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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3212 ..

Schools—early childhood

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the minister for education and concerns the refurbishment of all those schools that are being redeveloped as early childhood schools. They include Isabella Plains, Lyons, Narrabundah and Southern Cross. Can the minister please assure the Assembly that in this process there has not been any waste or destruction of usable equipment such as computers, furniture, gas heaters, musical instruments and so on and that every effort has been made and is being made to reuse and/or recycle such resources?

MR BARR: I thank Dr Foskey for her question and her interest in the government’s program of renewing early childhood education in the territory.

Dr Foskey, you are correct to identify a significant program of capital investment in those new early childhood schools. In relation to the specifics of your question, I suppose we can get down to semantics about—I think you used the word “usable” or “reusable”. It certainly is the policy of the Department of Education and Training with all equipment, be it electronic or otherwise, that, where it is able to be reused or recycled, that occurs. That was the process that was undertaken in relation to equipment from schools that were closed in 2006-07.

My understanding is that the department has a very firm policy in relation to the reuse of equipment. Where it is of any value to either the new early childhood schools or any other school in the school system, it will certainly be put to use. If it is not of any value to any of the schools but can be recycled, it certainly should be recycled. It would remain to be seen what would not fit into those categories. I would need to take some advice from the department in relation to any specific items that could not be reused or recycled; that is obviously not a level of detail that I have with me at the moment. I am happy to check with the department. If there is anything that cannot be reused or recycled, I will advise Dr Foskey.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Foskey?

DR FOSKEY: When it does embark on refurbishments such as this, does the department ensure that other users or tenants on sites are aware of refurbishing plans and well enough informed that they can evacuate all their records, equipment and materials where they are affected?

MR BARR: In relation to the early childhood schools at Isabella, Lyons, Narrabundah and Southern Cross, there certainly was a degree of consultation. Members would be aware that, in relation to the Lyons school, no work is occurring until the end of this school year. At Southern Cross, Isabella and Narrabundah, particularly at Narrabundah, there would be some other tenants who would be in the entirety of the school buildings. As members would be aware, the utilisation rate of those particular schools was particularly low, so the ability to undertake work in a different part of the school is possible as part of the refurbishment. Of course, it has been slated since 2006 that this work would take place throughout 2008 and into 2009.

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