Page 1462 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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This is why the ACT government have, throughout our term, sought to deliver the very best classrooms and schools. Indeed, the ACT government’s continued investment in Canberra’s schools reflects our commitment to providing families with the highest quality education opportunities. This is an ongoing program. Since becoming Minister for Education and Training late last year, I have been impressed with the level of work and attention to detail that the Education and Training Directorate does to ensure that we not only deliver quality schools and infrastructure but also deliver value for money.

I was very pleased earlier this year to be able to open the Franklin Early Childhood School. This $30 million facility is the latest addition to the highly successful early childhood school model, offering both schooling and child care. It will cater for around 300 students from preschool to year 2 and offers a 120-place childcare centre operated by Anglicare. Franklin is the first purpose-built early childhood school in the ACT and students, parents and staff are delighted by this new state-of-the-art facility.

Going back, if I may, Mr Assistant Speaker, to the attention to detail shown by the directorate, this school is purpose built for the population it serves. Just as an example, I was struck by the mirrors and windows at the school that are in the shape of children and, most importantly, placed at the height of the students who will go to the school. This attention to detail just helps to create a school that students want to be at and that parents and carers have confidence in.

North Gungahlin families have also benefited from a second new school, the Neville Bonner Primary School, which also welcomed its first students at the commencement of this year with the opening of stage 1 of the $48 million school. When stage 2 is completed, the enrolment capacity of the north Gungahlin region will increase to 818 student places.

I think it is important to note that these two facilities were delivered not only on time but also close to $30 million under budget. These two new schools follow the opening of Harrison secondary school in 2012 and Gungahlin College and Namadgi School in 2011. These schools have provided their communities with 21st century facilities and will serve generations of students to come.

While building new facilities is vital, we cannot forget about our existing infrastructure. We must continue to upgrade our existing facilities to ensure they too can provide the learning environments needed in the new century. To this end, the ACT government has invested millions of dollars into projects for existing schools, projects such as the construction of the new $10 million performing arts centre at Canberra College which opened in August last year. This follows the opening in recent years of new centres at Lyneham and Calwell high schools. There is also the $7.6 million expansion and refurbishment of Red Hill school, which was completed in September 2012, and the $3 million replacement for the hydrotherapy pool at Malkara School which was opened in February this year.

We have provided funds for the upgrade of classrooms at the Melba campus of Melba Copland Secondary School and funds for upgrades at Hughes and Yarralumla primary

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