South Australia Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas
$600k Wasted On Schools Now Closed
Victor P Taffa
$600,000 of Building the Education Revolution (BER) funding was wasted on two schools which have now closed, Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) executives have confirmed.
DECD Chief Financial Officer Julieann Riedstra told the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee $250,000 had been spent on new toilets and $50,000 on building refurbishment at Salt Creek Primary School.
In addition, $250,000 was spent on a new COLA (covered outdoor learning area) and $50,000 to refurbish building and sporting grounds at Tarpeena Primary School.
“It also appears $159,000 may have been wasted on two projects at Moculta Primary School, which has also closed.” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.
“Families will be very angry when they become aware of this massive waste of taxpayer’s money at a time when the state budget is out of control and the cost of living is skyrocketing.”
Other evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee included:
- $37 million is to be spent on 126 children in emergency accommodation such as hotels, houses, Bed & Breakfasts and apartments this year – about $300,000 per child
- The Auditor-General has raised questions about the Department’s use of “retail gift cards” for children in emergency accommodation
- Annual state costs for the PPP ‘super schools’ include:
- Annual base payment of $27-36 Million over 27 years
- Annual ‘lifestyle payments’ of $0.2 – $5.6 Million over 27 years
- Annual insurance cost starting at $351,000 in the first year
- Annual electricity, gas and water costs also to be paid by the state
The Executive Director of Families SA, David Waterford, also conceded today a letter sent by Families SA to a young man asking about possible paternity of children had been “too blunt” and a new template for similar letters in the future would be used.
“This recognition by Families SA of an insensitive and inappropriate letter and the need for it to be changed is welcomed. It is certainly in contrast with Minister Portolesi’s refusal last week to acknowledge a problem or order changes to Families SA’s policy.” Mr. Lucas said.
“Sadly this again shows how out of touch Minister Portolesi is not only on this issue but also many others within her portfolio.”