AFTER months of inaction, according to Canberra Liberals education spokesperson Elizabeth Lee, ACT Labor has committed to accelerating the removal of hazardous materials from public schools, if re-elected.
Labor’s policy will see them spend $15 million dedicated to the removal of hazardous materials from public school buildings.
It matches the $15 million promised by the Canberra Liberals in August, which, they said, would go towards removing any hazardous removals, an audit of school infrastructure and maintenance.
Labor’s education spokesperson Yvette Berry says a new team in the Education Directorate will oversee this removal of hazardous materials program and work with schools to give them confidence that school facilities remain safe.
She says: “The safety of students and staff is a priority, and this includes making sure that families and students feel comfortable and confident that schools are safe.”
However, Liberals’ Ms Lee, who has been raising the issue for months, says it’s disappointing that it takes an election for Labor to finally realise that there’s a problem requiring urgent attention.
“Labor’s long standing neglect of our schools and blinkered approach has shown a complete disrespect and disregard to our students, teachers and parents who deserve better,” she says.
Following today’s announcement from Labor, the ACT Greens have now come out and said they will also commit $15 million to accelerate the removal of hazardous materials from public schools.
However, the ACT Greens say they will go further with a commitment to improve the legal right of Canberrans to enjoy a clean, healthy environment in schools and across the community.
“We need to ensure that our students, our teachers, and everyone in our Canberra community can enjoy access to a healthy, clean and safe environment,” says ACT Greens environment spokesperson Jo Clay.
“Children as well as teaching staff in schools and early childhood education centres have the right to work and play without damaging hazardous and toxic materials and chemicals in their immediate environments.”