Page 4007 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 24 October 1990

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Wednesday, 24 October 1990


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


Debate resumed from 17 October 1990, on motion by Mr Wood:

That it is the opinion of this Assembly that Weetangera Primary School remain open to continue to provide high quality education.

MR WOOD (10.30): Mr Speaker, in this, as in other debates, I have raised a number of details concerning the proposal to close Weetangera Primary School. I have shown that the decisions were made in ignorance. Indeed, I did not have to show that because some Government members have said that when they voted on this in the joint party room they did not know some of these facts. So it has not been left entirely to me to show how much ignorance there was at both departmental and party level when these decisions were made.

Indeed, we have found that the Government has been endeavouring to catch up from the day it announced that it was going to close up to 25 schools. Such planning as it has done has been catch-up planning, and it has taken rather feeble measures to try to justify what it has been doing. In the 15 minutes that I have spent on this speech so far I have tried to show where it is wrong in detail. But that detail, in the end, is not particularly important. I have used it to show how little the Government knew about what it was doing.

The important fact is simple and clear: Weetangera school should not close. Even if there are savings down the track from school closures; even if some $200,000 a year can be saved by closing a school - and that figure remains much in dispute - that does not justify the closure of any school that is a bustling, thriving, sound educational institution. I made these remarks to this Assembly some six months ago, and they have not changed. The basic fact remains that the school should not close.

While we in this chamber may debate points about enrolments, costs and where a school is situated in relation to others, these points remain relatively minor. Let us not get away from the major issue, namely, that we have a great educational institution here and that it should not close. Today is important because members of the Alliance Government, and in particular its backbench,

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