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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2935..


MR PRATT (continuing):

He goes on to say:

And in a conversation I had will Andrew Barr I asked "If all current students of KHS went to Wanniassa High tomorrow could they all fit", He answered "Yes". When Kambah High, Wanniassa High and Wanniassa primary have a combined enrolment of exactly 900, the Wanniassa High building would be overfilled by the government's statistics by 44 students. (It is my understanding it is planned to move the Wanniassa junior campus into the senior building).

That is my understanding, too. He goes on to say:

This proves that the statistics are false and are so to try and sell this disturbing proposal to the people of Canberra.

The letter is quite long and the last point that I will quote is this:

Though we could debate many aspects of this proposal for years to come the main focus of the Kambah High School SOS group is the need for grades 7-10 in the suburb. As Kambah has a low socio-economic population the need for a local school is evident. If we are to convince students to continue higher education, we must not make it harder for them to access it.

That is a very good point. We want to retain our kids in these schools and when we take a school like this out of a community, we make it that much harder, particularly for kids who might have difficulties.

I want to talk about Tharwa primary school. Tharwa primary school is a small school, with perhaps 29 students, but it is a quality school. It has proven to be a quality school with excellent outcomes. It is a special case school in an isolated community. You are not assessing these schools on a case-by-case basis. You are drawing a plimsoll line and saying that any school with an enrolment below the line is automatically on the closure list.

The Stanhope government is ruining Tharwa. You are going to take their primary school away from them and their bridge is not going to be replaced for a very long time. There is no money in the budget for at least three years to replace that bridge. You also failed to ensure that people were travelling on that bridge safely. The government really is pushing Tharwa right out of the equation. Your failure to help defend that community during the 2003 fires reinforced your attitude.

Gilmore primary school is a perfectly good structure with a pretty reasonable enrolment rate. What is the motive behind closing Gilmore?

Mrs Dunne: Sweeping views.

MR PRATT: Is it the sweeping views of the Brindabellas? Is it high real estate value? Isabella primary school falls very much into the category of smaller primary school in Kambah. It is a school in a low socioeconomic area and it needs to retain its kids.


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