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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 4 Hansard (6 April) . .

Page.. 1199..


All of these publications tell an interesting story. The ABC News item in January told a worrying story. It suggested some significant overcrowding in our schools. For example, it suggested Garran Primary School had a notional capacity of 550 but that enrolments were, on the ACT directorate's modelling, likely to be 570; that Harrison Junior School had potential enrolments of 1,099, with enrolment capacity of 1,050; Hawker Primary School, 338 with capacity of 350; that the relatively new Gungahlin College was close to being full; and that Macquarie primary was not far behind.

The article went on to quote directorate staff assuring parents that all was well and that the enrolment pressures were being managed. But go back to 2014 and it was a different story. In September of that year I moved a motion in the Assembly expressing concern at the potential overcrowding in many ACT public schools. I highlighted that schools in the Belconnen area and the inner south, and in Gungahlin particularly, were at or close to capacity. The minister at the time responded rather typically, denying any such crisis, moving to omit all reference in my motion to overcrowding, and said, quite tellingly, that, in each of our four networks, school capacity would remain comfortably above projected enrolment growth.

Fast forward to April this year, the February school census shows some remarkable things, most importantly that the minister was misleading at best. Firstly, the school census figures show that the directorate figures published in January, and presumably managed and analysed by people who are best placed to assess such things, were in many instances wildly underestimated.

Mr Rattenbury: A point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: A point of order, Mr Rattenbury. Please sit down, Mr Doszpot.

Mr Rattenbury: Madam Deputy Speaker, I think Mr Doszpot just used the term "misleading" in his speech. Of course, we know that this needs to be done in a substantive motion.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are asked to withdraw the word "misleading", Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Madam Deputy Speaker, can we stop the clock?

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Simply withdraw the word and we can start back, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Please stop the clock. I withdraw my statement.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Doszpot. Please continue.

MR DOSZPOT: Firstly, the school census figures show that directorate figures published in January and presumably managed and analysed by people who are best placed to assist such things were in many instances wildly underestimated.


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