Thank you for that kind introduction.
If I could begin by acknowledging:
• Your Eminence, Cardinal Pell
• Principal Michael Egan & staff
• Dr Dan White & Dr Mark Turkington, Catholic Education
• Federal parliamentary colleague Jason Clare
• Former federal parliamentary colleague Daryl Melham
• State Member Tania Mihailuk
It is a pleasure to be present today, to join you for the formal blessing and opening of this facility.
Trade and vocational education is a critical part of education choice for students and parents.
I think most would agree that for various reasons they have not received appropriate levels of support and have been wrongly devalued in recent decades.
Trades and vocational education are important for our economy and, as His Eminence emphasises earlier, for individual students to achieve their goals and fulfil their potential.
That is one reason why the previous Coalition Government delivered the Australian Technical Colleges, and why I recently re-committed the Government to 136 new Trades Skills Centres.
I commend the LaSalle College community for their work in bringing this project to fruition.
This centre focuses on trades and skills in real demand, such as carpentry, electrical, metal fabrication, fitter and motor mechanic.
It is also a particular pleasure to come to a Catholic boys’ college, being a product of a very similar school in Melbourne – albeit under a different order of brothers with whom I’m sure you also share a fierce football rivalry.
Catholic education in Australia has a long and proud history.
From the earliest days serving those often without access to education, to the dramatic expansion in the second half of last century and providing a social and economic foothold for waves of migration, the Catholic commitment to education in this country has provided by educational choice and opportunity for hundreds of thousands if not millions.
I am one of many who can honestly say I would have had enormous opportunities and would not be standing before you without it.
The name of this centre, Saint Yon, is a reminder of that tradition, your Lasallian heritage and commitment to educational opportunity.
I congratulate all in the school community who worked to build this facility and thank you again for the invitation to join you today to formally open it.