Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 372 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

Mr Kaine by leaving the general motion in place and focusing on the issue which has been the subject of much debate over the last couple of weeks.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (11.59): Mr Berry's motion and Mr Osborne's amendment call on the Department of Education and Community Services to accept responsibility for the cooling and heating infrastructure for government schools and to provide appropriate heating and cooling infrastructure for temporary classrooms either currently in use or before they are used in government schools. I do not think that people in this Assembly necessarily appreciate that that actually occurs already. Certain people in this Assembly have interesting views in relation to what school-based management is, what the department does and what actually occurs under school-based management. Because of that, the motion could be said to be half-baked and somewhat reactive.

I want to make a couple of points to start with. One is that this government, the previous government and, no doubt, governments before that have actually used demountables. They have been in use in the ACT for some considerable time. In fact, I understand that we now have about 125 classrooms operating in our schools from demountable buildings and a further 12 demountable classrooms for preschoolers. In talking to a few people at the rally on Friday at the department in Tuggeranong, I was interested in ascertaining why, the demountables having been there for some six years, the issue had only been raised over the last two years. I do not think the summer temperatures have been particularly different over that period.

Mr Wood: No, it has been hotter this year. This is a pretty hot year.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Wood says that this year has been hotter. I would concede that. I think that this has been one of the hottest and strangest summers I have seen. That is why I think the monitoring of all of these schools is very important indeed. There has been a rather strange summer and we will see some results from that shortly. But it is interesting that this issue was not raised previously over those six years. I am aware that a person from another school has contacted my office. Mr Berry referred to something being raised before his committee, and that could well be about the same thing. However, there does not seem to be the same degree of concern across-the-board in the ACT.

Mr Speaker, the department and the schools are one and the same thing. They are both funded through the budget. About 98.5 per cent of the total education budget is funded centrally through the appropriations here. Currently, a total of about $319.1 million is provided in the budget by the government annually for the education of children in ACT government schools. About $27 million of that is provided annually by the government for enhanced school-based management, and that amount increases each year. The policies of school-based management were established, I understand, by Mr Wood when he was minister.

Mr Wood: Not your policy, mate; let us be very clear about that.


: Listen, Mr Wood. It was this government that then introduced enhanced school-based management. That provided more money to schools and for more flexibility. It enabled schools to take a greater level of responsibility for their day-to-day

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .