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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3468 ..

agency to remain here permanently. On current indicators we can remain positive that this lobbying effort will, hopefully, be successful.

A strong budget and a strong economy are a result of good investments. But the dividends those investments must pay should be reinvested in social services, education and health. Only by ensuring that our kids are well educated can we be prepared for the future, to reap the productivity dividend when our population ages.

We need to further invest in our public schools, as they have received the majority of new student growth. Currently our fantastic public schools educate the majority of Canberra’s students, at a ratio of 61 to 39. Given our city’s growing population, our government is building more schools in growth areas and adding to the capacity of existing ones.

In Gungahlin, the majority of my electorate, we have seen the population grow from 47,000 residents in 2011 to 71,000 residents in 2016. Our government will ensure that Gungahlin students never have to learn in overcrowded schools, even as more families move to the area. In our 2017-18 budget we pledged $32 million for a new primary school in Taylor. It is expected to be open in 2019. This new, modern school facility will cater for up to 700 students. It will give them access to some of the best facilities in Canberra. It will have specific facilities for music, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

In the 2018-19 budget we have made provision for 500 new school places across Amaroo, Gold Creek and Neville Bonner. And we are also expanding the Franklin Early Childhood School. We will immediately expand the school to accommodate current year 2 students in a new 2019 year 3 class. In another high growth area, the Molonglo Valley, our government will invest $47 million to build a new primary school. The government will also release land in Wright for the building of a private school. Many parents seek diversity in their choices for enrolment.

To further expand our higher education capabilities the ACT government has entered into a memorandum of understanding with UNSW to build a new campus in Reid, in conjunction with CIT. This will create up to 10,000 new student places and further boost the higher education sector in this city. This will provide more opportunities for students and staff and have a huge positive flow-on effect to the wider Canberra community.

As well as tertiary education our government is providing $608 million over four years for vocational training. The Canberra Institute of Technology currently offers 362 courses and has approximately 30,000 student enrolments each year. This includes 3,422 apprenticeship and training places and vocational places for 1,500 international students. This will mean the government is supporting almost 7,000 apprentices and trainees this year across 100 training providers in the ACT. This includes placements for 714 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and 1,910 students with a disability. Our city’s economy can continue to grow with the diverse, highly trained workforce that it needs.

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