Shoalhaven Anglican School

Published on: March 2021

Record: HANSARD-1323879322-116141


Shoalhaven Anglican School

Mrs SHELLEY HANCOCK (South CoastMinister for Local Government) (13:04:40):

— I move:

That this House:

(1)Reaffirms its commitment to deliver a future education facility on the former Shoalhaven Anglican School site at Milton.

(2)Notes the Government has committed to relocate Budawang School to the site, with plans to deliver a world-class facility for the southern Shoalhaven well underway.

(3)Notes the site is not for sale and the Government can be trusted to deliver its commitments.

This Government understands that you can never overinvest in the future of the next generation. Our understanding of the importance of a good education is demonstrated in our continued delivery of educational services right across New South Wales. Just a few weeks ago the Premier joined me on the South Coast to reveal the master plan for Budawang School. The current Budawang site is highly constrained and the school is unable to take additional enrolments due to its size. Additionally, the land on which it sits is privately owned, with the lease on the school soon to expire. I have had a long connection to Budawang School and particularly enjoy its end‑of‑year assemblies. Parents, teachers and staff at the school have called for some time for a new facility to ensure that they can provide the best education to some of the most beautiful students in our community. The Government is not only delivering them a brand new school but also ensuring that more parents are able to access Budawang into the future.

I am pleased that the Government will deliver a brand new purpose-built Budawang School on the former Shoalhaven Anglican School site, which the New South Wales Government acquired in 2018 after a tireless campaign. More than 30 students will benefit from the Budawang School relocation and enrolments are expected to increase over the next two years. The relocated Budawang School for Specific Purposes will have an administration block, a hydrotherapy aquatics facility to cater for students with disabilities, a hall, a covered outdoor learning area and seven modern learning spaces. It has been master planned to allow for a possible expansion to 10 learning spaces if needed in the future. We want to provide a unique new school with modern facilities, tailored specifically to the needs of the students in this community.

The next steps for the relocation of the Budawang School for Specific Purposes are to submit the State significant development application, or SSD; award the construction contract; and continue consultation with the community. This will provide another opportunity for the community to provide their thoughts on the process. I  assure the community that, despite some discussion and misinformation that has been circulating, the remainder of the site will not be sold and the New South Wales Government will continue to work with local schools and their communities to identify its future use for education purposes. The master plan for the site also revealed that the remaining facilities at the former Shoalhaven Anglican School site will be used for future educational purposes. Let me be clear: The new Budawang School can and will operate on the same site as a future middle, secondary or senior school. This is not a matter of one or another; we will deliver both.

I am focused on ensuring that the education services our Government supports across the South Coast are fit for purpose now and into the future. That is why the Premier and I also announced that the site owned by the Department of Education at Garside Road, Mollymook, would be immediately withdrawn from sale. I was outraged when I learnt, at the same time as the community, that the Department of Education intended to sell the site. The 2.7 hectare site on Garside Road, Mollymook, was acquired by the Department of Education in 1986, and there has been a long-held expectation that it would be utilised as a school into the future.

Despite the Government purchasing the former SAS site in 2018 for a future school, it was simply unacceptable that the sale of Garside Road would proceed without any consultation with the community, nor surrounding school principals and education staff. It is extremely valuable land not just in terms of its monetary value but also the significant environmental benefits it brings to the Mollymook community. I made a strong appeal to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning and the Premier to withdraw the land from sale after the community raised concerns that the Department of Education had failed to consult on the plans for the sale. I thank Minister Sarah Mitchell and the Premier for listening to my community. We will now go back to them and involve them in any future decision around options on this land.

It is essential that we plan for the future. We need to better understand the southern Shoalhaven's education needs and involve the community in developing our future education plans. I will always advocate in the best interests of my community and will be ensuring that the land stays in government hands. It is important that community members continue to share their thoughts, concerns and ideas. We want to provide schools that will support the potential of our students and benefit the community for generations to come. Consultation has already commenced: The Premier and I joined Ulladulla High School principal Denise Lofts, Ulladulla Public School principal Trent Burns and Milton Public School principal Mark Thomson last month to discuss the future of education in the southern Shoalhaven and get their thoughts on the best use for those government‑owned sites. It was a very productive meeting and I thank the three principals for their time and insights.

As a former public high school teacher I know the importance of public education and will always advocate for the best facilities and services in my community. Further north in my electorate the State Government is drawing up plans to build a new primary school to educate the booming populations of Worrigee and South Nowra. We expect the new school to cater for at least 500 children, with the capacity to expand for up to 1,000 students. Consultation is underway, with many sites available to choose from, so that an exact location for the new school can be determined in the near future. The New South Wales Government is investing $7 billion over the next four years, continuing its program to deliver more than 200 new and upgraded schools to support communities across New South Wales. It is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of New South Wales. I am proud to be part of a government that is making plans to educate tomorrow's students today and I will continue to work with the community on these projects for the South Coast.

Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (13:11:22):

I contribute to the motion moved by the Minister and member for South Coast. I seem to know almost as much about the schools in the Minister's electorate as I do about my own because of the number of times that she has raised issues and advocated on behalf of her schools, local students and families. Members know about the Shoalhaven Anglican School site, the Budawang School and the work that she is doing to ensure that we support the education facility at the site in Milton. It is part of the Government's commitment to education more broadly. I have often said in this place that the most important task for the Government is to ensure that every child in our State gets the best possible start in life.

Education has been key in my own life, so I believe that children across our State deserve access to quality education. The Government is delivering on its commitments in Shoalhaven and Milton, but also across the entire State and in my own community, by making sure that communities have access to modern facilities and that students can benefit from the latest in school design, educational technologies and contemporary learning spaces. The Minister said "learning spaces"; I am still trying to get my head around the concept of learning spaces rather than classrooms. I am pleased to speak on the motion.

The Government is investing $7 billion over the next four years to deliver more than 200 new and upgraded schools across our State. Students in New South Wales will reap the benefits of new infrastructure and updated technology as part of the 2020‑21 New South Wales budget. Ensuring that local communities have access to modern school facilities will mean our kids have everything they need to excel. This record investment is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of New South Wales. It will give students additional permanent classrooms and learning spaces, and the other facilities that they require to learn and study in an environment that maximises their potential.

My own community of North Shore is seeing the benefits of the investment with significant upgrades to local schools planned and underway. Local families and school staff will soon see work underway on major upgrades at Mosman High School and North Sydney Demonstration School. We have worked with those school communities to co‑design state-of-the-art new buildings that will deliver for the learning needs of students and school staff. I thank the Government for the investment it is making in supporting local school communities with those upgrades. The much‑awaited upgrade to Mosman High School is progressing, with an early contract awarded and the State significant development application for the project due to be lodged very soon. That will give our local students the latest facilities and will increase capacity to support the growing school community.

The upgrade includes 16 new home base classrooms, new administration and staff facilities, a new library and a multipurpose gym and hall, along with new canteen facilities and outdoor and rooftop play space. Some people call it "play space"; in a high school context it seems more like a university campus. With this once‑in‑a‑generation project we are re‑envisaging the school as a modern place of learning for generations to come. It is the type of school that most people will never have seen before. It is not the type of school that members were taught in. The exterior design is complementary to the built environment, the natural environment and the village aesthetic of Mosman, which is incredibly important to the community. Inside we are creating a modern education precinct for current and future students.

Debate interrupted.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Lee Evans):

I shall now leave the chair. The House will resume at 2.15 p.m.

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