Photo: Yass High School Deputy Principals Ruth Riach and Andrew Facer with Kristy McBain MP (Brianna O’Rourke)

If elected Labor has promised $80,000 to Yass High School to aid in the reconstruction of an outdoor basketball court that was torn down to build the school’s new multipurpose hall.

Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain made the announcement last week alongside Education Shadow Minister Tanya Plibersek.

“The school is in the process of trying to fundraise for a new basketball court and I’m delighted this funding will help it reach its goal,” Kristy said. “Once complete, this state-of-the-art basketball court will be enjoyed by hundreds of students at the school, and the broader Yass Valley community.”

The hall will allow for not only school use but for general public use, which Kristy said she thinks is a fantastic outcome for the entire region.

“Sport is about fitness, connecting with your peers, team building, mental health – and so much more.”

Kristy said the Party will work with Yass High School about their time frames around the building of the basketball courts.

“I think it’s an initiative that shows that the Labor Party is listening to what people are asking for on the ground,” she said. “Projects like this make the world of difference to school communities, but to wider communities as well.”

Deputy Mayor Jasmin Jones said it was an outstanding commitment as this resource is needed for both the school and the community.

Jasmin Jones, Ruth Riach, P&C President Michelle Thornely, Kristy McBain, and Andrew Facer

“The facilities at Yass High School are used by the greater community,” she said. “By the primary school students, by ex-students, and by sporting groups.”

“This will now provide somewhere basketball and other sports can practice. It will also provide an undercover area where students can meet and break off into year groups for assemblies.”

Jasmin added that unfortunately the new multipurpose school hall, which was due to be completed in November, is not on track at the moment.

“So anything that can increase the facilities on-site is welcomed and it’s also good for the future of the school,” she said. “The school community is going to grow – our population is expected to reach 27,000 by 2036.”

“That’s going to mean a lot more students here at Yass High School and so extra facilities will be needed.”

The announcement comes as the indoor basketball court at the Yass Showground is set to be removed shortly.

“There is a lack of basketball facilities here in Yass, so the new hall, which will have a two-court basketball stadium will be a welcome addition, but outdoor facilities are also required. This is a great addition to the resources for the community.” Education Shadow Minister Tanya Plibersek said Labor was very excited about the announcement, a part of Labor’s commitments to invest in local schools.

“The P&C (Parents & Carers Association) has been doing just such a wonderful job here, and it’s a great school,” she said. However, Tanya said it’s difficult to fundraise through school families when incomes are under pressure due to drought, fires, and coronavirus.

“It’s pretty hard to keep asking the same families to put their hands in their pockets to fundraise for a project like this,” she said. “So Labor’s really excited that if elected, we can contribute $80,000 to a really valuable project.”

P&C President Michelle Thornely said the group had already raised $20,000 for the basketball court through the community and uniform shop.

“[Fundraising] is hard work at the moment,” Michelle said. “You don’t want to be asking the same families over and over again, so we’re really grateful for this to actually be able to lighten the load a little bit.”

“I think the community is ready and waiting for a new facility,” she said. “It’s great to see money going to the kids.”

Kristy congratulated the P&C on their efforts in fundraising for the project. “The past two years have been hard for all Australians. But our kids have suffered a unique loss. Remote learning, isolation from friends, missed events, have turned what should be some of the best years of their lives into a bit of a nightmare.”

Brianna O’Rourke