In Parliament

Adjournment - Elsternwick Primary School


Wednesday 6 March, 2019.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (19:09):

My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is for the minister to commit funding to Elsternwick Primary School.

Elsternwick Primary is located in a part of my electorate that will see significant change over coming years.  That change offers the school an opportunity as more families move into the area. Having spoken to the school council and many in the parent body, I know that parents are enthusiastic about the future, but they have impressed upon me how imperative it is for this school to receive the funding it needs.

Nestled amongst gum trees, Elsternwick Primary School has serviced the region for 130 years. There are currently 560 children at the school. Though it  is  historic  and beautiful, managing the original buildings  and  maintaining  the  gum  trees  does expend a  significant  proportion of school funding, leaving additional works up to the hardworking parent body’s generous goodwill.

The new principal has led positive change for the school. I have found his passion for children’s literacy particularly impressive. Children have been  given  the  opportunity  not  only  to  build  reading  corners  in  each classroom but to design them in a creative way. Parents have spoken to me about the way their children are embracing books in the classroom.

I remember finding my love for reading and taking part in the ‘ribbit’ reading challenge as a boy, setting myself the goal of attaining the ‘100 books read’ certificate.

Elsternwick Primary is adjacent to the New Street public housing site, which is one of the sites earmarked by the government for renewal. Currently there are 127 low-level apartments there. Under the renewal project we will see the number grow to some 300 apartments, 160 of which will be earmarked for private ownership. No matter what your view of the development design, it will bring significant change and growth to the area, as too will the activation of one of the ovals at Elsternwick Park south for sport during winter and the repurposing of Elsternwick Park north into an environmental park and wetland.

In short, many more people will be living and recreating in the area over the coming years. That brings opportunity for Elsternwick Primary, but only if the school’s infrastructure is ready.

To meet that future demand the school will need air conditioning in their main building, repair of the historic but rotting window frames, an upgrade of their prep and gym bathrooms, refurbishment of their outdated portable classrooms, including the removal of asbestos, and improvements to their oval and tired play equipment.

I call on the Minister, in the lead-up to the budget, to recognise the importance of Elsternwick Primary School and commit to investing the funds the school needs to meet future demand.