Yan Yean electorate schools

I wish to raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Education. The action I seek is that he provide funding for the construction of a new school at Beveridge West. I was really pleased that in last year’s budget there was an allocation for land to build a school for this community. It is a rapidly growing community and needs that support. Education is Labor’s number one priority, and this is in stark contrast to those opposite.

The existing Beveridge Primary School has great leadership under the principal, Steve Fernando. It came into my electorate only at the last election. A number of students from the City of Whittlesea side that was previously in my electorate attended that school, so I had visited it over the years prior to actually representing that area. The school has very, very old buildings, and the student population has grown incredibly. It beggars belief that upon taking office those opposite actually cancelled an $850 000 rural school upgrade that had been allocated to this school in Labor’s final budget in 2010. Not only did they cancel that upgrade, but to add insult to injury the then Minister for Planning, now the Leader of the Opposition, extended the urban growth boundary to include the school. Then those opposite said, ‘You’ll no longer get your rurality bonus’. So a school that does not have reticulated water, does not have sewerage and has to provide its own water for firefighting had its budget cut when its student numbers had increased by about a third.

We are not standing still on the ground under our feet. We are actually responding to the growth in Beveridge, Wallan and that corridor. With the funding that we provided for Wallan Secondary College, that upgrade is going along swimmingly. We have a new children’s center in Wallan that is going really well. The education minister has paid a lot of attention to my community. We have had new schools built, the P–12 Mernda Secondary College and Mernda Park Primary School, and in fact we have a new one under construction right now in South Doreen, the Yarrambat Park primary school. I have every faith in this minister’s knowledge of the education needs in my community, and I look forward to when we receive funding to build this much-needed school.