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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3566..


MR BARR (continuing):

sign on to call on the commonwealth government to invest more money in ACT public education. I will look forward to your responses to that.

Mr Seselja: How about you do your job?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Seselja! And stop provoking them, please, minister. Direct your comments through the chair.

MR BARR: Yes, Mr Speaker. I acknowledge your wise counsel.

On the subject of investment in public education, though, it is worth while noting that this additional money will allow a new hall to be built at Chapman primary, something that Chapman primary has been after for quite some time. There is a new gymnasium at Melrose high. There is a series of major investments: $2.5 million for an upgrade of Campbell high school.

Mrs Dunne has identified that a particular area of concern is around high schools. It is important that we invest in improving the infrastructure in our high schools. We are looking at improving the science facilities at Lyneham high. I went back to my old school, Lyneham. We were taken on a tour of the science labs, and it was a little bit of a time tunnel for me. They were showing signs of 17 years of wear and tear, but they were the same facilities that were in operation when I was a student at Lyneham high in the late eighties, so I was very pleased.

MR SPEAKER: We are talking to Mrs Dunne's amendment, you know.

MR BARR: We are, of course, Mr Speaker.

Improving the quality of our public education system is very important in terms of addressing the decline in enrolments in our public schools, and it is important that the government continue this investment package. I know that those opposite will oppose it and will continue to oppose it all the way through. Nonetheless, the government will not be deterred from its major investment in public education-and it is significant. It means new schools, it means new facilities and it means $20 million over four years for information technology. I cannot stress enough the importance of that investment in ensuring that students in ACT government schools have access to the highest quality infrastructure.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.34): Mr Speaker, this debate is really a sad tragedy of a government-

Mr Barr: Of Shakespearean proportions, is it, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Of Shakespearean proportions? No, it is a pathetic little tragedy, really, of a government-a minister and his colleagues-which does not want to look at the issue. The issue is a simple one. It is one of doing the research to find out why-apart from the demographics, which we all acknowledge-people are choosing non-government schools over government schools. All we have had of Mr Barr's goings on before was pretty much a set piece thing. He had prepared, or had prepared


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