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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 April 2008) . . Page.. 841 ..

district high school. On 30 November, I said, “It is not acceptable that we expect our children in 2004 to subject themselves to school facilities such as this.” Not only did I say it was unacceptable, the parent population and the student population said it was unacceptable because nobody was going there.

Here we had a school built for over 1,000 students and it had 184 students and declining. That is when the planning started for this; that is when the government decided the single biggest investment in school infrastructure since self-government should start. It started in west Belconnen and has continued under the minister for education with Towards 2020. Time will show that we are doing the right thing. That is not to say it is not hard; that is not to say it is not disruptive for some families. But it is the right thing. One day, all of us in this place will have to stand up and accept that.

As we walk around schools now and look at the actual fruits of this investment in a school which I visit frequently, we see a new lift for a child in a wheelchair who can now get from the bottom of the school to the top of the school. Her classes are not constrained by her wheelchair and the fact that she could not actually move around the school she attends. This money has allowed that infrastructure to be completed and for that child to move freely around her school.

When I was education minister, I had the task of choosing between two schools to be upgraded every year, with a million dollars each; that was the choice that came to me. In fact, when we upgraded Ainslie primary school, because it is heritage listed, it took all of the money. We have reversed that. Time will show that we made the right decision.

The documents, which will be revealed when the cabinet documents become available, will show that there were no plans to close schools in the lead-up to the election. Our election policy is clear. On 30 November, we started the major investment in renewal. That is the truth; that will be shown to be the truth. The plan to invest in public education for this community was started then. In years to come, the government will be thanked by the community itself; you wait and see.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.00): I welcome the opportunity to follow that disgraceful display by the former minister for education, a minister for education who, by her own admission today, had been a minister for education for two years before she visited Ginninderra district high. What was she doing for the two years before that? How many schools had she visited before that?

Let us look at the history of the closure of Ginninderra district high. The closure of Ginninderra district high was very revealing because it was a complete abrogation of all of the public statements, the published statements, of this minister and her spokesman. I make the point again that there was never an occasion, until 13 or 15 October—

Members interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Members on both sides! Mrs Dunne has the call.

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