Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2140..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
really awful things and I don't like being unpopular. There is an election coming up. Let's put the things that need to be done on the back-burner and leave them to another government on another day."This is the Gary Humphries view, the Bill Stefaniak view, the Brendan Smyth view in government and in cabinet: leave the hard decisions to another government on another day. Hopefully one day, before it is too late, a government with courage and commitment that places the public interest first will appear. And it has. This is a government whose ministers have courage.
MR SMYTH: My question is to the minister for education. The government's proposal Towards 2020 lists Gilmore primary school for closure at the end of 2007. The Chief Minister has admitted that school land will be sold. Minister, why are you closing this school?
Mr Stanhope: On a point of order: I have not admitted that school land will be sold. That statement is not correct. I have not said that school land will be sold. It is simply false.
MR SPEAKER: What was the question again?
MR SMYTH: I am happy to repeat it. Minister, the government's proposal Towards 2020 lists Gilmore primary school for closure at the end of 2007. The Chief Minister has admitted that school land will be sold. Minister, why are you closing this school?
MR BARR: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. The government has put forward a proposal on the future provision of education in the Tuggeranong region. I have stated publicly at the public meetings and the subsequent meetings I have held with schools in that region that the change in demographics in Tuggeranong has meant that there are simply too many primary schools in that region and that the increase in the student population and demand is at the college and post year 12 level. That is where we need to be looking in terms of the future provision of education in Tuggeranong. That is why the government has put forward a proposal for the Tuggeranong region that reflects those changes in demographics.
To quote Rosemary Lissimore from the Tuggeranong Community Council, nappy valley has grown up. The predominance of nappies is at the southern end of the Tuggeranong Valley, in the Lanyon Valley, where there is projected future growth at primary school level. Across the rest of Tuggeranong, particularly the northern end of Tuggeranong, the enrolment projections and the current enrolments are significantly below their peaks when that area was first being settled. Certainly when I lived in Kambah in 1980, as a six and seven-year-old, there were a lot of kids of my age around then.
It is clearly the case in 2006 that the demographics have changed. You need look only at the peak enrolments of the particular schools in those parts of Tuggeranong where the demographics have changed to see that now they are significantly below where they were. A sensible government will make provision for that change in demographics and seek to meet the new and emerging needs which are clearly at college level and post year 12 education level in Tuggeranong.