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C12 Strategic asset management

The Department’s asset management strategy is based on the following key principles:

  • asset management activities are undertaken within an integrated and coordinated framework
  • asset management practices and decisions are guided by service delivery needs
  • asset planning and management are integrated with corporate and business plans, as well as the budgetary and reporting processes
  • capital expenditure decisions are based on evaluations of alternatives that take into account estimated costs, benefits and risks (in particular occupational, health and safety risks).

The Department is responsible for 83 public schools, including preschool sites. To ensure these facilities are kept at standards suitable for delivering quality educational programs the Department has a maintenance program for urgent and minor repairs, planned maintenance and repair of vandalized and damaged facilities. In addition, the Department has an ongoing capital works program for the upgrade of school and preschool facilities.

Issues being managed by the Department include:

  • ageing asset stock
  • refurbishment to support curriculum activities
  • installation of information and communications technology infrastructure
  • utilisation of existing facilities
  • car parking and traffic management
  • installation of security related infrastructure
  • demographic change
  • climate change.

Assets managed

As at 30 June 2010, the Department managed assets with a total net book value of $1,486.10 million. Assets managed included:

  • land and buildings (including lands and building improvements) for schools and preschools - $1,450.0m
  • leasehold improvements - $3.4m
  • property, plant and equipment - $32.7m

During 2009-10, the following significant assets were added to the Department’s asset register:

  • capital works upgrades, school infrastructure and other projects at various school and preschool sites - $48.4m
  • capital works under Building the Education Revolution projects - $26.9m

The Department assessed that in 2009-10 the total value of impairment on the property, plant and equipment was $0.4 million. As a result, asset values were reduced by this amount.

Surplus asset transfers

During the reporting period, neighbourhood ovals adjacent to the primary schools at Fraser, Miles Franklin (Evatt) and Red Hill were formally transferred to the Department from the Department of Territory and Municipal Services.

Asset maintenance and upgrade

Asset maintenance

The Department undertakes maintenance and upgrades to schools in consultation with schools and School Network Leaders. The Department prepared annual repair and maintenance plans for each school on the basis of information from building condition assessments, requests from schools and information gained from other sources such as consultant reports and site visits. Works were subsequently undertaken, both by schools and central office, with larger and more significant works included in the Department’s capital works program in priority order within the available funds.

In 2009-10, the Department received $10.6 million for school repairs and maintenance. The repairs and maintenance program included:

  • a rolling program of works for all primary and secondary level schools
  • an allocation for unforeseen maintenance such as vandalism, fire and flood damage
  • high-priority works arising from school building condition assessment reports
  • a schedule of maintenance for preschools.

Building condition assessments of all schools (including preschools) are conducted on a three-year rolling program and cover buildings, services and grounds. The third round of building condition assessments under the current program was conducted during 2009-10 with 42 reports completed. The results of these reports are taken into account in preparing the Department’s annual school repairs and maintenance program.

Tree assessment audits are conducted at each school on an annual basis. This year was the second annual audit with 90 audits conducted. The outcomes were included in the Department’s tree maintenance program.

Following amendments to the Dangerous Substances Act 2004, the Department is undertaking a program of inspections to prepare Hazardous Materials Survey Management Plans (HMSMP) for each school. These plans are more comprehensive than the previous asbestos survey reports and now include all potentially hazardous materials (asbestos containing materials, lead-based paint, synthetic mineral fibres, polychlorinated biphenyls and ozone depleting substances). These plans will be updated every five years. During 2009-10, 50 HMSMPs were completed. Copies of HMSMPs are accessible at each school for inspection by staff, parents, carers and tradespeople.

The drought and water restrictions continued to impact on school grounds and play areas. Reduced water availability contributed to the poor condition of many grassed play areas and to tree distress. To assist with the efficient use of water, rainwater tanks were installed at several schools during the 2009-10 year. Further installation of water tanks will occur in 2010-11.

During the reporting period, the Department conducted the first of its annual bushfire prevention audits. These audits were conducted across all ACT public schools and included removing leaf litter from roofs, gutter and downpipes, cutting long grass, clearing grounds of tree litter and removing stockpiles of combustible material, such as paper, cardboard, and compost.

