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Wednesday, 1 November 2000
Page: 21915

Ms ELLIS (9:40 AM) —In the brief time available to me this morning, I want to congratulate a local primary school in my electorate. Mount Neighbour Primary School, in the suburb of Kambah, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The relevance from my perspective and from that of the community is that the Mount Neighbour school was the first primary school to be built in the Tuggeranong Valley, an urban part of Canberra that is now home to 90,000 people. The school opened at the beginning of the school year in 1975. It was officially opened in June of that year by a previous member of this House, Mr Kep Enderby.

It took only a very few years for the population at Mount Neighbour Primary School to reach the figure of 600. That was back in the days, and leading into the period, when the Tuggeranong Valley was affectionately known locally as `nappy valley'. The growth rates in that area for some years were maintained at a record level for Australia—in fact, topping the urban growth rate for the country for some years. Mount Neighbour obviously had a very strong role to play in that regard.

The current school population is about 200. There is a wonderful community spirit surrounding the school. The school program includes peacekeeper roles for students within the playground. They have an enrichment program for all students, whereby people from the outside community come to the school and involve the students in activities ranging from mechanics, at one end of the spectrum, to ballet and craft at the other. There are two classes at the school which specialise in teaching children with disabilities. I understand there are 14 children in the integration program within the school. The advice I have is that the way that these children are taught is to the absolute credit of the staff and the community at the Mount Neighbour school. Recently, four children from the disability class group participated in Wakakirri, a national dance festival. I know that the people who ran the national dance festival were more than impressed by the ability of that school to include four children from that special area of the school.

The school community has celebrated their 25th birthday very well, with a range of activities and special celebrations which included students, staff, the P&C, parents and the general community around the school. Some people do not realise that, in looking at Canberra, our history is now beginning to really take hold. Mount Neighbour Primary School is very much part of that history. As it was the first primary school in the Tuggeranong Valley, a very vital part of my electorate, I take this opportunity to congratulate the community then and the current community, and to wish Mount Neighbour, that wonderful school, ongoing success.