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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (17 September) . .

Page.. 3219..


Schools in established suburbs

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Dr Bourke): The Speaker has received letters from Dr Bourke, Mr Doszpot, Ms Fitzharris, Mr Hanson, Ms Lawder, Ms Porter and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion. In accordance with standing order 79, the Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Fitzharris be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of modernising and strengthening schools in Canberra's established suburbs.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (3.46): I am very pleased to speak again today on the importance of education in Canberra and, in particular, modernising and strengthening schools in our established suburbs. Recently I have been visiting schools in my region and have been impressed by the very high standard of both public and independent schools in Gungahlin. So far I have met with around six principals at their schools and will get around with the others within the next month.

Amaroo School has 180 staff and 1,700 students from pre-school to year 10. It has a large, modern campus segmented by year groupings. The acting principal described the range of courses available to its students, including a successful gifted and talented program. I also visited Gold Creek School which, under the guidance of its new principal, has turned its reputation around and is now attracting students from throughout Gungahlin suburbs. They are currently finalising their application to gain International Baccalaureate status. While I have had a different experience in each school I have not failed to be impressed by the motivation of all the staff and the quality of the facilities.

Two years ago Canberra celebrated its centenary. In contrast, I live in and represent Gungahlin where suburbs have only been developed since the 1990s, and land parcels will continue to be released for both residential and commercial development for some time. As our city grows schools in established areas of Canberra need to continually be upgraded to best meet the needs of students, staff and parents and provide the best learning environments. With 75 per cent of public schools having been constructed over 30 years ago, more work is to be done.

ACT Labor has worked to enhance school environments by committing $70 million to the school infrastructure for the future program announced in 2013. This funding has ensured that public school students can continue to learn in the very best school environments. Our high quality education system must keep pace with our population growth and continue to lead the nation in curriculum development, student performance, high quality staff, infrastructure and facilities, and family and parental engagement. In this term of government alone ACT Labor have made significant investments in infrastructure, teacher quality and innovative teaching programs across our 86 public schools.


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