Page 4153 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 October 1991

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MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I have seen some information come through to me. I believe that I have signed it off to go to you, Mr Jensen. I will check precisely what has happened and make sure that it is in your hands, hopefully, by the end of the day.

Hackett Primary School

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister for Education, Mr Wood. It concerns the Minister's announcement that Hackett Primary School will not reopen - an announcement which is, with respect, totally inconsistent with a decision earlier this year to reopen any school that requested it. I remind the Minister that last year there were 148 enrolments at Hackett, 146 at Lyons and 170 at Cook. If the Minister did not base his decision on demographics, can he tell the Assembly on what grounds he has made the decision not to reopen Hackett Primary School?

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, the decision we have made is entirely consistent with what we have said over a long period. We have said - I know it well because I have said it often - that we will open those schools if the community seek us to do so. It is clear from the response that we had from the Hackett community that they do not seek us to do that. Something like 2,000 forms, very carefully done by the community association, were sent out to the residents. The response was low - something like 200, which in itself says something.

The breakdown of that response indicates that there was very, very little support from people in that community for the school to be reopened. It was quite clear that the community did not seek the reopening of that school. Had it been otherwise, had the school come back to us with a clear statement, we would have acknowledged that. The enrolments that were indicated to us were just about 30 - 31, I think. That made it quite clear that there is not the support in the community to maintain that school. I regret that. Had you not intervened and arbitrarily closed that school last year, the situation could well have been different.

MR HUMPHRIES: I ask a supplementary question. Could the Minister outline why the procedure he has just indicated in respect of the Hackett school was not employed in the case of the Cook or Lyons school? Secondly, will he table a summary of the responses received to the questionnaire completed by Hackett residents?

MR WOOD: Yes, indeed. And you might well have expanded your question to ask why it was not the same as was employed in the amalgamation of the two high schools in Weston Creek, because that was something different again.

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