Page 901 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008
great need of the support that that school provides; it has its library let out as a community access point for adults during the day.
The minister goes on to say later, and she repeats herself:
In short, we have no plans to close any schools. The Education Act sets out a very firm and rigorous process for that, if it were to occur, and how it could occur with community support. The government, of course, would abide by that.
But we all know the government did not abide by that, did they? They failed miserably. So there we have it from the former education minister’s own mouth—not anything that was misconstrued by the media; not a parent getting the wrong end of the stick. Just two months out from the 2004 election, this government and the former education minister duped, misled, were not wholly truthful with, the Canberra community about their intentions to close schools. That is quite clear. Who is going to buy their argument that they did not go to the election saying they would not close schools? Come on! A government does not just plan to close schools overnight—or does it?
In addressing the MPI before this, the amendment before us and the failure of the Towards 2020 program, I want to now specifically focus on the speech made in this place, again by the then education minister, Katy Gallagher, on 7 April 2005. Specifically, I want to focus on Narrabundah primary school and this government’s failure to address the very real impacts on the community of Narrabundah by the Towards 2020 vision. On 7 April, the then minister Katy Gallagher said in this place:
I would like to inform the Assembly of the launch today of the Kootara Well promotion for 2005.
Kootara Well is a health and wellbeing project which was launched by Chief Minister in 2002 and is now entering its fourth successful year—
at Narrabundah primary school. Within Narrabundah primary school a clinic room and a health promotion room have been specially set up to provide a variety of free health and support services to students, their families and the local community.
As well as being vital to the physical health and wellbeing of the local community, the co-location of services at the school has helped to forge stronger ties between the school and the people of Narrabundah.
I put it to you that, if this program was so good in forging stronger ties between the school and the people of Narrabundah, why on earth did the Stanhope government decide to reduce the Narrabundah primary school to a P-2 school, particularly and especially after the minister said it would not be a school the government would close? What a monumental duping of the community. Moreover, why was and is there still so much distress and uncertainty in the Narrabundah community about the government’s decision on Narrabundah primary school?