Major asset upgrades

Funding of $12.3 million was provided in the 2009-10 Budget for capital upgrades at schools and preschools. Further funding of $6.53 million was appropriated in 2009-10 for specific projects requiring urgent attention, such as the Turner School hydrotherapy pool, the asbestos removal program, safe roof access systems, and stormwater and sewer pipe replacements. These projects have been completed (see section C13 of this report).

The following programs were funded in 2009-10:

Older school refurbishments

$3.55 million
Refurbishments at Alfred Deakin and Canberra high schools were completed, with the upgrading of a range of building facilities, including infrastructure services and other works necessary to improve educational service delivery.

Older preschool refurbishments

$0.36 million
Major improvement works were undertaken at Turner, Griffith (Bannister Gardens), Yarralumla, Lyneham and Chifley preschools. Work included the repair and replacement of plumbing and drainage, glazing, electrical, roofing, ventilation and heating, security, student and staff toilets, floor coverings, internal and external painting, wet areas, kitchens and external play areas.

Student amenity and infrastructure

$0.84 million
Front entry and administration area upgrades were undertaken at Hawker and Dickson colleges, Telopea Park School and Aranda and Chisholm primary schools. Improvement work on the administration areas at Monash Primary School was also completed. Work to improve the Hawker College administration area is in progress.

Upgrades to the school canteen at Alfred Deakin and Stromlo high schools were undertaken in 2009-10. Student toilet refurbishment was completed at Evatt and Macgregor primary schools and Alfred Deakin High School.

Specialist teaching area improvements

$2.35 million
Science area refurbishments were completed at Belconnen and Kaleen high schools, with the Alfred Deakin High School art room also renovated. Smaller upgrades to technology workshops at a number of schools were also completed during the reporting period.

Building services improvements

$2.04 million
Security upgrades were completed at seven schools: Lyneham, Lanyon, Belconnen and Stromlo high schools and Wanniassa Hills, Fraser and Bonython primary schools. Heating, ventilation and cooling works were undertaken at a number of schools.

Health and safety improvements

$0.94 million
The program to replace non-compliant glass across all schools continued with new glazing installed at Calwell and Melba high schools, and Fraser and Maribyrnong primary schools. Toilets were refurbished at Alfred Deakin High School, Telopea Park School and Evatt Primary School. Car park access and safety improvements were completed at five schools.

Support for persons with a disability

$1.37 million
The program to improve access for students, staff and visitors with a disability was continued in 2009-10 with a lift installed at Belconnen High School and extensive access works undertaken at Hawker College.

Transportable classrooms

$0.76 million
A transportable preschool classroom was installed at Harrison Primary School.

Investing in Our Schools Programme

The Investing in Our Schools Programme is an Australian Government initiative commenced in 2005. This program provided funding over a four-year period and has now closed. The two final projects were completed during the reporting period.

Office accommodation

During the year, central office staff were located at 220 Northbourne Avenue in Braddon, the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Stirling, the Lyons Education Centre in Lyons, the Higgins Primary School, Fyshwick Annex and Maribyrnong Primary School in Kaleen (Figure C12.1).

Staff census of schools, conducted in March 2010, recorded 3,697.6 full-time equivalent staff employed in non-office environments at ACT public school sites. Staff located at these sites included teachers, school leaders, office administrators, general services officers and building service officers. Section C7 provides details of staffing profiles.

Table C12.1: Central office sites, staff numbers (headcount) and space occupied, as at 30 June 2010

Building and location

Staff numbers

Approximate area occupied (m²)

Average area occupied by each employee (m²)

220 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon




Centre of Teaching and Learning, Stirling




Lyons Education Centre, Lyons




Higgins Primary School, Higgins




Fyshwick Annexe, Fyshwick




Maribyrnong Primary School, Kaleen








Source: Corporate Support Section, Department of Education and Training

  1. Average area includes office accommodation for Student Services, the Office of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies and meeting rooms.
  2. Average area includes office accommodation for Teacher Recruitment Section and interview rooms.
  3. Average area includes office accommodation for Records Management Unit, warehouse facilities and exam desk storage.
  4. Average area includes Student Services (Vision Support Team and Hearing Support Team), Early Childhood Intervention Team and School Counsellors.
  5. See notes 1 to 4.

For more information contact:
Schools Capital Works Branch
Telephone: (02) 6205 3173

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