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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6325

Mr BILLSON (3:06 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Education. I refer the minister to Langwarrin Primary School, in my electorate of Dunkley, which is being required by state government officials to accept the demolition of an existing building to be replaced by a new building of the same sort as opposed to the plans put forward by the school community to reuse and refurbish the existing building in a more sustainable way and to construct new facilities at a lesser cost. Given that state government education officials falsely claim that the school community is ‘eagerly looking forward to’ the demolition and building works when this is clearly at odds with the school’s public statements, will the minister intervene to help overcome this mismanagement and assist the local community in getting what they are looking for out of the funding available?

Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —I thank the member for his question, which is a more responsible one than we are used to from the opposition. What I can say to the member is that, of course, if there is a concern by a school in his local community that he wants addressed then I am very happy to assist him with that. We have assisted many members of the opposition, in fact, who have come and raised individual issues, and I am happy to do that. Of course, we will work through the issues with him that are raised and assess the views of the school community.

What we have always been very clear about with the Building the Education Revolution process and guidelines is that consultation does need to occur with school communities so that school communities can work their way through whether their preference is for a multipurpose hall or a library or whether their preference is for classroom refurbishments, and obviously they then work through project questions and issues. I am very happy to work with him on the Langwarrin Primary School. I understand that the primary school has been approved for $200,000 of National School Pride funding, and I do not understand the member to be raising any issues in relation to that. That is going for an undercover learning area, which I am sure the school is very excited about getting. The school has been approved for $3 million of funding under the Primary Schools for the 21st Century program for the construction of a new library. If there is an issue about that new library that the member would like to pursue with me, I am very happy to help.