NSW government commits to big spending increases for education
Jun 23, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
The NSW Government will spend almost $1 billion on school infrastructure over the next four years in a bid to tackle maintenance backlogs and manage unprecedented enrolments.
The four-year spending program announced in this week’s state budget follows a warning by the NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley that maintenance issues affecting more than 2,000 public schools are creating safety risks for teachers and students.
Under the plan, funding for backlog maintenance will be doubled from $160 million to $330 million over two years to address “priority maintenance needs in schools”.
NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli says the extra funding will also provide 1,100 new state-of-the-art classrooms to meet student population demands - expected to rise by over 45,000 students over the next four years.
“We want to ensure growing neighbourhoods have the schools that families will need into the future,” Mr Piccoli said.
“That is why the 2016-17 Budget commits almost $1bn of additional funding on infrastructure over the next four years to respond to enrolment growth, including the new $400m Schools Infrastructure Strategy to focus specifically on growth areas.
“There is also a substantial boost to the NSW Government's maintenance program to keep our public schools in the best possible condition.”
The classrooms will be created in new and existing schools across regional growth areas and Sydney's crowded inner suburbs, with development due to be completed on all projects by 2020.
The $942 million in extra infrastructure funding includes $400 million for new Sydney primary schools at Smalls Road Ryde and North Kellyville and a new senior campus of Cammeraygal High School at Crows Nest.
New classrooms will be provided at Willoughby Public School, Willoughby Girls High School, Fort Street Public School, Oran Park Public School, Rosehill Public School and Curl Curl North Public school.
Building is due to start soon on the new Arthur Philip High School and Parramatta Public School at Parramatta, the Inner Sydney High School in Surry Hills and Ballina High School.
Funding will also go to developing Lindfield Learning Village, the new Hurlstone Agricultural High School and a distance education school in Queanbeyan.
There will be upgrades to schools in Glenfield, Maitland, Coolah, Tamworth, Richmond, and Pottsville and funding for more schools will be announced in coming months.
NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said the record funding levels would ensure students would enjoy learning in quality environments.
“NSW needs world-class schools so students get the support they need to help them reach their full potential,” Berejiklian said.