Warracknabeal Education Precinct – Funding Stages Two & Three
My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Education, James Merlino, and it relates to the Warracknabeal Education Precinct.
Last week I was invited to tour this Precinct which through unfortunate circumstances, has become a central talking point around Warracknabeal and other parts of Western Victoria. When I visited the school, the state of the buildings and walls were not what I had imagined – they were much worse.
Karly Kirk – a former student herself and parent of children currently attending the school – is a member of the ‘Finish What You Started’ campaign. This campaign calls on the State Government to complete stages 2 and 3 of the Precinct.
Warracknabeal parents were expecting a good news story in May’s State budget which would fund the remaining 2 stages of the 3 stage Education Precinct. However, this was unfortunately not the case.
I spoke with students who were stoically proud of their school and who continue to be positive towards their learning endeavors even though the rundown environment in which they learn fails to motivate or inspire; two factors in which every school should promote.
Stage 1 of the school was completed last year. The new facilities are great, but without completion of the remaining two stages, stage 1 is unable to be properly utilised.
The new purpose-built secondary school currently houses the special learning students and the new administration centre which boasts a $25,000 desk for which only one staff member is currently housed. Understandably, parents are confused and frustrated.
The primary school boasts leaking roofs, exposed power cables and classes which can’t be used in summer as there is limited air-conditioning. It reportedly also boasts asbestos-ridden walls.
The current secondary school campus was built in 1927 and remains largely unchanged, apart from some major holes in the walls. If this school was within the metropolitan or major regional city boundaries, it would make front page news and demand immediate action.
I understand that the Government has obvious budget constraints and I commend the Minister on the work he has done in order to improve other schools throughout regional Victoria however I would ask that the Minister tour this precinct to get a first-hand look at the disrepair.
The VSBA requires final sign off from the Minister before they can commence their final pre-construction planning. This process takes roughly 6-9 months. If undertaken now, the VSBA will be able to table their final report by the next State Budget and allow for funded construction to begin next year.
Therefore, the action that I seek is for the Education Minister to permit the VSBA to commence final pre-construction plans for the Warracknabeal Education Precinct so that the State Government can continue to deliver quality education to the students of Warracknabeal and surrounding rural areas.