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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4831 ..

leave: I am very pleased to inform the Assembly this morning that the 2009-10 financial year saw the largest ever capital works program in ACT schools successfully completed.

When I became education minister in 2006, we commenced a seven-year reform project for education in the territory. We committed to building schools where they are needed most—in our growth areas, particularly Gungahlin, and also to renew school infrastructure in older areas of the city, such as in north Tuggeranong. We committed to rejuvenating and reviving our old 1950s, 1960s and 1970s school infrastructure.

Today I will be releasing a report on the latest year’s school capital works and I am pleased to inform the Assembly that it shows that more than $200 million has been invested in our schools in 2009-10. To put that figure into perspective, it is 10 times greater than it was four years ago and a 95 per cent spend of the capital works program for the year. It is the largest capital works investment ever made in ACT schools. And this is part of the Labor government’s half a billion dollar capital investment in ACT public schools scheduled to run from 2006-07 to 2012-13.

In addition to this half-billion dollar ACT government program, the federal Labor government, through the building the education revolution program, has added over $150 million to this seven-year investment.

Whilst we all know that the most important ingredient in schools is quality teaching, we cannot attract and retain the very best teachers without the very best classrooms and other facilities, such as information and communication technology. We cannot inspire young inquisitive minds without the very best science facilities and language labs. We cannot encourage healthy living and PE in schools without the very best gymnasiums. We cannot encourage the best performing arts without the best performing arts centres. We cannot foster strong communities without the very best community meeting spaces.

Today I would like to highlight the government’s achievements in school capital works. I can advise that, pleasingly, the ACT is leading other states and territories in the completion of building the education revolution projects. All 84 national school pride program projects have been completed. All primary schools for the 21st century program, P21, projects are on track to be completed by the end of this year. Nineteen of the 68 P21 projects were complete at the end of 30 June 2010. And at the end of September, more than 70 per cent of the P21 projects were completed.

Every public school in the ACT has benefited. I do not have time this morning to go through the detail for each school; suffice it to say that across every electorate in nearly every suburb in the ACT there has been a school capital works refurbishment program, funded by either the ACT or commonwealth government, completed or nearing completion.

Earlier this year the Building the Education Revolution Implementation Taskforce, led by Mr Brad Orgill, released its interim report. This report showed that in terms of value for money, the ACT public school system projects were the best in the country.

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