Sep 16, 2008

Orange Grove Public School 125th Birthday Celebrations

Orange Grove Public School 125th Birthday Celebrations

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) (4.04 p.m.)—It gives me great pleasure to speak about an important event which will take place in my electorate this Friday: the 125th birthday celebrations of Orange Grove Public School in Lilyfield. The P&C at Orange Grove call the school ‘the bush school in the heart of the city’ because of the amazing fact that, when the school was founded in 1883, it was indeed a bush school on the edge of a growing city. The celebrations on Friday will include the cutting of the cake by the oldest surviving student of the school, who is 92, and two of the youngest—one from kindergarten and one from the preschool. The school was one of the first institutions of public education in Australia. It was built by a government which has long since been forgotten but which left a legacy for the people of Leichhardt, Lilyfield and Rozelle which lasts to this day. I congratulate the school on this milestone.

Public schools in Grayndler today contribute significantly to the advancement of the community by giving a first-class education to local students and providing space for locals to come together. On Saturday I will spend some time at another school in my electorate, at the Dance Around the World celebrations at Marrickville West Primary School. The day is a fantastic event, with dance performances by students, dancers and community dance troops. It is events like these, hosted by local schools, that bring our community together.

Just as the establishment of schools like Orange Grove by governments of the 19th century was a significant policy revolution in Australia, today the Rudd Labor government is committed to a new education revolution for the 21st century. Nine schools in Grayndler will receive 1,200 new computers under the National Secondary School Computer Fund. Four schools in Grayndler, from a group of 10 Sydney-wide, will soon be able to send students for specialised trade training at the new centre to be built in Burwood, run by Catholic Education, with $11 million committed to fund construction. I was pleased to visit John Burns school recently in Lewisham to discuss this proposal.

Four schools in Grayndler will receive $26,500 funding under the Rudd Labor government’s Whole of School Intervention Strategy, which encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, their communities and the schools to work together to address barriers to education. Other programs, including Asian languages in schools, support for literacy and numeracy and the Local Schools Working Together Pilot Program are all part of the Rudd government’s education revolution. Nothing can be more important than giving support to all schools, whether private or public, in my electorate and giving young people the opportunity to make a success of their lives, which begins with a good education system.