Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:44): I rise to support this Public Works Committee report into the latest redevelopment to Urrbrae Agricultural High School, noting not only the significant investment by the Marshall Liberal government but that I am a former scholar of Urrbrae—
The Hon. J.A.W. Gardner: Hear, hear!
Mr PEDERICK: Yes.
An honourable member interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: Hopefully, I am not using that word too loosely. I attended there in 1978, and the mission was to stay for another year, but I did get allergic to the city and ended up going home to help my father run the farm. It was an interesting year back then. We had only recently gone co-ed at Urrbrae, and I think there were about 800 students there at the time, and about 10 per cent of those were young ladies.
As has already been indicated in the motion regarding the Public Works Committee report, country kids from all over the state come there to learn not only science, technology and environment but, in my mind very importantly, agriculture. It has had great facilities over the years, which have been kept up to speed by governments across that time. I know that Malcolm Buckby, a former member of this place, a former member for Light, instigated some upgrades many years ago as well.
It certainly gave an insight, not just for the country students but for city students who wanted to have a connection to agriculture, and I think it is something we cannot afford to lose as we move forward. You certainly note in COVID times the importance of essential services like agriculture. You get some of the—I will be frank—the anti-COVID, the anti-vaxxers, whatever brigade you want to call them who, when you talk to them, say, 'We don't have enough food to feed everyone.' I say, 'Really? We grow enough food in this country to feed 75 million people, and last time I looked that's about three times our population.'
The research work and the education work that happen out of Urrbrae campus are absolutely fantastic. I remember some of my teachers: Mr Burford, Mr Bell and Mr Cook. It was a long time ago, but I have a lot of good memories from Urrbrae.
I note that in this project 25 jobs will be created per year. It is a $10 million investment. Key features of the upgrade include the construction of a health and wellbeing building to include home economics, physical education, teaching space and an agricultural learning square, and construction of a new building to provide additional learning areas for year 7s—obviously with the year 7s going into secondary school—including a music space. As part of it, there is the extension and renovation of the gymnasium to remove the mezzanine level and provide additional seating to enable whole-of-school assemblies. Also, part of this is the demolition of ageing infrastructure.
It is great to see this level of investment in this school. It is a great school, and it has educated many students from across Hammond and from across the rest of the state to set them on their path in those fields of agriculture, science and environment. It is vital that we keep investment in this sector to promote all of these features around agriculture, science and the environment, and long may it be.
To all those Urrbrae students I wish them well in their end of year studies, especially those in the later years of schooling. Whether they are doing the general course in year 11 and 12 or the agricultural course, which is more focused on the agricultural side of things and farm management and that kind of thing, I wish them all the best in their studies. May Urrbrae have a long and exciting future. I commend the report from the Public Works Committee.