Education | April 21, 2023

Budget must deliver for Lowan schools and childcare

The member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Emma Kealy is calling for increased funding in the upcoming budget for local schools and childcare facilities.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said there were critical works and vital upgrades required to schools and expanded childcare infrastructure needed right across the region so children and families could get the best possible support and start to life.  

“Following a fabulous community campaign that so many of us were proud to be part of, Dunmunkle Childcare Centre was recognised by the government as a priority project last year, but we need money in the May budget so we can get the project started and children into early years education as soon as possible.

“There is already enormous demand for childcare throughout our region, and families in the Minyip, Murtoa and Rupanyup region desperately want this project to kick off as soon as possible to get the family support they need right now.

“Murtoa is in the unique situation of having childcare workers, pre-school-aged children and land ready to go, but it needs the final funding kick from the upcoming budget to make childcare in the region a reality,” she said.

Ms Kealy said there were also several schools that urgently need upgrading, including Casterton Primary School and Stawell Primary School. 

“We were all excited to hear the promises of revamped modern classrooms at Casterton Primary School, however the school is being forced to instead use this money which should have delivered better classrooms, to fix critical plumbing issues.

“This is a cruel blow to the school community and appears to be another example of Labor saying one thing, but delivering something much, much less for the community.

“The Stawell Primary School has been left in a similar situation, with Labor promising a fabulous synthetic oval including a running track and landscaping works to better drain water from the site, but years later the oval is still riddled with dangerous holes and not a dollar has been spent on any improvements that directly benefit Stawell Primary School students.

“Stawell Primary School now urgently needs more money to properly finish the oval project, and a lot more funding to stabilise the spire and repair and strengthen the roof, and undertake extensive building works to fix dangerous OHS issues in many of their classrooms.

“I have seen the deteriorating condition of the classrooms and grounds at Stawell and Casterton Primary schools. While they’ve received some funding, costs have significantly escalated, and the scope of the projects have greatly diminished as a result. To achieve what was promised, the state government must commit more funding to properly fix these great schools.

“Hard working educators need modern and safe schools to best support the learning and development of their students - our students and educators deserve no less”, Ms Kealy said.

Ms Kealy is also calling for further investment in the Warracknabeal Education Precinct for key storage and maintenance sheds that were not funded at the new site.

“It’s exciting times for secondary students as they soon step into modern classrooms in their beautiful new school. But a shortfall in state government funding has left the School Council having to self-fund the relocation to the new site, and no funding to relocate or build new storage and maintenance sheds.

“It’s imperative the state budget provides the extra funding needed to finish the Warracknabeal Education Precinct properly, not just walk away from the job and leave this expensive yet vital last stage for the School Council to fund.

“All we ever ask for is our fair share, and it’s imperative that Labor listens to our local student needs and deliver the funding required to ensure our local schools and communities can continue to prosper and grow,” Ms Kealy said.


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