Friday, 20th July, 2018

Thank you very much for that lovely introduction and thank you young ladies for the way you’ve MCED today. You clearly are looking for a job on the ABC in the future as announcers, although I see, without embarrassing you, perhaps more interested in a career in hairdressing.  You look wonderful today.

But ladies and gentleman, good morning and could I also acknowledge Jake Randall. It’s great to be back at your school Jake and it’s a real pleasure for me to be here in this very spot twice in two years to see the continuing progress of this school. I bring with you greetings of the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and particularly my friend the Education Minister Simon Birmingham who likes to have an interest in these school openings particularly significant schools like this one but because he is a friend of mine he asked me to do this one as he knows how much I love coming out into the North West and particularly this part of the country and to be with you. So it’s a real pleasure for me to be here as well.


Can I acknowledge Cynthia Thomas and thank you very much for your welcome to your country. It’s great to be in a place where everyone is welcome and I want to thank you for that and also I joined with you in acknowledging your elders indeed all elders of this community for the work they have done over the years. I recognise a guy who almost has become an old friend the CEO of Nambour Christian College Bruce Campbell and Bruce you and your board have obviously done wonderful things for education right throughout Queensland and it’s great to see the Nambour Christian College again taking interest in the further advancement of education opportunities for people in the North West.


And Paul Doneley speaking on behalf of his mother. Thank you Paul for your work and please convey to your mother my congratulations on the work she’s done. It’s a fitting tribute to her work that the school has decided to name the middle school buildings after her. And Joel, Casie on behalf of the Edwards family thank you for the history. I’m not sure I ever met Mr Edwards, but I’ve heard a lot about him over the years and it’s a great tribute to him that his name will live forever at this school in the sports centre that’s been done here. I also do want to acknowledge the councillors from Carpentaria Shire Council who I had the pleasure of meeting with yesterday when they robbed me and the Commonwealth of more money to do the good things that they do in this Shire.


Ladies and Gentleman we are today opening some buildings and buildings are always a very important part of any school. But really, buildings are the secondary issues; these communities are always about people. Particularly today I want to play tribute to the parents of the students because it’s their encouragement and foresight and often a lot of hard work and saving money that enables their children to attend this school so I do want to recognise the support parents make. Also schools don’t operate without teachers and other administrative and management staff so I have to acknowledge and respect the great work that your teaching and administrative staff do. I think the results in the children I have seen last year, not so many this year I understand they are out doing far more exciting things playing in the school’s sports carnival. But what I remember from last time the few students I see this time it a great credit for the teachers and the staff on the way these children have been educated.


I also wanted to acknowledge the Normanton community as a whole. These schools don’t operate without community support and I know you have support of the Council, Bynoe Corporation and other community leaders in this community. These wonderful facilities and the continuation of this Christian school only happened with the support of everybody so I want to thank all the people involved.


Can I also add my congratulations to David Wren the builder who not only did these works but the works that we opened last year and the architects Conwell Architects and I understand Ian Conwell is here representing them today.


Ladies and gentleman, this year’s new facilities are at a total cost of over $3 million dollars. $1.1 million of that is provided by the school community itself and Bruce I know it’s easy to say the school contributes 1.1 million, but the school somehow has to find that money and it’s never easy. Twisting the arms of a lot of banks and selling a lot of raffle tickets over the years to make these contributions the school does make.


I am delighted that the Turnbull Government, which I am apart of has provided $1.05 million towards these facilities today and with the contribution that the federal government made last year it’s over $2 million that I’m delighted the Commonwealth Government has been able to make to this support for the school. I also acknowledge the Queensland Government has also contributed $1 million to this school. So it’s good to see Governments actually making contributions to quality education in all parts of Queensland particularly in these parts, which some describe as remote.


Ladies and gentleman the importance of education can never be over emphasised and I think those who are here well understand me saying it, but the future of young people is all about their education. Without a proper education, without a decent education, young people don’t have a future so it’s just so important schools like this exist to give quality education. An education in a Christian way with Christian backing and Christian values that will give the students here a real chance and a real opportunity in today’s very competitive world.


I’m delighted again that my Government provides ongoing funding for this school. My briefing notes said you currently get about $27,000 per student although Bruce thinks that’s a bit high but I’m told from my briefing note that the funding will go up over the next decade to $43,000 per student and that results from the recent Gonski report which the Government has adopted where they put a huge additional amount of money into schools in order that all children, no matter where they are in Australia, no matter their socioeconomic background, have an equal opportunity in receiving an proper education.


So ladies and gentlemen, with that I would just like to thank all of you who have done so much to provide this wonderful education for this part of the world and I guess in doing that all that’s left for me to do is officially open the sports facility named after Mr Edwards and the Lyn Doneley Middle School Building. Can I wish all the staff who work in them, and particularly all the students who will benefit from those buildings, all the very best for their future, all the very best for their educations all the way through grade 12 and beyond and with these buildings will give you the sort of education that young people do need for the future.


Thank you very much and good luck for the future.



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