House debates

Wednesday, 20 February 2019


Adelaide: High School Zoning

7:39 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Hindmarsh, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak tonight in complete outrage at what the Marshall state Liberal government in South Australia has done this week. What they've done is rip the rug of security out from under inner-western suburbs families. Without any warning, the Marshall Liberal government has announced changes to the Adelaide High School zones that will exclude suburbs in the inner west—suburbs such as Torrensville, Mile End, Hilton, Richmond, Marlestone, Kurralta Park, Glandore, Black Forest and Clarence Park—all of which previously had been in the zone. There had been a promise by the Marshall Liberal government, then in opposition, that they would not change the zones. It was a promise that was made in the lead-up to the last state election. This week we saw them backflip on that promise and pull the rug out from under a lot of families who had specifically moved into that area so their children could go to Adelaide High School. The plans of many families who, as I said, moved in so their kids could go to Adelaide High School have now been up-ended with no consultation and no warning.

It was an election promise to expand the schools to include year 7 students. The state Liberals assured constituents, when they were asked, that this would not impact the take or the rezoning of these schools. As soon as they were elected, in less than a year, they backflipped. When he was asked about it, the Minister for Education, John Gardner, said there was plan to change any zones. Fast-forward a few months and they've thrown that right out the window, letting down all those families.

I must pay tribute to some of my state colleagues who have been running a campaign against this. Jayne Stinson, the member for Badcoe, and Tom Koutsantonis, the member for West Torrens have been supporting literally hundreds and hundreds of families who have contacted them in anger. The same families are contacting me via email and telephone calls and through Twitter and other social media. They are angry that they were told something before the election and told something straight after the election, and they were lied to. These people have a right to be angry. They currently have a petition going around that has already gained thousands of signatures since the week of the announcement. Families are pleading with the Marshall Liberal government to do the right thing and reinstate the original zones for Adelaide High School and Adelaide Botanic High School. I urge Mr Marshall to listen to these families and do the right thing by making good the commitment he made prior to and after the state election. It will reinstate confidence in our public school system, which is something, I know, that the Liberal state government have trouble funding and supporting in a meaningful way.

Why must I again raise this issue? Why is it always the inner-western suburbs that miss out in South Australia? Why is it always those suburbs that I mentioned earlier? Is it because they elect Labor MPs in those areas and therefore the government think they can cut them off and not worry about them? This was a promise that was made prior to the state election, and the government should keep their promise. They should make sure that they rezone the area to include the suburbs that I mentioned—suburbs where people bought houses, moved into specifically, so their children could go to Adelaide High School. It is a great high school, which I attended for a number of years in the seventies.

These parents have an absolute right to be angry, to feel that they've been lied to and to want the Liberal state government in South Australia to do something about it, rather than wiping their hands and saying it's got nothing to do with them; it's just part of the rezoning. They promised prior to the state election that there would be no changes. They were elected and, when they announced that year 7 students would go into high school, they again promised that there would be absolutely no change to the rezoning. Here we are a few months later and they have lied to the parents, their constituents. They've lied to the people who made a commitment to buying and renting houses in particular areas so their children could go to Adelaide High, which specialises in languages, sport and many other activities for students. I urge the Premier of South Australia—the Liberal Premier, Mr Marshall—to reverse his decision, to make sure that he commits to the promises he made, and to ensure that those parents have a fair hearing. There will be more noise made about this. I can see this carrying on until the decision is overturned. (Time expired)