Address at St Gabriel’s School – Opening of the Father Leon Czechowicz Learning Centre
26 August 2016

Simon Birmingham: [Inaudible] … local federal MP, and Attorney-General John Rau, local state MP, Mayor Gary Johanson, other leaders of the church and local community, staff, parents, boys and girls. It is a real delight to be with you for what is a special occasion to celebrate all that is wonderful about your school. Now boys and girls, perhaps if I direct my remarks firstly to you, and can I ask you all a question: who likes cooking? 

[Noise from audience] 

Oh, yeah. Who likes cooking … bowls of steamed vegetables?


A surprising number. Take those names down … who likes cooking spaghetti bolognese?  

[Noise from audience]

Very good. Who likes cooking chocolate cake?

[Noise from audience]

And just to check, who likes eating chocolate cake?

[Noise from audience]

I ask you about cooking, because in many ways, a good school is like a good recipe. Many things go into a good school. For a good recipe, you have to put all of the different ingredients together so that at the end you’ve got fabulous chocolate cake. In a good school, you need lots of different ingredients as well to get a great outcome. You need outstanding young children, boys and girls who are eager to learn and participate in their school community. You need parents, caregivers, those looking after the children in the home environment who encourage and nurture that sense of learning. The first teachers, the most important teachers are the parents who are gathered here today who of course set so many of the foundations for the learning of their children. Obviously, in a school we need the most important factor within that school for the success of the children and students: teachers, and I pay particular tribute to the teachers, the teacher assistants, the other staff and leaders within the school who help to make this school a success like so many other hard-working teachers. A great school recipe needs, ideally, community. Community can come from a local parish as it does in a school like this, from other engagements in the local school to ensure that a school is not just an island, but is of course a part of a richer local community dynamic. A school needs great curriculum, great content, things that you actually learn [indistinct]. And ultimately, a school also needs a place to be: the land, the buildings, the facilities that you use.

Today, we are celebrating the opening of a new building, a new facility at your school: the Father Leon Czechowicz Learning Centre, LC Squared is the term from [indistinct] the form. And while it’s wonderful to open those new buildings, they are of course just one of the many different ingredients that go into a wonderful school that we should celebrate on a day like today. Because the building itself, though important and providing hopefully an inspiring environment to learn and a fun place to learn, a facility that your teachers and others will enjoy working in and are inspired to do their best in, a building in the end is just bricks and mortar. It’s a building, not something that actually in and of itself ensures you learn more or better, but it is something that together, with the other pieces, with your great teachers, with your school leaders, with your parents, with your local community, with the parish, with all those who contribute, gives you an even richer and greater learning environment.

So I’m thrilled to be able to share in the celebration not just of your new building today, but the celebration of all of the ingredients that make your school such a wonderful place. I’m pleased that as the Federal Government, we have been able to partner with you and support your school in putting this building together. Boys and girls, how many of you think a million dollars is a lot of money?

[Noise from audience]

Yeah, it is. A building like this one costs more than a million dollars, and that’s come about through lots of people working together. Now I’m here because the Federal Government helped with that, but I also want to acknowledge that the school community helped to make that possible. Contributions of your mums and dads, contributions of the local parish, contributions of other members of the school community who invest in providing the best of resources and the best of opportunities for your education and those who will come to the school in future. So I thank and pay tribute to those who have made those contributions, who make that so possible in the future and for everyone to have the best of resources together with the best of teachers. 

So my congratulations to all those who had the foresight to plan this project, those who helped to design the project, those who helped to field new resources, those who supported it along the way, but perhaps most importantly today, my best wishes to all of those who will teach in those facilities, who will educate some of our youngest students in the early years of their education, and all of the boys and girls today and in the future who will have the pleasure of using those resources. Enjoy them. Make the most of them. Make sure you learn lots by working closely with your teachers and others in them so that the great effort that has gone into making these new facilities available to you gets the best possible result, which is for all of you to have a great time, learn lots, and do well from them. Thank you so much for the chance to be here with you today. I’m pleased to be part of the declaring open of the new Father Leon Czechowicz Leaning Centres. Thank you.