Mr HUNTER (Lake Macquarie) [9.55 p.m.]: I wish to speak tonight about the visit to the Lake Macquarie electorate by the Minister for Education and Training. On 28 August the Minister visited Lake Macquarie, accepting my invitation extended as part of a campaign that I have been running to see improvements take place at local schools. The Minister had the chance to meet local school communities, which had the opportunity to highlight their achievements and the positive aspects of individual schools while drawing the Minister's attention to the needs of each school. I wanted the Minister to visit local schools such as Booragul, Arcadia Vale and Dora Creek to see first-hand the need for improved facilities at these growing schools. While at the schools the Minister addressed school assemblies, presented special awards, inspected facilities and met teachers, staff and community representatives.
At Booragul Public School the Minister viewed a technology demonstration by kindergarten and year 6 students. The students showed the Minister their skills by putting together a PowerPoint presentation. The Minister also attended a school assembly and presented student awards to Nicole Skelton, a leading student, and to Nadia King for achievements in public speaking. Nadia delivered her award-winning presentation "Who am I" for the Minister and the school assembly. The school's junior and senior choirs also performed during the Minister's visit. The visit also gave me and the school community a chance to show the Minister that a new school library and staff car park are much needed at Booragul Public School. The Minister took on board our request for the new facilities and I look forward to a positive outcome to our representations.
At Arcadia Vale Public School the Minister presented outstanding achievement awards during an assembly to the Assistant Principal, Ms Robyn Smith, and to teacher's aide, Ms Kerry Whitall. Ms Smith received an award for her contribution to the school's performance program and Ms Whitall received an award for her contribution to debating and other important school programs. While at the school the Minister met for some time with teachers and staff. He recognised the need for a new administration building at Arcadia Vale Public School and other improvements to school buildings and facilities.
The Minister then travelled to Dora Creek Public School where he presented a hoop pine to be planted in the school grounds, just as a former education Minister did some 100 years ago. The Minister also attended a school assembly to present some awards: an outstanding achievement award to Jackson Saunders, who will represent New South Wales in cross-country running; citizenship awards to students in each grade; and a community award to parents and citizens association and casual staff member Ms Jenny Kemp. Ms Kemp received the award in recognition of her contribution to the school's choirs and other programs.
Dora Creek Public School currently has only one permanent classroom, apart from its library, and is made up of demountable classrooms. After having made representations to the Minister for Education and Training and expressed local concerns in this House, I am pleased to state that the Minister took action even prior to his visit to ensure that new demountable buildings are moved onto the school's site to provide facilities that the school has never previously had. The Minister's visit on 28 August also gave me and the school's community the opportunity to point out that further planning must be undertaken for the school. New permanent buildings are needed and additional land adjacent to the school site could be acquired so that future planning will lead to construction of a new school on an enlarged site.
After visiting the Dora Creek Public School, the Minister travelled to the Toronto High School where he met with approximately 40 school principals of the Lake Macquarie district. The meeting was certainly very enlightening and provided the principals with an opportunity to meet the Minister and ask him questions to assist them in their endeavours as leaders of local schools. I was pleased to have in attendance my colleagues the honourable member for Wallsend, John Mills, and the honourable member for Swansea, Milton Orkopoulos, and principals from schools in their electorates who were also in attendance. I thank the Minister for his visit which gave me the opportunity to highlight to him a number of issues at other local schools such as Cooranbong Community School, West Wallsend High School, Toronto High School, and Wangi Wangi Public School. In the past, I have highlighted issues at those schools schools and the Minister has agreed to take on board and examine these concerns. I am sure that the Minister will contact me when responding to those school communities.