Page 75 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022
schools, we take into account community service organisations to make sure that we have facilities that those organisations are able to use. For example, the new school that we opened this year in Throsby has the school ovals being built, hard courts, gyms, halls and community rooms for community groups to be able to utilise outside of school hours. Once we get back to a point where it is a little bit safer to have more people moving through our school communities, community groups will be able to have access to those facilities across all our schools to ensure that they can meet and support our community where they need to.
MR BRADDOCK: What could be done to give these community groups long-term access—beyond the 12 months they were initially offered—to the school facilities?
MS BERRY: As I said, every school that we build has facilities available for community groups to utilise, and we will continue to do that to make sure that our schools are utilised outside of school hours by groups that support people in our community for a range of different reasons—sports organisations as well, using our sports facilities. These will always be part of a new school’s construction to ensure that we have these rooms, facilities and sports spaces available for other parts of our community to utilise outside of school hours.
MR DAVIS: Minister, can you outline how community access is incorporated into the designs for new schools like the Kenny school.
MS BERRY: As members know, sports facilities in particular are a wonderful asset for the ACT community, with Canberra having the highest participation rates in the country. Having sports facilities at schools for use within school but also outside of school hours is an important part of planning when building new schools. When we build high schools, in particular, we always build a double gym to make sure that there are facilities available for sports groups and other community organisations to utilise.
But we also make sure that those facilities are included in the designs of our new schools and upgrade older school facilities where we can, to ensure that we meet the needs of community groups to use those school facilities outside of school hours. But, as I said, primarily they are schools and they are for education. We make sure that we have a balance so that when community use occurs it does not interfere with the primary role of our schools, which is for the education of our children.
ACT Emergency Services Agency—preparedness
MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, can you please provide an update on the storm and bushfire season?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Orr for her interest in the safety of Canberrans during these difficult times. I want to acknowledge and thank all our wonderful staff and volunteers across the Emergency Services Agency that are dedicated to keeping us safe and continue to do a wonderful job. In emergencies they respond quickly and professionally to keep our city safe. Our ACT SES staff and volunteers have had a busy summer period, with an unprecedented storm season. I want particularly to thank