Page 4397 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 14 October 2009

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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Assembly met at 10 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (10.02): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) recommendation 13 of the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs inquiry into school closures and reform of the ACT education system, which states that based on the demographic, educational, social and economic evidence presented during the inquiry, that the Government immediately commences the process to reopen the Hall and Tharwa primary schools; and

(b) the demographic, educational, social and economic evidence that supports the reopening of Flynn and Cook primary schools; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to immediately commence the process to reopen Hall, Tharwa, Flynn and Cook primary schools.

The motion that the opposition have brought to this place is one that the communities of Tharwa, Hall, Flynn and Cook have been working towards and waiting for since that fateful decision was made by the Stanhope government, for reasons known only really by them, to close these and 19 other schools in 2006.

In the process, hundreds of families had their lives disrupted by the closure of their neighbourhood school, incurred increased travel costs, and faced increased safety risks for their children travelling to and from more distant schools. In the main, parents in these communities had to bear the impact of this folly of Minister Barr. All this was done on, once again, a serious misrepresentation of facts by the minister for education using unsubstantiated assertions that small schools offer a lesser education, contrary to research evidence, and that they are too expensive.

This is a motion that reflects the Canberra Liberals’ commitment to these communities and an attempt to fulfil the election promise that we made to reopen the Tharwa, Hall, Flynn and Cook schools going into the last election. This motion also reflects what many in the community understood was the sentiment of the ACT Greens, who took a similar promise to the 2008 election. The ACT Greens, in their election material in the lead-up to the election, said:

The ACT Greens will review and reassess all school and preschool closures …

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