Page 856 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 24 February 2009

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Canberrans depend on this investment, because we know that in the long term there is no better way to strengthen our economy than by investing in the education of young Canberrans.

We are working hard to ensure that this extra $230 million is invested in our schools because we know that, along with teacher quality, school facilities are important in delivering excellent education outcomes. We are working hard to secure this massive investment because we know that to attract and retain the best teachers you need to provide them with modern places in which to work. That, it would appear, from the interjections of those opposite, explains why only ACT Labor is committed to delivering for the people of the ACT.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?

MS PORTER: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Would the minister advise of reaction within the community to federal Labor’s stimulus package and the ACT government’s plans to ensure schools and our economy can benefit from this investment?

MR BARR: There has been much support in the community for federal Labor’s proposed investment in education and jobs. For example, Jeremy Irvine of the ACT Independent Schools Association said, of the Rudd package, immediately after the jobs and education roundtable last week:

The Federal Government has been very proactive in ensuring that funding is equally spread for the computers in schools program, the trades training centres; we have a Federal Government that is acting across all sectors and we think that’s impressive.

The Australian Local Government Association applauded the package, with association president Councillor Geoff Lake saying:

At this time when the economy and our communities are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression we have to pull together and develop innovative solutions for the benefit of the nation.

Even Colin Barnett, the Liberal Premier of Western Australia, when asked if he supported the package, said:

I’m not going to tell people they can’t get a payment.

There has also been strong support for the ACT government’s proposal to further cut red tape to let schools get on with delivering their share of the $230 million commonwealth offer. The ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations has today called on the Greens and Liberals to pass changes to the planning regulations to allow money from the federal government’s stimulus package to flow to our schools. Describing the package as “a once in a 100 year opportunity for our schools” and an opportunity that “we can’t let pass us by”, association president Elizabeth Singer said:

The Minister for Education has identified changes to the Planning Act that are needed for the ACT government to spend this money in time, for the benefit of our schools and our community.

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