Page 3126 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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to be shared across the campus. There are some efficiencies in that. It will be constructed to meet current building codes and standards, including the latest disabled access and equity requirements and current fire safety requirements. It will be constructed to meet current environmental and sustainable design standards and requirements, integrate the infrastructure necessary to provide the latest technologies and incorporate facilities able to be used by the community, such as the gymnasium. It will be more energy efficient and cost much less to maintain than older schools.

It is also important, in the context of the physical structure, to understand what the proposed new school will deliver through that infrastructure. It will deliver the most modern and up-to-date facilities and specialist teaching spaces of any school in the ACT. That is the promise and that is what will be delivered. The new facility will house four distinct schools on a single campus; we need to remember that. There will be a preschool of approximately 100 students, a primary school of 480 students, a middle school of 500 students and a high school of perhaps 360 students. There will be four separate schools of those sizes, not the dramatic, gargantuan school that has been painted by some. The preschool will have its own separate teaching area and playground with safe, modern equipment; the primary years of kindergarten to year 5 will continue to offer small class sizes, with access through the synergies provided by four co-located schools.

The primary school will have access to a modern library, a gymnasium and music and art facilities. They will also have their own separate playground and their own play equipment. The purpose-built middle school will assist students making the transition from primary to high school, which for some students is particularly difficult and problematic. Students will have a single home room with nearby access to the full range of specialist facilities such as science laboratories, specialist drama rooms, specialist music rooms, specialist art rooms, specialist technical rooms and a gymnasium.

Students in years 9 and 10 will benefit from highly specialised classrooms and equipment, including a science area with spaces for practical activities, a technology area for project development for design, electronics and robotics, and the high school will also have purpose-built spaces for visual arts, textiles, media, music, drama and home science. The school will have a library with specific areas catering for the needs of younger students and providing access to information for older students. The multipurpose gymnasium will be used for gymnastics, sporting and other fitness programs, as well as being adaptable for drama performances, presentations and music. The promise the government makes through the redevelopment and this major investment in west Belconnen is that the people and students of west Belconnen will, through this process, be delivered the best school, the best learning opportunities and the best teaching spaces available to any child in the ACT. I am enormously proud of that.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member’s time has expired.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (11.28): I will speak to both the motion and the amendment. I think the biggest problem in what the Chief Minister said is that this government simply has not consulted; it has put the cart before the horse. I understand this proposal has been around since about January. Why was it not in the budget? Why was it not before the estimates committee? Why was it just dumped, effectively as a fait accompli, in mid-July on the people of west Belconnen, especially the Ginninderra high school community? A few members have touched on school closures here in the past.

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