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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 376 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

maintenance and even heating and cooling. I believe, then, that it is fitting that we continue to allow these schools to make these responsible decisions on their minor new works.

Mr Speaker, I am horrified at the suggestion in Mr Berry's motion before the Assembly today, contrary to him just saying that he is now not suggesting it, that a future Labor government would even contemplate spending large amounts of the taxpayers' money on providing airconditioning in all our schools for approximately three weeks in a year. That is typical of the way in which Labor deals with problems.

The Labor Party in the ACT found itself in a situation where it had an operating loss of $344 million when the Liberal government came to office in 1995. It took the Labor Party only three years to reach this deplorable situation. That is exactly why the voters of Canberra have to look very hard at the options which will be put before them in the election to be held in October this year. The Labor solution to a problem is simply to promise to throw money at it, with no regard to efficiency and/or need or, indeed, where it is going to come from. This motion has come about because a minority of parents and teachers at Gordon Primary School have misused their children in a political debate. No other schools have raised this issue to date. Where schools have felt that temperatures in demountable classrooms might be creating difficulties for their students, the schools have done something about it.

The minister, Mr Stefaniak, will be meeting with the school board, the principal and departmental officials tomorrow. I am sure that he will listen sympathetically to the concerns of the school board and I am sure that some sort of arrangement will be reached which addresses the concerns of the school. However, let us be quite clear here that Mr Berry's motion is not about Gordon Primary School. He is suggesting that the department, of which the schools are part, should address cooling in schools generally. He is suggesting that we should aircondition all schools, probably in their entirety. Mr Speaker, that is just not good enough. It might be an old mantra; but, again, where is the money coming from?

I look forward to a recommendation from the committee on which I now serve on Mr Berry's proposal that we aircondition all government schools, and I also look forward to Mr Berry telling the community where that money might come from.

MS TUCKER (12.17): I look forward to Mrs Burke asking to have the airconditioning turned off in her office so that she can be in solidarity with people in the schools. I think we need to remember that we are all sitting in airconditioned comfort in this building as we are having this debate about what people are experiencing in demountable buildings. Interestingly enough, the Secretariat has done some work on insulating this building and trying to make it more energy efficient. A fundamental question here that no-one has addressed is the question of the energy efficiency of various buildings in this city and, in this instance, various schools in this city.

Mr Stefaniak seems to think that there is a level playing field in that every school will be able to look after its energy needs with the school-based management financial arrangements, but it is obvious that there is not a level playing field in any way. I understand that the Gordon Primary School has four double classrooms,

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