St Gabriel's School for Hearing Impaired Children


I rise this morning to speak about the remarkable efforts of one of my constituents, Mr Brian King, and his family on behalf of his daughter, Erin King, who attended St Gabriel’s School for Hearing Impaired Children within my electorate.


Mr Brian King has just completed a remarkable feat: he scaled Mount McKinley in the United States as part of an attempt to raise funding for the very important expansion of the St Gabriel’s school. Mr King many years ago had an accident where a piece of industrial machinery fell on his foot and his foot had to be reconstructed, which, on reflection, makes his achievement all the more remarkable.

He approached this task with a determination to do something for St Gabriel’s School for Hearing Impaired Children because it is one of those icons of my community that has delivered so much benefit to so many children for a very long time now. I commend St Gabriel’s School for Hearing Impaired Children because it is now expanding.


From next year it will be accepting enrolments from children with a range of disabilities, not simply hearing impaired children. The principal, Kathy Freeman, who has recently come to the school, is continuing a very fine tradition of management of the school and is expanding the enrolment to include children with intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome and autism.


It is one of those schools within our community that is very well regarded as an institution that delivers fantastic outcomes for kids. The move is part of a plan to expand a series of specialised schools and strengthen the longevity of these institutions. It is something that I of course support.


I think that, from the point of view of government, we should also seek to ease the path for those institutions that operate in highly specialised areas of disability and are now looking to expand their endeavours to ensure their ongoing survival. They are doing it in a way which I find very innovative and which will continue to provide a very high level of service in many areas of disability while also branching out into some new ones.


As I have mentioned in this place before, in the north-west of Sydney there is a shortage of services for children with disabilities. We are often missed in the government funding formulas, particularly at the state level, because of the apparent wealth and socio-demographics of my area. However, disadvantage still exists and is often hidden.


Therefore it is left to institutions like St Gabriel’s School for Hearing Impaired children to take up the slack. It does that in an outstanding fashion and does a lot of the work that the government cannot and will not do in my area.


I commend Mr King for his fundraising efforts for this fantastic school.