Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 April 2008) . . Page.. 905 ..
MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.49): I can indicate that the government will not be supporting subparagraphs (a) or (b) of Dr Foskey’s amendment but we are happy to support subparagraph (c), and I do thank her for a slight amendment to the wording that made it possible for the government to be able to support subparagraph (c).
It is important to look at subparagraphs (a) and (b) because there seems to be a lot of confusion amongst Assembly members about exactly what is scheduled to occur at the end of this school year. I note from Mr Seselja’s original motion that for the first time the Liberal Party have acknowledged that the new west Belconnen school will be completed by the end of this year and that the Holt and Higgins preschools and primary schools will relocate to the new building. There appears now to be consensus that that school building, the new building, the new $45 million school in west Belconnen, will be completed before the end of this calendar year and ready to take new students for 2009, and that keeping open Holt and Higgins primary schools 500 metres either side of it, having three schools, is not a sensible solution for public education in west Belconnen.
So I welcome the support of the Liberal Party through their original motion and I hope that in fact we can have unanimous agreement of Assembly members that moving in to the new west Belconnen school is a good thing for public education in west Belconnen. I know with Mrs Dunne it will be through gritted teeth; she has already been caught out a couple of times over the last 48 hours with some somewhat awkward statements that she has been making on behalf of people.
Mr Stanhope: She had just had a call from the Lyons P&C.
MR BARR: Possibly, Chief Minister. But it is also then worth noting that the other scheduled changes at the end of this school year relate to the preschool at Isabella Plains moving into the primary school building as part of the new P-2 school. So, whilst that is technically a closure, it is simply the moving of the preschool component from one building to another on the same site. Equally, the changes that are occurring at Isabella Plains, Lyons, Narrabundah and Southern Cross are in fact only a change in year level provision at those sites so are not formally a school closure under the Education Act. Nonetheless, it is important that there was a formal process around the change in year levels. As for the commentary going around that there are more school closures at the end of this year, Holt and Higgins, that was foreshadowed in 2005.
Moving ahead in terms of what else is scheduled for the remainder of the 2020 process, it is at the end of 2010 that we will see Village Creek preschool, as it is currently a stand-alone preschool, incorporated into the new P-10 school in Tuggeranong that is going to be built on the site of the former Kambah high. That will also, of course, facilitate a move of Urambi primary school about 200 metres up the road to a brand-new school building, all of which was foreshadowed in my announcement in December of 2006. That is the extent of any changes in terms of year levels and new buildings for schools at the end of this year.