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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 2590..


MS PORTER (continuing):

I am always pleased when asked to join with the community to celebrate hard work and success.

This brings to mind one of the other events I attended on Sunday. Early on Sunday morning, I attended the Christian Life Centre's national day of honour in Charnwood. The service recognised the contribution of volunteers and paid workers in aged care and public office holders. In his address, Pastor Sean Stanton rightly said that, whilst governments may provide resources, it is only through working together as a community that real results are achieved.

Schools—closures

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.07): Following the minister for education's statement that he stands by every statement of fact he has made regarding ACT schools, their costs and their numbers and every piece of information on the Department of Education and Training web site—this is in response to questions without notice last week—I have received some emails from people connected to some of the schools under threat. Here are extracts from two of them. A parent from Cook, quoted from the 2020 document:

... enrolments in schools such as Giralang, Cook and Southern Cross have declined over recent years, with only 40 per cent of school capacity being utilised.

These are the numbers that we have had thrown at us again today. Yet if one looks carefully at the table in the very document in which he says that, it shows Cook's enrolment at 91 per cent capacity. Furthermore, the parent argued that it is:

... misleading to say that Cook's enrolments have declined in recent years (they were 139 in February 2001 and 136 in February 2006)—

three people—

and nor does the Department even expect them to decline—with a forecast enrolment of 135 in 2010.

People find these inaccuracies offensive. The 2020 document did not even include Cook primary school on the map of current schools in the Belconnen south-east region, which, in their eyes, has wiped them off the map before consultation even began. The mailing address for feedback for the Belconnen south-east region is listed as Belconnen north-west. Okay, it is a paste and copying mistake, but it is significant to people. Even that small detail is yet to be corrected, despite it being pointed out to the minister and the chief executive. According to the constituent who contacted me:

The printed material should never have been put out in this form, but to leave it on the web site uncorrected is to treat the region, especially those schools proposed for closure, with contempt.

Comments from a Gilmore parent were:

'Towards 2020' states Gilmore Primary has a projected enrolment for 2010 of 175. However, the 'ACT Government Schools Projected Enrolments 2007-2011' (which uses the February 2006 census figures) puts the projected enrolments for Gilmore Primary in 2010 at 210 students (200 mainstream and 10 special needs).


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