ACT Labor would spend $99 million over four years on a school infrastructure renewal program for public schools if it is re-elected.
The party has also committed to a low-interest loan scheme for non-government schools to access up to $200,000 for sustainable upgrades to school buildings.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the renewal program would be used to upgrade cooling and heating and to improve learning spaces, staff rooms, toilets, outdoor learning and play equipment.
“The program will also create close to 650 local jobs, contributing to our goal of increasing the Territory’s employment base to more than 250,000 local jobs by 2025,” Mr Barr said.
Some of the projects set to get funding include upgrades to the Koori Preschool at Ngunnawal Primary School, cooling and double-glazing in the hall at Evatt Primary School, renovations to the gymnasium at Lyneham High School, oval upgrades at Charles Weston and Torrens Primary Schools and classroom upgrades at Gowrie Primary School.
Education Minister Yvette Berry said the work would help schools manage bushfires.
The low-interest loan scheme could be used for investments such as solar panels, battery storage systems and hot water heat pumps at non-government schools.
Under a Labor government, non-government schools would also be in line for $15 million for school infrastructure grants while parent associations could apply for grant funding to better engage in their school communities.
The party has also committed to releasing three blocks of land across the ACT for construction of new non-government schools.
Co-chair of Children First Alliance Amanda Tobler welcomed the commitment but said more detail was needed on how scholarships would be provided to early childhood educators and a comprehensive plan for flexible transport solutions for disadvantaged families.
“It is a first step and we would hope to see that if Labor is elected back into government that they would look to continue to build the numbers of days for universal access for all children,” Ms Tobler said.
ACT Greens education spokesman Johnathan Davis also welcomed the commitment but said the Greens would like to see universal access to early learning for three-year-olds implemented sooner.
“That said, we think this should happen sooner, in the 2021 school year, so that more children can access this important learning development, sooner – and for 15 hours, not just one day,” Mr Davis said.
Liberal leader Alistair Coe said did not say if his party would commit to preschool for three-year-olds.
The Liberal Party scored poorly on an Australian Education Union election scorecard released on Monday.
The Greens scored full marks while Labor had a deduction for not committing to moving the CIT to the education portfolio.
“Any objective analysis of policies that will deliver better education outcomes, lower costs and safer schools shows the Liberal Party is clearly leading the charge,” a Liberal Party spokeswoman said.