House debates

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Constituency Statements

Fraser Electorate: Education

10:16 am

Photo of Daniel MulinoDaniel Mulino (Fraser, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to pay tribute today to the extraordinary teachers, educators and school leaders working so hard right now across Fraser and to all the work that they have contributed throughout this year. This has been a year like no other. The impact has been felt in workplaces and within families around Australia, but it has been especially profound in Victoria and in communities like Fraser. I acknowledge that, after a long and challenging year, this week marks the end of the VCE and VET examination period for thousands of students. In fact, the final exam was Italian, held yesterday afternoon. Notwithstanding the fact that I was born in Italy, I would have failed it badly, making me the black sheep of the family. But that is another issue.

Today, I particularly thank all the year 11 and year 12 students who have done so much incredible work through remote and virtual education that enabled VCE students to feel as supported and confident as possible as they've tackled their exams. In the meetings I've been able to hold by Zoom this year with students and teachers, I've heard how year 12 students have overcome so many of the challenges that this year has posed. In doing so, they've shown great independence and resilience and have built up their capacity to achieve academically and more generally in their lives. On behalf of the Fraser community and, I'm sure, all the members of this House, I wish every success to Fraser's VCE, VET and VCAL students both as they await their results and in the opportunities that await them in their lives to come.

This year has had a huge impact on students of all ages. My daughter completed a disrupted prep this year, and I saw firsthand how much teachers and other staff working in schools had to invest in building remote learning facilities from scratch and adjusting their teaching practices in order to provide students with the support that they needed. To all of the teachers in Fraser, thank you for the incredible contribution you make in our community, especially amid the extraordinary circumstances that we've confronted this year. I'm full of admiration for the way in which teachers at government, Catholic and independent schools have pivoted adeptly between remote and onsite learning, often at short notice.

Unfortunately, the experience of remote learning has highlighted some of the deficiencies in this government's communication policies. My office received many calls from families who were struggling with slow internet speeds and NBN connections which hadn't yet taken effect. More than ever, this year has highlighted the importance of delivering outstanding educational opportunities to all Australian children, especially in communities like mine in the outer suburbs, where Labor's extra investment in schools would have made such a huge difference. As this academic year draws to a close and restrictions finally ease, I look forward to meeting again with students, teachers and principals and to announcing the winners of the inauguration Fraser young leaders awards.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 10:19 to 10:29