NSW Shadow Minister for Education, Jihad Dib MP has today joined Anna Watson MP, Member for Shellharbour to comment on the excessive use of demountables in local schools and West Dapto’s impending infrastructure needs.
Figures recently released by the NSW Opposition show the education crisis in NSW under the Berejiklian Government is deepening.
Despite projections that the population of Dapto and West Dapto is expected to rise to over 50,000 people in the next 20 years, the Government is yet to announce any plans to deliver vital local educational to accommodate the impending significant population growth.
Across NSW the amount of demountable classrooms impacting valuable playground space has risen to 4,665 – according to figures obtained by the NSW Opposition under Freedom of Information laws – a third of which have been in place for a decade or longer.
The only primary school serving the Dapto community is currently bursting at the seams, with 12 demountable classrooms required to accommodate its population of 709 students.
Under questioning from Labor in May 2017, Education Minister Rob Stokes admitted the projected enrolments for Dapto Public School are expected to reach 1065 by 2036. Despite this growth the Minister has admitted the Government currently has no plans to build another school in the area.
In 2015, Labor pledged to invest $44 million to build an educational precinct for West Dapto, but this Liberal Government has made no public considerations as to the future of our region’s students.
The figures reveal that in Shellharbour across a total of 7 schools there are 36 demountable classrooms clogging up precious playground space. Dapto Public School has the greatest number of demountables impacting green space with 12.
Under the Liberal Government, usage of what were designed to be temporary structures in our school yards has actually gone up.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley says a Labor Government led by him in 2019 is committed to immediately auditing Government-owned unused or under-used land to identify potential sites for schools and school expansions.
Quotes Attributable to NSW Shadow Minister for Education Jihad Dib MP:
“We’ve learned in this year’s Budget Estimates hearings that this government seems to be more focused on selling Education land and facilities rather than building schools for the future.”
“Parents right across the West Dapto region need reassurance that as their children grow they will have access to a high quality public education in uncrowded, well-maintained schools.”
“As I travel around NSW I hear the same complaints: overcrowding, playgrounds filled with demountable classrooms, soaring maintenance backlogs and frustratingly, opportunities to build schools being squandered by this short-sighted government.”
Quotes Attributable to Anna Watson MP:
“Demountables are meant to be a temporary solution for growing communities but what we see here is a reliance on making cheap and ineffective demountables a permanent structure within schools.
“West Dapto is one of the largest growth areas in New South Wales and the community deserves long-term planning and actual investment in local educational infrastructure.
“The excessive use of demountables in our schools is a sign of poor planning and short-sightedness by this Government. If the projected figures for Dapto Public School prove true, in the next 20 years the number of demountables on site could be set to double.”
7 September 2017