Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2131 ..
ACT government school system and are showing their confidence by enrolling their children in one of our excellent government schools. Strong enrolment growth in government schools is a good thing, and the government is responding by providing resources to support schools to deliver the great education that our community is seeking. This budget responds to an expected increase in students of 1,340, with $31 million for additional learning professionals as well as support staff. The government is ensuring the needs of Canberra’s growing school population are being met by deploying more staff in government schools where need is identified.
Our community values the increasingly strong inclusive culture in ACT government schools. It is an area of focus because, of course, all children, regardless of background and circumstances, are entitled to a great education and the life chances that come from it. More significantly, every child can make a valuable contribution to the life of their school community, even if they need a little extra support. The government has allocated $18.2 million in needs-based funding to support students with a disability so that they have the support to be included in and be a part of school life, and $5 million to support students with complex health needs.
I am also happy to inform the Assembly that this budget achieves the government’s election commitment to add 20 additional school psychologists to the system, with 15 added to the initial five funded in last year’s budget. Student wellbeing and mental health is a growing challenge, and the government is responding with the resources that schools need.
The government is also continuing its record of investment in school infrastructure, building on the hundreds of millions of dollars allocated over the past 10 years. The government has allocated $47 million for a new P-6 school in Mr Steel’s electorate of Molonglo and will begin planning for a year 7 to10 campus there as well so that families in this community can have confidence that high quality public education in modern learning facilities will be available for them. Gungahlin, which is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, will have 500 new places in schools in that region, and we will start the expansion of Franklin Early Childhood School to a P-6, achieving another election commitment.
Right across the ACT there are ageing schools, some of which are 40, 50 and even 60 years old. The government is investing in the renewal of these schools. On top of the $85 million investment in last year’s budget for public school infrastructure upgrades, the government has allocated $18 million to replace roofs at six schools. This will improve building comfort and energy efficiency by improving thermal performance and will minimise the facilities damage and disruption caused by leaks. The initiative will also allow the government to investigate additional renewable energy generation and the introduction of energy storage at public schools.
The budget also continues to work towards modernisation of Campbell Primary School and Narrabundah College, refurbishing these buildings to provide better learning environments and modern facilities, with nearly $20 million combined.
As members will know, over the past 18 months I have been facilitating a big conversation about the future of education in the ACT. I started with the goal that this