Travelling planetarium for Southern NSW students

Minister for School Education Peter Garrett, Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird, and Member for Throsby Stephen Jones, today launched a mobile planetarium at Mount Ousley Public School in Fairy Meadow, set to offer innovative science outreach programs to local students.

Created by the Science Centre at the University of Wollongong, the mobile planetarium will enable students to expand their knowledge of the sciences.

“The mobile planetarium, measuring six metres in diameter, will travel to schools around southern NSW, educating students about the sciences through its presentations on astronomy, oceanography, nanotechnology and biology,” Mr Garrett said.

“This is a terrific opportunity for students from regional schools to access high quality science programs, similar to those available in metropolitan areas.”

Ms Bird said it was vital that young Australians develop an understanding of science.

“Students should experience science in the most exciting way possible, which is why this mobile planetarium is such a fantastic asset for our local community,” Ms Bird said.

“And thanks to the Building the Education Revolution, schools now have the facilities necessary to accommodate the planetarium.”

Mr Jones said the mobile planetarium will not only expose students to new ideas in science and technology, but potentially lead to interesting careers in the field.

“We know that excursion costs can be an impediment for families; but by taking the mobile planetarium to schools, all students will benefit from the wide ranging science programs available at the University of Wollongong’s Science Centre,” Mr Jones said.

Ms Bird and Mr Jones thanked Illawarra Coal and IMB Community Foundation for their support of the project, adding that without their generosity the project would not have been possible.

Mr Garrett said the Gillard Government is committed to giving every child in every school the best education possible.

“The study of science is integral to the long-term prosperity of the nation, and that is why it was one of the first four subjects of the new Australian Curriculum,” Mr Garrett said.

“This means that every student from Foundation to Year 10 will be exposed to a world-class curriculum in the sciences, and teachers will have new opportunities to engage in the teaching and study of science.”

The Gillard Government believes all Australian students should have access to a great education, which is why we have invested more than $65 billion in schools – almost doubled the Coalition in their last term.