The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (11:25): I am so pleased to be able to speak on this motion. The recent election had a number of points of contention between the two parties, the Liberal Party and the Labor Party, in the propositions that we put to the people of South Australia. For nearly the last four years, ever since the remissions on the ESL were removed by the former Labor government, one of the clear differences between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party has been an understanding that the people of South Australia were being hit hard in their household cost of living by the former government's decision to remove the remissions.
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (16:39): I have great pleasure in rising to speak on the Appropriation Bill for the first time as Minister for Education in this Marshall Liberal government. It is an honour to serve in this way and one that I take very seriously indeed. The children of South Australia, the young people of South Australia and the students of South Australia are at the fore of our minds. We have a grand ambition, a bold ambition, to deliver great things in our schools, our early childhood settings, our training institutions and of course our universities in South Australia. We would like to see every child in every classroom in every school in South Australia supported to grow to their full potential and achieve their potential in life and in their education.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (14:36):My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister please advise the house on the progress of primary school children attending non-government schools in the electorate of Frome being able to get access to the state government school bus system? With your leave and that of the house, I will explain.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK:There have been occasions some families are experiencing where the child attending a public high school can access the government school bus system while their brother or sister, who may be attending a non-government primary school, cannot access the state government school bus system and has to follow in their parent's car.
Dr CLOSE (Port Adelaide—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (24 July 2018). Can the minister guarantee that John Pirie Secondary School will receive $10 million under the Building Better Schools Infrastructure Program and be able to progress with plans to build new facilities for the middle school precinct, indoor/outdoor learning areas, refurbishing and extending performing arts facility and improving building exteriors, as outlined on the Department for Education and Child Development's website?
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education): I have been advised of the following:
Ms BEDFORD: With interest in and promotion of STEM subjects well and truly underway, what thought is being given to the other side of brains and the importance of the humanities and, perhaps, similar emphasis on LAMP subjects, subjects like language, arts, music and philosophy?
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (15:54): I am very grateful to the member for Florey for that outstanding question because it is important that we do pursue a strong STEM strategy. It's possibly one of the few particular focuses of the former minister that I have given credit to: the STEM strategy, STEM Works facilities, infrastructure projects that are being rolled out and, indeed, development in STEM PD for teachers. So there has been some good work.
Mr CREGAN (Kavel) (14:54):My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister update the house on programs the government is supporting in relation to language education?
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:54):I am very pleased to have that question from the member for Kavel, who I know has a strong passion for education, being the son of educators. His passion for his schools is very strong. I can inform the house that I get a letter or a phone call from the member for Kavel at least once a week, and I think that is something that a number of other ministers are familiar with. He is an excellent local member, always advocating for his schools and indeed for education across the state.
Mr TEAGUE (Heysen) (15:10):My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister update the house on progress towards meeting the government's election commitments relating to literacy and numeracy?
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (15:10):I thank the member for Heysen for his question and his particular interest in the importance of literacy and numeracy, which I am sure all members are aware is the foundation upon which so much of a child's education and further success in school and in life is built.
Mr TEAGUE: Can the minister update the house about activities of students engaging in STEM studies in the course of these school holidays?
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:43): I am very pleased to have that question from the member for Heysen who I know is greatly interested in his local schools and the activities of students. During the school holidays, I was very pleased to go to Mylor in the member for Heysen's electorate and spend some time with 108 students from around South Australia who are engaged in the STEM Explorer Program, year 7 and 8 students, who enjoyed their—and can I say from experience—extremely cold day in Mylor, indeed a cold week in Mylor. We also visited some other facilities around the state as they learnt more about STEM careers and the opportunities available through science and mathematics studies, the opportunities available to them further in life.
Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (14:45):My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister update the house on the work being done to encourage young people in the electorate of Flinders to gain skills in aquaculture?
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:45):I thank the member for Flinders for this question, and I acknowledge his particular interest in the young people in his electorate, and indeed their futures, and his particular interest in supporting the aquaculture industry that is so important for the economy of Eyre Peninsula and of South Australia. I am very pleased to identify that there's a lot of good work being done to ensure that those young people in the member for Flinders's electorate have the opportunity to have a better future with more jobs. One of the ways in which we are doing that is by delivering better services. That's what the new Marshall Liberal government is doing.
Mr BASHAM:My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister inform the house about the progress towards meeting the government's commitments to address truancy?
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:57):I am very grateful to the member for Finniss for this question. The member for Finniss shares the concerns that I and all members on this side of the house have, and I hope all members of the house have, for our students who are truant. We are ensuring that we do everything we can to get them back to school.