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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4152


Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (22:05): I have spoken many times in this place about how education is the great enabler. Today I rise to mention some recent developments that have occurred in Greenway in the area of education—namely, the great success that was Catholic Schools Week, the involvement of local primary schools in my Anzac Day writing competition and the continued success of the Building the Education Revolution program.

From 1 to 7 May I had the absolute pleasure of visiting six Catholic schools in Greenway to help celebrate Catholic Schools Week. During that week I had the pleasure of visiting St John's Primary School in Riverstone, Terra Sancta College in Schofields, St Andrew's Primary School in Girraween, Holy Cross Primary School in Glenwood, our Lady of Lourdes Primary in Seven Hills and Mary Immaculate Primary in Quakers Hill. During these visits I witnessed firsthand the great community spirit that exists among the Catholic schools in my electorate. I sincerely thank the principals, parents and students for having me along and involving me in their liturgies and other activities.

Catholic Schools Week celebrates the fantastic job that Catholic schools do in our community. The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2011 was: 'A learning adventure, a journey of faith'. The purpose of Catholic Schools Week is to raise awareness and celebrate the strength and distinctiveness of Catholic schools. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Executive Director of Catholic schools in the Parramatta diocese, Mr Greg Whitby, who has been reappointed for another five-year term. Mr Whitby leads a system of some 78 schools in west and north-west Sydney and his continued commitment to education in my community is greatly appreciated. He is a man of incredible intellect. He is someone who embraces technology and is genuine in everything he does. Irrespective of his position within the Catholic Education Office, his research and working knowledge of education and schooling generally is very important to ensuring that this government can continue to deliver the best for all schools.

I also want to mention the Anzac Day writing competition that was conducted in Greenway and send a special thanks to all the schools that participated. This competition gave primary school students in Greenway the opportunity to discuss the meaning of Anzac Day. There was an overwhelming response from the many schools and it revealed what great minds our young people have. All students wrote thoughtful and very poignant responses that were often of a quality beyond their years. I would like to congratulate all the winners of my Anzac Day writing competition and especially mention the outstanding entries that I received from Vineyard Public School, Kellyville Ridge Public School, Holy Cross Primary School and St Anthony's Primary School. I would also like to give special thanks to the representatives of the local RSL clubs, including Seven Hills, Toongabbie, Blacktown and Riverstone, for being judges of the awards.

The final development that has been occurring recently in Greenway in relation to education is, of course, the continued success of the Building the Education Revolution. Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of attending the openings of a number of BER developments—namely, at Caddies Creek Public School in Glenwood and Kings Langley Public School. Both principals of these schools, Mr Phil Nash of Caddies of Creek and Mr Phil Walker of Kings Langley, told me how much the BER meant to them and to their communities. Both principals related to me that without the federal government's investment in their schools it would have been impossible to deliver the outstanding infrastructure they now have. It is always a pleasure to attend these openings and spend time with the staff, students and parents, who are all so appreciative of their new facilities. These are indeed facilities that would not have been possible without this government's investment.

I have often referred to west and north-west Sydney as Australia's nursery. In the Blacktown local government area, which is shared between my electorate of Greenway and the electorate of Chifley, over half the population—that is, some 117,000 people—are under the age of 30. More revealing is the fact that the most dominant age group in Blacktown is the five-to-nine-year-old group.

I am privileged to represent an area of such diversity and such outstanding educational institutions—an area where there is commitment by parents, teachers and the community generally. The future of our country, I am convinced, is right where we are, and I am committed to this government continuing its investment in education in west and north-west Sydney. This is evident in this government's commitment to delivering its community response, the Building the Education Revolution, and its ongoing commitment to the greatest technological advances in all our schools.

I say very sincerely that one of the most enjoyable of my civic duties is visiting schools. It always reminds me of what is important. I thank all the teachers, parents and staff who have hosted me over the past few months since I have been the member for Greenway. I thank them, of course, for their hospitality and reaffirm my commitment to ensuring that every school in Greenway is, and continues to be, a great school.