Constituency Statement – International Space Design Challenge students

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Mr PITT (Hinkler—Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister) (10:14):  Mr Deputy Speaker Hogan, I’m sure that this will be close, and near and dear, to your heart. This is about regional kids having a crack, regional kids who are successful, regional kids who I think will be the absolute apple of their parents’ eye. Their schools are proud of them, their state is proud of them and their nation is proud of them. I’m talking about three year 11 students from the Bundaberg State High School who were selected to take part in the International Space Settlement Design Competition. For those who might not know, that’s for NASA, that big organisation that does all sorts of wonderful things and is cutting edge in terms of its design. Brooklyn Davis, Kasey Chandler and Alex Buckholz are our three local champions who travelled to Cape Canaveral in a combined Australian team to take part in the competition, which they won. They won. The Australian team, three of them from the Bundaberg State High School, won this international event for kids.

This competition started in 1983 and was supported by NASA, of course. It targets high-school students and recreates the experience of working on an aerospace company’s proposal team. The teams are asked to envision space colonies in accordance with an RFP, which is a request for proposal. An RFP is used where the request requires technical expertise or specialised capability, or where the product or service being requested does not yet exist and the proposal may require research and development to create whatever is being created.

A very proud teacher, Keith Holledge, the head of Industrial Technology and Design at Bundaberg State High School, has been there inspiring these types of students for at least 25 years. He’s a former woodworker. He’s been involved in STEM programs since 1990. In fact, he started the CO2—carbon dioxide—dragster cars 35 years ago. He secured a $330,000 grant to supply a state-of-the-art computer-aided design facility in 2004, and became involved in the Australian Space Design Competition 14 years ago. Mr Holledge, as I said, is a very proud teacher. What did he have to say about his students? He said:

Their dreams will become our reality. Our kids are the ones who will be fixing all our problems.

I think that’s a great quote. It’s a great reflection on those kids who are coming from regional Australia, who are coming from regional towns like Bundaberg and like yours, Mr Deputy Speaker, who are out there having a crack. They’re doing really well in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—and they find themselves at NASA. We couldn’t be prouder, and I think everyone is parliament should be proud of that type of performance. It couldn’t happen without help, and sponsors included David Batt, the state member for Bundaberg. My office provided support, along with a range of other local businesses.

Quite simply, this is about regional kids having a go and being successful. We should support that type of success at every single opportunity. Let’s talk about the good things in our regions: our kids who are out there trying hard. I think this is a great reflection on all of us, and I congratulate them on their success.

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