OPPOSITION Leader Mark |McGowan has accused the Liberal Party of “wasting” $70 million on transportable classrooms over the past two years.
Speaking at Ellenbrook Secondary College this week, Mr |McGowan said the 14 demountables at the school were an example of how the Liberals had failed to plan and build the schools needed to cater for WA’s growing population.
“After eight long years in government, these figures show the Liberals have dropped the ball when it comes to even the basics of our public education system – building classrooms,” he said.
Education Minister Peter Collier said while the $70 million figure was correct, it was not “wasted” but rather the cost associated with building and moving the transportable classrooms around.
“As at 30 September 2016, there were 1847 transportable classrooms in primary and secondary public schools, compared to 1800 in 2008,” Mr Collier said. “Transportable classrooms have been used for decades to address naturally fluctuating student enrolments and are no different to that of a permanent classroom.”
Opposition spokeswoman Sue Ellery backed up Mr McGowan’s comments, describing the number of transportable classrooms used across the state as “out of control”.
“The Liberals have simply thrown away $70 million in just two years on transportable classrooms,” she said.
Mr McGowan said the Barnett Liberal Government broke their promise to build a new high school in Ellenbrook to ease overcrowding by 2015, but the expected completion date was now 2018.
However, Mr Collier said a new secondary school was not needed in Ellenbrook until 2018.
“The Liberal National Government had invested over $3 billion on public school infrastructure since 2008, with 41 new schools built and 15 replacement |schools providing 1263 new classrooms.
“Further, 14 new public primary schools and eight new public secondary schools will open in the next four years (2017 to 2020).”