Victoria Minister for Education Martin Dixon
Schools Share In $51.5 Million For Maintenance
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government will repair, rebuild or replace every government school building in poor condition with a $51.5 Million investment.
Across the state, about 570 buildings at 250 schools will share in the funding, which is part of the Napthine Government’s commitment to improving school infrastructure.
Schools will spend the money on repairing and rebuilding facilities currently in a poor or worn condition.
Education Minister Martin Dixon said a comprehensive maintenance audit of more than 27,000 school buildings was carried out last year, fulfilling an election promise.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to better building management in all 1,539 Government schools.” Mr. Dixon said.
“The independent maintenance audit has given us a clear and consistent picture of school maintenance requirements so that funding can be allocated to schools most in need of repair or rebuilding.”
“All Victorian government schools will achieve a higher standard of buildings and infrastructure, ensuring a quality educational environment for children in metropolitan and regional Victoria.”
“The Government is developing a long-term project pipeline and a more transparent funding process so schools have more certainty when planning their infrastructure investments.”
“The maintenance audit exposed a decade of Labor neglect.” Mr. Dixon said.
“The results of the maintenance audit will guide future maintenance and capital works under a better model that will ensure programs such as the BER do not leave schools with unsustainable maintenance costs.”
Following the BER, and the previous Labor government’s school building program, the proportion of surplus space in the school system soared from 15 % to 38 %, but no money was allocated for maintenance, cleaning, utilities or removal of surplus buildings in poor condition.
A complete picture of the state of school buildings did not exist until the Victorian Coalition Government’s building audit.
As noted by VAGO in February, the Department of Early Education and Childhood Development (DEECD) ‘…did not have a comprehensive understanding of the condition of all school buildings until 2012, when it undertook a whole-of-portfolio assessment of the condition of school buildings’.
VAGO noted that, since the last comprehensive school building review in 2005, only a small proportion of schools had been audited. The report stated that ‘This meant that during this period, capital investment decisions were made on the basis of incomplete data, and there is no certainty that the most urgent needs were being prioritised’.
Mr. Dixon said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to fixing Victoria’s school capital and maintenance program to make sure every school received the most out of every dollar.
The $51.5 Million in funding will go to 250 schools to repair or rebuild about 57 buildings. In some cases, buildings rated as being in a poor condition and deemed surplus to requirements will be demolished.
None of the buildings poses a safety risk in their current state.
This week, principals will receive a copy of their school’s Condition Assessment Report based on the findings of the industry best-practice audits undertaken in 2012.