The local education crisis under the Berejiklian Government is deepening, with the Government confirming it has no plans to deliver a new school to the fast-growing Dapto and West Dapto areas.
Dubbed one of the state’s key growth suburbs, the population of Dapto and West Dapto is expected to rise to over 50,000 people in the next 20 years. Projected enrolments for the only public primary school serving the Dapto community – Dapto Public School – are expected to reach 1,065 by 2036.
Despite this growth, NSW Education Minister has admitted the Government currently has no plans to build another school in the area.
Dapto Public School is already bursting at the seams, with 12 demountable classrooms required to accommodate its population of 709 students.
In fact, there are 36 demountable classrooms clogging up precious playground space across seven schools in the Shellharbour electorate.
“The excessive use of demountables in our schools is a sign of poor planning and short-sightedness by this Government,” Anna Watson said, “They are meant to be a temporary solution for growing communities like ours, but what we see here is a reliance on making cheap and ineffective demountables a permanent structure within schools.”
There are also a significant school maintenance backlog of over $8.2 million in the Shellharbour electorate that the State Government is yet to address.
The NSW Government has conceded to the enormous demand for educational infrastructure in West Dapto by funding an upgrade, but it’s being described as a “band-aid for a bullet wound”.
“The level of enrolment at Dapto Public School should indicate the need for a new school for the area, but instead all we have is a re-announcement of already-confirmed funding for an upgrade,” Anna Watson said.
The Government is also yet to disclose the full nature of the upgrade, the total funding, any start or completion date, or how many additional students the upgrade will accommodate. The indefinite nature of the announced upgrade and the confirmation that a new school for West Dapto is not on the horizon should ring alarm bells for local residents.
“The community deserves long-term planning and proper investment in local educational infrastructure,” Anna Watson said, “Parents right across the Dapto region need reassurance that as their children grow they will have access to a high quality public education in uncrowded, well-maintained schools.”
“By ignoring the maintenance backlog, cutting funding, and refusing to plan for the long-term future of our students – this Government is failing our local children and failing the future of New South Wales.
“The time for action is now. I am calling on the Government to quit playing party politics and invest the money where it is undeniably needed, in securing vital educational infrastructure for the people of West Dapto.”