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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2124 ..

help support some of these kids have assured me that the Education Directorate needs to do better in this area. In particular, communication between parents and guardians needs to be improved. Students need to have clearer explanations regarding how to contact and interact with community organisations. Too many of our overseas students who pay fees to attend our schools feel abandoned by the government once they arrive. We can certainly do better.

In conclusion, I wish to voice my full support for the educational enterprise in general and for the good educators who have helped us parents and carers by teaching and training our children at Canberra’s schools. At the same time, I do not wish for us to stop striving for excellence. I know from personal experience what it is like to be the non-English-speaking migrant school girl. In supporting Mr Steel’s motion, I call upon the government to do more to encourage the development of robust cultural competence and cultural sensitivity in all our schools, for the benefit of all children and young people.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.56): I thank Mr Steel for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. I am pleased to see the additional investment in education that was announced in the budget this week. The benefits of investing in education are clear. It provides an important foundation for a child’s path into adulthood. Investing in education is an investment in our collective futures. High quality, free and equitable education is fundamental to not only Canberra’s prosperity but also the prosperity of the nation, not to mention the individual benefits that arise from the personal development coming from education.

A commitment to building new schools in growing areas of Canberra and expanding existing schools is an essential and necessary step to ensure that children across our city have the opportunity for education, which is a cornerstone of our democracy and a basic human right. Investing in school infrastructure is where it starts. From the Greens’ perspective, even more importantly, investing in quality education is where it culminates. It is not just about the buildings; it is very much about the staff, the culture and the community involvement. All of these things are what make the whole of our education system richer.

I am pleased to see the funding for upgrades to a number of schools, including Campbell Primary, which addresses the obvious need for ageing infrastructure to be maintained and upgraded to suit the modern era. Infrastructure upgrades are important for remedying heating and cooling, as well as providing modern facilities. It is essential that some of the funds be directed towards improving the energy efficiency of the buildings as this work progresses.

I note that a roof replacement program has been funded to replace roofs at six schools in the ACT, to improve their thermal performance and to investigate additional renewable energy generation options and the introduction of energy storage at public schools. As the minister for climate change, and of course as a Greens member of this place, these initiatives are very welcome. Generating and storing renewable energy are vital components to addressing climate change. The government must continue to demonstrate its commitment to addressing this pressing issue now and into the future.

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