Days after the NSW State Election and the new Labor Government has hit the ground running to make sure its presence is felt in the heartland of Penrith.
Deputy Premier Prue Car and Member-Elect for Penrith Karen McKeown visited Penrith Public School this morning to serve breakfast to students.
Car, who will also serve as Minister for Education and Early Learning, as well as being the Member for Londonderry confirmed the Government’s pledge to support the food relief charity Foodbank
“We reiterate our election commitment to provide a further $8 million to Foodbank to extend the breakfast program across the state of NSW,” Car said.
“It’s so important that these children can make sure they are going into the school day with full tummies ready to concentrate on the wonderful learning ahead of them here every day at Penrith Public School.”
With the funding allowing the delivery of more than 1.5 million healthy breakfasts, Foodbank NSW and ACT CEO John Robertson who attended said it will also allow another 500 schools to take part in the School Breakfast 4 Health program.
“What this additional funding will mean is that 1,000 of the most disadvantaged schools across the state are going to get access to the school breakfast program,” Robertson said.
“A program that feeds kids a healthy breakfast in the morning, a program that makes sure kids are coming to school because they know that they are going to get fed, and a program that engages students in the whole education process from the minute they walk in the door, and it keeps them here.”
A foundational school in the breakfast club, Penrith Public School Principal Chantal Beltran has seen positive impacts in the five years that it has been running at the school.
“Our attendance rates have been positively affected, behaviour has been positively impacted and our kids at Penrith Public School start the morning ready to engage and ready to learn,” Beltran said.
“Thank you again for the opportunity to be a part of this program, our kids have truly benefited from it.”
Wasting no time in getting out in the community and delivering commitments is important to McKeown.
“It’s really important that we get on with what we promised to do, and I think that the Government has actually shown that they are willing to do that,” McKeown said.
“Here we are just a matter of days [after the election] and we have already rolled up our sleeves, put on our gloves and served breakfast and we are going to get on with the job.”
Talking to teachers at the school, Car said the main priority moving forward will be addressing the cause of why so many teachers are leaving the profession.
“We know we come to government amongst a chronic teacher shortage and people on Saturday made their vote count with voting for a Labor Government that will be focused on getting teachers into the classroom and keeping teachers in our classrooms,” she said.
“If we are going to actually do something about the declining education outcomes than we need to get more of our wonderful qualified teachers in front of children here at Penrith Public School and across the state.”
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.