Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 that regard. He talked about 50% capacity, and he said that the government should not be keeping open schools which, to use his phrase, are running at '50% of capacity1. In the case of the vast majority of urban primary schools like Rapid Creek Primary School, the government does not owe money on the land or the buildings, which were inherited from the Commonwealth government and have never been a cost to this government. The fact that 50% of the rooms in them may not be occupied does not represent a waste of money. It may be that the minister will say that those resources can be put to better use. COGSO is concerned that the government has its eyes on a few areas of prime real estate in respect of schools that it is proposed should be closed. If the minister has some plans for these schools, at least he should be patent about them. However, let us assume that he is being honest in this regard and that there are no concrete plans - for example, to turn Traeger Park Primary School into a hospital. That is one rumour doing the rounds. One of the reasons that rumours are doing the rounds is because of the extraordinarily hasty way in which the government has gone about this exercise. The point is that the minister is making a logical mistake when he talks about 50% of capacity. He is assuming that the other 50% can somehow be turned into productive capacity, but those are public assets and they should remain as such. While I am on the subject of Rapid Creek Primary School, it is worth w hile my mentioning at this stage that I wrote to the minister on 18 April, in the context of this absurd public debate, about rumours and counter rumours etc that were produced by the minister himself. If there is any reason why this censure motion ought to succeed, it is because, for a good month, the Minister for Education himself has compromised the quality of education by creating furore in schools like Anzac Hill High School and Traeger Park Primary School. How would any member like to be a student at Traeger Park Primary School or Rapid Creek Primary School, knowing that it is to be closed at the end of this year? That fact poses an absolutely impossible, pedagogical task for the teachers involved and makes it an absolute impossibility for the students in those schools to receive a decent education. I wrote to the Minister for Education with respect to Rapid Creek Primary School, and I will quickly read that letter, Mr Speaker. It is interesting history. It is dated 18 April and says: Dear Mr Stone, You have publicly stated 'schools will be closed'. You have further stated that they will be closed because of either (a) inadequate programs being offered as a result of staffing difficulties, or (b) cost savings effected by the closure Rapid Creek Primary School, a recently upgraded, efficiently-used community facility of 25 years tradition, is being considered for closure. The staff are dedicated, caring and achieving excellence in education. In the recent National Westpac Maths Awards, there were numerous prizes, distinctions and credits awarded. The maths competition, run by the University of New South Wales, yielded top distinctions, distinctions and credits. These achievements, decided by independent outside assessment on a national level, would be the envy of any primary school in Australia. First prizes in the Northern Territory Literary Awards and final selection in the 776

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