Mr PASIN (Barker) (11:57) Labor governments aren’t generally considered to govern well for rural and regional Australians. While I don’t often stand up in the federal parliament to call out state governments, I really have to on this occasion. The Lucindale Area School is a small regional school located in the south-east of South Australia, in my electorate of Barker.

As a state school it’s under the operational management of the South Australian Department for Education. The school offers education from reception to year 12 for students from across the region. I take this opportunity to read an email I received from a student. It states:

I am writing on behalf of myself and my class here at Lucindale area school, about the lack of a dedicated science and math teacher.

Because of the lack of a math and science teacher I have fallen behind in my education and am fearful that if we as a class continue on this path, it could affect the future employability of myself and my peers.

This was sent to me by a year 10 student. After speaking to a teacher at the school I was reliably informed that the education department’s idea of solving this crisis is to send a different substitute teacher from Adelaide every 19 days to teach maths and science to these children.

Why 19 days? I’m told that if it’s any more than 19 days then that person would have to be offered a permanent contract. In between these substitute teachers there’s often a period when there is no maths or science teacher at the school, which is affecting the education of students in years 8 through to 10, who go without.

This is 2023. STEM is widely acknowledged as imperative for our future workforce, and I have a year 10 student from an area school writing to their local federal member of parliament and pleading for a maths and science teacher.

Are we kidding? This is a complete and utter disgrace.

It wouldn’t be acceptable in the suburbs of Adelaide, and it’s not acceptable at Lucindale. These students are being let down; they’re being left behind.

I’m so proud of those students who’ve written to me on this subject, but I wish they didn’t have to. Imagine a world where you didn’t have year 10 students pleading for a teacher.

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