Parents have called for an end to band-aid solutions to Canberra's ageing school infrastructure after high lead levels were found in a second primary school.
President of the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations Kirsty McGovern-Hooley said parents wanted to see a commitment to long-term funding and a clear plan to upgrade schools and remove all hazardous materials, including lead and asbestos.
"The current management approach is too piecemeal - it is band-aid solutions. What we need instead is expert-led management and a plan for gradual replacement," she said.
"We need big money in a future fund to cover this."
Ms McGovern-Hooley also called for an expert panel comprised of health experts and experts in hazardous materials management to provide whole-of-government advice on safely managing lead and to give sound direction on safe levels for contact.
Eleven classrooms at Yarralumla Primary School were closed for six weeks to remove lead dust caused by the replacement of lead-painted windows in the July school holidays.
Now five rooms at North Ainslie Primary School have been closed for environmental cleaning this weekend, with one room returning a reading that was 117 times what the Education Directorate considers to be the safe threshold.
Rooms with elevated levels of lead included a breakout teaching space, art storage room, another storage space, a toilet and a staff office.
ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry said not every classroom at North Ainslie Primary would be tested for lead contamination; only rooms where works had been undertaken.
"Obviously the lead paint is in the school because it's an older school but the paint work was done more recently and so the testing was done to see if there was above-level thresholds of lead that was found," she said.
"Now [the rooms] are being cleaned and cleared of contamination."
Ms Berry said the risk to students was low.
"Based on the advice I have is it's very, very low risk and as the testing happens the lead paint dust is being found on surfaces that aren't generally in contact with people occupying those spaces," she said.
Opposition spokeswoman for education Elizabeth Lee said the government had dropped the ball on maintaining school assets and reiterated the Liberals' plan for a comprehensive audit of buildings if it wins the October election.
"Our children, our families and our teachers deserve the very best and safest school environments in Australia," Ms Lee said.
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Ms Berry said it was untrue to suggest schools weren't being maintained and she said every school had a lead management plan that was updated each year.
"I'm grateful the Canberra Liberals have taken an interest in our public schools where they haven't done in the past, however, the Education Directorate works very closely with schools and their hazardous maintenance plans to make sure they are kept up-to-date," Ms Berry said.
"You need to have a mature response when you are dealing with issues like lead paint. It needs to be mature, based on expert advice and it needs to be reassuring to the school community."
Ms Lee said if there was a comprehensive plan in place the minister needed to communicate that plan to parents and teachers, saying: "If that is the case, then the education minister needs to explain very, very clearly to our parents and our teachers and the community why our schools are being surprised and blindsided by revelations of lead paint over and over again."