their abilities. But when you have areas like Amaroo, with an enrolment of 1,529, and people saying that the capacity will be increased to 1,722 by putting in transportables, that is only a band-aid approach. It will fix the problem perhaps to the end of this year, and then we are back to the same situation in 2015.


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