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Thursday, 26 November 1959

Mr BRYANT (Wills) .- In this instance the Public Works Committee has established a very high standard of high school building for the rest of Australia to emulate. One of the deficiencies of Darwin itself is the absence of what one might term monumental buildings. The deficiencies of Australian education are exemplified in the poor quality of school buildings which are located throughout Australia, with the exception, perhaps, of Territories under the control of the Commonwealth. No State government is able to undertake a building of the standard of the Darwin technical high school. The people of Australia can look well at this building, with its assembly hall, air-conditioning, and general planning, and demand similar standards for the schools that are being built in the States. In this case the Commonwealth is the leader in style and example.

It is significant that the Public Works Committee which has recommended this proposal is composed of honorable members from both sides of the House. I presume, therefore, that Opposition members have made their contribution to the setting of this high standard, to which people throughout Australia should aspire for State schools. I understand that in Victoria out of 60 or 70 high schools only three have assembly halls while hardly any technical schools have an assembly hall.

Air-conditioning in schools is regarded as an almost exotic provision, and I hope, both for the people of Darwin, who are in desperate need of efficient secondary education, and for the people of Australia, that the Government will proceed with the construction of this school with the greatest possible expedition and that it will not be deterred from fulfilling the recommendations of the committee, no matter how many Treasury officials or other people seek to intervene and have the proposed expenditure curtailed.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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