Email interview: Andrew Barr

By 14 June, 2006 61

New ACT education minister Andrew Barr has kindly agreed to be our next email interviewee.

Post any questions you would like to ask him, particularly about the “2020 Renewing our schools” proposals put forward with this week’s budget, in the comments below.

We will choose 10 questions to send on next Thursday 15-JUN-06.

UPDATE Today (Wednesday 13-JUN-06) is your last chance to think up questions for Mr Barr, so get thinking!
Further update The questions I have sent are below.

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61 Responses to Email interview: Andrew Barr
Smackbang4:01 pm, 08 Jun 06

Can we ask him to define the word “collegiate”?

nyssa764:05 pm, 08 Jun 06

Why not make Lyneham and Campbell High Yrs 7-9 (Middle school initiative by said ACTDET) and then make Dickson College Yrs 10-12? You’d free up Lyneham which is bursting at the seams and Dickson would get more numbers.

Also, why close Dickson and Kambah when Kaleen and Copland have lower numbers? Dickson is the only College in the inner north and although Campbell was once a 7-12 school, it really doesn’t have the resources required to run College classes.

Big Al4:44 pm, 08 Jun 06

The Governmnet identified the possibility of closing up to 39 schools in this years budget. Do you think that that number will be sufficient to get the ACT Education system back on track or will the Governmnet need to keep their options open – with the possibility of closing more schools in coming years?

Jey4:53 pm, 08 Jun 06

What’s it like being the sexiest thing the ACT Government has to offer?

vg6:20 pm, 08 Jun 06

Don’t ask him anything too hard, he may cry

vg7:18 pm, 08 Jun 06


Pasty face and receding tipped hair. The phrase ‘try hard’ springs to mind

caf7:28 pm, 08 Jun 06

What is the ACT Government’s view of our seperate year 11 and 12 college system? Is it the policy of the ACT Government to maintain this system, particularly in the face of a push to standardise the education systems of the states and territories?

bubzie7:45 pm, 08 Jun 06

If your going to shut down 3 out of 5 schools in the Kambah cluster, wouldnt it just be easier to combine them all to make another super school, instead of just closing them down?

Pandy8:28 pm, 08 Jun 06

1/ Why does he deserve more super than a public servant? (He was one a few months ago).

2/ will the shut schools be given over to community use, or is the Labor Party going to sell it to big business (Consolidated Builders et. al.) for a quick buck?

3/ Does his face hurt smiling so much?

areaman3:59 am, 09 Jun 06

areaman said :

Why does he deserve more super than a public servant? (He was one a few months ago).

stupid question, he isn’t. He’s earning the same super as an ACT public servant who started at the same time, indeed he’s probably still paying into the same super fund.

My question would be why is there six moths of consultation if the school closures are a done deal? If they’re not a done deal why were they announced as such?

Big Al7:05 am, 09 Jun 06

Can the public nominate additional schools for closure?

To what extent have the outlandish, unreasonable and unsustainable demand for exessive salary and condition increases taken by the Education Unions in wage negotiations forced the hand of the Government in relation to school closures? Wouldn’t it be more effective to close down all the schools and then re-open them with new employment contracts only offered to the teachers with a pulse?

nyssa767:24 am, 09 Jun 06

*checking pulse*

Given that the Inner North of Canberra has lost – in the past 20 yrs, Watson High, Downer Primary, Hackett Primary and now look to lose Dickson College, how can you justify Dickson’s closure? (amongst others)

Big Al7:41 am, 09 Jun 06

With the closure of Dickson Colledge will the Governmnet be seeking to capitalise on the strong inner north property values, and when the site is sold, will the Government consider the opportunity to meet growing demand for “gated community” housing options?

simto8:34 am, 09 Jun 06

Given that you put an awful lot of effort into getting yourself into government (at the last elections, your poster appeared pretty much everywhere that had vertical space), only to end up in one of the more unpopular positions in the government defending a policy that’s going to offend pretty much anybody with school-age children, any regrets?

