Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Clem Jones Home

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the Clem Jones Home for an afternoon tea with sixty residents.

It was fantastic to have a cup of tea with some real characters at the Home, and I would like to extend my thanks to the staff for the hard work they put in around the clock to ensure these residents have the best quality care available.

I was delighted to meet so many of the local residents (who all inform me that they are being well looked after by the staff at the Clem Jones Home).

Thanks to everyone at Clem Jones for the invite.

For further information about the Clem Jones Home - http://www.clemjoneshome.org/

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Reading for Reconciliation

As part of National Reconciliation Week, I visited the State Library of Queensland to participate in the Reading for Reconciliation program.

This terrific local program brings together children and young adults to read, challenge and discuss their ideas about reconciliation.

In 2011, the Reading for Reconciliation Group invited schools to read the work of prominent Aboriginal writer and activist, Aunty Ruth Hegarty. Her acclaimed first novel, Is that you Ruthie?, is a beautifully written memoir of a woman who has dedicated her life to her family and people.

As part of the program, students from our local area were encouraged to read the book and then come together with Aunty Ruth to talk about it.

They came together to listen to Aunty Ruth share her experiences as one of Queensland’s dormitory girls. We watched performances of the passages from the book and we learned a thing or two about the way in which our past influenced and shaped the lives of our Indigenous brothers and sisters.

The students asked lots of questions about what life was like for Aboriginal people growing up in the dorms. One little boy asked – “How did you know that your mum still loved you after you were taken away?”

It was heartfelt and reflective – and it was great to see so many local students involved.

I really enjoyed being a part of this important local program. Being able to listen to Aunty Ruth share her stories with such strength and humour was a humbling experience.

I thank Aunty Ruth for her kindness and compassion and her continued dedication to her people. She is a remarkable woman and a wonderful community leader.

With this program, and others around our community, it’s all about recognition – by honouring the past we can make a difference into the future.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Modernising Southside Schools

My speech in parliament about Australia's largest ever school modernisation program and how it has made a difference to schools on the Southside.

It is important in this place to reflect on significant events in our local communities. The Australian Government is proud of the Education Revolution, from early childhood education, through schools, through secondary schools, through training, technical colleges and TAFEs, through universities and through research.

We are also proud of building the education revolution through the single biggest school modernisation program that the country has ever seen.

In my own community in Brisbane's Southside, we have invested some $88 million across 124 projects to improve the quality of our schools in our local community.

Coorparoo State School recently opened their $3 million performing arts centre, which the school use for their drama, their music and their particular performances by the Coorparoo kindergarten kids as well as for their Anzac Day services.

Also the Government has invested $2.5 million in West End State School's new multipurpose teaching and technology building, which is their main library resource centre. It is used also for hosting sporting events, for drama classes and for P&C fundraising purposes.

In December I attended Mayfield State School's Year 7 Graduation at the school's new $1.1 million multipurpose hall, which is used for a whole range of school activities and fundraising events and assemblies.

Bulimba State School use their new $2.8 million hall, which is an architectural feat in itself, built on a cliff side, for school events including fetes and fundraisers. It is also where they anchor their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program by teaching young kids at school how to cook from the kitchen garden which is now part and parcel of their school.

In June I will open the new $3.2 million multipurpose hall and library at Morningside State School. That is actually where my kids went to school years and years and years ago.

For folk down south, let me just make one point: because Queensland summers can be so intense, the tropical rainfall activity so massive and the sun so scorching, it makes it impossible for the school to get together for single events a lot of the time. Therefore, for these Queensland schools in particular to have, for the first time a meeting place, is a major step forward.

St Martin's Catholic Primary School recently opened their fantastic new $2.5 million multipurpose hall, named the Dominic Centre.

Through these investments in the schools of Brisbane's Southside, we are making a real difference. At not one of the school openings that I have been to have I encountered a word of criticism about the school modernisation program that has been undertaken or the new facilities which are there—all writ large in the smiles on the kids' faces.