Thursday, 28 May 2009
It is interesting to follow the member for Stirling and his diatribe in relation to the effects of the stimulus packages on local communities. He clearly does not get out and talk to people in the community about the effects they are actually having. In the seat of Dobell the cash payments that were made in the first part of the stimulus package had a remarkable effect on maintaining employment in the retail area. Retail on the Central Coast is the biggest employer. The purpose of those payments was to make sure that the retail sector did not collapse, as has happened around the world. To that extent, the cash stimulus was an overwhelming success in the seat of Dobell.
I want to focus more on the spending of the Rudd government on education and schools. In the most recent announcement for round 2 of the National School Pride Program, 17 schools in my electorate of Dobell on the Central Coast of New South Wales will receive $2.55 million for minor infrastructure and refurbishment projects. This is part of the $4.4 million of total funding for the Central Coast region under the second round of the National School Pride Program. This program is one of the three elements of the Rudd government’s $14.7 billion Building the Education Revolution. It will deliver much-needed funding for school infrastructure projects and, importantly, support local jobs.
Each one of the 17 schools, plus the 30-odd schools that received funding in round 1, will become a mini job centre, with many local tradesmen being employed. Again, this is particularly important for my seat. There is a much higher proportion of tradies living in the seat of Dobell than in most other electorates. Unfortunately, a lot of those tradies have to commute to Sydney, a couple of hours away, every day. Not only is this providing work for them generally but it is providing work for them locally and that is beneficial for the local economy and has social implications as they do not have to have a four-hour round commute.
Our local schools and communities benefit because of the vital school infrastructure and the jobs that are created. The $1.3 billion National School Pride Program will deliver much-needed funding for school infrastructure projects and support local jobs. Together with round 1, the National School Pride Program will deliver $7.375 million to 45 primary and secondary schools in Dobell. That will have a major stimulus effect on local jobs and the community. In total, the two rounds will inject $16 million into the Central Coast economy. Construction and refurbishment work will commence as soon as possible, with many of the National School Pride projects planned to begin shortly. The next few months will be exciting as investment in our schools will flow down to local businesses and others in the construction industry.
In the first round of Primary Schools for the 21st Century, three schools in Dobell were selected to receive much-needed funds for infrastructure. Dooralong Public School will get $140,000 for a new COLA and $110,000 for a classroom upgrade. Tacoma Public School is getting $2 million for a new hall and COLA. Wyong Grove Public School will get money for a new hall and COLA too. Wyong Grove Public School is a particularly disadvantaged school. Many kids turn up to this school without having had breakfast, and the school has a very good breakfast program. This school would never have been able to get the infrastructure that is being provided if it were not for this program.
The important part of this program is that these halls are also for community use. It is not just creating jobs and making the schools better for our children but also making sure there is this connection with the community. When we went to Tacoma Public School there was a huge welcome sign that said that this was the best thing that had happened to Tacoma, and I would have to concur with that.
These projects are important. The stimulus package that the Rudd government introduced is having real effects locally—creating real jobs and assisting the community with vital infrastructure.
Question agreed to.