Page 3006 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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From the contact I have had with the Canberra community, across a variety of different education settings, there is very strong support for the government’s record levels of investment in education. I do note that, although the Liberal Party opposes viciously the building the education revolution program at a national level, with the sorts of outrageous slurs on the good work that has been occurring within the building and construction industry, strongly supported by local school communities, there has been an absolute procession of members opposite prepared to turn up to the ceremonies to welcome the delivery of these capital works projects. Meanwhile their federal mouthpieces have been running around the country, deriding this significant investment in public education and, of course, in non-government education. And those opposite have been more than prepared to turn up for the morning teas and to turn up for the back-patting ceremonies but they never support the investment.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr, I think you are outside the scope of the question now, thank you.

Schools—Farrer primary school

MR DOSZPOT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for education. I refer to the recent closures of the Ellyard building at Farrer primary school in late 2010 and again in June 2011 due to high levels of mould and dampness in the toilets. Consulting engineer John Skurr assessed the building in 2010 and noted that only one item from an earlier report on the building’s moisture problems had been carried out. Minister, why wasn’t work done earlier on the Ellyard building at Farrer primary school once Mr Skurr had submitted his report in 2009 identifying problems with the building?

MR BARR: Extensive work has been conducted on that site and indeed across all areas of the Farrer site. There has been a considerable amount of upgrade work. But it does go to highlight the challenges that school infrastructure, particularly ageing school infrastructure, places and it goes to highlight the importance—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! The question has been asked.

MR BARR: It goes to highlight the importance of this government’s investment in upgrading our public schools. In making difficult decisions as we did in 2006-07, we freed up a significant amount of money to invest in upgrading the quality of public education. At Farrer, along with every other school in the ACT, significant upgrade works have occurred. I note all the political posturing from those opposite; they have voted against every single increase in funding for education delivered by this government in successive budgets since I have been the minister for education—every single time. And at a national level they vote against every single initiative to provide money for schools to upgrade their building infrastructure.

The extensive work that has occurred at Farrer has gone to address the concerns that have been identified by those involved in assessing the particular issues in that ageing

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