School funds don’t sit well with Battin

Gembrook MP Brad Battin with Emerald Secondary College students.

By Romy Stephens and Mitchell Clarke

Last week’s $1.18 billion education infrastructure announcement is proven as more spin by the State Government, according to Gembrook MP Brad Battin.

Mr Battin said the funding was part of Labor’s $2.7 billion loan and had been used to pay for its unfunded election promises.

He said this left Emerald Secondary College without new science and mathematics classrooms to replace their current run down structures.

“Labor is disgracefully using the Covid-19 pandemic as a charade to cover the amount of borrowing and state debt they have to collect to pay for their promised funded election promises,” Mr Battin said.

“It has only become clear that Labor is more worried about covering their election promise debts than investing in urgent school projects.

“The Labor Minister for Education forgets Emerald Secondary exists, despite families from his own electorate attending this great school, leaving its classrooms to continually deteriorate while he borrows billions to cover unfunded election promises.”

Emerald Secondary College did not wish to make a statement regarding Mr Battin’s comments.

On 18 May, Education Minister James Merlino announced that the State Government would fix old buildings, deliver extra classrooms and build 10 new schools in a state-wide construction blitz that will create thousands of jobs and kickstart the state’s economy.

The $1.18 billion in education infrastructure projects was part of the State Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works package.

Mr Merlino said the funding was vital for high quality education across the state.

“We’re investing more than a billion dollars in better schools and kinders as part of our record investment in education – so all Victorians, regardless of their background or circumstances, get a world-class education,” he said.

But Mr Battin claimed the State Government continually neglected Emerald Secondary College and failed to match the Liberals commitment to rebuilding the school’s maths and science rooms.

He added that Labor’s “spin” was evident following an announcement that Kooweerup Primary School and Lang Lang Primary School would receive $2.25 million and $1.4 million respectively, to upgrade “tired and old” classrooms.

Mr Battin said the “new injection” of money for the small Lang Lang school was a 2018 election funding promise, which now proved the project was unfunded.

In response, Bass MP Jordan Crugnale said the funding reflected the State Government’s plan to build the “Education State” and urged the opposition to stop playing politics.

“I’m proud to be part of a government that invests in schools infrastructure – we said we would upgrade Lang Lang Primary School and that is exactly what we are doing,” Ms Crugnale said.

“Instead of playing politics with schools upgrades, the Liberals should get on board and support the school upgrades happening in Bass and across Victoria.

“This $1.18 billion investment will mean since 2014 we have invested more than $7.2 billion to deliver school upgrades and new schools across the state including here in Bass.”

Ms Crugnale said the projects were part of the State Government’s Building Works package which would create local jobs and provide space for more than 21,000 extra students across the state’s education system.

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