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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1839..


MR BARR (continuing):

will be $90 million across the next four years for upgrading school infrastructure. I have also announced that there will be $67 million for two new schools.

We are, of course, expecting to make some savings across the outyears in relation to school closures. I said yesterday that all of that money and more would be ploughed back into public education. That is a clear commitment of the government. The savings across the four years are to be in the order of $30 million to $40 million.

Mrs Dunne: The figure I heard yesterday was $32 million.

MR BARR: I am happy to provide the exact figure to Mrs Dunne, but it is in the order of $30 million to $40 million. We are, of course, putting an additional $90 million into capital upgrades, $67 million into new schools and $20 million into new IT infrastructure. There is an $11.3 million ongoing capital works program for every year that includes older school refurbishments. We will have $4 million over four years for transitional assistance.

The size of the government's package of investment in education dwarfs, obviously, any savings to be made over the outyears. However, we do have a strong commitment to delivering on those savings and reinvesting them in the public education system. That is the point: we make the savings to reinvest in the system, to deliver a stronger system. If members of the opposition do not agree with that, let them get up and say so. If they do not believe that we should find efficiencies-

Mrs Dunne: I am just seeking information here, minister.

MR BARR: If the shadow minister does not believe that we should find efficiencies and reinvest savings in the system, let the opposition say that. If members of the opposition believe that no schools should close, let them commit today to reopening any schools that we do close as a result of the consultation process. We will have six months of constructive engagement with the community about how we can renew our system. I am fundamentally committed to seeing our public education system return to the strength it once had. There is considerable concern-

Mr Pratt: After your government ran it down.

MR BARR: Particularly, Mr Pratt, with the era of the Carnell government, when public education was gutted. This government has invested an additional 25 per cent in public education. This government has committed an additional 25 per cent to public education. We have delivered pay rises to teachers to catch up-

Opposition members interjecting-

MR SPEAKER: Order! Resume your seat for a moment, Mr Barr. Members of the opposition will cease interjecting. Mr Barr, you have the floor.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I was saying, we delivered pay rises to teachers to catch up for the years of neglect of the previous government. There is no doubting this government's commitment to public education. The package we have announced will see public education return to its place as first choice for parents in the territory. It is about


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