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Monday, 16 November 2009
Page: 11678


Mrs D’ATH (3:02 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Education, the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and the Minister for Social Inclusion. How is Building the Education Revolution and government stimulus supporting jobs and local schools?


Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —I thank the member for Petrie for her question. I know that in her electorate she is supporting her 33 schools, which have received $85 million for 118 projects—great news for Petrie. I had the opportunity last week to visit, with the member for Petrie, two of her local schools: Redcliffe State High and Bald Hills State School, a primary school. Both of these are being transformed by Building the Education Revolution money. I was very impressed when I talked with the principal, the teachers and the students about the difference that these new facilities will make for their education. At Bald Hills State School I talked to the principal, Mr Keith Warwick, about what they were using their $200,000 National School Pride money and their $3 million Primary Schools for the 21st Century money for, and it is being devoted to a new resource and multipurpose hall. The importance of this multipurpose hall—and I am sure members in this place who care about education will be interested—is that this primary school currently has nowhere where it can bring the whole school together. If they want to have a whole-school activity they run the risk of the weather—whether it will be too hot to have children sitting outside or whether it will rain on the event. For events where they do not want to run any weather risk, it now costs them around $1,000 a time to bus the children to adjacent community facilities. No wonder they are identifying this new building as a transformation of their school.

As well as transforming schools, this is a program that is supporting jobs. At Bald Hills primary school, we know that that project, which is nearing completion, is currently employing around 15 people. Jobs are going to local firms like Kingswood Cabinets, the G. James roofing company and Intech Security. This is local evidence of what is happening around the nation: the government’s nation-building economic stimulus, through Building the Education Revolution, supporting jobs in local communities.

We know that unemployment currently stands at around 670,000 Australians. Whilst the peak of unemployment has been revised downwards, we expect unemployment to peak at 6.75 per cent. We need to continue to support Australian jobs by continuing economic stimulus. I can say that, on this side of the House, we will not give up on supporting jobs during the days of the global recession. Clearly, those on the other side of the House already have. Does anybody remember the days when the Leader of the Opposition used to wander around saying, ‘It’s all about jobs, jobs and jobs.’ He does not do that any more. On this side of the House, we will not give up on supporting Australian jobs. On that side of the House, they already have.