Well thanks very much Moya.
First of all some ‘thank you’s’:
Thank you very much for having me with you today on this very very important occasion and for making me feel so welcome and for the tour of the facility. It just demonstrates what a wonderful job you’ve done in planning it with your team.
Can I also thank the Orchestra from the school on the entertainment at the beginning, I learned from your website that you have a long musical history, going back to the 1930’s when your school first participated in the Queensland wide Choral Competitions and obviously from the work that the guys have done here today, that musical reputation has continued on. So thank you very much for your presentations today.
And thanks Vince for your welcome to Country and please convey to your current elders my respects and my respects also to past elders.
Ladies and gentlemen, it really is a delight for me to be here today representing the Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne and the Parliamentary Secretary Scott Ryan. We are very proud as a government in what we have done and what intend to do and we are delighted that the Commonwealth Government has been involved in this wonderful facility to the extent of at least providing the money, if not getting involved in the nitty gritty. But it’s great that we are able to be involved in this way.
Can I also acknowledge, you Moya, and your fellow members from the Board of Advice, John Clarke, Mike Ashton, Gordon Royal. I want to particularly acknowledge Cr. Wally Brewer who as he says, is an old mate of mine from a long time back and to thank him and Cr. Rona Barley for the contribution that the Council has made to this facility.
I acknowledge Shane Kunuth the State member for Dalrymple and I want to acknowledge all of the other Principals of the Schools that are here today and indeed many of the students from those schools. It is important to see you here because I guess to a certain extent this facility is all about your future and it’s about making sure that all of you, no matter where you’re from, what’s your backgrounds, what school you go to, that you do have the opportunities to get ahead and do well in what you want to do in life. And you can only do that these days with the right sort of training and this facility will provide that training for all of the students of this City and indeed the region of Charters Towers.
Its’ easy for me to be here, and sort of ‘sign the cheque’ and lift the veil off the plaque but I do recognise that to get to this point, Moya you and your team have had many many years, seven I understand, of long hard work and pushing and planning to get here. The opening of this centre is indeed a credit not only to the school community here but to the whole community and its clear that the community has been totally involved in getting this wonderful facility together.
What I have seen of the facilities are indeed excellent and create a wonderful environment that is conducive to enthusiastic and practical learning. We see here today before us, the new commercial kitchen and the restaurant and the alfresco dinning. If I have a complaint about the opening, it’s the fact that the restaurant isn’t operating today while we’re here, but it’s great to see. The construction and engineering work room here, the theory rooms and the amenities and administration block and just looking around, and I’m no great technical person myself, but the equipment here looks to be first class and of very high quality and therefore expensive and I can understand why every bit of the almost 6 million dollars has been well spent.
Look it’s particularly important in this day and age that we do have people well qualified in the industries that make Australia tick over, and I understand that this school will allow students to earn qualifications in Agriculture, so very important to Australia. I foresee a very very big future in agriculture as our Asian neighbours grow bigger and want better quality food. We are in a great place to produce that ‘clean and green’ food, but we do need skilled and qualified people to do it. Farming these days is not just about going out and picking up a shovel and turning a sod, you really got to know what you’re doing, so I’m delighted to see that agriculture is one of the things that will be taught here.
Construction is so very important in a growing economy, a growing region like Northern Australia as is Engineering, Resources, Infrastructure and I come back to hospitality. In my line of work I see a lot of restaurants and café’s and hotels around Australia and indeed the world and it is so essential that the simple things in hospitality, like how to fill a red wine glass, not right up to the brim but to the right spot, and how to make people coming into the hospitality area feel that their wanted there, is so very important and I know that this particular facility will train in those basic skills in hospitality.
This will help with the tourism for which Charters Towers is so well renowned. I understand that the facility will address some other needed skills in this community where there are shortages and I am told that there are over 20 trades that do need the skilled people that this facility will help in producing.
Ladies and gentlemen as I say I am very pleased the Commonwealth has been able to be part of this project by providing the money. It’s part of our ongoing goal to make sure that all Australian students have the very best opportunity to learn and succeed and as a government we are doing that by focusing on four main areas of education – that is ensuring the national curriculum is robust, independent and balanced. We also want to make sure that we have the very best teachers possible by increasing the quality of teachers. We want to increase the autonomy of all schools around Australia so that schools can focus on what they know they do best and know how to do it best and we also are placing a large emphasis on getting parents more and more involved in the school communities because in the end result, it’s the parents of the children working together with the teaching staff, that will tell a community what sort of education they want and need. And all of this is being done by the government, and by the people in this community, to make our country more productive, more competitive and even more admired by other countries around the world who already look up to Australia.
Ladies and gentlemen it is a delight to be in Charters Towers doing something with education because of course Charters Towers has a long and distinguished reputation as a centre of very very high quality education. I note Moya that your School is 102 years old and of course I am old enough to remember the days when people all over the west and the North came to Charters Towers for the wonderful private boarding schools that were here and that quality education, that reputation for good education continues on and it is lovely to be part of that ongoing reputation of Charters Towers that sees this facility opened today. I am very very pleased on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, and indeed can I say, on behalf of the whole community, to officially declare open this Dalrymple Trade Training Centre.