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Thursday, 26 May 1983
Page: 1103


Mr TUCKEY(12 midnight) — The O'Connor electorate is of course a very large electorate in terms of most Australian electorates-in fact, it can be said to be almost three-quarters the size of Victoria-yet within it there are only 14 high schools. Also, most of the students who attend those high schools do not have the advantages of students in city areas, particularly in the eastern States, of visiting the Commonwealth Parliament. To redress this to a very small degree I set about the task of trying to bring some of those students to Canberra to participate actively in the business of parliament-not in this House certainly but as what one might call cadet research assistants.

Consequently, with the co-operation of the school principlals and, I might add, Trans Australia Airlines and Skywest Airlines, I have been able to arrange a program whereby four students a year can be brought to Canberra to spend a week with me during a parliamentary sitting. In talking with the schools we were able to arrange that selection would be their responsibility. We then had to conduct a poll. Two students have been with me here this week. They come from the extemities of my electorate, namely Moora, which is in the north-west, and Esperance, which is in the south-east. The two students are Greg Burgess of Moora and Jamie King of Esperence. Those two young gentlemen are in the Speaker' s Gallery at this time. I might say that the balance of this speech represents part of their program in that it has been written by them. They are great young Australians and I am very glad to have them with me this week. They tell me that they were not concerned about the proposed pilots' strike; they would have been quite happy to stay for a couple of days more.

Greg Burgess is in his final year at Central Midlands Senior High School, which is in the important wheat and sheep farming town of Moora, located 180 kilometres north of Perth and 110 kilometres from the coast. The school has an enrolment of approximately 300 pupils and a hostel caters for about 90 students who come from centres up to 200 kilometres away, including the fishing and holiday towns of Jurien and Cervantes. Moora is the largest town in the central midlands area, having a population of approximately 1,700, a further 1,500 persons living in the Shire, which encompasses the smaller towns of Miling, Watheroo and Bindi Bindi. The Shire of Moora has 13 councillors, who represent the surrounding wards and districts. The Shire President is Mr Bob Scott. Moora is a long established farming community, the surrounding Berkshire Valley having been settled in 1840 and the actual town having been established in 1847. It has a reliable rainfall area, which makes it one of the State's best wheat and sheep areas. All modern amenities are provided, including medical, hospital and dental services. A wide variety of sporting activities are catered for throughout the district.

Jamie King is a year 11 student from Esperance Senior High School. Esperance is 700 kilometres south of Perth and is in the far south-eastern corner of the O' Connor electorate. When the two French ships, Recherche and L'Esperance harboured in the 1700s, in what later was to be called Esperance Bay, the area must have looked greatly different from that which now includes the town. The Dempster family settled the area as a port from which to provide supplies for the stations to the north. It was expected that Esperance would remain a small country town, but research in the 1950s made the people rethink the matter. It was found that the infertility of the soil of the region was caused by a deficiency of trace elements.

The Esperance fertiliser works were opened in the early 1960s to refine phosphate rock delivered from Nauru, and produces superphosphate which is an invaluable aid to the development of wheat growing in Esperance. People came to Esperance to clear the bushland and to establish farms on the potentially fertile lands. Agriculture boomed in the town and a co-operative bulk handling depot was established in Esperance to complement the land backed wharf then under construction. With the increase in agriculture the town grew to its present size of 10,000 people. It is capable of supporting three primary schools , a senior high school, a hospital and numerous other services. Looking towards the future, Esperance has brown coal deposits which, if mined, will create employment for the population. A recent census has shown that the population of Esperance may double by the year 2000 due to the culmination of coal mining, the growth of agriculture and the promotion of the town's tourist industry.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.