Chris S9:37 am, 09 Jun 06

Getting back to the issues raised by Pandy and Big Al, what will happen to the closed sites? they are zoned for “community use”, which, as we know, will more often than not, end up as medium-density or hi-rise.

Given this government’s too-cosy relationship with developers, a propensity for large-scale infill, and shutting the community out of any meaningful consultation on what happens within our neighbvourhoods, what guarantees will we have that this land will remain available for community use? If given such undertakings, how will we know if that community use will be compatible with particular neighbourhoods, and how will that be determined and by whom? Not ACTPLA, we would hope, nor by the Planning Minister who seems to be captured by the development lobby.

Pandy9:42 am, 09 Jun 06


politicians get around 26% super and publuc servants around 15% – at present

Chris S10:44 am, 09 Jun 06

Andrew, would you mind wandering down to Simon’s office and ask him where his reponse to the RA questions is up to?

James-T-Kirk10:54 am, 09 Jun 06

Wow, 26%, that almost comes close to what I have personally arranged with my employer as a private industry employee.

Yum, Salary review is soon…

VYBerlinaV811:00 am, 09 Jun 06

Imagine if guys like Captain Kirk and I actually had to be paid according to an award negotiated by some corrupt bugger whinging about “the management” all day… The private sector rocks!

bonfire11:21 am, 09 Jun 06

Mr Barr;

Wouldnt you consider it better for children to be able to walk to a school rather than have their parents drive ?

By closing local schools and adopting the mega school model, doesnt this contradict the sustainable transort plans aim to have peopel walking, cycling or catching PT instead of driving ?

areaman11:34 am, 09 Jun 06

areaman said :

politicians get around 26% super and publuc servants around 15% – at present

Got any sources to bakc that up. I thought ACT politicians were in the PSS like other public servants. I couldn’t find anything on thr ACT Remuneration tribunal site one way or the other: .

Big Al11:34 am, 09 Jun 06

To further bonfire question, If the Government is truly committed to fighting childhood obesity, wouldn’t it make sense to close down more school – thereby forcing the kiddies to ride or walk further and as a result getting more exercise?

Big Al11:35 am, 09 Jun 06

Pleae excuse typing – fingers not working well today

simto11:44 am, 09 Jun 06

If the percentages are correct, then Barr has moved from being paid superannuation as a permanent employee (as a public servant) to being paid superannuation as a contractor (renewable at the next election, which is two and a bit years away). I’m assuming that’s what VY and JTK are?

VYBerlinaV812:25 pm, 09 Jun 06

I’m a permanent, not a contractor. Kirk?

James-T-Kirk12:36 pm, 09 Jun 06

No, I am permanant, The salary gets paid to the bank account every fortnight.

Wouldn’t be a contractor for quids, far too much risk. Why go to all that touble when you can be paid contractor rates as a permanant employee.

Just get the negotiation right in the first place.

If you dont like the deal, modify it, or leave it.

Pandy12:40 pm, 09 Jun 06


Canberra Times Wenesday June 7 on page 20.

I was wrong. They are getting 24% now.

emd12:53 pm, 09 Jun 06

1. Some of the schools closing are running special programs (eg Melrose Primary’s autism program – Melrose closing end 2006). Are these special programs going to be offered at other schools nearby, and how will the change process be managed?

2. Has the government given consideration to the effect on property values, and therefore the flux as people move en masse to better areas, by the change in schools? For example, houses surrounding schools that are closing might drop in value, or houses in the “traffic area” of remaining schools might also drop as more kids are driven to a bigger school.

Mr Evil1:50 pm, 09 Jun 06

Does the ACT Govt actually have any idea what it’s are doing, or are you all just flying blind?

seepi2:32 pm, 09 Jun 06

How was the decision taken to close Dickson college over Copland College?
Dickson is the only college in the inner north, has respectable enrolments now, and could have far greater enrolments in future, as aged pensioners move out of the inner north and families more in. Copland College has less students than Dickson, and students have the alternate option of Lake Ginninderra College in Belconnen. Did the fact that Dickson College is on a much larger and more valuable tract of land influence this decision?


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