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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 August 2017) . . Page.. 3108 ..

thrive, schools need to be well funded. Labor will always properly fund our schools. It is in our DNA. Successive Labor governments have helped develop the quality education system our city now enjoys.

On top of the $1.2 billion that is delivered to our schools by the ACT government each year, the 2017-18 budget will deliver an extra $210 million of new investment into the education system. This includes $90 million over the next four years for education infrastructure.

This investment is particularly welcome in my electorate of Yerrabi. The census confirmed with hard data the huge amount of growth we have seen in my electorate, with Gungahlin tracking as the second-fastest growing region in all Australia. Our government is ensuring that our community can meet this demand without compromising on the quality of services. As the population has grown, public school enrolments have grown along with them. In Canberra’s north, public school enrolments have grown by roughly 50 per cent over the past five years. This further demonstrates the high regard for our public school system.

But this increase in demand needs to be met with an increase in supply, and to achieve this we will invest $24 million into Gungahlin schools. This money will go directly towards expanding school capacity at Harrison, Gold Creek, Neville Bonner Primary School and Palmerston District Primary School. In addition to these expansions, the government is exploring options for a new school in east Gungahlin to continue to meet the needs of the growing population.

This is a government that understands that it is important for children and their families that they have a good local school that is close to home. We also understand that schools do not just educate children. They form integral parts of the community, with the infrastructure and assets being utilised by various community and sporting groups. That is why the 2017-18 budget will increase the scope of the proposed north Gungahlin School so that it includes a community oval, which is due to open in 2019. The government will be investing almost $2 million in this asset, an acknowledgement that it is vital that we support our suburbs with community assets along with basic necessities.

As a local member for Yerrabi and someone who campaigned last year on the basis of Labor’s commitment to quality local schools, it fills me with enormous pride to see this government delivering on that commitment. And it is not just my electorate seeing the benefits of increased investment in education. Our government is committed to ensuring that every child in every suburb has access to a quality public school.

Enrolments right across Canberra have increased, with roughly 60 per cent of Canberra students now attending a public school. We will be meeting this demand with an additional $210 million investment in our education system. The government will also create 25 new scholarships for Canberra teachers to study STEM and languages. We will support teachers to further their own learning so that they can pass their own passion and expertise on to their students. This will help equip young people for the jobs of the future, ensuring that they can compete on a global scale.

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