Member for Dubbo Troy Grant has issued a public challenge to Education Minister Rob Stokes to address the electorate’s school maintenance backlog in next week’s budget.
Mr Grant said it was time schools in the Dubbo electorate saw the benefit of the state’s strong economic position, and called for about $1 million investment in the region’s schools.
“When we came into office in 2011 our government was faced with a massive backlog,” Mr Grant said.
“Now we’ve been in for six years and while there has been some investment into my schools, it hasn’t been good enough.
“So … I’m calling on the Education Minister … to utilise the opportunity with our strong budget position to finally put a significant amount of money into our school maintenance backlog.”
Data released by the Labor opposition earlier this year under freedom of information laws revealed 32 Dubbo electorate schools had a total backlog of more than $7 million as of November 2016, with two schools requiring maintenance worth more than $1 million each.
The Dubbo College Delroy and South campuses had a backlog of $1,259,762 and $1,122,385 respectively, while Dubbo West Public School and Dubbo South Public School both required more than $615,000 in repairs.
“We have toilet blocks that don’t work, we have school fences that have half fallen down, we have buildings where the guttering has failed and we have rooms that are either too hot or too cold just as a couple of examples and that’s not good enough,” Mr Grant said, adding the backlog was a state, not federal, government responsibility.
At Trangie, children were learning music in a community hall that reached 48 degrees during summer.
“There is nothing more important to our children than … a good education, and making sure we have good schools is vital to that.”
“Now we’ve worked very hard to get the economy into a very strong positive and whenever it’s in this strongest position is the time to act by putting the investment where it’s needed.
“There are plenty of important things that the government needs to investment in, but I find very few that are more important that making sure that our schools are ship shape and up to the best sort of maintenance levels that they can be.”