ACT Labor’s vision for education - Supporting our excellent school system

On average, Canberrans are the best educated, best paid and healthiest people in Australia.

Every year ACT Labor has invested record levels of funding in our community, building a stronger local health system, investing in better schools and teachers, maintaining a strong local economy and creating more local jobs than ever before.

Two areas which are critical to getting the best out of each and every one of our students are improving school and classroom facilities, and supporting our teachers to educate.

ACT Labor has delivered record levels of funding for both bricks and mortar and for our teachers.

We have provided $162 million worth of school capital works upgrades and new facilities through the school renewal program, to make sure students are getting the very best education wherever they live.  This is on top of general capital works and maintenance worth $13.2 million annually.

We have built new schools in new suburbs worth around $250 million.  Kingsford Smith School, Harrison School, Namadgi School and Gungahlin College and CIT Learning Centre have all opened within the last three years.  New schools at Bonner and Franklin will also open for students in the 2013 school year.

We also know that while building new schools and improving our older schools is important, it is what goes on inside school buildings that truly matters.  ACT Labor knows that investing in education is inseparable from investing in teachers.

But there is more to do.

That’s why, if re-elected ACT Labor will commit $70 million to create the best learning environments for students and teachers in our older schools.

We will provide $51 million* to build a new Primary School at Coombs in the Molonglo Valley to be constructed over the next four years and undertake forward planning worth $2.3 million for a future Moncrieff primary school.

ACT Labor will also continue to invest in our people, committing $4 million for professional development for our teachers to whom we entrust our children’s education.


Policy initiatives

School Infrastructure for the future

As our city grows, schools in established areas of Canberra need to continually be upgraded to best meet the needs of students, staff and parents and provide the best learning environments.

With 75 per cent of public schools having been constructed over 30 years ago there is more work to be done.

ACT Labor will enhance school environments with $70 million for the School Infrastructure for the Future program to be delivered over the next four years.  This funding will ensure that public students can continue to access the latest in school learning environments.

The funding will be directed to a variety of projects across all Canberra public schools in established areas.

ACT Labor will:

  • Upgrade and extend existing classrooms or build new ones where needed;
  • Fund better fit out and furnishings and equipment upgrades;
  • Deliver play area upgrades including trees, play equipment, and softfall surfaces;
  • Refurbish toilet, change room and shower blocks; and
  • Provide new rainwater tanks and school gardens.

School upgrades and the use of modern building materials in older schools will also lower long term maintenance costs, reduce energy and water costs, and increase the pride that students, staff and parents have in their local public school.


Building new schools for new suburbs

As Canberra’s population expands and new suburbs grow Labor will continue to provide ready access for all local children to the best public education.

ACT Labor wants to make sure that new suburbs in the Molonglo Valley will have access to the best primary education.

That’s why ACT Labor will provide $51 million* to build a new Primary School at Coombs in the Molonglo Valley to be constructed over the next four years.

Coombs Primary will cater for the expected expanded population growth in the Molonglo Valley.  Initial enrolments will begin for preschool to Year 2 students from 2015.  The school will then be progressively expanded to meet the growing student population.

Coombs Primary will provide a 21st century teaching and learning environment keeping in line with Labor’s commitment to provide the latest in classroom enhancements and modern technology for all students.  The school will offer a diverse range of current curriculum and course offerings, as well as promoting improved access to digital learning and other teaching improvements.

Like other ACT schools, Coombs Primary will offer extensive community use facilities to local residents and community groups.


Forward planning for Moncrieff

As part of Labor’s commitment to extending the opportunity of a superb public education to all students, a re-elected ACT Labor government will continue to plan for forthcoming school infrastructure in growth areas.

Medium-term predictions indicate that a primary school at the suburb of Moncrieff at Gungahlin will be needed by 2016-17 to accommodate children from the Gungahlin suburbs of Moncrieff and Jacka.

If current growth estimates continue, by 2016 there will be approximately 300 children of primary and preschool age in the area.

ACT Labor will undertake forward planning for Moncrieff with $2.3 million for the necessary design, scoping and site preparation work for a future Moncrieff primary school.


Investing in our teachers

Evidence suggests when teachers have more career diversity and pathways to senior professional roles, teaching quality and student outcomes are raised.

On average, Australian teacher salaries are lower relative to other professionals with a similar level of qualification, but thanks to ACT Labor, the pay and conditions of public school teachers in Canberra are among the highest in Australia.

The latest Teaching Staff Enterprise Agreement delivers an extra $81 million of funding over the next four years, providing not just real pay increases to teachers well above CPI, but also delivering:

  • new career pathways for classroom teachers;
  • accelerated pay progression for teaching staff;
  • increased preparatory hours for first year teachers; and
  • better workforce planning and development, including giving teachers the opportunity to transfer at the end of their placement.

ACT Labor will continue to improve the status and skill set of the teaching profession.

To encourage teachers to increase their professional qualifications and undertake research during their careers, Labor will commit $4 million over the next four years to expand study support for mid-career teachers.

The funding will assist teachers to ‘skill up’ mid career or specialise in areas of need and be more flexible and extensive, supporting teachers through scholarship grants to cover higher-level tertiary courses and research degrees.  It will also allow them to specialise in areas of need such as psychology/counselling, science and mathematics, and library science, informatics and ICT and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.


Policy Costings

ACT Labor’s vision for education: supporting our excellent school system







School Infrastructure for the future






New schools in new suburbs – Coombs (capital)






New schools in new suburbs – Coombs (recurrent)






New schools in new suburbs – Moncrieff forward design (capital)






Investing in our teachers (recurrent).












*Figures may not total due to rounding.