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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3836 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this proposal has been discussed with the school. I understand that it is an acceptable compromise. The one remaining issue in all of this is how to ensure that these works are completed before the land on Pawsey Circuit that is to be auctioned becomes unavailable by reason of the sale. I am advised that, if the auction proceeds on 16 December, settlement would be expected by about mid-February. The DA approval would be about another six to nine weeks after that. There would then be a BA application for the building itself, which would take another four weeks, approximately.

It is extremely unlikely that there would be any building on that site before the end of April in the coming year. However, just to be on the safe side, the Government proposes to include a condition in the sale that the new lessee of block 19, the largest of those blocks, the multi-site block, be required to liaise with both the school and the roads and traffic area in the Department of Urban Services to allow parking on the lease pending completion of the permanent additional car park work to be undertaken by the Department of Urban Services. I believe that this represents a satisfactory solution to this problem. I table the plans as they stand at this point of the works to be completed to accommodate those changes.

MR RUGENDYKE: I thank the Minister for that answer and I think he has covered the supplementary question I had, Mr Speaker. I take it that parents of the students will be able to use block 19 in the event that the new car park is not completed before the commencement of the next school year.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes. I understand that it would be possible to continue to use a part or all of the present car parking space on Pawsey Circuit - unofficial car parking space, I might say - until the point where the new owners need to take it up to be able to develop it, but that should be, on these estimates, long after the point where the new accommodation for cars is finished on the school side.

School Mergers

MR HIRD: My question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak, and relates to the issue of school mergers. Mr Stefaniak, can you inform the parliament whether any schools have considered amalgamation or taken any steps to pursue that option as a means of addressing the changing demographics of the Canberra school community?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank Mr Hird for the question. It is a timely one because there has been a very recent development on this issue. Just this morning my department received advice from the school boards of Wanniassa High School and Wanniassa Primary School that those two schools intend to merge. The decision was prompted by the impending retirement of the Wanniassa High School principal. The school community saw the opportunity to form a single community kindergarten to Year 10 school, with a shared principal and administration and maintaining the current two campuses, which are situated on bordering properties.

Mr Berry: You are only giving them the savings for two years, you mean-spirited Minister.

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