Question Time: STEM Education

Thursday September 20, 2018

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:20): My question is to the Minister for Education. Can the minister update the house regarding STEM Works being undertaken in my electorate of Mount Gambier?

Mr Duluk interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Waite, you can leave for half an hour.

The honourable member for Waite having withdrawn from the chamber:

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (15:20):

An honourable member: But his comment was appropriate.

The SPEAKER: Whether his comment was appropriate or not is irrelevant.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —the STEM Works program, which of course was announced a few years ago, including a $250 million investment by the taxpayers of South Australia announced by the former minister and supported by the opposition to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics facilities in our schools around South Australia, is underway. Those works are underway. A number of them have been opened, and I have been pleased to assist in local members' participation in a number of those openings.

In Mount Gambier, I am advised, there are indeed three programs in relation to STEM Works facilities, totalling $6 million. There will be $1 million for the Mount Gambier North primary school and $2½ million each for Grant primary school and Mount Gambier High School. I know those school communities are very grateful to the taxpayers of South Australia—as indeed they are the taxpayers—for delivering those facilities. The local builders Dycer Constructions were appointed for the projects at Grant High and Mount Gambier North primary. Kennett Pty Ltd are doing the building works at Mount Gambier High and Grieve Gillett Andersen are providing the architectural services for all three projects.

The project at Mount Gambier North primary school was completed in May, as the local member would be aware, as I believe he is definitely going to be involved in the opening of that in coming weeks. I thank him for doing that on behalf of the government. In that case, there are refurbishments of three existing buildings, allowing students from all year levels access to facilities, including technologies and modern ICT.

Work commenced on Mount Gambier High's project in March this year. That redevelopment is expected to be completed before around the end of this year, in the break between the end of term 4 and the beginning of next year. There is a makerspace, a dark space, a green wall, access to CAD programs, two centralised broader spaces. That will be a great project. The Grant High School redevelopment is scheduled to be completed next month, in October. That will include new STEM learning spaces in a central location, with accessibility to adjoining classrooms for breakout groups engaging in collaboration.

These projects are important. The government will continue to support educational facilities. This year's budget identifies a forward works program in excess of $1 billion in improving our capital works in our schools. Some of those have been in train for some time. Some of those have been announced but are now in the forward estimates. This government will do all we can to support our schools, including those in the member's electorate.