Before the 2004 ACT election, a spokesman for the then Minister for Education categorically ruled out closing any schools during the next term of government. He said:
“The Government will not be closing schools”. [Canberra Times, 12 August 2004, p.2]
Last year, the same spokesman said that the Government has no plans to close more schools in Canberra beyond Ginninderra District High School:
“There is no active consideration [of school closures] at the moment, it is not on the Government’s agenda.” [Canberra Times, 26 July 2005, p.1].
The following day the Minister for Education was reported as ruling out further school closures, with a spokeswoman for the Minister stating:
“There are no other plans on the agenda.” [Canberra Times, 27 July 2005, p.1].
On his first day as Education Minister, Andrew Barr scoffed at speculation that the ACT Government had plans to close 33 schools and denied the Government was looking at this many.
“I don’t think…that we need to go to 33.” [Canberra Times, 22 April 2006, p.1]
Just six weeks later he announced the Plan to close 39 schools.
The Government’s record of broken promises does not stop with school closures. The key education commitment in the ALP Election Platform for the last election was an additional $12 million to increase staff in government high schools to improve student support and education outcomes. It promised an average increase of 2 full-time professional staff in each high school.
The Government now proposes to cut 120 teachers from ACT government secondary schools.