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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 6015

Mr DREYFUS (6:01 PM) —In these difficult times, the Rudd government is working hard to support jobs and businesses now, and build economic prosperity for the future. The Building the Education Revolution program is a critical part of this plan. The Education Revolution highlights this government’s commitment to the thousands of students and parents around Australia who will benefit from investment in local communities and improved facilities in schools.

There has been $62.7 million already allocated to schools in my electorate of Isaacs in rounds 1 and 2 of the primary school program. I am speaking constantly to school principals in my electorate and they tell me that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost learning resources and bring their schools into the 21st century. This funding will provide major infrastructure works in all schools across Isaacs, as well as essential maintenance which will rejuvenate our local schools by providing school refurbishments and upgrades to existing classrooms. Every primary school in my electorate will receive either a new hall, a library, a learning centre or classrooms. These new facilities will provide modern venues to enhance the learning experience of local students.

Just last Tuesday, I was joined by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Victorian Premier and the Victorian Education Minister, Ms Bronwyn Pike, at Chelsea Heights Primary School for the announcement of $2.5 million in funding for a multipurpose hall there. Danny Mulqueen, the school principal, was ecstatic at the news, which he says will give his students a better and safer learning environment, in particular, for physical education and performing arts.

There is a range of other school projects which have been announced in round 2 of the Building the Education Revolution funding. This includes Rowellyn Park Primary School—a very large primary school in Carrum Downs—where there are $3 million to build new classrooms and a learning resource centre; Carrum Downs Primary School, where there are $3 million in funding to build a new multipurpose hall; Skye Primary School, which has been granted $3 million to build new classrooms and a learning resource centre; St Joachim’s Catholic Primary School, which has been granted $2.5 million to build a new multipurpose hall; Patterson Lakes Primary School, which has received $3 million to build a new multipurpose hall; St Louis de Montfort’s Catholic Primary School, which has received $3 million to build a new multipurpose hall and library; and St Anthony’s Primary School, in Noble Park, which has received some $3 million to build new classrooms and refurbish existing classrooms.

I went to St Anthony’s Primary School just last week and spoke at length to the excellent principal of that school, Marg Batt, and some of her students and teachers. Indeed, I have spoken to principals, teachers and parents at each of the schools in my electorate, and I know from them directly just how delighted they are—along with the whole of their school community—with the funds that have been made available.

As the largest school modernisation program in Australia’s history, it delivers long-term benefits to students and schools. I am proud to see funding for these works assisting schools in my electorate. These projects are supporting local jobs during this global economic downturn. I find it bizarre that members opposite have come out criticising these works. They are trying to run a dishonest scare campaign on debt, yet they have no alternative plan of action when it comes to dealing with the effects of the global financial crisis on local jobs or on the local economy.

This government has placed investment in education front and centre in its response to the current global economic crisis. As the global economy is experiencing its worst recession since the Great Depression, it is important for investment spending to take place now in order to support local employment and future productivity. This government understands the critical importance of education to future productivity growth in our economy. There is a strong link between the development of infrastructure and education services and an increase in productivity in the long term.

I have no doubt that these major infrastructure works that give our local primary schools new libraries, classrooms and multipurpose halls will help contribute to an increase in our nation’s social capital. I look forward to seeing the fruits of this program when these major works are completed. I know that many workers in my electorate are thankful to the Rudd government for this stimulus spending, as it has helped keep them employed while delivering the infrastructure that our local schools need.