TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Treasurer. Can the
Treasurer update the house on the progress of the Victorian schools plan, and in
particular on how the Partnerships Victoria in Schools Project is helping the
Brumby Labor government deliver a first-class education system?
LENDERS (Treasurer) — I thank Ms Tierney for her question and her ongoing
interest in government service delivery. Ms Tierney is unstinting and unwavering, she makes a good
effort 365 days of the year, her heart is in it and she works very hard. I am happy to take her question on support for
schools and the government’s program and on how we are dealing with this.
The government, in the lead-up to the 2006 election, committed
to $1.9 billion for the first four years of a rebuilding fund for every school
in the state. Of course 300 schools were sold off by the previous government,
which neglected education, and some would say sold them off with some glee and
profit. However, this government is investing in education. This government has
committed to rebuild or modernise 500 government schools during this four-year
term. There were some very loud voices in the northern suburbs that were mute
when Jeff Kennett was closing schools, and they have suddenly found their
tonsils again now. Ms Tierney asked about the government’s school building
program. This state government is investing $1.9 billion to rebuild or modernise
500 schools during this term, and it is absolutely on track.
Above and beyond that, the national Labor government has
further invested billions of dollars in primary school upgrades. That means that
every single primary school in this state — government or non-government — has
the opportunity to invest in capital works, thanks to the efforts, focus and
priorities of state and federal Labor.
Ms Tierney asked in particular about new and innovative ways of
helping in this area and what the progress is. Above and beyond the capital
works project, this Labor government is involved in an innovative public-private
partnership (PPP) project with the private sector to further work on schools in
the area. It is not a coincidence that three of those schools happen to be in
the Altona electorate, planned before a by-election, because this government has
an ongoing commitment to investing in schools wherever they are in the state,
whether it be the Kororoit Creek primary school — for Mr David Davis’s benefit,
the place in the western suburbs rather than the west of Victoria — which will
open in 2011.
Because of the PPP, that school will have a not-for-profit long
day care centre attached; it will have a community centre; and it will have an
aquatic centre because of the innovative procurement design to deliver services
to the western suburbs that this government put in place and will be opening
There is also the Point Cook Prep-Year 9 College, opened by the
Premier on Monday, which also has a not-for-profit long day care centre because
of the PPP with the YMCA, and that delivers those important services for
families in the western suburbs that have never been delivered by government
before. That long day care facility is now being delivered in partnership with
the private sector. Working families have been calling for solutions for that
for decades, and this Labor government is delivering.
In addition to that, there is the Truganina South Primary
School, also in the Altona electorate.
I challenge either of the Mr Davises to pronounce Truganina
South, because it is in the western suburbs. What I would say to them is that
there is again a long day care centre and also a community centre. What we have
here now is a series of schools, as Ms Tierney has asked for, being built — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! I thought the house might have started
to settle and run out of steam, so I let it go for a few minutes, but clearly
that is not the case. Back to order.
Mr LENDERS — In conclusion, President, what this government
has done is invest $1.9 billion of state resources into school revitalisations,
so this government is building schools, unlike those before who closed schools
and sold off 300 of them. They sold off 300 schools.
Mr Finn interjected.
Mr LENDERS — They sold off the Altona Hospital as well, Mr
Finn. The government Mr Finn was part of sold off the Altona Hospital as well as
schools in the area.
What we have here is a consistent building project to rebuild
and modernise every government school in Victoria, accelerated and assisted by
the federal Labor government boosting funding for primary schools to assist with
getting Australia and Victoria through the global financial crisis.
We build schools; we build hospitals; we deliver services for
the whole of the state, including the western suburbs. These are the important
things that make Victoria a better place to live, work and raise a family.