New report finds schools in NSW could run out of classroom space by 2023

Demountables have become a common sight in NSW schools, including Macarthur. Picture: File Image
Demountables have become a common sight in NSW schools, including Macarthur. Picture: File Image

A new report has found that NSW schools could run out of new classroom space in just two years' time.

The NSW Auditor-General, Margaret Crawford, released a report last week examining the planning and delivery of new, redeveloped and upgraded public schools.

The report into School Infrastructure NSW (SINSW) found that the state's schools could run out of new classroom space by 2023.

The report concluded that while SINSW had developed a long-term strategic plan to advise the government of "ongoing funding requirements, it has not presented a list of priorities to meet these needs".

'"The audit found that School Infrastructure NSW has focused on delivering existing projects, election commitments and other government announcements," the report read.

"This has diverted attention from identifying and delivering projects that would have better met present and future needs."

The scathing report made eight recommendations "to improve long-term planning for future needs, strengthen the quality of estimated project costs and benefits, and embed a continuous improvement program".

Opposition spokesman for Western Sydney and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren (Labor) said he was not "surprised at all" by the report's findings.

"There have been a plethora of communities throughout the state let down and neglected by this government in terms of education and schooling facilities - and Campbelltown is certainly no exception," he said.

"We know the NSW Liberals haven't invested enough money in Macarthur - and Western Sydney for that matter - in terms of building new schools or upgrading existing ones.

"Wollondilly still only has one public high school, the so called new school in Gregory Hills is nothing but a pipe dream, and ageing schools in Campbelltown have fallen apart due to the government's refusal to provide adequate funding.

"For 10 years they have refused to invest in schools in our region adequately."

Mr Warren said the need for new and upgraded western Sydney schools had long been ignored by the state government.

"If you look throughout the entire Western Sydney region - whether they be Liverpool, Fairfield, Penrith, Canterbury, Parramatta or Blacktown - you will see example after example of schools that have been neglected by the NSW Liberals," he said.

"This government has never, and will never, care about the people of western Sydney."

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves (Liberal) said the report had confirmed his suspicions.

"This is the reason why I have, and continue to, advocate to the NSW Government for new schools in Camden, including a new high school in the growth areas of Gregory Hills, Gledswood Hills, Emerald Hills and Leppington," he said.

"I am already aware that new and upgraded schools are needed to keep up with the forecasted growth of the Camden electorate.

"The NSW Government, as a result of the School Assets Strategic Plan and expected growth, significantly increased funding for new and upgraded schools by 75 per cent in the following years budget.

"In Camden, since the 2019 election, the NSW Government has opened Yandelora School, Oran Park High School, Barramurra Public School and Gledswood Hills Public School.

"Denham Court Public School is due to open later this year. Oran Park Public School has been upgraded with Harrington Park Public School currently being upgraded."

Mr Sidgreaves said he would also like to see the new Gregory Hills Primary School delivered as a matter of priority.

"I would also like to see funding for new and upgraded schools being delivered along with the forecasted growth," he said.

"I would expect that the Auditor-General's report has reiterated to the NSW Government of the day, the need for new schools to be delivered in a timely manner."