Education

Parents waiting to really see if the dream does come true

By Riverine Herald

ECHUCA Specialist School parents will judge the Victorian Government on action — not words.

School council president David O’Dea thanked Victorian Acting Premier and Education Minister James Merlino for visiting Echuca and making the announcement on Monday.

‘‘But as he reminded us we should be judged on what we do and not just what we say,’’ he said.

‘‘It was particularly pleasing to hear things will start to happen straight away and that’s what we judge them on — what they do straight away.

‘‘It shouldn’t take too long because the planning has been in the process for years anyway so I am more pleased about what will happen now and not so much what’s promised the next time they get into power, if they get into power.

‘‘Today is a great day because we’ve heard that.’’

Mr O’Dea said it was a concern the government would not stick to its promises.

But he said it was encouraging the announcement stipulated money would be spent straight away.

‘‘A lot of the kids understand what they have been missing out on not having the new school,’’ he said.

‘‘Sometimes these things become about toilets and broken windows but it’s more about lost opportunity to have a school that’s purpose built.

‘‘There’s been a lot said about us living in a safe seat — one side takes you for granted and the other side ignores you completely so to have some success and move forward is a great thing.’’

Parent James Walshe said the community support had been overwhelming.

‘‘It’s one thing that the school has been asking for this for 10 years but it has been the strength and the support of the community that has really pressured our politicians to make decisions and make this happen,’’ he said.

‘‘Everyone has made this happen and we look forward to the school being built really soon.

‘‘The community has really understood it and the Riverine Herald has been fantastic in making people aware.

‘‘I have had people stopping me in the street saying it’s about time we had this school and I’m not even bringing it up.

‘‘When everyone is asking the right questions there’s only one thing to do and that is to do the right thing and both sides of politics have decided to build the new school.

‘‘Without people standing up the government would have got away with it again.

‘‘There’s been promises made for 10 years ... we needed a date today to bring this to a head and he’s (James Merlino) certainly given it a date.’’

Permanent carer Sue Brown said she could not be more excited about the news.

‘‘We have had amazing support from the community — they were backing the school so much — and now we’re going to be part of Twin Rivers School. We should have been from the start,’’ she said.

‘‘We look forward to starting construction as soon as we possibly can.

‘‘The kids really deserve it ... we’ve worked tirelessly to make this happen and we would really like to thank the Riverine Herald for all their support.’’