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Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Page: 5051

Mr PRICE (9:33 AM) —Firstly, Madam Deputy Speaker, I think you said that it was your melancholy duty to inform the House about how well the Building the Education Revolution program is going in your electorate. I must confess that I suffer from the same problem. There has been $140 million worth of investment in our schools and we have principals that are able to manage the program and manage it very, very well. I think it is true to say that whether it is a Christian school, a Catholic school or a public school, there has been a real air of excitement in my electorate about this unprecedented construction program that is delivering for our students. Of course, for Labor members education is core to our DNA. We sincerely believe in the absolute importance of a good education for our younger generation to be able to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Today I want to talk about computers in schools. It will not come as a shock to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, to know that in Chifley we are information poor—that is, many more households will have Foxtel connected to their TV than will have access to computers for students in their homes. That is why the digital revolution was so important, because it meant that students in years 9, 10, 11 and 12 would have access to computers to further their education. In the age of the information revolution, young people who are not savvy in relation to computers and all that they are capable of delivering really do not face good prospects in the world of work.

I am very pleased to say that in the electorate of Chifley we have already funded 3,100 computers, and they have made such a profound difference not only to the students but in fact to the teachers—the teachers are still learning how to take advantage of them to enhance the learning of their students. But, sadly, $700 million earmarked for the Digital Education Revolution has been cut by Tony Abbott. So the rollout of 974 computers, which would ensure every student in my electorate in those years has a computer, has sadly been earmarked by the coalition to be cut. That is going to disadvantage these students, and these students, more than those on the North Shore, more than those in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and perhaps even more than those in the southern suburbs of Sydney, really do need to have access to computers. This is an absolute tragedy for all the schools in my electorate. Whether they are Christian schools, Catholic schools, Coptic schools, public schools—whatever the school—there would be a price paid with such a savage cutback by Tony Abbott. (Time expired)