School Zoning (4)


The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (14:10): I thank the shadow minister. Perhaps rather than identifying again that it is a cabinet process, I can just explain what, in my view, the alternatives are in line with the three options that she has suggested. The first one is in relation to capital build. It is noteworthy that we have a current capacity at Adelaide High of 1,450, and Adelaide Botanic High is 1,250. It is not possible to increase the capacity of Adelaide Botanic High due to the nature of the footprint of that land, and I think the shadow minister accepts that, which leaves us with Adelaide High at 1,450 students.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: We have invested $18 million, announced last week—

Mr Duluk interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Waite!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —to enable Adelaide High to grow from 1,450 students to a 1,800 student capacity by 2022, and that is the work that we are doing. In terms of further capital build, there are restrictions on the site based on it being adjacent to the Parklands that are significant and there is also the complexity—

Dr Close interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Deputy leader!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —that when you have a restricted footprint, going up is a lot more expensive than going out. For example, we are increasing capacity at Roma Mitchell by 500 and that is—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the call.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —an investment that will be in the order of $15 million to increase capacity at Roma Mitchell, and $18 million to increase capacity by 350 at Adelaide High. Were we to look at a greater investment than that, then we would be talking about going higher and serious logistical difficulties to the point where, if we were to grow it to 2,400 students, we wouldn't be talking about growing it by 350 only; we would be talking about growing it by 950. That is not just three times the cost of the 350 growth. Although that will be a significant cost in and of itself, there are logistical impacts that, in my view, I'm not sure we would have been able to meet at Adelaide High.

That brings the shadow minister's question to the second point regarding zoning. Zoning options: a series of suburbs was added to the Adelaide High and Adelaide Botanic High School zone as of 2015, mostly Prospect, and then in 2019 a series of suburbs in the north-east, including Nailsworth; the north-west, including Bowden, Brompton and Hindmarsh—all those suburbs have been kept in—and the south-west, the suburbs that we are talking about.

Firstly, our starting point, and the advice from the department, was that this cohort of suburbs would be rezoned to schools that they were previously zoned to up until last year that had the capacity to take those students and that none of the other zoning options available would have rezoned students to schools where there was any capacity.

In the north-west, the member for Croydon no doubt would be aware that Woodville High is a school that is approaching capacity and will be approaching capacity further in the years to come. In the north-east, the students were previously zoned to Roma Mitchell, which, I have already identified, we are growing from 1,300 students to 1,800 students just to meet the demand that is currently within the existing zone, let alone any others that would have been rezoned there. That is a significant investment that the government is making to support the needs of students in the Roma Mitchell high school zone.

That leads us to what other options there were. All the other schools in the surrounding area are at capacity or, indeed, we are investing to build their capacity to meet the needs of their current zone. The other option is to cancel the specialist programs. We believe those specialist programs—the languages, sport and health sciences—are an absolutely critical part of what Adelaide High and Adelaide Botanic High have to offer. Importantly, they are an important equity measure to ensure that students who have a desire for languages, whether they live in Port Adelaide or whether they live in West Beach—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —or whether in the north or the south or anywhere else, are able to access those special entry programs that are important equity measures in the system.

The SPEAKER: The minister's time has expired.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: I have faith in Underdale High and Plympton International College and Springbank Secondary College that those schools will deliver an excellent education—

The SPEAKER: Minister for Education, your time has expired. Minister, thank you. I will come to the member for Kavel. Please stop the clock. I appreciate this is a very sensitive issue. I want to remind the house of a few things. If a visitor or stranger other than a member disturbs in any way the operation of the chamber, as Speaker I can order the withdrawal of people in the gallery. Such disturbances could include persons standing up, interjecting, applauding, holding up signs or placards and other like behaviour. I am just putting it out there. I will move to the member for Kavel and come back to the deputy leader, thank you.

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for West Torrens is called to order.

The Hon. S.C. Mullighan interjecting:

The SPEAKER: And the member for Lee. The member for Kavel has the call.