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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 April 2008) . . Page.. 906 ..

What we will see at the end 2009 and 2010 will be the establishment of the new infrastructure, west Belconnen, Gungahlin college and the P-10 school in Tuggeranong. So, on that basis, having outlined a significant piece of infrastructure renewal, $350 million worth of investment that goes forward over the next three years, it is entirely reasonable for the Assembly to make the statement that it does in subparagraph (c) of Dr Foskey’s amendment, that there will be no further school closures before 2013, other than those already outlined in the 2020 process.

We look forward to a successful transition, most particularly for the Holt and Higgins communities, into the new west Belconnen school, and I am very pleased to be able to advise the Assembly that, following extensive consultation with those school communities, there is agreement and support for the design of the new building and, most particularly of note, given the conversations we have had today around the level of enrolments, since that has all been settled, and in anticipation of the new school, enrolments at both Holt and Higgins have increased and the school communities are looking forward to moving into a brand-new, state-of-the-art, $45 million public education showcase—what will be one of the best schools anywhere in Australia. We look forward to the establishment of this new school for the 2009 school year.

With that, I will conclude my comments. I thank Dr Foskey again for putting forward what is an amendment that I think can receive the support of the Assembly and will give certainty for the next four or five years around what will be occurring in the public education system.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.54): I am not quite sure from the minister’s comments whether or not he is supporting all of the amendment or just paragraph (c).

Mr Barr: No, just paragraph (c).

MR SESELJA: The government’s support, in particular of paragraph (c), appears to be going back to where they were prior to the last election. It seems to be a very similar sort of commitment to what they took to the last election. They are saying that they will firmly commit to no further school closures before 2013 other than those already foreshadowed in the 2020 process. They are going to go to the 2008 election with a very similar promise to what they took to the 2004 election, and that is that there will not be any additional school closures in the next term of government.

It sounds very familiar, and I think that today has revealed two things, one which we already knew but which the government has been denying and another which we did not know. It is quite a stark revelation and quite a reflection on how this government treats its election promises and how it treats the statements that it makes before an election after an election.

We heard Minister Katy Gallagher finally acknowledge that she should have repudiated what had been said in the Canberra Times prior to the election, and that is that there would be no school closures in the next term of government. We know that that was never repudiated. We know that all the other statements that Ms Gallagher

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