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Tuesday, 16 September 2003
Page: 1

Mr LINDSAY (9:14 PM) —Tonight I want to congratulate the students and staff at Kelso State School in Thuringowa, who have shown how a smaller school can make a big impression on their local community and on their environment. Recently I visited the school, and it was wonderful to see the positive and enthusiastic contribution that all students at the school are making to their local area. I was privileged to represent the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and to present an impressive plaque publicly recognising Kelso as a reef guardian school.

Kelso State School has been working closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to make a difference today and, importantly, to make a difference tomorrow. So, what has Kelso State School been doing? Every single child involved in the school has been involved in varying levels of education on the reef and, more importantly, protecting and sustaining our reef to enjoy in future years. This was a mammoth job for teachers to work together across the school, providing the highest standards of education for our young children while providing a community service at the same time.

Students from across the school have been involved in litter surveys and water usage surveys throughout the city, and they have been disgusted at the results. This level of disgust has motivated hundreds of them to do something about it, ranging from giving mum and dad a hard time if they leave the sprinkler on too long to giving a person in the supermarket a reprimand for not thinking and throwing litter on the ground. Collectively the whole school has started—with the help of local water authorities and the Thuringowa City Council—a recycling program, which focuses on `reuse and recycle'. Activities range from encouraging litter-free lunches and creating a compost heap to installing recycle bins in the school. The school is organising a petition, as I speak to the parliament tonight, to make our whole local area a plastic bag free zone, after learning from the recent Clean Up Australia Day statistics that plastic was one of the largest pollutants in Australia.

The lower school has made rubbish bin monster glove puppets. This has been a huge success. While playing with their puppets, the children are enjoying picking up litter in a safe, fun and protected way. The cleaners have come on board and have changed habits, only spraying half as much, as is necessary for health standards, and blow-vacuuming more to clean school areas. The school has held an environmentally friendly car wash, educating the community on best practices for washing cars as well as tips for saving water around the home. The mammoth whole school project culminates in a theatre restaurant to be held on 15 November 2003. The theatre restaurant, with its theme `Reef Lightning', will carry with it a strong environmental message encouraging people to think about the environment in their everyday lives.

I close with a piece of philosophy that originates from Kelso State School in Thuringowa, Townsville. It goes like this: the notion of being a greenie is surely one that has passed its use by date. Today the students from Kelso State Primary School are leading the way by sending a very simple but clear message: we have to play our part in protecting the environment; change may not happen overnight, but it has to happen for our future's sake. The philosophy of this speech tonight is summed up in the final lines of Kelso school's creed, which simply says: our future's in our hands.