East Marden Primary School

Thursday 25 September, 2014

Mr TARZIA ( Hartley ) ( 15:32 :35 ): We saw yesterday how the government abandoned the people of Hartley, breaking their pre-election promise to upgrade the Paradise Interchange and build a park-and-ride facility. Today I draw the house's attention to another abandonment in the area of Hartley in regard to East Marden Primary School. This is a school in my electorate which has over 650 students.

East Marden Primary School is an important school in Hartley and services many of my constituents not only in areas like Campbelltown, Paradise, Felixstow and Glynde but also surrounding suburbs. East Marden has an exceptional standard of education and reputation in the public education system, with quite a close-knit parent-student community. You only have to look at East Marden's 2013 NAPLAN results to see that they were well above the state and federal averages. The results are a testament to the excellent approach to teaching of the principal and the teachers. I would also like to acknowledge the support of the hardworking governing council, which I recently had the opportunity to meet with. I also met with them before the election.

Recently, I am told that the school requested that two new transportable classrooms from the Department for Education and Child Development be built to consider catering for an increase in enrolments that it is expected will begin in 2015. However, it is my sad duty to inform the house that this reasonable request was rejected by the department.

I would also like to draw the house's attention to the concerns raised by the parents and the governing council about the number of outdoor toilet facilities available to students at this school. Would you believe, Deputy Speaker, that there is only one set of toilets available for over 650 students at recess and lunchtime? This is an unacceptable state of affairs; it is a disgrace. Shame on this government for allowing this to happen under their watch.

When I met with the Chair of the governing council recently, she raised a number of queries on behalf of parents. These are serious concerns about the dire state of their facilities, and I draw these to the attention of the house and the minister once again. I have a petition in my hand, which I may table down the track, which has already been signed by about 500 people from various parts of the community who are concerned about the lack of these facilities. The petition also raises legitimate concerns about how the school will cope with the influx of new enrolments without the additional facilities they are asking for.

If the education minister is serious about providing safe teaching, adequate classrooms, and sanitary and toilet facilities for our children, then she would reverse her department's decision to ignore the needs of East Marden Primary. The government should stop hiding behind this shabby blame game with the federal government about education funding. The minister, along with other members of the government, should take responsibility for their financial mismanagement of the state over 12½ years, because it has gone too far. Now, our children are actually wearing the cost of this government's abandonment of the South Australian economy.

I will be raising this with the federal education minister and colleague, Christopher Pyne, because I know that the federal government takes education in this state seriously, unlike members opposite. I will fight for the students and the parents of East Marden Primary who, once again, have been let down by this do-nothing, blame-shifting government. Unlike this government, while I am the member for Hartley, I will work with whoever is in power—the government of the day—to get the best results and best facilities for my community. I will not descend to blame-game, blame-shifting efforts. We are all here to do a job; that is, to get the best results for our community, and that is what I will be doing for the people of Hartley.