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Transcript of radio Interview with Spencer Howson: 12 June 2009: Building the Education Revolution.

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The Hon Julia Gillard MP 

Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations 

Minister for Social Inclusion 

Deputy Prime Minister 

12 June, 2009  


Transcript â€ Radio Interview â€ ABC 612 â€ 730AM 


ISSUES: Building the Education Revolution

SPENCER HOWSON: The Australian today reveals that grants of between $75,000 and $200,000 have been handed to Inala West State School, Richlands, Dimore and Bremer State High, despite those schools being slated for closure, or in the case of Bremer, it’s moving to a new campus. The Federal Education Minister is Julia Gillard. Minister, good morning.

JULIA GILLARD: Good morning.

SPENCER HOWSON: Explain what’s going on here. Has there been some sort of bureaucratic bungle?

JULIA GILLARD: I can certainly explain what’s going on here. The Building the Education Revolution guidelines make it absolutely clear that our money which is for our National School Pride program, for small scale repairs around schools and things like shade cloths and interactive whiteboards, must go to schools that are continuing for the future. And of course our building 21st Century Primary Schools money also has to go to schools that are continuing for the future.

In every state, there are schools that are either going to close or consolidate with other schools into a limited number of school sites. What we do with those schools is that they may qualify for the money and put it into things that can be moved into the new school sites. We’ve had examples around the country, for example of interactive whiteboards that are going to be moved to the new school site. The guidelines are perfectly clear.

SPENCER HOWSON: So the Bremer State High School, $200,000 which is for a running track and revegetation - that running track and those trees will all be moved to the new site, will they?

JULIA GILLARD: Well on the individual examples raised in today’s newspaper, I’m still working through the full details of those. But what I can say is in the past, including in the Federal Parliament, I had examples raised with me where the first claim that’s made is that things are going to schools that are due for closure and when we get to the bottom of it, we actually find that it’s going to things that are going to be transferred to new schools sites or indeed are on a school site that is continuing as part of the new school. So we’ll work through these details, but if I can make a broader point; this is $14.7 billion of investment, the biggest school modernisation program the nation’s ever seen. We’re rolling it out really quickly for a very good reason and that’s because it’s to support jobs now during the global recession.

SPENCER HOWSON: And is it possible mistakes have been made, then, just in endeavouring to get the money out very quickly?

JULIA GILLARD: We’re dealing with more than 9000 schools around the country and when you’re mobilising a national effort like that, are there individual concerns and criticisms and complaints - yes of course there are. This is huge. And what we do when we get those concerns or complaints is we work with our state and territory colleagues, we work with the Catholic and independent school sector to address them.

But really, when you look at the size of this program, more than 9000 schools supporting local jobs, $14.7 billion - it’s rolling out amazingly well and it’s rolling out amazingly well because school communities around the country are seizing the opportunity to make a real difference for their school for the long term.

SPENCER HOWSON: Thanks for your time this morning.

JULIA GILLARD: Thanks very much.

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