Camden Labor candidate says school maintenance backlog hurts students

Demountable dilemma: Parents, Labor's education spokesman Jihad Dib and Camden Labor candidate Sally Quinnell outside Oran Park Public School.

Demountable dilemma: Parents, Labor's education spokesman Jihad Dib and Camden Labor candidate Sally Quinnell outside Oran Park Public School.

The state government has promised every maintenance job currently outstanding at Macarthur’s public schools will be completed by July 2020 if the Liberal party is re-elected in March. 

However Camden Labor candidate Sally Quinnell said Camden schools were under mounting pressure due to the growing population.

The local teacher said Oran Park Public School, is operating at double its student capacity, was a perfect example of how development had affected the region’s school.

“Oran Park Public School is so chock-a-block with 42 demountables that parents couldn’t even walk their kids into kindy on their first day,” Ms Quinnell said.

“More kids are in demountable classrooms, the maintenance backlog has quadrupled, and too many schools are still without air conditioning. 

“Oran Park is bearing the brunt of the Liberal fire sale to developers. There are no excuses, the Liberals were in such a rush to flog local land off to developers that they didn’t bother properly planning the school.”

Education Minister Rob Stokes said the demountables were only being used on site while the government completed the Oran Park school’s multi-million dollar upgrade, which will provide 24 new permanent air-conditioned classrooms to accommodate an additional 500 students.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government inherited a $1 billion school maintenance backlog from the former Labor government. 

“We have worked hard to reduce the maintenance backlog and I am delighted to confirm we will now clear it completely,” she said. 

“When Labor was last in Government, they closed schools, sacked teachers and racked up a huge maintenance liability as our schools fell into disrepair.” 

Mr Stokes said the state government would invest a further $449 million to clear the backlog by July 2020. 

“This investment shows our commitment to maintaining existing schools as well as building new ones,” Mr Stokes said. 

“We’re delivering more than 170 new and upgraded schools across the state and we will ensure that each school provides the world-class facilities that our students and teachers deserve.”