House debates

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Constituency Statements

Mallee Electorate: Schools

4:33 pm

Photo of Anne WebsterAnne Webster (Mallee, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week I had the joy of opening the new Henderson College learning hub and technology rooms. I'm very proud to say that the Liberal-National government is delivering to schools in the regions. The $1.6 million investment into this project supports years 5 to 8 with new food technology and fabrics technology rooms, as well as four general-purpose classrooms, two tutorial rooms and an outdoor learning space. The school also contributed $1.47 million to this project.

Henderson College in Mildura was established in the 1950s in a small residential dwelling and has now grown to over 200 prep to year 10 students. From humble beginnings, the school is now thriving, and the kids couldn't be happier. The school principal, Sandra Ferry, was teaching at the new site in the 1980s and has been successfully guiding the school forward to what it is today. My own children attended the school in the early 1990s, and I am amazed by the development since then.

I want to thank two grade 6 students, Sadie and Talitha, for hosting me around the new building. It's wonderful to see the pride these students take in their school. They took me to their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden, and I saw the variety of fruits and vegetables being grown by all of the children., from pumpkins, spinach, tomatoes and herbs to stone fruit trees and even a very healthy lemon tree. The strawberry I picked was delicious. The school students then sat with me for a lunch prepared by the students of grade 5. Henderson College is one of the several independent schools across Mallee that has benefited from Commonwealth government capital grants programs.

Others include: Holy Trinity Lutheran College in Mildura, which received $1 million in November; St Mary's Primary School in Swan Hill, which has received $1.2 million, and St Mary's in Robinvale, which has received $1.5 million. I recently visited St Marys in Robinvale and looked over the plans for the new administration building with Tim Larkin, the deputy principal. Tim spoke with me about the school's vision for the future. While visiting St Mary's, it was great to see the completed upgrades to the basketball courts and the new cricket net, also made possible through federal government support. The school offers education to many underprivileged children in Robinvale and is truly a diverse school, with 30 nationalities represented. What a rich educational experience for these kids. St Mary's fulfils a specific need in the region and brings quality education to the children of Robinvale.

The Commonwealth government supports all schools around the country. The 2021 budget has committed a record $21.1 billion for all Australian schools. (Time expired)