Page 2067 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

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MR PRATT: Given that it was revealed by an official in the budget estimates on disability services that the first time they became aware, through the media, about the plan to site the power station at Macarthur, when was your department officially made aware of the proposed power station and its possible effects on the respite facility?

MS GALLAGHER: To get the exact date of that, I will take that on notice.


MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Can the minister please explain to the Assembly the reason for the government’s record $350 million investment in education facilities and how this investment is building an education system for the future? Are there any alternative policies?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for her question and her longstanding interest in the education portfolio. I do note, Mr Speaker, that again Ms Porter’s interest and that of the Australian Labor Party in matters of education in the ACT stand in marked contrast to what we have from those opposite. It is interesting that the Leader of the Opposition, in taking on the education portfolio, has asked virtually no questions on this important subject matter.

As all members are aware, the Stanhope government is investing a record $350 million in our public education system. This investment is an investment in the quality of our public education system. We do so because we believe that investing in quality education is crucial to the future of the Australian Capital Territory. It is a tangible and sensible investment in the building of our territory.

This funding is delivering more than 200 upgrade projects across every ACT public school. It is also being targeted at delivering new education infrastructure and new schools in areas where they are most needed—Harrison, west Belconnen, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong.

I am pleased to advise the Assembly that so far over 36 major projects have been completed, with students and teachers across our education system benefiting from this program. Schools such as Arawang primary school have received magnificent landscape upgrades and new classroom facilities. Bonython primary school has been the beneficiary of an important sustainability initiative with new solar panels installed at the school. Chisholm, Charles Condor and Charnwood-Dunlop primary schools have had significant internal refurbishments. The special needs students at Duffy primary school are now being accommodated in state-of-the-art special education units, and the students at Giralang now have a fantastic new preschool area, which I had the pleasure of opening recently.

All of this is around the government preparing our education system for the future and doing what we can to ensure that we are investing in the future of young Canberrans. We know that delivering quality education involves delivering quality school facilities and delivering quality teaching and learning environments to improve the quality of our education system.

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