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Tuesday, 4 April 2000
Page: 15195

Mr PRICE (10:30 PM) —Mr Speaker, it is with considerable pleasure that I advise you and all honourable members that the New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, Mr John Aquilina, was in my electorate and, whilst there, made what I thought to be a very important announcement that will affect many generations of students there. That announcement was that the new senior campus for the Chifley College will be built on land between the Mount Druitt TAFE, one of the largest TAFEs in Western Sydney, and Loyola Senior College.

This is an undertaking of some $12.5 million. The buildings will be ready for occupation in the year 2000. It was originally proposed that the senior college would be at Whalan campus, where currently the first intake of the Chifley College year-11 senior campus has commenced. Effectively, this would have meant renovating 30-year-old buildings and carrying out some new construction. No doubt during that period of construction there would have been disruption to those new students as well as to the remnant of the junior high school, which each year is shrinking. So I think this is a much, much better outcome for Chifley College senior campus.

However, I never ever expected that I would be able to stand in this House and say that on North Parade, Mount Druitt we are actually developing an educational precinct: we will have a TAFE, two senior high schools and also, down the road, Rooty Hill High School. Already some of the senior students from Whalan are undertaking courses at the TAFE college. In fact, there are enormous problems in busing those students to attend those TAFE courses. But, being located right alongside the TAFE and with very good transport access from all parts of Mount Druitt, this is an absolutely ideal solution. Not only that, but I believe with an educational precinct there will be synergies for all. We can actually get more value out of each institution. The sum will provide us with more value than all the individual parts. Let me give you an example, Mr Speaker. Let us say that at Chifley College there is half an electronics class and at either Loyola College or Rooty Hill High School there is another half an electronics class. Instead of not providing that subject at any location, I think we can, in a very good way, look at having the course provided by one of those institutions and the attendance there by the students from the other institutions not providing that course.

We already have had lots of discussions about how we can make these vocational courses on offer of real value to the students—actually give them a jump-start in their education. But I think one of the exciting things about this new Chifley campus, particularly in thinking of the library and the IT facilities that will be there, is actually having those facilities open for the community on a 24-hour-a-day basis. So not only will this $12.5 million be a worthwhile investment in our senior students but these facilities will be open for all sorts of students, even primary school students, and members of the community.

I applaud and congratulate the New South Wales Minister for Education and Training for his decision. I congratulate him for the decisions he has taken recently—not only for the changes in my electorate but for the changes stemming from the agitation in my electorate now being spread throughout New South Wales. I thank him for those decisions. I also thank the Carr government for its commitment for better student outcomes for senior students in areas like mine at Mount Druitt. I am sure that over the years we will look back at the Chifley College and at this decision and realise what a huge difference it has made to the life outcomes of the young people in my electorate. (Time expired)