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Thursday, 12 March 2009
Page: 2567

Mr GRAY (Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia) (9:45 AM) —It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak on the Rudd government’s Building the Education Revolution package. I have some of the most dedicated principals and teachers working in my electorate. The parents and students in the southern metropolitan area of Perth are indeed fortunate and blessed to have both a federal government prepared to stand behind education and to support and drive an education revolution, and a state government that is also standing behind the professional teachers and ensuring that their salaries and conditions are what they need to be to reward people for the extremely difficult work that they do in our schools. The commitment, passion and expertise of our teachers often go unrecognised.

The government has announced a $14.7 billion school modernisation program that will go a long way to make the jobs of our teachers easier and give our children the facilities that they deserve. Each of the 65 schools in my electorate will be able to access up to $200,000 to fund small-scale infrastructure buildings and refurbishments. All primary schools in my electorate, and across the country, will be eligible for up to $3 million to construct or renew large-scale infrastructure, and the 20 secondary and K-to-12 schools in my electorate will be able to apply for a science laboratory or language learning centre.

At Rockingham Beach Primary School, one of the older schools in my electorate, principal Gary Crocetta hopes to use the Building the Education Revolution funding to replace five demountable classrooms with permanent structures. He believes this is especially important for the two demountables which will be used for early childhood education classrooms. At Calista Primary School in Kwinana they hope to build a new multipurpose facility that amongst other things can be used for music and art and craft facilities. Principal Glenn Edwards and the Calista School community were meeting last night to discuss their proposals as well as the school’s plan to replace their cement walkways, which pose a trip hazard, with much safer and kid-friendly synthetic rubber surfaces.

A 2008 report by the Australian Council for Educational Research highlighted that the number of high school students studying science has almost halved since the mid-1970s, and I was especially pleased to read a letter from Kolbe Catholic College’s Caroline Payne which outlined her plan to apply for specialist chemistry laboratories. The school already had this facility on their master plan for completion in 2015. That meant that even current year 7 students at Kolbe would never receive the benefits of the resource. It is now clear from the government’s announcements and response of Kolbe College that not only will students be able to benefit from this significant investment but also students who are currently entering the school will be able to complete their studies using absolutely outstanding state-of-the-art infrastructure supplied and supported by current government policy. (Time expired)