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Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Page: 8251

Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (22:15): I rise this evening to discuss the record investment in education that is occurring in my electorate of Greenway thanks to the government's Building the Education Revolution, the extremely positive local reception of each of these investments, and to pay tribute to the schools of Greenway.

Over the winter recess I had the privilege of attending eight Building the Education Revolution recognition ceremonies in Greenway. At every single opening teachers, support staff, parents and students could not have been more supportive or appreciative of the federal government's investment in education.

In my first speech I discussed the power of education to effect change. This government has committed to ensuring that education remains one of the top priorities in our plan for this country's future, and that is why when we were faced with the global financial crisis we chose to invest in the future of this country: we chose to invest in education. I can think of few things more appropriate in times of global economic distress than to invest in the future of our children, and to keep decent, hard-working local tradespeople in work.

North-west Sydney, in which my electorate lies, is Australia's nursery. The Blacktown local government area, which is shared by the electorate I represent and the electorate of Chifley, has 75,000 people under the age of 14. That will surely increase when the latest census results are known. For this reason, investment in west and north-west Sydney is indeed an investment in the future of our country.

By investing in Girraween Public School, Hambledon Public School, Seven Hills Public School, Parklea Public School, Quakers Hill East Public School, John Palmer Public School in the Ponds, Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Seven Hills and Riverstone Public School we have indeed invested in this country's future.

I would like to pay tribute to all the principals and assistant principals of these schools, including Peter D'Ermilio, Louise Payne, Colin Ross, Steven Jones, Suzanne Dennis, Ross Sutherland, Karen Junor and Christine Burke. All of these fantastic schools have been granted the opportunity to construct brand-new facilities, which would not have been possible without this federal investment. Now that these projects are complete, teachers and children are enjoying teaching and learning in the best possible facilities.

I reiterate my view that in today's labour market, which is truly a global market, we cannot let luck determine the educational and career prospects of our children. This is why it is necessary to invest in the very best facilities and resources for our young people to give them the best possible opportunities, regardless of where they live or learn.

The opening of these brand-new facilities in my electorate coincided with the release of the BER Implementation Taskforce's final report into the nationwide project. It found that the majority of education authorities have successfully grasped the opportunity to build quality new school facilities, and have attained value for money in the BER implementation. This was indeed the case at every school I had the pleasure of visiting since I became the local member, and how great it was over the break to hear principals, project managers and P&C members delight in how hard they made these investment dollars work for their own projects.

I would like to recognise the commitment of all school communities in my electorate who helped make these developments possible. Without the cooperation of principals, teachers, support staff, families and local workers these schools would not have the 21st century facilities they so richly deserve and now enjoy. As I have said on many occasions, I firmly believe that the future of our country lies in our growth sectors of west and north-west Sydney, and I reiterate this government's commitment to invest in education in Greenway.

I would also like to mention the great success that was Public Education Week, which was held from 1 August to 5 August. During this week I had the pleasure of attending many schools, including addressing Barnier Public School in Quakers Hill to discuss the importance of public education. I would like to thank principal Rod Gibbs and all his team for their hard work, and I reaffirm my commitment to supporting public education.

There are few things in my job that I find more enjoyable than visiting the schools in Greenway, and I would like to thank all schools and their principals for their support, hospitality and—as I promised I would mention—their fantastic morning teas during my visits over the past few weeks.