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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 367 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

involve money that is not only for a rainy day, but also for a forward commitment for various activities that the school has to perform.

This government cannot avoid the responsibility to provide a safe environment for its kids. It provides robust buildings with various ventilation systems and heating systems, it insulates buildings, it provides lighting in those buildings, it provides for parking-it provides all those sorts of things-and it is a bit rich for the government to come out now and say, "Because we have inadequately provided in the past, it is over to you. You have got some cash in your school-based management funds. We do not care what you have got planned for it; you can use the money, if you like. It is your fault if you do not cool the classrooms."

That is a completely inadequate response. Portable classrooms are a feature of modern schools and always will be. If they are inadequately constructed, they will be the subject of environmental effects which make it difficult for kids to work in them. I think you heat the classrooms. If you heat them, why can't you cool them? It just strikes me as a totally inadequate response for a government to say, "This is not our responsibility. This is the school board's responsibility. It should dip into its cash reserves to make its classrooms safe." That is a ridiculous move, absolutely ridiculous, and it cannot be supported. My motion seeks to ensure that the government maintains its responsibility for infrastructure. I accept that school-based management looks after other responsibilities, but it is going over the top to try to flick pass the responsibility for the provision of infrastructure.

I will just deal, finally, with the issue at hand. The government says that it is conducting a review and meetings are going ahead with people in relation to that. I am not about to move a motion in here which directs you to put airconditioning in every single classroom in the ACT. What I am saying is that when you reach the position, after proper consultation with representatives of the school community, that there has to be air handling equipment of some sort or another, heating or cooling, then you should accept the responsibility, rather than trying to foist it onto the school boards through the funds that they have in store to provide better educational outcomes for kids.

You cannot raid those funds like that. If this Assembly allows you to raid these funds for those sorts of purposes, and I do not think it will, you will be going way outside what was ever intended by the school-based management arrangements. Minister, you should take responsibility for this matter and you should take it willingly. You should stop squirming publicly about this issue.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired. I call Mr Osborne, who has an amendment, because I think that we should get Mr Osborne's amendment on the table and then have a general debate.

MR OSBORNE (11.44): I move:

Omit all words after "responsibility", substitute the words "to provide appropriate heating and cooling infrastructure for temporary classrooms either currently in use, or before they are used, in government schools.".

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