State Election 2017: Labor promises new schools for northern suburbs


Labor candidates Emily Hamilton, Sabine Winton and Mark Folkard with Mark McGowan and Butler MLA John Quigley.
Labor candidates Emily Hamilton, Sabine Winton and Mark Folkard with Mark McGowan and Butler MLA John Quigley.

THE State Opposition has unveiled plans to build new primary schools in Banksia Grove, Burns Beach and Yanchep and upgrade four northern suburbs high schools if elected in March.

Labor leader Mark McGowan made the announcement at Wanneroo Secondary College, which would receive $5 million to create a sports centre and drama theatre.

The $381 million school infrastructure pledge gives $2.5 million to Kinross College for a dedicated area for Year 11 and 12 ATAR students and $7 million each for Belridge Secondary College and Ocean Reef Senior High School for performing arts centres.

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It also includes $1.6 million for an early learning centre at Kinross Primary School, upgrades to Tapping Primary School, and perimeter fencing at Currambine and Beaumaris primary schools.

Mr McGowan said existing schools were overcrowded and in need of maintenance or redevelopment.

“Our northern suburbs have been growing rapidly over the past eight years and the pressure on our education facilities has been increasing,” he said.

“WA Labor supports public education and believes that every child deserves a quality education, no matter where they live.

“Our announcement today will boost the local economy, creating 1350 new jobs by building new schools and upgrading existing schools, so our children can get the best education in well maintained, modern facilities.”

Opposition education spokeswoman Sue Ellery said the schools package would be delivered over the next five years.

“The State budget includes unallocated money in the education budget over the existing forward estimates,” she said.

The budget lists $171.8 million for new primary schools from 2019 to 2021 and a Labor spokesman said remaining funding for the other two years of the program would come from consolidated revenue.

Education Minister Peter Collier told media on Tuesday that there were no unallocated funds.

“We have spent every dollar we have got,” he said.

“If you are going to take the money off other areas off the education budget or other areas of the budget in the general sense, that needs to be transparent.”

The 2016-17 budget included funding for new high schools in Yanchep and Butler, a second stage development of Joseph Banks Secondary College in Banksia Grove and $4.5 million for classrooms upgrades, a staff room and student services facility at Kinross College.

Primary schools in Landsdale and Alkimos opened this week, along with private schools in Two Rocks and Alkimos, while the Yanchep secondary school will launch next year and another private facility is expected to open in Alkimos in 2020.

Mr Collier would not comment on whether there were plans for any other northern suburbs schools and a spokeswoman said there would be detailed education policy announcements during the course of the election campaign.