Page 746 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 1 April 2008
of our reserves, and that is with a mind to the protection and sustainability of the ecosystem and all of those species of fauna and flora that rely on those particular ecosystems for their survival.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for education and relates to Lyons primary school. Minister, I refer to the answer you gave to Mr Seselja when you refused to rule out the possibility of further disruptive changes to other schools in the course of this year. Will you outline for the Assembly which schools are on the list for possible early renovation or possible closure?
MR BARR: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question and the opportunity to once again state that the government is undertaking a significant renewal program within our school system.
Mr Stanhope: What’s that worth?
MR BARR: $350 million, Chief Minister. We hear time and time again from the opposition how this is throwing good money after bad. But let me put the opposition’s troubled minds at rest. Through 2006-07 the department of education—in that financial year—managed 223 upgrade programs across more than 70 schools and managed to achieve that major piece of infrastructure renewal with minimum disruption to schools. I missed the opposition’s interest throughout that 12-month period.
Mr Stanhope: Throwing good money after bad!
MR BARR: Throwing good money after bad! I missed the opposition’s interest. Mind you, I have not seen them in any way at all pay any heed to the major improvements across all of those schools to important infrastructure, be that upgrading 50 and 60-year-old toilet facilities or boilers and heating and cooling or be it replacing carpets, painting, providing new specialist teaching areas—new science labs, new art rooms: the whole range of infrastructure renewal. Those projects were very successfully managed by—and I repeat this again for the benefit of those opposite, who really are struggling with this concept—doing the work during school holiday periods.
Throughout the rest of this program we will continue to do the vast majority of work during school holiday periods. Can I guarantee that no work will occur at a school during term time? Absolutely not. From time to time, things occur at schools that require there to be work on site. From time to time that happens. From time to time, under our school-based management system, schools program their own work during school term time. That can occur outside school hours—and often does, bearing in mind that it is possible also, given that a number of our schools operate under capacity, to simply undertake work in areas of the school that are not currently being utilised. That, through some fairly commonsense management, can be achieved.
I welcome the interest of the opposition in the $350 million infrastructure renewal project. I particularly welcome the interest of Mrs Dunne, who, for her entire time as