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Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Page: 4364

Mr COMBET (Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change) (4:27 PM) —When I was campaigning to be elected to parliament in late 2007, I talked to parents and teachers in a number of schools in the electorate, but I was particularly interested in an issue that the Edgeworth Heights Public School had raised. I spoke to the principal of that school, Mr Mark Stiller. It is a primary school with 245 students. During the campaign period he told me that the school had never had a school hall. School assemblies were held outside. If it rained, they were able to use, after a period of time, a covered outside learning area which was basically a metal cover only with no walls. This had become the status quo for that school. There seemed no chance of ever building a much-needed school hall. Today it is my privilege to say that this sorry state of affairs has changed, thanks to the Rudd government’s $14.7 billion education revolution. Because of that, the students and staff of Edgeworth Heights Public School are now able to await the completion of their very own school hall.

The excitement of the staff and students is only one story in a much larger narrative. I am excited to be able to say that for schools in my electorate of Charlton approximately $22.3 million is now in the pipeline for new infrastructure projects. The effect of this Rudd government funding in Charlton is twofold. Firstly, the schools that have long suffered from chronic underinvestment from the Howard government will now receive vital new infrastructure. The effect on the morale of students and teachers as a direct result of that funding cannot be underestimated at all. Where does the school assembly happen on a rainy day, for example, when there is no school hall? What happens when there is wet weather and sport is on? A hall is a vital piece of infrastructure for any school, and that is what is severely needed at Edgeworth Heights primary.

The second impact of this funding is that tradespeople and people working in the building and construction industry in the electorate will receive a major boost through the construction of all of the projects. This will help rejuvenate the local economy and provide job stability for many local tradespeople, and the flow-on effect of spending in the local community is equally important. Other schools in the electorate have elected to fund new libraries and gymnasiums. But no matter what the schools elect to spend their extra funding on, all of these projects will have a tangible effect on the quality of education offered by the local schools—and that is a fundamental objective, as I am sure all would agree. All of this is only possible through the funding that has been provided by the Rudd government’s Building the Education Revolution, and it proves that the government is committed and determined to improve infrastructure at local schools as well as helping—(Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr S Sidebottom)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.