Page 57 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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Amaroo continues to be a great community facility for the people of Gungahlin and a great example of a public school leading the education sector in design, construction and well-resourced classrooms and teaching spaces.

Stage 2 of the Amaroo school was opened in February 2004 and is designed to cater for 400 students from kindergarten to year 5. Amaroo was designed to provide flexible learning spaces to meet the educational needs of students while nurturing the development of a sense of community. The design was developed with sustainable energy systems and safety in mind. It has also been recognised in occupational health and safety awards. The school was designed to make the most use of the warmth of the sun, with specially designed ventilation and high ceilings to ensure classrooms remain cool in summer.

Some of the other innovative design features that were noted in the award included passive solar design; underground water tanks for the recycling of rainwater; use of natural ventilation and lighting; walls constructed for thermal mass performance; extensive shading; and use of environmentally friendly materials.

The Amaroo school has received this award in recognition of its great features. It is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to sustainability as outlined in the Canberra plan. As the chamber may be aware, the Amaroo school consists of three stages: stage 1, the preschool, opened at the beginning of 2003; stage 2, the primary school, commenced operating at the beginning of the 2004 school year; and stage 3, the high school, commenced construction in September 2003 and is ready to be opened at the beginning of the 2005 school year.

When the senior school opens at Amaroo next year, I hope that many of its innovative features will also attract public comment and support. New features at this school will include many other features to promote sustainability, including solar hot water power, photovoltaic cells, a wind turbine and storm water storage tanks.

Amaroo is a great example of innovative design but is also a welcome addition to the educational resources of the ACT community. At a time when many are prepared to take a swipe at public education, Amaroo remains an example of public education leading the way in the ACT.

Alcohol and drug program

DR FOSKEY: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Health and is in regard to ongoing reviews of the ACT’s alcohol and drug program. The minister would be aware that concerns have been raised about some operations and practices within the alcohol and drug program. The first occasion was through the health department in 2002 and 2003; then through the union, also in 2002 and 2003; next through Kerrie Tucker to the Chief Minister in June this year; and, in July, through the media. The ACT government response to these allegations and concerns consists of three reviews. The first one, on probity, was conducted by Acumen Alliance and was tabled in the Assembly on August 24. The third review, of clinical governance, is now under way and is due for completion early in the New Year.

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