Remarks at the opening of the new 3 level teaching
and technology building
West End State School, Brisbane
Good morning boys and girls.
(Good morning Kevin Rudd)
“Good morning Kevin Rudd” – that’s good. I like that.
And to your teachers, your principal, to members of the P and C, members of the school council, the school community and to my good friend Helen Abrahams the local councillor and mums and dads and carers and everyone else here at this special day today.
What I want to talk to you about is dreams and visions, making plans and hard work to make it all happen.
Dreams and visions, making plans and hard work to make it all happen.
Any of you guys had some dreams before?
Most of us have dreams and many of them are good dreams.
And every now and then we think about something called a vision.
When you think about dreams and visions, it’s a bit like this, how do you imagine something could look like which isn’t there yet?
How do you imagine something could change which hasn’t changed yet?
How could you imagine that something like this could look like if it was to be built and how it would help the children of the school?
Of course dreams by themselves and visions don’t really add up to much unless you then make a plan to make it happen.
And that’s where the hard work of your P and C, your school council, your principal, all the teachers and student leaders comes in - they helped together with making a plan.
And then there’s the hard work of doing it – of building it – and that’s what our construction companies have done and all the workmen and workwomen who have put this building and the other things in this school together.
Dreams and visions.
Making plans .
And hard work.
We had a dream and a vision for Australia’s future education. And we still have that vision.
When I was elected as Prime Minister, I put it this way; we wanted Australia to be the best educated, best trained, best skilled people in the world- the best educated, best trained, best skilled people in the world.
Now that’s a pretty big vision, because there is a lot of people in the world and Australia is one of 193 countries in the world.
It’s a pretty big vision.
So if you’re going to make that vision work, what are you going to do about it?
You’ve got to make a plan.
And the plan is to make sure that we have the best place for you, the young people of Australia, to learn.
That we have the best teachers to teach you how to learn and what to learn and the best opportunities so that when you have gone through school you can do anything to further that education as well.
So what did we do about that? We decided that we would have something called an “Education Revolution”.
A revolution is just another word for a very big change.
So one of the things that we did was that we said that everywhere in Australia we should have for every child universal preschool education. In that past that didn’t exist in every state of Australia.
The other thing we said was our primary schools should be the best that we have ever had;
- they should have 21st century libraries;
- they should have the best classrooms available with interactive white-boards and the newest learning technologies;
- and we should also have multipurpose facilities where school communities can get together for performances, music, dance and indoor sport;
- and schools should have the best playing facilities.
And that our secondary schools should have first class libraries, first class science centres, first class language centres.
And our universities should have more places available, too.
And our TAFEs – these are places where you learn practical skills like how to fix cars, or how to design computers – should also be the best that are available.
So that was the vision, that was the plan, but the hard work was finding the money to make it work.
And what we have done through this Education Revolution is to invest tens of billions of dollars around Australia to make these sort of happen in all the primary schools of Australia.
We had another vision as well, and the other vision was this; when a very big disaster happened called the Global Financial Crisis, how did we make sure that we kept everybody in work. And that they kept their jobs?
And what we then did was try and bring those two visions together - an education revolution and keeping people in work.
And so when all the workman came here to build, for example, this building in average there would have been hundreds tradesman working on an individual building site over an extended period of time. Who might not otherwise have had work.
And so when all the workmen came here to build for example this building, on average there would have been hundreds of tradesmen working on an individual building site for an extended period of time who might not otherwise have had work.
So the result for that was that not only do we have buildings like this at schools like this across Australia, we also kept everyone in work. And around the rest of the world, that didn’t happen and millions of people lost their jobs.
So that was our vision, that was our dream, that was our plan, and that was the hard work that we put in to make it work here on the ground.
Across Australia what has that meant?
We have built probably three to four thousand new state of the art libraries. We have built three to four thousand new multi-purpose facilities.
We have built about ten thousand new classrooms of one shape or another. There are now interactive white boards spread across so many classrooms in the country which never had them before.
These are important changes.
Here in our community in Brisbane Southside, we invested nearly one hundred million dollars, we have built 21 new libraries, we have built 17 new multi-purpose centres, and literally more than 100 new classrooms.
These are visions; these are dreams, which hard work makes happen.
But it also only works when good folk like your P & C, your principal, your teachers and your school council get together to make sure it happens on the ground.
So what we’ve done across the country is what we’ve also sought to do here in our local community and what’s the other level at which this happens too? Here in this school at West End.
You know this school first started back way back in 1875 and so it’s a very old school.
And each group of teachers that have come here have come here with one ambition.
To leave the school better than when they came.
And that’s what each generation has done.
And that’s what we have been doing as well.
So you now have this great classroom block, you have something as practical as new shade covers on the side of the classroom block that I saw as I came in this morning.
You have new sporting grounds as well.
But there’s one purpose in all this.
To make sure that you have a better school environment to learn in than you have before.
So that you have a better education than you would have had before. So that you have better opportunities in life than you had before and that you will help build our great country Australia.
Stronger than it was before.
That’s the dream, that’s the vision, that’s the plan and that’s the hard work.
And I’m really pleased to be here to open this brand new building for you all this morning.