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Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9499


Mr BIDGOOD (9:34 PM) —The Rudd Labor government is absolutely resolute in its commitment to Building the Education Revolution. We on this side of the House believe in investing in our students. We understand that they are our future and they are worth investing in.

Three programs are the key elements of our $16.2 billion investment into our schools. They are: firstly, Primary Schools for the 21st Century, $14.1 billion to build or refurbish large-scale infrastructure in primary schools, kindy to grade 12 schools and special schools, including libraries, halls and classrooms; secondly, Science and Language Centres for 21st Century Secondary Schools, $821.8 million to build science laboratories or language learning centres in our secondary schools; and, thirdly, the National School Pride program, $1.3 billion to refurbish and renew existing infrastructure and build minor infrastructure in all schools.

These are all programs that will benefit our schools and students now and in years to come, and these are all programs which were rejected by those opposite. The rejection of investment in our schools by the opposition is nothing more than rank opportunism for the sake of short-term political headlines in a newspaper, and the public know it.

The Liberal-National Party have shown their true colours and they have shown how out of touch they are with parents, teachers and students at our schools—the very people who will benefit directly from our investment in the Building the Education Revolution. Every Liberal and National Party member in this place has schools in their electorate that will be funded by this program—and with no thanks at all to them. In Dawson, in total there are more than 70 schools and more than 240 projects worth over $94,884,000. Whether the schools are public or private, religious or non-religious, city or country, we are investing real dollars and real bricks-and-mortar infrastructure in our schools. We in the Labor Party have the political will and determination to deliver for our schools top-class 21st century educational facilities, and we will not allow a weak and divided opposition to detract from the fact that this is good news for our nation and good news for the students and parents in Dawson.

We understand that education is key. Without government’s continued investment into our places of learning we will not be in the best possible position to train our future doctors, lawyers, mechanics, engineers, nurses and plant operators. We on this side want to grow our schools and increase facilities for learning. Those on the opposite side would rather mock and block this historic investment, rather than stand up for their local teachers, students and P&Cs. We have a political will to vote and invest over $16 billion into our schools. We voted to support construction at every one of our schools. We voted for nation-building infrastructure and local jobs for our local communities.

It is the Rudd Labor government that is building the best facilities, the best halls, the best libraries, the best science labs and the best language centres in our schools. It is the Rudd Labor government that voted for refurbishments, that voted for new play areas and sporting facilities. It is the Rudd government that voted for new trade training centres, new computer labs and new technologies to make the most of the new learning opportunities that our kids are presented with. It is the Rudd government that voted for local jobs. That is right: these new halls and classrooms will employ local working people, stimulating local economies at a time when builders and labourers need the work, and I know that is so much the case in the seat of Dawson.

Today I had the honour to meet with students and teachers from Mackay Christian College and Northview State School. Both schools were on excursion here—from my electorate to the nation’s capital. These bright and enthusiastic young men and women will benefit from this government’s education revolution. I always enjoy visiting schools in my electorate and know that principals, teachers and students fully support the investment in their schools. These include schools such as Eimeo Road State School, which, while I was on a visit to that beautiful school, proudly showed me the plans for their new $1.2 million multipurpose hall and their new $1.8 million library; Fitzgerald State School, where the P&C president and the principal showed me work on their new $2.6 million hall; and Mackay Central State School, where I inspected construction work on their $1.7 million hall with the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in July 2009. The same could be said about parents and teachers I met at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, at Mackay West State School, at Whitsunday Anglican School and at Beaconsfield State School. (Time expired)