Page 3222 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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The government will also begin planning for a new school in east Gungahlin as this area continues to grow into the future. As the population of Canberra approaches the half million mark, the challenge of providing a world-class education to every Canberran grows. This government acknowledges this and has sought to address these challenges in a budget that puts the investment in the right places at the right time.

But it is not just the expansion of existing schools and the opening of new ones that ensure that the infrastructure in our schools meets our standards. We need to continue to invest in local schools everywhere, whether or not they are in suburbs of enrolment growth. That is why this government continues to invest in the maintenance of our existing schools.

This year’s budget includes an additional $85 million in funding for public school infrastructure upgrades. This funding will be directed towards priority capital works projects around the territory to ensure that the facilities we provide to our students continue to meet the high standards that we as a community expect. It is easy to forget as well that infrastructure goes beyond the tangible, physical infrastructure we see in our schools, such as buildings and classrooms.The importance of adequate information and communication technology infrastructure continues to grow as the digital world becomes more prevalent. Our budget also delivers on the need to invest in our ICT infrastructure in Canberra schools, continuing the rollout of upgrades for school administration and staffing systems. The government is also continuing to provide additional resources into schools to ensure that digital systems and infrastructure are modern and reliable.

The approach taken by this government to schools infrastructure encompasses a long-term strategy. It seeks to build the physical and digital capacity upon which the future of education in the ACT can take shape. It is only because of our commitment to invest in the infrastructure necessary to sustain and enhance our schools that we can engage the community in a discussion that will inform our ongoing strategy for education in our city.

This is a government that understands that you cannot build new schools without ensuring the ongoing success of your current ones. It understands that you cannot provide a world-class education without the right infrastructure. And it understands that you cannot continue to grow your population and economy without delivering high-quality student outcomes in your schools. This government is doing just that while also putting the planning in place to ensure that this continues into the future. I am happy to stand here today in support of Mr Pettersson’s motion, which calls on the ACT government to support investment in education to ensure that Canberrans continue to receive world-class services. I am happy to support the motion because I know only an ACT Labor government can deliver this. This is the case because only an ACT Labor government believes every Canberran has a right to a world-class education and only an ACT Labor government has the vision and capability to plan a long-term strategy for education in the ACT, one that ensures that our schools are resourced and have the capacity to educate young Canberrans at the highest standard possible.

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