SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:21): My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister update the house on the benefits of the Marshall Liberal government's $1.3 billion investment, which is supporting schools across South Australia, including in my electorate of Hammond?

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:21): I am very pleased to be able to provide the house with some information about the Marshall Liberal government's very exciting $1.3 billion schedule of works in school infrastructure. This is something that I think all South Australians should be proud of. I think it is something all members of this house can be proud of.

We were very pleased, for example, when the former government in 2017 announced $690 million worth of works, mostly from the sale of the lands titles office, some of which was from the forward infrastructure budget within Education, and $15 million of which the former government banked against the sale of the Rostrevor campus of Norwood Morialta High School for housing, a decision that this government has reviewed.

That, indeed, was a series of commitments to schools which the Liberal Party in opposition, on the very day those commitments were made, matched. I am grateful for the work of the former government for making those promises, and I am grateful to the Premier. I am very grateful to the Treasurer, who was shadow treasurer at the time, who said we could match them and we should. It is certainly something that the front bench were very eager to do and we did. Those projects are going ahead, and we are building three new schools in Angle Vale, Aldinga and Whyalla.

We are now also refitting the old Investigator College site in Goolwa to ensure that the people of Goolwa can have a new high school. We have made hundreds of millions of dollars of further commitments right across this state to ensure that our schools have the capacity to meet the challenges of the future, to ensure that our high schools are delivering year 7, with a curriculum in the way that was designed to be taught, with specialist subject teachers and specialist classrooms, to ensure that our schools have the capacity to meet the growth in population that the former government did not make provision for in many cases, to ensure that our schools, some of them with desperate needs in particular areas, can get the projects they want.

So from Glossop in the east to Port Lincoln and Ceduna in the west, from Grant in the south up to Whyalla in the north, right around this state there are many projects currently underway. Of the projects currently underway, those ones all have shovels in the ground, bulldozers, concrete being laid, walls being put up, work being done. From Angle Vale to Aldinga, right across the metropolitan area, that work continues as well.

I hear the calls of, 'Thanks, Susan. Thanks, Susan.' I did thank Susan. I was very gracious at the beginning of this answer, acknowledging that about half of this work was in the budget—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —and that was good, and we have significantly added to it with the decisions we have made.

It was great at Parafield Gardens High School and at Seaview High School to see and speak to the people when we were looking at that work being done, the staff and the students. They were grateful to the taxpayers of South Australia, who are indeed the ones paying for it—not the government, not the former government; the taxpayers of South Australia—but supported by a government that sees education as an investment in the future.

The member for Hammond asks about his electorate. It's fantastic to see that one of his local high schools, the Murray Bridge High School, is benefiting from $20 million worth of work that commenced in April and will be completed in November next year. It is work that will include a new two-storey building for the middle school cohort and inclusive learning, a new tech studies building, the refit of the former tech studies rooms into a new entrepreneurial centre. Of course, Murray Bridge High School is one of the schools that has been successful in this government's entrepreneurial skills program. Also, there will be a roof replacement of the gymnasium and music spaces, refurbishment of the arts areas, upgraded landscaping, additional car parking and the removal of some of the transportables that are no longer needed.

That work is tremendously important for education, for the future of the children at Murray Bridge High School and that area, and around the state. But right now, in the midst of a pandemic that is so damaging to the economy and to jobs around South Australia, these are thousands of jobs that are underway right now and it's very good news for those families, too.