Public Works Committee: Port Augusta Secondary School Redevelopment

28 Oct 2021

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (11:53): It is a huge pleasure to rise to speak on this project. I thank our government, particularly the education minister, for funding this $7.7 million project. It was great to be at the Port Augusta Secondary School graduation on Friday last week, and I can tell you that everybody in this school community is extremely excited about this project.

Of course, the students who graduated on Friday are well aware that they will not get to benefit from it personally. In fact, they have been living with the construction zone, but they are incredibly glad nonetheless for the students who will follow them. Acting Principal, Simon Owens, was glowing about the work that is being done on site. The Minister for Education has actually visited Port Augusta Secondary School twice this year. I am going to do everything I can to get him there again as early as possible in the new year, but I am very grateful for that.

Port Augusta Secondary School achieves results far better than many people would expect, to be perfectly blunt. The people of Port Augusta know what a fantastic institution this is, but there are many people outside of Port Augusta who are not aware of what a great job it does with regard to providing a quality education for high school students in Port Augusta.

We have six public primary schools and one public high school in Port Augusta, as well as two Christian schools, which play a very important role in the educational community, and the special school in Port Augusta. Those six primary schools, and in some cases the primary schools of the other two Christian non-government schools, feed into Port Augusta Secondary School, and what Port Augusta Secondary School does so well is to offer a range of educational opportunities.

A range of educational opportunities includes not only the normal academic style, which we all expect from a high-calibre secondary school in our state, but also a wide range of more flexible and broader educational opportunities. In that respect, I think about pathways to trades, I think about pathways to traineeships, I think about pathways to apprenticeships and, in many cases, the opportunities to undergo apprenticeships while still doing some secondary schooling education.

Importantly, there are partnerships between the Port Augusta Secondary School and other secondary schools around the Mid North and Upper Spencer Gulf region. The Pichi Richi Trade Training Centre is a tremendous initiative where the Port Augusta Secondary School, Orroroo and Peterborough high schools, and others, come together so that they can offer particular training and educational opportunities on their own campuses, and the students are actually able to move between the campuses as and when appropriate.

Some students can get everything they need at essentially their home high school, but for other students it is fantastic to be able to pick up the educational opportunities available from other high schools while they still officially attend their own high school. It is an absolutely outstanding development. This project is there for everyone to see because, as it happens, the work that is going on is on the main road, the Victoria Parade side of the school, so that everybody who comes through Port Augusta is well aware of the fantastic job that our government and our education department are doing.

I cannot support this project enough. I know that the entire Port Augusta community, including members of the other schools, appreciate it as well. This will do wonders for the educational and employment opportunities for young people in Port Augusta for decades to come.