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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 496 ..


That, of course, is self-evidently wrong. If I was not supportive of ACT public schools, Ms Burch, why would I continue to press the government to do more, and to do it better, for the public schools? But the reality—

Mr Gentleman: Have you visited a few?

MR DOSZPOT: I have visited every school in Canberra by now. The reality is that we do have some that are ageing and in need of attention.

On the question of heating and cooling of schools, the minister’s only suggestions were these:

All of our schools have effective heating systems. In relation to the cooling of schools, the directorate investigates concerns raised by schools and assists with managing extreme heat conditions. These actions include rotating classes to cooler areas. But Mr Doszpot knows this. So he is not acknowledging that we are talking about extreme weather conditions that schools operate in. It is quite concerning that Mr Doszpot can stand in this place and run down our schools as he has.

That quote is from our esteemed minister for education, Ms Burch.

The minister believes that to ask questions—to ask questions, Minister Burch—and to highlight concerns expressed by the community, in her words, is running down our schools. Perhaps you should make those same accusations of parents and teachers whom I talk to. I do consult. I consulted with the parents. I consulted with the teachers.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Lawder): Mr Doszpot, you can direct your comments to the chair.

MR DOSZPOT: I thought I was. My apologies, Madam Assistant Speaker. I do consult. I talk to the parents, the teachers and the organisations that reflect the education community. It is those groups that tell me that they are worried about how their children are able to concentrate and learn when they are sitting in rooms that are hot, when temperatures are over 34 degrees. While the minister might call them extreme, we know that above 30 degree temperatures are fairly typical for this time of the year. As I said, we are just lucky that thus far this year we have avoided the normal high temperatures.

The minister suggests that there is assistance to manage extreme conditions, and that that includes rotating classes. Is that the only solution the minister can come up with—to move students? To where? And how? How do you fit 300 students into one library, a reception area or a staffroom? How do you rotate without disrupting lessons, with 20 or more classes over the period of a day? Leaving a window open overnight or having an overhead fan are hardly likely to be significantly effective.

The only reason this issue is not front-page news again this year is that, as I said, this year we have not yet had the usual run of hot days.

My motion also referred to the fact that there is evidence that some of our schools are at capacity. The reality is that some classes will likely be forced to be larger than is


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