PMB - Education

Private Members' Business - Education

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As the member for Lalor, I'm incredibly proud to represent one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. Not just are we growing quickly; it is a global community that I represent now. In the city of Wyndham, people come from over 100 countries to build a house, create a family and have their children educated. That's why I thank the member for Robertson for bringing this motion to the chamber today. It is in the gamut of education, from early education and child care through school education and TAFEs and the VET sector and higher education, that this government has gotten to work quickly. I want to acknowledge Minister Clare, Minister Aly and Minister O'Connor for their incredible work since taking government and their attention to detail across all of our education sectors.

Due to the cheaper child care we have introduced, 1.2 million Australians are paying less for child care. In fact, we have seen a reduction of 11 per cent. This means that more women are accessing early education and child care for their youngsters and more women are working. In an electorate where 100 babies or more are born a week to mums who live in my electorate, I am really proud of this commitment and proud to see this being enacted across the country.

That takes me to school education, which is absolutely critical. As a former educator and teacher of 27 years and a principal for the last eight years in the state sector in Victoria, I am incredibly proud of the way Minister Clare has tackled the first 20 months of being in government, getting down to addressing some of those critical areas. First and foremost is the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, which was set up to address two areas, both the quality of our teachers and the quality of teacher training and the teacher shortage. In an electorate like mine, that's causing enormous stress to principals, teachers and families. We are now in our second year of schools reporting to me that they are struggling with the teacher shortage not just in terms of subject areas but generally in terms of the number of teachers that they require. I am proud to be a member for Lalor who advocates on their behalf at both the state and federal levels.

In Lalor, there are 21,000 primary school students this year. There are 13,300 secondary school students this year. Education is about partnership. It's a partnership between state and federal governments. I am proud to say that the Victorian state Labor government has in the last 12 months opened seven new schools in the city of Wyndham. Fifty per cent of all new schools across Victoria were opened in the growth area that I represent.

I am proud of the way those schools are being presented. They are absolutely ready to roll on the first day, with a gymnasium, a library, beautiful classrooms and administration areas for staff. Gone are the days in our growth corridor when a school opened with four portables and a toilet block. Now children and families walk into a brand-new school that's fit for purpose.

The teacher shortage is something that I am working on every day. It's something that we will need to keep working on. But I'm proud of the things we as a government have done to date. I'm proud of the support we have received from other ministers around visas for overseas teachers to arrive in my community and take up teaching posts. I see that every time I walk into a school. I am proud, too, of the support being given to graduate teachers or those going into teaching with a scholarship of up to $40,000. I'm also really proud of what's happening in the national partnership agreement. I'm proud of the WA agreement, where Western Australian schools will all meet the SRS. I'm hoping that that extends across the other states, and I'm sure that Minister Clare is working on that every day.

Finally, I'd like to quickly mention that on Friday in my electorate I attended Total Window Concepts, where 80 of their workforce received a cert III in blinds, awnings, security screens and grills. This was delivered by a reputable RTO and supported by ITHEA, the Institute of Tertiary and Higher Education Australia, and the Frontline Group. Congratulations to those 80 apprentices for the completion of that certificate III.

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