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Thursday, 18 September 2003
Page: 20588

Mr HUNT (12:41 PM) —I rise to congratulate a number of schools within my electorate of Flinders both for their work and for the fact that they have received Commonwealth funding, which has just been announced today. In particular, I refer to schools in Cranbourne, Clyde, Baxter and Tyabb, and I also want to talk about the possibility of funding for the proposed Somerville secondary college. The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson, has written to me announcing that a number of schools will receive Australian government capital grants to help with school building programs—and I have contacted the schools about this today. These are all tremendously well-run and well-organised schools which have a huge impact on their area. In particular, Hillcrest Christian College at Clyde North, which is contained within a farming district to the east of Cranbourne and which services not just Cranbourne but surrounding districts, has been given $200,000 towards the construction of four general learning areas, associated services, site works, furniture and equipment. This school started from nothing a decade ago. The principal, Tony Ham, and others have helped build and create a magnificent learning destination for children within the area.

The second school which has received a grant is Cranbourne Christian College at Cranbourne. This school, which is under the principalship of Ms Evelyn Sayers, also started only a decade ago and has grown to become a tremendous part of the Cranbourne community, taking students through from prep to year 12. I have visited the school and spent time there and I have seen that it has a unique approach to open learning. Cranbourne Christian College has received a grant of $80,000 towards construction of performing arts areas, associated services, site works, furniture and equipment. It is a school which does a tremendous amount of good for the area, and I commend both the principal, Evelyn Sayers, and the teachers.

Flinders Christian Community College in Tyabb is the third school which has been a recipient of Commonwealth funding. Flinders Christian Community College, under the principalship of Jill Healey, runs two campuses: one within my electorate of Flinders at Tyabb and one outside the electorate. That is also a new school and it has grown from a small base to become a fixture for the eastern side of the Mornington Peninsula. It has been granted $200,000 for the conversion of the library to an administration area and, most importantly, for the construction of a new library and all of the associated services, site works, furniture and equipment which go with that. The fourth school to receive a grant is Bayside Christian College in Baxter. That school services children in the area around Baxter, Pearcedale, Somerville and also parts of Frankston. It has been given $100,000 as a grant for the construction of two general learning areas and student amenities, in addition to associated services, site works, furniture and equipment. I want to congratulate all of those schools, which do a tremendous job in the area.

I would also like to speak about the proposal for Commonwealth funding for the Somerville Secondary College. The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, visited the site of the proposed Somerville Secondary College—a facility for which the community has fought incredibly hard and which I have been proud to have been part of. He looked at the site and invited the state to put in a priority application for Commonwealth funding, as part of the specific allocation from the Commonwealth to schools which are within the domain of the state system.

I have been working with the state member, Rosy Buchanan, to try to achieve an outcome. It is about working across federal and state boundaries and across party lines. There is a joint commitment to provide a great outcome for the people of Somerville and, in particular, for the students. The cost of the school is $9.4 million if you include a new arts centre, a new oval and a state-of-the-art water reticulation system. The state has offered to provide $8 million. I call upon the state to request $1.4 million from the Commonwealth. Dr Nelson has indicated that it is a project which would fall within Commonwealth guidelines. That would be a tremendous way of producing cooperation between the Commonwealth and the state and of delivering to Somerville not just the school but the arts centre, the oval and the water reticulation system.