Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2115 ..
we are investing in the services and infrastructure that people need, to ensure that Canberra remains one of the most livable cities in the world.
There is a significant amount of investment in education in the 2018-19 budget, reflecting our government’s priority of education and the future of our city. As revealed in the budget yesterday and as reflected in my amendment to the motion, the ACT government is providing more schools and better schools for our growing city. $1.3 billion will be invested in education, 23 per cent of our budget expenditure.
This builds on a history of investment from our Labor government over our whole period of government since 2001. We have increased overall funding to our public education system from $548.5 million in 2013-14, six years ago, to $822.8 million in 2018-19, increasing staffing from 4,946 in 2013 to 5,411 in 2017, an increase of 465 teachers, teacher assistants and other staff.
Our investment in public education has seen more and more Canberrans decide to send their children to our public schools. Public school enrolments have increased from 40,879 students in 2013 to 47,945 in 2018, an increase in proportion of school enrolees in public education from 59.4 per cent to 62.1 per cent of all enrolments. And, as more people choose to use our public education system, we are making sure that our investments are supporting growth as well as growing investment in our existing public school students.
There is no part of this city that is growing quite like Molonglo, in my electorate of Murrumbidgee. This area, which did not exist as a suburb just a few short years ago, will have a population just over two-thirds of the size of Weston Creek’s by the end of the forward estimates. And that is before building proposed suburbs like Whitlam and Molonglo.
Recognising this, our government is investing $47 million to build a new preschool to grade 6 primary school in Denman Prospect, open to students in 2021—a site that will have views of the whole Molonglo Valley. The new school will initially be able to provide for up to 600 school students and 44 full-time equivalent preschool students, with space for future growth. And this includes funding in the budget for early planning for a future high school 7 to 10 campus to be built as the Molonglo Valley’s population continues to grow—realising, of course, ACT Labor’s commitment to deliver this by 2022. I am also pleased that our government is planning to release land for another public school in Whitlam by 2021 and to release land for the Molonglo Valley’s first ever non-government school in Wright by 2022. Our actions taken together will result in a fourfold increase in the number of schools in the Molonglo Valley.
Our investment in new infrastructure is $80.6 million over the next four years and, if you include all the continuing works, new works and those contained in the infrastructure fund, we are investing some $284.8 million in the Education Directorate.
In addition to building new schools, our government is investing to improve our existing schools and education facilities, including $14.6 million in the 2018-19 year for the better infrastructure fund to upgrade and improve schools. In previous years