Page 377 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 12 February 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, given that Taylor primary was closed last March and consultants’ reports provided to the government before June, why did the remedial work not start until November 2012?

MS BURCH: I do not have the project plan detail in front of me but this is not a small piece of work. This is a substantial piece of work that involved removal of asbestos, making the site safe and secure, and then getting on with the work at hand. As I said, I do not have the full details of the project and the project plan in front of me. I am satisfied, though, that first and foremost the rectification and the safety work needed to be done. I understand that that is done. So the restoration work, the building work, is in train. There are arrangements in place that support the students that were enrolled in Taylor to continue their education at Namadgi. There is ongoing communication from the executive of Taylor school to those parents. As I understand it, our commitment was to have the school open again in 2014, and there is nothing in front of me to say that that will not occur.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how important is it to deal quickly with health and safety concerns in ACT schools like Taylor primary?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for his interest in local schools. We have a number of schools—in fact, we have 80 schools, not only government schools but non-government schools as well—that need to be factored into how we manage the sons and daughters of our community. But when we get to issues of asbestos it is very clear that we need to report them to the relevant authorities and to put all the safety precautions in place. With Taylor school, the work that is happening is a result of a very extreme weather event that caused significant damage to Taylor school. I have no doubt that the Taylor community are very disappointed that they are not at Taylor school; there is a very close affection within the local community for Taylor school.

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MS BURCH: Mr Doszpot interjects over there continually. It is because we do things to make sure that there is a safe, secure environment.

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MS BURCH: Mr Doszpot, I am actually responding to Mr Gentleman’s question.

MADAM SPEAKER: You are actually supposed to be answering through me, Ms Burch. If you want to answer the question, direct your comments to the chair.

MS BURCH: I consider it answered.

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