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Government response to school closures says Barr was right all along

By housebound - 18 December 2009 5

Following on from the recommendations of the Inquiry into school closures, the government has finally issued its response (see the committee website).

Not surprisingly, Barr has refused to re-open any schools, saying it would cost too much and the communities don’t really need a school anyway and the whole school closures process was great and all students are better off, and … so there. So instead, he’s allowing child-based services at Hall and Tharwa and he might allow Hall to get a private school. Cook and Flynn stay closed, with the future use of Flynn still being decided.

ABC news reports, in a sad dose of realism, that Hall and Tharwa are resigned to their fates, thanking the Greens for their support in getting child-services-not-a-school.

See the previous post of this topic.

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Government response to school closures says Barr was right all along
housebound 8:15 am 22 Dec 09

Gungahlin Al said :

… there seems to be a growing recalcitrance in Andrew Barr’s office, coupled with the attitude that they’ll only consider anything if there is a significant public outrage – “We don’t sense there’s the political will to pursue the issue, so we won’t be changing our position.” Yep that’s a quote.

The more I think about that (over some days), the more culpable that makes the Greens.

When the Libs proposed a motion to re-open four schools, the Greens called it a stunt, and refused to debate it in the Assembly. I can’t see why they didn’t use it as an opportunity to apply more pressure.

If ever there were a flag to Barr’s office that they wouldn’t have to budge, then this was it.

Gungahlin Al 4:02 pm 20 Dec 09

Miz and Sepi, I suspect they are discovering that not all fights are winnable. Plus there seems to be a growing recalcitrance in Andrew Barr’s office, coupled with the attitude that they’ll only consider anything if there is a significant public outrage – “We don’t sense there’s the political will to pursue the issue, so we won’t be changing our position.” Yep that’s a quote. On another issue, but just as relevant and indicative of a concerning trend. It’s a worry when the politics become more important than what’s right, but I’m sure many would say “ever were it thus.”

And to be fair to the Greens, they have slapped down the government on a number of issues over the last years.

Hall may not be reopened by the government, but if that had happened, there would always be a high likelihood of it being closed again at some stage. the Greens have won a concession that reverses the dumb prior position of the government that said ‘we’re not reopening it and no-one else can either, so pfffttt’. Now the way is clear to have a private operator run Hall, and I think that will sit OK with many of the residents there (Hall not exactly being a cheap place to own a block of dirt).

Not personally sure about the other places as have been largely out of that issue, but as a basic concept I think schools should be available in all suburbs. Schools are the glue that brings and holds local communities together. Therefore their role reaches far beyond just schooling. If there is a disproportionate expense in running smaller schools it is probably in the duplication of administration and management. But there is no reason at all that one set of those can’t run two or three schools in a local area. That’s where I think the ALP got it wrong, and Andrew Barr on inheriting it did not do anything to correct.

The other problem with closing and selling off schools is that demographics change. Just as the change in population makeup of many of the inner suburbs changed leading to reduced student numbers, so it can (and will) change back. There is a concerted push to increase population density on the inner areas and to provide alternatives for older couples from staying in their 3-bedder on 800sq m, thus freeing these up for families. Already we are seeing this with the growing demand for places in some schools such as Majura primary.

A future government will come to regret greatly the selling off to developers of prime school land…

sepi 10:06 am 20 Dec 09

Yep. What are the Greens doing for us again?

miz 8:15 am 20 Dec 09

Greens wimp out – AGAIN! Are they EVER going to stand up to the Govt? (which was what we we voted them in for?!) These are the issues that will ensure their oblivion next election – they sure won’t be getting my vote or prefs next time.

Gerry-Built 3:49 pm 19 Dec 09

…one reason it would cost too much to reopen them is the amount of vandalism each of the closed schools has encountered since closure. Rest assured the ACT Govt. will probably use this as a reason to bulldoze them and ‘develop’ the sites…

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