Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Electorate Schools

Local primary school leaders outside NSW Parliament House

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai—Minister for Skills and Training, Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology, Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, and Minister for Sport) (16:48): Education is transformative for young people, honing their communication skills, developing critical thinking, enhancing creativity and preparing them to meet future job qualifications. The schools in my electorate of Ku-ring-gai are a special part of my community. The New South Wales Government is committed to ensuring every student has access to world‑class facilities with a range of initiatives to support students and their learning environments. In the recent 2022-23 New South Wales Liberal-Nationals budget, the Government committed $1.2 billion in planned maintenance for every public school in New South Wales, including all schools in the Ku‑ring-gai electorate. This is not just brick and mortar upgrades; it ensures students have access to the best possible innovative facilities to hone their respective skills and knowledge, giving them the best opportunities for their future careers.

In Ku-ring-gai multiple schools have received once‑in‑a‑generation funding from the Liberal-Nationals Government. Waitara Public School was upgraded with a $40.6 million investment for the addition of 37 new permanent classrooms, a new hall, a new canteen, new staff and new administration facilities, as well as increased library space. Meanwhile, Ku-ring-gai High School received $15.1 million in funding for a new multipurpose hall and the refurbishment of 15 existing learning spaces. Both schools will benefit from the planned maintenance, alongside every other public school in New South Wales. Ku-ring-gai High School is also benefiting from funding from the Government's $240 million school renewal program, which accelerates projects that will improve the amenity of schools and kickstart local jobs for local communities. Furthermore, $4.7 million was received by St Edmund's College, Wahroonga, and $6 million was received by St Lucy's School, Wahroonga—both schools for students with a range of disabilities. I am pleased by this major once‑in‑a‑generation funding.

Since becoming a parliamentarian, I have always maintained strong relationships with our local schools. My electorate contains every type of school: primary schools, comprehensive high schools, selective high schools, special needs schools, independent schools and Roman Catholic schools. It is not just about financial support from the Government; it is also about providing opportunities for students to come into the New South Wales Parliament to equip them with knowledge and skills for the future. Previously I have spoken about the annual Ku-ring-gai Electorate Schools Public Speaking Competition, which is held in this Chamber. After two years, I welcomed the return of the Ku-ring-gai primary school leaders morning tea for year 6 students, which was held on 3 November. In the morning, the students were taken on a tour of the legislative Chambers by parliamentary staff and the parents were taken on a more informal tour by me. We then proceeded to have morning tea in the heritage-listed Jubilee Room where I presented the young leaders with their certificates.

There were record numbers in attendance this year, which was pleasing after two years when the annual tradition was unable to go ahead. I congratulate the following young leaders who attended: Isabel Wood and Millicent Morrison of Abbotsleigh Junior School; Tom Turchini and Caelyn Tang of Beaumont Road Public School; Sofia Leung and Nicholas Lee of Gordon West Public School; Chloe Han of Killara Public School, and it was unfortunate that James Mann was sick and unable to attend; Jai Ananda and Jeremy Zhou of Knox Grammar Preparatory School; Kara Chen and Arthur Thorpe of Normanhurst Public School; Aydan May and Maryam Tarraf of Northside Montessori School, Tegan Seymour and Joshua D'Silva of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour West Pymble; Aisling Meade and Euan Reforma of Our Lady Of The Rosary, Waitara; and Ellie Whittaker and Yohann Pereira of Prouille Catholic Primary School.

I also congratulate Chloe Shao and Estelle Lee of Pymble Ladies' College, Junior School; Valentina Polistina and Jack Cousins of Pymble Public School; Charlotte Lockwood and William Durer of Sacred Heart Catholic School, Pymble; Gemma Woodhouse and Kye Phillips of Turramurra North Public School; Charlie Shearer and Charlotte Ross of Turramurra Public School; lshaan Sahai and Shivon Chakravarti of Wahroonga Adventist School; Lucy Nam and Edward Zheng of Wahroonga Preparatory School; Neave Barker and Sebastian Linton of Wahroonga Public School; Hye-Nah Ryu and Matthew Lander of Waitara Public School; Sara Kirino and Nathan Milne of Warrawee Public School; and Rani Singh and Benjamin Cha of West Pymble Public School. I also thank all the parents, teachers and principals who attended to support our young leaders. I thank everyone who helped to make this day possible. I wish all the students the best of luck in the next stage of their school lives in high school.