Page 3451 - Week 11 - Thursday, 15 November 2007
MS GALLAGHER: It would be unusual. I am aware that we have had a group of people with, I think, gastroenteritis, although I have not had that confirmed, who have presented as a group. They may have been dealt with differently. But all the advice to me is that the triaging at our hospitals is excellent. If people are triaged in the lower category, they may not need to have their observations done as soon as somebody else. But I am absolutely certain that the triaging that is being done is being done in accordance with the right processes, as it is done across the country. I can assure you that I have looked quite closely into this. But if you have a particular case that you want me to look at, I am more than happy to do so.
DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training and it concerns the proposed school for the suburb of Forde. What was the decision-making process that came to the conclusion that the proposed school for Forde would be Burgmann Anglican School, therefore limiting the potential students to those who can afford to attend?
MR BARR: I thank Dr Foskey for the question. In relation to the provision of public education in Gungahlin, the government has in place a network of public schools, which we are very pleased to be adding to with the opening of the new Harrison primary school for the 2008 school year. In addition, members would be aware that we are also opening a new secondary college and CIT facility on a site identified on a piece of ACT government owned land in the Gungahlin town centre and we are investing $61 million in that facility.
In terms of the provision of public education within Gungahlin, we have made the decision, through the education department in conjunction with ACTPLA and other planning agencies, that we would not be providing a public school in every suburb of Gungahlin. So the residents of Forde will be able to access the Amaroo school, which is strategically located on the border of the two suburbs, and as such will be able to be within 1,500 metres of that school, or, at the other end of Forde, will be within reasonable proximity of the Harrison primary school should that be the school of choice for those students.
In order to avoid repeating the planning mistakes of the past whereby schools were put in the middle of every suburb—and it was very clear, as we have seen in recent years, that that is not sustainable into the long term; that there is not a sufficient student population to sustain a school in every suburb in the ACT—decisions in Gungahlin were made to place schools on the border or the edge of suburbs so that they could be shared and would be accessible for a range of suburbs surrounding that school. That is sensible planning for the progression of populations. As we know, when suburbs are first established, particularly in growing areas of the city, there is very high demand for schools. We can certainly see the evidence in the enrolments at Amaroo, and already the enrolments for Harrison. More than 100 students are enrolled in the preschool at Harrison, I understand, and more than 200 enrolled at Amaroo.
However, as we expect that demographic to move through, it is appropriate that as new suburbs come online they can then feed into the existing school infrastructure. So