Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3731 ..
a result of a non-investment in infrastructure in previous years, particularly under the previous government.
You suggest that an additional $2 million in the $128 million Alexander Maconochie prison project is a blow-out in costs—$2 million on a $128 million project. You refer to the fact that we are investing an additional $1 million or $1.4 million in Harrison primary school, a $22 million project, to ensure excellence across the board—not just in the school itself and its educational fit-out. Perhaps you would need to refer the question to the issue around the standard of fit-out—in the context of what the classrooms offer, what the teaching facility and support offers and what the IT that has been incorporated in the school might be—to have some idea of the standard that we are delivering in our school construction program.
We are also conscious of the continuing drift away from the public sector. We have taken a conscious decision that issues around appearance, maintenance and aspect in every aspect inside the school walls and external to the school walls are fundamentally important. We are prepared to invest in public education at every level within the school walls and within the school grounds.
In the second appropriation bill there are a number of investments in education of which we are enormously proud, whether it be curriculum support for expertise in physical education, languages and the arts, whether it be in relation to the additional $3.3 million for Indigenous education or whether it is our support for the national assessment program. There are significant additional funds for student welfare and pastoral care. And there is support for the non-government sector.
There is record expenditure on education under this government: an additional $1.4 million to ensure that there is a really great new primary school—it is more than great; it is absolutely fantastic. It is begrudged by the Liberal Party because, as we all know, it is “good money after bad”. If there is an opportunity to condemn any aspect of public education and its delivery, Mrs Dunne will be there in a flash—you can barely see her move—to deliver the criticism. Whether it be in relation to principals, the management of schools or their infrastructure, Mrs Dunne will be there heading the queue to criticise, damn and condemn—to damn, to condemn, to criticise, to put down, to drag down public education.
We all know that Mrs Dunne has no philosophical or other interest in or support for public education. We all know that. She displays it and illustrates it particularly with that catchcry which she now proudly owns, which she has never apologised for, and which her leader supports through his silence and his complicity—that any funding for public education is throwing good money after bad. It is a matter of shame that this is the formal view of the education spokesperson. And her leader, Bill Stefaniak, endorses it through his silence.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The semaphore between members and visitors in the gallery should stop.
Occupational Health and Safety Council
MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer and acting Attorney-General. Minister, the second appropriation bill provides funding of nearly $2 million over four years for