Page 3452 - Week 11 - Thursday, 15 November 2007
it is around sensible planning decisions. That is why we are being strategic in the location of public education infrastructure within Gungahlin. Of course we are seeking to expand our network of schools within the region via the establishment, as I said, of Harrison primary school and the construction of the Gungahlin secondary college with an associated CIT facility on the same site.
I take this opportunity, as Dr Foskey has raised the issue of education in Gungahlin, to again express my disappointment at the recent announcement from Senator Humphries of an Australian technical college. For him to go to an ACT government site that had already been identified for our college and for our CIT facility and to seek to pull the wool over the eyes of the media—
Dr Foskey: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think the minister is straying from the subject matter of my question.
Mrs Dunne: Which was about the school in Forde and Burgmann College.
MR BARR: The question was about education provision in Gungahlin—and Forde is in Gungahlin, so I am responding. As I indicated the other day, if Senator Humphries is genuinely interested in supporting vocational education and training in the Gungahlin region I encourage him to get Minister Robb to make the $25 million he has announced available to add to our $61 million project. We could get a very good investment of $86 million in vocational education and training and senior secondary education on that site. That would be a sensible outcome given that the commonwealth have no site for their technical college. Why not partner with the ACT government, invest in the Canberra Institute of Technology and provide first-class vocational education and training facilities through our world-leading and award-winning CIT?
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?
DR FOSKEY: Thank you. Could the minister please explain how having the only primary school in a new suburb as a private school is not handing the provision of primary school education to the private sector as a cost-saving measure?
MR BARR: As I indicated in response to the first question, we have a network of government school provision within Gungahlin. The Amaroo school, as I say, is strategically placed on the border of Amaroo and Forde. The government will not be placing a government primary school in every suburb in Canberra. We will not be doing that. That is not sensible planning, and it is certainly not sensible education policy.
I reject Dr Foskey’s assertion that the government is opting out of primary school provision in Gungahlin. In fact, through the provision of world-class infrastructure, we are achieving outstanding results in terms of market share and education quality in our schools in Gungahlin. In fact, if there is an area of the city where it is very clear that government investment in public education is reversing the drift out of the public system into the private system, it is in Gungahlin, where enrolments at Amaroo and at the new Harrison primary school are at record levels. This is the area of Canberra that has the fastest growing school age population, and that is why the government is investing—