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Concerns remain despite funding boost

14 May 2015

Concerns remain despite funding boost Image

Education lobby group Two Schools Now has welcomed the funding boost for new local schools in May’s state budget, but said it still held some concerns.

The Andrews Labor Government announced the biggest education budget in history on May 5, investing $111.1 million for ten new schools and $40 million to purchase land for new schools.

Despite the new government making good on all of its pre-election promises, Two Schools Now president Marie Walters said her group still had concerns.

“Whilst it is positive that all relevant projects that we anticipated have received funding there is most certainly concern that the total funds required for some of these projects, particularly South Melbourne Park Primary School, have not been provided for in this budget,” she said.

However, Ms Walters said State Member for Albert Park Martin Foley and Deputy Premier and Education Minister James Merlino had contacted the group post-budget to reassure its commitment.

“They advised us that there are significant sums of contingency money that will be allocated in future budgets as the projects progress,” she said.

The budget announcements directly affecting local education included:

  • $1m for planning for South Melbourne Park Primary School at the Parks Victoria site on Albert Road;
  • $5m for site preparedness for the proposed South Melbourne primary school at Ferrars St;
  • $8.7m for a new Year 9 campus and arts and science hub at the former Circus Oz site for Albert Park College and;
  • $10 million towards Stage 1 delivery of the Elwood College master plan to refurbish and rebuild existing facilities.

City of Port Phillip Mayor Amanda Stevens welcomed the funding announcement by the new government.

“We are delighted the Andrews Government’s first budget contains funding for a range of key projects we advocated for on behalf of our community,” she said.

“With a fast-growing population, our community is very concerned about over-crowding and a shortage of school places.”

“We are thrilled that this budget prepares the way for two new primary schools in the South Melbourne area.”

With the Fishermans Bend urban renewal area expected to experience significant population growth over the next decade, Marie Walters said her group would continue to work with Mr Foley and Mr Merlino to discuss plans for further schools.

Two Schools Now will hold its annual general meeting on May 27.

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