Thursday, 14 June 2018

Hunter Set to Share in Huge Education Investment

BY LAUREN FREEMANTLE

A new education precinct in Newcastle is just one of several projects to be funded by a state government commitment of $6-billion for NSW schools.

The precinct will see the construction of a brand new public school, as well as improvements to Newcastle High.

Callaghan College will receive new permanent teaching spaces, a replacement hall and indoor sports centre, while Speers Point and Wangi Wangi public schools are among those to benefit from upgrades.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said there's a significant number of projects in the pipeline.

"There's a good list; we have announced Nulkaba before, but now it's Ashtonfield Public School, Bulwarra and Belmont High...additional work to come for [Hunter School of] Performing Arts, upgrades for Rutherford Public School and Hunter Sports High," he said.

The Parliamentary Secretary is confident we'll see progress in the near future.

[When the government] hands down a budget, the outlyings are for four years," he explained, "so some of that work will start quickly, some of it will take a bit of planning, but it's good to see these schools are identified now."

It comes on the same day Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced $500-million for school air-conditioning, leaving Opposition Leader Luke Foley with no option than to re-brand his election campaign.

Labor's long-touted election promise of $300-million for school air conditioning has been trumped by today's announcement, however, Shadow Education Minister Jihab Dib said it merely proves the government has no original ideas.

"When we started talking about air conditioning, originally they were being dismissive," Mr Dib said, "now what we've got is a government that says 'we're going to put money in,' but they haven't actually come up with any of the policy yet."

"If that isn't policy on the hop, I don't know what is," Jihad Dib concluded.

Scot MacDonald said he's liaising with Hunter P&C committees and is making representations to Education Minister Rob Stokes for a review into the threshold which air-conditioning funding is based on.

It's expected further details about Hunter facilities and air-conditioning will be released next week with the June 19 budget.

Premier Berejiklian meets with primary school children. Image: SMH. 

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