Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch has told State Parliament in her maiden speech on May 11 that her priority was “to be the catalyst for the positive change that the region is crying out for”.
“I believe my life experiences have given me the skills, resilience and vision to achieve this.”
Ms Tesch said she had a “wonderfully privileged childhood, but not in the traditional sense”.
“My sister Trudii and I grew up in a caravan, built by our father, an architect who spent much of his life designing low-cost, sustainable housing as an ideological solution for a burgeoning society.
“We lived in a number of locations on the coast of New Zealand’s South Island with five cats, three goats, a rabbit and a pig.
“We wore bare feet in summer, gumboots in winter, and enjoyed bush tucker as a regular part of our diet.
“It wasn’t a normal family environment, but it was one that allowed us to connect directly with nature from a very young age and to always appreciate and revere the natural world.
“This experience has created a lasting interest in the importance the human stewardship of the environment and the preservation of green space within community.
“While my sister Trudii studied nursing and paid HECS, I was lucky enough to commence university in the post-Whitlam era, without the social or financial barriers to tertiary education that are emerging today.
“It is a top priority for me to make education and training financially accessible for the next generation to reduce their risk of being left behind.
“I’ll always champion the value of quality education and continue to fight to reinstate the jobs and training spaces that have been taken from young people in TAFE courses across NSW. “We must increase the number of apprenticeships and support employers to adopt training policies that not just employ youth, but equip them with training for future innovation in Australia and the world.
“I have a vision to transform Gosford into a thriving energised business and social community, the capital city of the Central Coast with a beating heart, a waterside community that people are proud to call home.
“The people of the Gosford electorate are not Greater Sydney and as such the area needs development particular to our needs and identity, expanding on all that we already have to offer.
“We must be recognised and resourced as a region.
“The importance of inspiring, extending and supporting education and employment opportunities for young people cannot be underestimated in society, especially on the Central Coast.
“In one of my last lessons as a geography teacher, we discussed as a class the youth unemployment rate of the Gosford electorate, which currently stands at almost 17 per cent.
“Eden, a Year 10 student, came to me at the end of the class remarking that, when taking those statistics into account, five kids in the class of 30 would not get a job.
“Not to mention, as a young Aboriginal man, Eden’s outlook for employment may even be statistically worse.
“These are sobering statistics and a reality that I hope to change.
“I’ve been a teacher for over 25 years, and 20 of those have been in public education on the beautiful Central Coast.
“I have seen the fantastic work that our teachers and principals do, educating our youth and helping them become active members of our community.
“There is much we can learn from leading world-class education systems, such as those with decentralised school structures, without the over-investment in one-off, standardised tests that artificially categorise both students and teachers.”
Speech, 11 May 2017
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford