Page 2392 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022

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The ACT government has known about our enrolment pressures for years so we’re disappointed to hear that planning is only just starting … Parents are concerned about the quality of teaching and learning that will be possible for college students while we wait for this one to open.

Minister, how will the existing college in Gungahlin cope while they wait for the new school to open?

MS BERRY: I thank Mr Hanson for the question, and I am always very pleased to hear feedback from our school P&Cs. Their reflections and feedback to the government from their own personal experiences on the ground are really important to the way the government works on planning to ensure that we meet the needs of our school communities.

Gungahlin College is going through its enrolment right now, as all public schools are, and those enrolments are being completed as we speak, so we will understand the full capacity of Gungahlin College once that enrolment process is completed. Of course, Gungahlin College has the capacity to meet the needs right now; however, we have heard from the Gungahlin community that there is a requirement and need for an additional college in Gungahlin, and so we have put forward the $1 million in funding as part of our budget commitment this year to do that investigation work.

A site for a new college in Gungahlin has been identified at Gold Creek. Some of that feasibility work will occur as part of that planning funding that is in the ACT government’s budget. We have had really good feedback, more broadly, from the Gungahlin community, and particularly Yerrabi members Suzanne Orr and Michael Pettersson who have also said—

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker I wish to raise a point of order on relevance. The question is quite clear, and it is about how the existing college is going to cope whilst that planning process takes place and we are waiting for a new college. The minister has not answered that question at all.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, without verballing the minister, I think she has made a comment that the school has got the capacity at the moment.

MS BERRY: I have answered that question. I am looking forward to seeing the work completed on a new college for Gungahlin. (Time expired.)

MR HANSON: Minister, why are you only starting to plan for a new college now, when the P&C says that they are at full capacity, and you have been aware of the pressure for years?

MS BERRY: Well, because we have been working with the Gungahlin College school—with teachers and school principals, as well as the P&Cs in the past—to ensure that the college can meet the needs of the Gungahlin community. However, we know, as Gungahlin grows and continues to be one of the highest population growth areas in the country, that we need to provide more facilities. A new Gungahlin college is one of those facilities, including upgrades and increasing capacity, and new primary schools, high schools and colleges for that area.

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