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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 497 ..


probably the ideal. Again, that puts pressure on those classrooms that are not cooled with anything more than perhaps double glazing and/or an overhead fan.

The second part of my motion calls on the government to:

(a) provide details of which ACT public schools are without efficient air cooling in classrooms …

(b) commit to deliver improvements to those schools that do not have them this school year; and

(c) honour their 2012 election commitment to invest $70m new funding for school infrastructure maintenance.

I call for that because I think it is important that those schools that do not have classrooms with cooling systems are identified and a plan developed to upgrade them.

The minister has previously told the Assembly that all schools are heated. That is good and sensible, given our minus temperatures in winter. When she says “all schools”, I hope she means all parts of the schools—that it is not just the library or administration areas but includes classrooms.

In the 2012 ACT election there was a commitment by ACT Labor to invest $70 million in new money in upgrades and maintenance in schools. Since the minister has repeatedly claimed that the money is being spent, and the AEU claims, equally, that it has not been spent, it might be useful for the minister to outline exactly where and how this additional $70 million has been directed and whether the balance of that money might be directed to schools that are not appropriately temperature controlled in all classroom areas.

If the $70 million was not intended to cover heating and cooling issues, what was it intended to cover, over and above the usual allocation for asset maintenance? And why does the directorate not consider the cooling of the classrooms a priority? Why is it acceptable for students and teachers to operate in an environment that is above and outside the ACT’s own work health and safety code of practice?

As I have said, it is a matter of luck that Canberra has not had its usual run of hot days. When it does, how many parents will be forced to keep their children home from school or assume that their child’s lessons will be severely disrupted as they get rotated around the school? That is how the directorate and the minister have said it will be managed. The weather gods will not always be this kind to Canberra; I just hope our schools are ready. I commend the motion.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (3.44): The government will not be agreeing to this motion, and I move:

Omit all words after “That this Assembly”, substitute:


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