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Promises, promises

classroom young children

BEREJIKLIAN-BARILARO SCHOOLS BACKLOG IN MONARO

BEFORE THE MARCH 2019 state election, the National Party Member for Monaro John Barilaro was everywhere promising everyone funding — to the extent that this publication and others dubbed him ‘Porkbarrel-aro’

Now the NSW Labor Opposition has unveiled the extent to which promises for schools in particular have not so far materialised in reality.

Based on detail from budget papers, the Opposition claims the Government has failed to deliver 116 promised new schools and upgrades across NSW — leaving a legacy of overcrowded schools. They also pointed out that NSW is suffering its worst student performance in maths, science and literacy in 20 years.

Labor Leader Jodi McKay called directly on Deputy Premier Barilaro to honour the ten education promises in Monaro, including new high schools at:

  • Jerrabomberra, which has no funding or construction timeline;
  • Bungendore and Jindabyne, which have no funding, no construction timeline and no confirmed sites.

A new primary school at:

  • Googong, which has no construction timeline.

There’s also no detail in the budget for critical upgrades at:

  • Jindabyne Central School
  • Queanbeyan West Public School
  • Braidwood Central School
  • Karabar High School
  • Monaro High School
  • Queanbeyan High School

Ms McKay pointed out that at the same time, the Government is spending:

  • $1.5 billion on its indulgent Powerhouse relocation
  • $1.3 billion on its CBD Light Rail blowout
  • $828 million on its Sydney stadium (including a $100 million blowout).

“This would be more than enough to build 145 new schools or upgrade considerably more,” she said.

Shadow Minister for Education Prue Car said: “The Berejiklian Government promised the world before the last election, instead we’re seeing massive development across part of the state but no plans for the schools that families will need.” The Monaro electorate, with growing communities like Bungendore and Googong, where the promised school construction remains dormant, is cited as a top example.

Poor results for maths and literacy

The latest results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) uncovered that only half of NSW students reached the National Proficient Standard for maths and literacy, according to the Labor shadow ministry.

A total of 79 countries took part in the PISA tests, including 3,315 students from 166 schools in NSW. Embarrassingly, NSW has gone backwards against other OECD countries since 2012.

IMAGE: School children in classroom / Shutterstock.

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