Victoria Shadow Minister for Education Martin Dixon
Education Minister Fails Accountability At PAEC
Victor P Taffa
Victoria Education Minister Bronwyn Pike must be dizzy following the amount of spin she relied on to answer questions from the Coalition members at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) according to Shadow Minister for Education Martin Dixon.
“The Minister comfortably read out the answers to Dorothy Dix questions from government members of the Committee but had to rely on spin and long-winded answers when responding to non-government members.” Mr. Dixon said.
“When discussing the Building Education Revolution (BER), the Minister still refused to give any details about costs and costing breakdowns on BER projects in Victoria, hiding behind the excuse of commercial in confidence. Yet she was most forthcoming in talking about details that she could put a positive spin on.”
“The Minister’s claim that 84 % of BER projects have been completed or are underway when hundreds of schools across Victoria have builders fences erected and nothing else, can hardly be described as accurate.” Mr. Dixon said.
“The Minister still insists that her department knows best and is best suited to handle BER projects despite figures showing 98 % of Catholic school projects where principals have local control were underway or completed three months ago.”
“When answering questions about Victoria having the lowest total participation in NAPLAN, the Minister refused to concede that the fact that thousands of Victorian children are either absent or withdrawn from the testing is of concern. Minister Pike was more interested in berating other states for not collecting their information correctly.” Mr. Dixon said.
“Victoria’s NAPLAN results have shown no real improvement and the Victorian Auditor-General said last year that the Minister’s department’s efforts have resulted in no marked improvement in literacy and numeracy, yet these facts were ignored by the Minister.”
“Bronwyn Pike thought these were good results and that the world was flocking to Victoria to learn from us.”
“All they will learn from Victoria is that under Labor, spin always wins over substance.” Mr. Dixon said.
“When asked about Broadmeadows Special Development School and Hume Valley School’s failure to gain funding in this year’s budget despite previous assurances, the Minister could not tell the Committee when those schools will receive their long-promised funding.”
“This flies in the face of this government’s stated commitment to children with disabilities.”
“When asked what changes have been made to bullying and intimidation procedures at Kerang Technical High School following a $290,000 payout to a former student, the Minister was unable to answer questions on the specifics, nor could she address the broader issue of bullying across our schools.” Mr. Dixon said.
Bronwyn Pike also slammed Berwick Lodge Primary School principal, Henry Grossek saying that his figures on projects were completely wrong and that only her department was capable of delivering value-for-money projects and with more flexibility than non-government schools.
“It is easy for the Minister to make these claims when she will not release any costings of any projects to schools or anyone else.” Mr. Dixon said.
The School Building Bungles is not confined to Victoria. According to The Australian Newspaper on 17 May 2010 Orange Grove Public School was given a canteen too small for practical use. This school is in the electorate of NSW Education Minister Verity Firth.
Whether it is school buildings, roof insulation or border protection to name a few Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must be wondering how on earth he can keep up with the level of incompetence of the worst Federal Government in Australia since the Whitlam Government.