Opening of new facilities at the Suneden Specialist School, Adelaide

Simon Birmingham: Thank you Jordan and Joseph for the welcome. It is a thrill to be able to be here with you today for the opening – official opening – of these new facilities that those of you here at the Suneden Specialist School have been enjoying for some period of time as they’ve gradually been finished and opened and, of course, enjoyed and utilised by the school community.

Gatherings like this, when we come together – Cole as your local MP, members of the school community and others – we come to open a building, to open new facilities, to celebrate the fact that there are some outstanding new pieces of equipment or spaces that schools can enjoy, and that’s important, it’s critical, and I pay tribute to Sue, as part of the architectural team, the building team, all of those who physically have helped to make this happen.

But it’s also an opportunity to do much more than simply celebrate new building infrastructure or equipment, because schools are the sum of many parts and components, and bricks and mortar are a critical part, but of course, they’re just one part. What happens within them is even more essential, and that’s why it’s a great occasion, particularly for me as Federal Minister to be able to come and extend my thanks and congratulations to the principal, school leadership, teaching staff; those, of course, who deliver the opportunities, the knowledge, the experience to students on a day-to-day basis. To celebrate school community, which is so important, especially in a school like this, of bringing family, community members, other supporters of the school together in what they do to help make sure that it is a real community; something that provides more than just care and education for children between fixed hours, but of course provides true life-changing opportunities during that time; and, in a school such as this one in particular, provides such valuable support back to its school community too. To the parents, to the families who are here as community members, but who rely upon the school very much for the support and effort that it gives back to them.

So there are many things to celebrate on an occasion like today. We are very pleased as a government to be able to play a small part in supporting the works and the infrastructure to ensure that, in an ongoing sense, school funding for a school like this is secure, and importantly, reflects its need, that the types of reforms we put through the Parliament earlier this year, will see, over the next few years, per student support from the Commonwealth Government for this school grow at a rate of around 20 per cent per student; a real turbo-charging, if you like, of investment, because we’ve applied a true and consistent needs-based approach to funding and support. Which we know is going to children who are worthy and needy of that support, who can benefit greatly, who will achieve more because of it; families who will be able to see greater opportunities and greater support; and ultimately, of course, the type of outcomes that we aspire, which is for every child, from their own unique circumstances and background, to be able to be all that they can be, to enjoy life all that they can, and to seize all the opportunities before them.

So I’m thrilled to be able to officially open these facilities today, but more importantly, I’m delighted to celebrate in all this school has achieved and accomplished, to be able to be here with you to share in this moment, to learn more about Suneden Specialist School and the work that is undertaken here, and to hopefully take some of those lessons away when I think about the education policies and challenges that we face in the future. Thanks so very much, and officially declare the facilities open.