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Townsville CEO plea for aircon affordibility

A reduced electricity rate should be negotiated for schools so they could afford to run airconditioners in hot weather, Townsville's Catholic Education Office Director Mike Byrne has said in a statement reported in today's Townsville Bulletin newspaper.

He said that after schools overcome the financial hurdle of getting airconditioners installed, their next burden was trying to afford to run them.

"The cost to run them is horrific." he said.

Mr Byrne added that he believes the Queensland Government should negotiate with Ergon Energy to provide all schools, both public and private, with a special electricity rate which would enable them to run airconditioners in hot weather without blowing out the school budget.

"Airconditioning is simply a must for all schools in Queensland to create a suitable and effective learning environment," he said. "We encourage the State Government to look at avenues to subsidise airconditioning running costs in all schools."

Energy Minister John Mickel, who will be in Townsville today, said he was not aware of Catholic Education's call for a special electricity rate for schools. He said the Queensland Government already made a Community Service Obligation payment to Ergon Energy to ensure customers in centres like Townsville paid the same price for electricity as Brisbane customers.

Mr Byrne said although most primary schools in the Townsville Diocese would be airconditioned by the end of this month there were still some secondary schools without the cooling systems.

"Despite this small percentage of schools still without airconditioning, it is fair to say we are well on our way toward achieving our Cool Schools goal," he said.

Townsville, which is located in Queensland's tropical north, endures high humidity and has recorded an average maximum temperature of 34.4 degrees so far this month.

Pictured: Columba Catholic College, Charters Towers - St Mary's Campus

Schools' powerful argument (Townsville Bulletin 16/2/05)

Catholic Education, Diocese of Townsville
Catholic Diocese of Townsville
Columba Catholic College
Weatherzone - Townsville

Editorial: Drugs in schools: a testing subject (The Age 16/2/05)
Don't waste time on drug tests: Carr (ABC Canberra 14/2/05)
No plans for drug testing in Tasmania (The Examiner 15/2/05)
Catholic Schools Find Status Is Diminished (New York Times 13/2/05)
Teacher training inquiry angers union (The Advertiser 14/2/05)
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School costs shock (Sunday Tasmanian 13/2/05)

16 Feb 2005