SCHOOL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
Mr JAMIE PARKER
(Balmain) [4.05 p.m.]: I acknowledge the excellence of school leaders within my electorate of Balmain and recognise the importance of encouraging young people to take up leadership positions within our schools and wider communities. This week I hosted a morning tea and roundtable discussion with student leaders from high schools within my electorate. At the morning tea we discussed the development of a leadership program to encourage young people to take up leadership positions in their schools and within the broader community. My office will be developing this program, which will facilitate and encourage improved engagement between different sections of our community—business leaders, community and school leaders, local councils and local residents.
As a former Mayor of Leichhardt and a councillor for more than 12 years, and now as the local State member, I believe there is a great opportunity for me to work with students and school communities to improve networks to the benefit of all involved. Both outgoing and incoming school leaders attended the morning tea and were eager to discuss a number of issues affecting them. I was very impressed by the students' level of interest and engagement in a wide range of issues. One student spoke about the importance of developing strong infrastructure and critical front-line services to support the growing inner-city residential population. There was discussion about the proposed Harold Park development, which has caused a great deal of consternation in my community.
The students drew particular attention to their frustration as a result of unreliable public transport services to and from school. The teachers said that students often are late for school due to erratic public transport services. Students were frustrated by the lack of integrated ticketing across different modes of transport and being unable to obtain concession fares for light rail. Because there are no railway stations in my electorate, light rail is an important option for people in my community. Unfortunately buses create widespread traffic congestion in my electorate. If concession fares for students travelling to and from school were permitted on light rail, it would relieve the road network of some bus congestion and also allow students from St Scholastica's College and two public schools in my community to access light rail services. I have met with the Minister for Transport to discuss this issue. I will continue to lobby the Minister to achieve the concession.
I am grateful to the teachers who attended the morning tea and joined in our roundtable discussion. It provided an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the issues affecting those at the front line of our education system. My mother and sisters are teachers and I have great respect for the excellent work that teachers do. Education is a major priority of my work as the member for Balmain. Teachers perform an invaluable role within our community—a role which often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. Last week I referred to the excellent work of the Glebe Pathways Project, which is an important educational program in my community. I will continue with my endeavours to build ties with schools and other education providers within my electorate.
I thank the following students and teachers who attended the discussion of the leadership program: From St Scholastica's College, Eliza Mannix, Louise Nolan, Laura Gordon, Ashleigh Brady and their teacher Margaret Taborda; from the Sydney Secondary College Balmain Campus, Max Harris, Alan Huynh, Anneke Anderson, Natalie Ng, Max Alston, Jessica Fernandez, Rhys Austin, Michael lnhelder and the school's deputy principal, Robyn Matthews; from the Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus, Lisa Vo, Kevin Vu Ha, Emma Leyland, Finn Parker and their teacher Emily O'Connell; from the International Grammar School, Charlotte Kitchin and Lewis Evans. I acknowledge leaders from the Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay campus, who were unable to attend the morning tea due to their studies: Jack Liang, Georgia Wilson, Gina Ricardo and Jake Bailey.
The development of this program is an important part of building connections between the State Government, local communities, local councils and local schools. I believe we have an excellent opportunity to help students and young people by providing work experience opportunities, mentoring and other positive initiatives. It is clear this community has a wonderful resource in their students and teachers. I thank all of the students who embody the enthusiasm and excellence that defines great leaders. I commend them on their achievements to date and wish them many more successes in the future.
Private members' statements concluded.
The House adjourned, pursuant to standing and sessional orders, at 4.10 p.m. until
Monday 12 September 2011 at 1.00 p.m.