House debates

Monday, 18 October 2010


Building the Education Revolution Program

9:48 pm

Photo of Nick ChampionNick Champion (Wakefield, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise tonight to talk a little about school infrastructure and, in particular, the Building the Education Revolution. Much of this debate has become dominated by some of the headlines, the politics and the political attacks made by the opposition. What is often missed is what is actually happening in schools and communities.

I was very fortunate last Sunday to be able to drive up the Northern Expressway to the area around where I grew up, to a little town called Freeling. Freeling is a great town. It is predominantly a farming town. It is a town of farming families but it is increasingly a town that has a number of commuters in it. I know they will appreciate the Northern Expressway as well. The wonderful thing about Freeling is the great sense of community that you get there. I was very fortunate to go to Kapunda High School, where many of the kids from Freeling went to high school also. I remember the town fondly. I remember going to 21sts and various other parties there. I remember playing footy there. We always got beaten when I played in the under-17s at Freeling. It was not a very successful year for the Kapunda Bombers. But Freeling was a great little town in those days and it continues to be so.

This year Freeling marked the 150th anniversary of its founding, and the primary school marked the 100th year at its current site. It was a great day to go up and celebrate those milestones. But they were also celebrating the fact that they had completed their project under the BER, which was a covered outdoor learning area and some school library refurbishments. The funding that was provided to the school, some $925,000, was very gratefully received and has been put to tremendously good use. There were 200 or 300 people at the school—kids and families—there were a number of stalls run by the CFS and other community groups and there was a sausage sizzle, of course. It was great to see so many from the community out on a pretty cold Sunday to celebrate the opening of this very important piece of school infrastructure. The pride and the ownership that the town has for the school were both evident.

The project created 35 jobs in the community. The building of the project was done by Ahrens Design and Construction, which is a very prominent local construction company that is expanding out of its origins in Sheaoak Log and doing construction right around the country. It was tremendous to see the local community, the local school and the local construction company working together to deliver a project on time and on budget and that was gratefully received by the community. This kind of feeling in schools is often missed in some of the political rhetoric of those opposite and in much of the media. Nobody wants to cover a good news story these days.

Many of those involved in the day need to be thanked. First and foremost of these is Bob Wildy, the principal, a person who is very passionate about primary school education. Also there were Robert Hornsey, the Mayor of Light Regional Council, along with his wife, Anne; Jason Swight from Aherns Construction; Wayne Standish and Ron Kubisch from the local council; and Chris Heinjus, the chair of the school council. The MC was my old friend from Kapunda High, Dominic Sheppley, and his wife, Melissa Sheppley, worked on the sausage sizzle that day. It was great to see a lot of heart in that school, a tremendous commitment by the local community, a sense of ownership in the school and federal funding going to such a good use, providing jobs and local infrastructure to this great country town.