Legislative Council: Thursday, July 06, 2023


Kangaroo Island Community Education

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:51): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the minister please update the council about his recent visit to the Kangaroo Island Community Education centres?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Mr Wortley, I didn't hear what the actual question was because you were chirping in before you should have.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:52): Luckily, I heard, and I thank the honourable member for the opportunity to talk about—

Members interjecting:


The Hon. K.J. MAHER: —Kangaroo Island because those opposite don't want us to talk about Kangaroo Island. They specifically want us not to talk about Kangaroo Island. I am not surprised they don't want us to talk about Kangaroo Island because we recently held a community cabinet there—a cabinet where we went out and talked to members of the community on Kangaroo Island.

I know why they would be wanting to cut them out. It's because they are ashamed and scared of how they excluded regional areas in their one term in government. I can understand why members opposite would want to exclude Kangaroo Island from the questions and try to stop us talking about Kangaroo Island, but I won't be silenced as I want to talk about Kangaroo Island.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Attorney, it would be nice if you actually answered the question and I know you are heading in that direction.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! I want to hear the Attorney's answer.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: In the last sitting week, we explained that we held country cabinet on Kangaroo Island recently and I was pleased to be able to have the opportunity to share some highlights of that visit, the information we gleaned and the meetings that were held.

One of the highlights for me was visiting the Kangaroo Island Community Education centres at two of the three campuses on Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island Community Education is located at three campuses in Kingscote, Penneshaw and Parndana, all of which are pre-school to year 12 and have around 680 students enrolled in total, including just under two dozen Aboriginal students.

I was lucky enough to drop into the Penneshaw campus with my good friend and colleague in the other place the member for Bright, the Hon. Blair Boyer, the education minister, and was able to spend some time getting to know some of the school's dedicated staff and students and talking about some of the unique issues that are faced by those being educated on the island.

We were treated to a full tour of the very picturesque Penneshaw campus where an elected class representative from each year level did a wonderful job of taking the Minister for Education and myself through many of the classrooms where we heard directly from students about their tasks of the day and their ambitions. It was a pleasure to meet with the Kangaroo Island Community Education principal, Mr Peter Philp, while at the Penneshaw campus and later again at the Kingscote school to hear about how all the campuses were running, especially the challenges that are being faced post bushfire and COVID recovery on the island.

At the later tour of the Kingscote campus, I was able to sit down with the Aboriginal education officer and the Aboriginal education teacher to learn about their school's programs for the Aboriginal students who are enrolled at the school. I want to thank Ms Sharon Gaskin, the Aboriginal education officer, who is a long-time staff member at the school, and Mr Riley Puckridge, the Aboriginal education teacher, who invited me to have a meeting in the Nunga room at the Kingscote campus to talk about the great work they do in supporting Aboriginal students at the school.

Some of the opportunities that the Aboriginal students at Kangaroo Island Community Education have include sending students to participate in a team at the Aboriginal Power Cup, for which the Attorney-General's Department has for many years provided annual funding. Other recent visits for Aboriginal students facilitated by the school included attending the STEM Aboriginal Learner Congress, the Closing the Gap Day event at Wayville Showgrounds in March, and participating in the SAASTA netball competitions. Attendance in previous years has included things such as the Reconciliation SA breakfast in Reconciliation Week.

I would like to thank Mr Philp, the principal; Ms Gaskin and Mr Puckridge from the Aboriginal student support program; and all the staff at the campuses that I visited for such an informative and enjoyable visit.