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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 891 ..

In future budgets I look forward to seeing funding for audits of our school facilities to ensure that they are able to respond to the changing climate, including being appropriately heated and cooled, well ventilated and smoke-free environments. All new school developments must take into consideration the impact of the climate on our students and teachers, as well as the broader environmental impacts of our schools on their local area. Having spoken with schools and P&Cs which are due for significant capital injection as a result of this budget, we know that these issues are top of the schools’ and communities’ agendas. I encourage the government to work closely and involve these school communities in the development of these proposals as they move forward.

The ACT Greens look forward to continuing to work within the government and from the crossbench to ensure that our schools remain foundational parts of our community in our continued plan to build a better normal.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (5.12): A strong and well-funded education system is what you get when you vote for a Labor government, and that is what the people of Canberra did last year. Gungahlin is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. The population growth of Gungahlin, and of Canberra in general, means that there is an increased demand for places in our public education system. Canberra’s projected population is over 500,000 people by 2030, and sometimes it feels as if they are all going to live in Gungahlin. With four of the five largest primary schools in the ACT being located in Gungahlin, every announcement about public education is keenly followed in Gungahlin.

The reason I have risen to speak today is to note the important investment this government is making in Gungahlin’s public schools, with $24.4 million allocated to building the infrastructure for the new high school in Kenny. When the Kenny high school is finished it will have 800 places for years 7 to 10, with the ability to expand to 1,000 places. A further $2 million is being put towards Taylor High School, which accommodates 800 students, with the potential for up to 1,000. We are also expanding Margaret Hendry School. This will cater for up to 600 additional primary school students. This is vital work needed in our northern suburbs, and I am very proud that this budget delivers it.

The government is also supporting our teachers by continuing to fund the teacher librarian scholarship program, with 10 scholarships totalling $888,000, in effect until 2025. As a kid I relished my time in the library. It was a place of learning and sometimes some socialising, but there was always something very reassuring about a librarian who would swoop when I had a looming deadline and direct me to all the resources I could ever need. I hope the next generation benefits even more than I did from the assistance of teacher librarians.

Public education will always be a priority for this government, and I know it is important to my constituents. We are committed to ensuring that we have a well-funded education system that caters to the unique learning needs of every student. It is our job to make sure that we prioritise public education so that no Canberran is left behind. As a Labor government, we truly believe in creating an equitable city with

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