Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 501 ..
amendment also notes that the Education and Training Directorate constantly monitors the future population growth, individual school capacity and school environments to guide planning for now and into the future and is investing $3.5 million to make our schools energy efficient.
The amendment also notes that the ACT branch of the AEU has a policy on extreme temperatures that is broadly in line with the Education and Training Directorate’s guidelines on managing high temperatures in ACT public schools. The amendment calls on the government, through me, to provide an update to the Assembly—which I will do—between now and the last sitting day in June, before we break for winter, on the improvements in energy efficiency and heating and cooling needs in our schools. It also calls on the government—which I am very proud of and committed to do—to continue to work in providing a safe and healthy school environment, deliver improvements in all our schools and deliver new state-of-the-art schools such as the $47 million new Coombs primary school scheduled to open in 2016. I commend the amendment to members.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.54): The issue before us today seems to be mostly in response to issues raised by the Australian Education Union last year and which now, I am advised, have become an ongoing matter of discussion between the union and the Education and Training Directorate. The heart of the matter is ensuring that the public education system is providing a safe and healthy school environment for our community’s children. That is the core of Mr Doszpot’s motion, and I certainly support the intent of him bringing that matter before the Assembly, even if we quibble on some of the words.
The ACT Greens believe it is the responsibility of government to ensure the provision of high quality, well-resourced and safe learning environments that are open to all students, and this issue certainly relates to that belief. The issue of increased days of extreme temperatures is unfortunately becoming more relevant every day in a range of practical ways. We know they are increasing and that the impacts are being felt more and more keenly every year. I am seeing these issues arise in my ministerial portfolios as well. Extreme weather events are impacting on roads, bus reliability, wilderness and nature management plans, maintenance of ovals and grassroots and elite sporting events alike. Only a few weeks ago the Climate Change Institute released a very concerning report into the effects of increased extreme temperatures on the sporting community, highlighting the very real and quantifiable risks posed to athletes, spectators and the financial viability of the sports industry. These are not political arguments; this is just the sad reality of climate change, and no sector is immune to the challenges we are facing.
Mr Doszpot’s motion talks about the increasing number of extreme weather events, but there is no acknowledgement of human-induced climate change in either the motion or his remarks. Given that this impacts right across the board, it is obviously an issue for the education sector, with its 144 sites under the direct management of the directorate, and for teachers, parents and administrators alike.
As I have said before in relation to a previous motion of Mr Doszpot’s on similar issues, I have some sympathy with the directorates that manage large asset bases. I