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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 6791

Mr MURPHY (9:35 PM) —Tonight I speak on the extensive and impressive commitment that the Rudd government has made to education in our country. Most recently, the government announced a record $62.1 billion investment in education for 2009-12. In particular, the government is investing $14.7 billion to boost the education revolution over the next three financial years through the Building the Education Revolution program. The recent allocation of these funds in the budget is almost double the $33.5 billion invested in the last four years for funding and infrastructure. The Rudd government’s education revolution ensures that every Australian primary and secondary student can enjoy a world-class education in an environment conducive to learning, supported by world-class facilities. In this regard the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard, who is the Minister for Education and the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, announced that the Building the Education Revolution program will provide $12.4 billion for the Primary Schools for the 21st Century program, $1 billion for the Science and Language Centres for the 21st Century Secondary Schools program and $1.3 billion for the National School Pride program. This funding will provide an invaluable improvement to facilities for teachers and students well into the 21st century. Importantly, this funding supports jobs now and provides necessary infrastructure for our country’s future.

I support all of these improvements to all schools across Australia. During question time last Tuesday I asked the Minister for Education, the Hon. Julia Gillard, a question about the recent media reports concerning the Building the Education Revolution program. The minister responded to my question by acknowledging that 42 schools in my electorate of Lowe are receiving more than $53 million through the Building the Education Revolution. Further, the minister noted that this program constituted the biggest school modernisation program our country has ever seen. And while the opposition opposed the measure, I know firsthand that the 42 successful schools in my electorate of Lowe that voluntarily applied for the funding welcome the government’s decision to deliver those funds.

One school in my electorate, Holy Innocents School, Croydon, published a special announcement which informed parents and caregivers that the school had been successful in its BER P21 round 2 approvals. The Principal, Mrs Jennifer Gabbe, wrote the following to me:

The federal government has announced the BER P21 round 2 approvals and I am pleased to advise that our project has now been formally approved. Our school’s total project allocation is $1.8 million. We are now working with the Project Management Team to finalise plans for a multi-purpose hall and some modification to our existing library.

Mrs Gabbe continued:

Our thanks to the federal government for this initiative that will see our school community well equipped for educating students into the 21st Century.

I have no doubt that this program will greatly benefit students, teachers, jobs and, of course, the community as a whole.

As a condition of the program, schools must demonstrate the benefit provided to the wider community in the shared use of such new facilities. It is pleasing to note that the initiative also benefits the broader community. The numerous and very active community groups in my electorate will indeed benefit from the improvement and extension of these facilities in our local schools too. Successful schools in Lowe and across our nation have received funding for refurbishment, building upgrades, covered outdoor learning areas, the construction of brand new school halls, classrooms, libraries, language centres, science labs, multipurpose classrooms and the list goes on.

These funds are in addition to the digital education revolution funding which has already provided over 290,000 computers to more than 2,500 schools across Australia, including those in my electorate of Lowe. Further, the Rudd government has also invested in vocational education and training. The Trade Training Centres in School Programs is an important element of the government’s education revolution. An amount of $2.5 billion will be provided over 10 years to establish trade training centres in secondary schools to help increase the proportion of students achieving year 12 or an equivalent to address skills shortages in trades and in other emerging industries.

In Lowe, we look forward to the construction and commencement of our very own trades training centre in Burwood. Local secondary schools will now have increased access to high-quality skills training facilities following the announcement of $11 million in grants for inner-west schools under the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program. Under the proposal announced by the government, 10 local schools will be provided with $11 million to construct a new state-of-the-art vocational college in Burwood.

I am extremely pleased with the government’s commitment to our education system as its importance to the continued prosperity of any country cannot be stressed enough. I take this opportunity to congratulate all of the schools in my electorate who have been successful in the initial rounds of the Building the Education Revolution program and I look forward to further announcements which will continue to enhance the learning and teaching experience in schools I represent in this House.