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Monday, 15 February 1999
Page: 2767


Ms ELLIS (10:30 PM) —Tonight I want to bring to the attention of the House the wonderful story of the Lake Tuggeranong College and their solar vehicle project. The college was already involved in solar projects and had competed in events such as the Shell Mileage Marathon and the NRMA Energy Challenge, to name a couple, and these had led to a successful campaign in the 1996 World Solar Challenge, with a first place in the university/schools category and 16th place from a field of 47 entries.

With this experience, the project members were keen to start from scratch and build a new vehicle that was completely home grown. With the corporate support of ACTEW and many minor but important sponsors, the team set to work. Seven days a week, and then seven nights a week as well—in essence, a three-year project done in one year, with all available time spent on the project.

The college believes that this is probably the largest technology project ever undertaken by an Australian secondary school. The team participated in the 1998 World Solar Car Rally in Japan; however, a lack of testing time and a few electronic gremlins meant below their potential performance. The vehicle received the excellence in technical design award, recognising it as the best built solar car of the 91 entries, and finished seventh in its class of 24.

There has been almost continual disbelief that a secondary school could develop a project of this nature. The students were not mere spectators in this project; it was in fact their project. The vehicle was developed as a school project from within the curriculum of Lake Tuggeranong College. It was not built by engineers or university students studying engineering, nor did it have any major components of its structure produced by industry. Budget shortfall is compensated by endless hours of work. It represents in excess of 7,000 hours of students' time in design, construction and testing.

The design and construction from the ground up was undertaken by students on the campus of the college. Twenty students were recruited to the project. With nowhere to base the project, the students first had to build the workshop where they would build the car. With space at a premium, an area under Lake Tuggeranong College library was identified and work started in earnest on building the workshop and, four weeks later, the design of the car commenced. Construction on the car began about Easter of 1997.

The students involved came from across the curriculum. Many had no idea how to use a hammer or cordless screwdriver, how to drill holes or paint using a roller. The solar vehicle was built entirely within that college. Their work will be recognised on the graduating year 12 certificates. Every step of the design and construction involved the students. Apart from the vehicle, the students have also been responsible for developing the energy management software that is used to oversee the operation of the vehicle when it is on the highway.

The biggest test yet for the project was when the vehicle competed in the CitiPower Sunrace 99, from Sydney to Melbourne, via Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Hay, Mildura, Swan Hill and Bendigo. They enjoyed a convincing win, with six out of seven timed stages. Entries from the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales and, I might add, the Ford engineers based team were all outclassed by these high school students' efforts.

The college is looking forward to future competitions, such as the 1999 World Solar Challenge, from Darwin to Adelaide; the 2000 and 2001 CitiPower Sunraces, and so on—and maybe even a trip to Japan again. Corporate support, of course, will be their big question. By the way, they now have a solar boat, and will compete in the 1999 Advanced Technology and Solar Boat Race. I would like to quote:

What can be imagined, can be achieved,

You must dare to dream!

There is no substitute for perseverance,

Dedication, commitment and teamwork,

Because no-one gets there alone!

That is not a bad credo on which to found this project. In the words of Stuart Clode, one of the teachers involved very heavily in this project:

The performance of the team of Lake Tuggeranong College in the 1999 CitiPower Sunrace was literally a dream come true—but one based on an incredible amount of perseverance, dedication, commitment and teamwork.

I would like to take the opportunity to put on record on behalf of the Canberra community and, I am sure, everyone in this House the heartiest of congratulations to everyone involved at Lake Tuggeranong College—the students, the staff and the board all have very much of which to be proud. I am sure we will be hearing about this unbelievable project team at Lake Tuggeranong College again in the future.