Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My last adjournment matter called on the Minister for Education, Martin Dixon, to commit to the construction of a primary school at Torquay North. Today my adjournment matter is also directed to the Minister for Education; again, my matter concerns the provision of education in Torquay, although on this occasion my matter is about secondary education.
From talking to locals in the area, and from reading articles as well as — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! Is Ms Tierney giving me an assurance that this matter is different to the one previously raised?
Ms TIERNEY — Yes, it is.
From reading articles in the local papers and reading letters to the editor in the Echo as well as the Surf Coast Times, I can see there are clear and immediate needs. The first is for an additional primary school, and the second is for a secondary education facility that educates students in years 9-12.
Families in and around Torquay need to know exactly when their children who are in their senior secondary years can enrol. They also need to know exactly where the education facility will be located. Whilst the minister has recently been quoted as saying that negotiations are occurring over the purchase of land for the new stand-alone secondary school, I am advised that as recently as last week the land had not been identified. I hardly think that anything that resembles substantive negotiations has even begun.
This, along with the normal processes that have not been gone through — processes that involve planning, architectural drawings, various departmental compliance requirements, budget allocations and all-important construction — leaves me with very little confidence that the secondary school will be built in Torquay for some time to come and that it will be in the government’s recently stated time frame.
I call on the minister to be honest with the people of Torquay. The community needs to know exactly when Torquay students will be able to access full secondary education. I am sure the Torquay community is more interested in real dates for families to plan around, because Torquay families cannot just decide to send their children to another school down the street or to somewhere in the next suburb. Planning and organisation does not just involve the enrolment of a student in a particular year. It also involves sporting arrangements and other extracurricular activities and associated transport options.
Fanciful dates that are thrown around to take the political heat off the Liberal state government and the current Minister for Education are an insult to the intelligence of Torquay people, and they do not provide Torquay families with the much-needed information they require.