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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2136 ..

She took another shot at the government for failing to plan, yet that is exactly what we are doing in the budget: investing in the school infrastructure that is needed, with new schools and more and upgraded school facilities across the ACT, particularly in the Molonglo Valley. The current school is not actually at capacity, but we are already starting to invest in new schools, particularly the new school at Denman Prospect and the new high school campus out there. We are also looking to the future with a non-government school and another school in the newly gazetted suburb of Whitlam.

This budget demonstrates that we are planning for the future, and we are making investments. It is great to see many of our schools being utilised, and we will continue to grow the infrastructure investment in that.

The continued work on an early childhood strategy is really important. While I think we all recognise, as Mrs Kikkert says, the importance of education, actions are far more important than words. What we have seen from the Liberals federally is that they are withdrawing from the quality aspects of early childhood education through the national partnership or the national quality agenda, the national quality framework, and that is really disappointing. The Liberals really need to demonstrate in actions that they actually support that national partnership continuing. We need a contribution from the commonwealth to ensure that the national quality agenda continues and every child in the ACT can get access to a quality education from the earliest years.

The future of skills is so important. We have to prepare children now with the skills they will need for the future, to be able to have greater skills in the areas of the STEM disciplines, particularly thinking not just about coding and what will be the future language in the jobs of the future, but also dealing with computational thinking and how that code can be applied for uses across a whole range of disciplines, not just in the STEM areas but in a whole range of other disciplines in the jobs of the future. The two STEM hubs will play a major role in that. The budget has demonstrated that with our investment in the future skills academy in Chisholm and our second hub on the way.

Of course, that school education strategy is continuing to be developed, and I am really looking forward to seeing the outcomes there. It has been a long process but it has been an important process to engage with local school communities. We will continue to engage with those local school communities through our investment in parental engagement in the budget and also making sure that we are supporting our most vulnerable students, those with disabilities and complex health needs, through the budget, particularly with our important investment of $23.2 million there.

I thank members for their contributions today. I look forward to hearing the opposition leader’s budget in reply tomorrow. I am sure he will be outlining the vision of the Canberra Liberals for education. I did not hear that today from Ms Lee; all I heard was criticism of the extra investment and planning that we are putting into education, without any alternative vision being presented. If Mr Coe does not think that extra education funding is important or does not support that, he should outline what he is going to cut in tomorrow’s budget reply.

Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative

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