Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1071 ..
MS CASTLEY: My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. Two years ago the Canberra Times reported that the ACT government would begin planning for a new college in Canberra’s north, with the 2019-20 budget allocating $600,000 for a feasibility study. The newspaper also reported that transportable buildings were being trucked into Gungahlin College to cope with demand. In the recent budget there was $760,000 to plan for a new college on Canberra’s north side. Minister, what happened to the $600,000 feasibility study into a new college in Canberra’s north from two years ago? Where is it and will you table it today?
MS BERRY: Work has been occurring in the north of Canberra, particularly in Gungahlin, to understand the needs of that community and where a new college or an expanded campus across the colleges that exist on that site, like Dickson and Gungahlin College, could meet the needs of the Gungahlin school community. I can, once work has been completed on that project, provide that information back to the Assembly. Of course, the Gungahlin community will be very interested to hear about those expansions and how they will meet the needs of their young people.
MS CASTLEY: A supplementary. Given the recent budget does include money for new and bigger schools in Gungahlin and school students become college students, why have you not announced a new college for Canberra’s north yet?
MS BERRY: Because the ACT government is working with our existing schools to make sure that we meet the needs of school students within that area. One of the things that we understand about college students is that they are much more mobile than high school or primary school students. They can often get around the city much more easily than primary and kindergarten students can. We have opportunities now to consider how that expansion of the college system in the north of Canberra might occur, particularly with the light rail now in place for two years. That will make a difference to how students can get around our city and access schools that best meet their needs.
MR HANSON: Minister, why are so many students across the ACT taught in demountable classrooms, some of which have been around for decades, and others which are now taking up valuable open space in schools?
MS BERRY: Every state and territory across the country manages the ebbs and flows of demographic changes across suburbs by putting in transportable classrooms so that they can be moved if required or, once they have finished being used as classrooms, used for other teaching facilities like art rooms or community spaces. This is not just a way of managing our school capacity that is confined to the ACT; the whole country works in a similar way.
I guess the difference for the ACT is that we have a much better understanding of our demographic changes through the work that the Education Directorate does with demographers at the Australian National University to properly understand the growth and changes across our city and to make sure that all of our schools meet the needs of