Local high school news welcomed

A new Hammond Park school is in the works.
A new Hammond Park school is in the works.

And, as The Gazette reported in July, the school will be on Barfield Road.

After three years of petitioning, Rose Beasley ” from the Hammond Park Needs a High School group ” said she was over the moon to hear a school would be built locally.

The State Government announced last week that four public schools and four public secondary schools would be built and maintained under the state’s first public private partnership (PPP) for schools.

Under the partnership, a private company will design and build the schools, then maintain them for 25 years.

The schools will still be owned by the State Government and run by the Department of Education, with payments for them not made until the schools are operational.

Criticism was quick to follow the announcement, with United Voice WA secretary Carolyn Smith saying the Government was shirking its responsibilities.

‘Governments are supposed to run schools and hospitals so they are accountable to the public,’ she said.

‘This is handballing.

‘When something goes wrong at a privatised site like a hospital or a prison, governments get to say ‘well, it’s not our fault’ and dodge the blame.’

Education Minister Peter Collier rejected the criticism.

‘The contract will have clearly defined performance measures and timelines,’ he said.

‘The project company only receives payment when the school is operational and payments can be deducted if performance measures aren’t met.’

The State School Teachers Union also expressed its concerns. President Pat Byrne said the announcement was a continuation of budget cuts.

‘The government is stepping further and further away from its responsibilities to properly funding a quality public education system in this state,’ she said.

‘In effect what has always been public infrastructure will in future be lost to the private sector, whose main objective is to make profits.’

Mr Collier said that would not be the case and the the builder would need to maintain the schools for 25 years.