Monday, 21 November 2011
Blair Electorate: Building the Education Revolution Program
The Building the Education Revolution program, as part of the nation building and stimulus plan of this government, has been a big success in the electorate of Blair: 64 schools; $105 million. Tonight I want to talk briefly about five local schools and commend them, and congratulate the school communities, the principals, the staff and the P&Cs for their wonderful work. Redbank Plains State School received $3.2 million; St Mary's Catholic Primary School, $3.2 million; Clarendon State School, $300,000; Claremont Special School, $925,000; and Silkstone State School, $3.7 million.
Redbank Plains on the eastern suburbs of Ipswich is the fastest growing suburb in the electorate of Blair, and the school received a much needed multipurpose hall. In the past, assemblies and events had to be held under an outdoor covered area which provided little protection from rain. They have used the $3 million for their wonderful new hall—a versatile facility that allows them to play indoor sports. The $200,000 we provided for data cabling, electricity and wireless capability has made an improvement to 20 general learning areas. I have been very impressed by the school and its commitment to the gifted and talented program as well as the special needs and learning support programs.
St Mary's Primary School is one of the oldest schools in Ipswich and the hall, which has been done up under the Building the Education Revolution, was the site of the first Catholic worship in Ipswich before they built the iconic Saint Mary's Cathedral. The Catholic community put in $900,000 to do additional work at the same time. This has provided an arts centre, features music and instrumental rooms and blends in well. It is a great example of the heritage of Ipswich being preserved. There are new classrooms, office space and a new learning enhancement centre.
Clarendon State School has what they call the 'Clarendome'. The principal, Ashley Wilson—and I wish him well in his recovery from his recent illness—has been there for 22 years. The Clarendome is an impressive dome shaped structure which features a stage area, insulated roofing and roller doors that can be operated to capture the breezes. The school community has grown to about 60 students, and they meet in what is probably one of the best equipped small schools in the region. We funded the improvements to the sporting program—football and soccer goalposts, and all-weather field event areas for sports such as long jump and discus—under the BER program. This is a school that has cared for the kids in the Somerset region for 80 years—a small school that has really taken to the sporting program. The delight on those young children's faces that day when we opened the Clarendome had to be seen to be believed. Claremont Special School has been in Ipswich for a long time. We are talking about a school that had a library which was basically a small room with a few books. It was wonderful to see the kids enjoying their new library. The school captains, Amanda Montell and Alan Ball, spoke wonderfully and well about what the library has meant to the whole school community. This is a special school. It has a bright, big space and you can see that the children love the library and the new resources. This school has served the Ipswich community for over 30 years. I congratulate the whole school community and particularly the principal, Trish Thiedeman. She had done a terrific job in the most difficult of circumstances. The $75,000 we provided for smartboards and the procurement of furniture for the school has made a big difference.
Silkstone State School is one of Ipswich's oldest schools, and $3.7 million has made a big difference to that school—with the refurbishment of their library and a new 1,000-seat facility in their multipurpose hall. It is a large school, like Redbank Plains. Redbank Plains has about 870 students and Silkstone has 820 students. Silkstone has a life skills area where students can learn, and it also has a breakfast club run by the chaplain and volunteers. The school's hall has been named after long-serving former principal Charles Kinne, who spent 27 years at the helm, from 1947 to 1974.
I congratulate the school communities. This is yet another demonstration of the fantastic success of the Building the Education Revolution program—sadly, opposed by the coalition parties and all those opposite within this chamber. (Time expired)