Local schools to share in $515M maintenance blitz

By Vanessa Wiltshire

VICTORIAN Schools will share in $515 million in the single largest boost to school maintenance ever undertaken, thanks to an unprecedented investment by the State Government.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said that Heathcote Primary School is set to receive $70,101 and Redesdale Mia Mia Primary School $163,356 to help tackle maintenance issues.

The investment will more than double funding for maintenance at Victoria’s state schools over the next two financial years, with more than $300m to be invested in 2019/20 and $290m in 2020/21.

It will enable these schools to do essential works such as painting, replacing carpet and windows, landscaping, tree inspections and maintenance of infrastructure such as septic systems and water services.

This increased investment will help schools cater to the 115,000 additional students who are expected to enter the education system over the next five years.

The package complements the Labor Government’s recent initiatives to support schools to manage and maintain their facilities, including the Rolling Facilities Evaluation and the rollout of maintenance plans for each school.

The government is investing $170.5m in emergency and incident response over five years, including an extra $57.8m to address issues such as septic system failure, termite damage, mould, roof and floor damage, and $76.4m to respond to unforeseen incidents and events such as storms, fire or flooding.

Schools in some of the state’s highest-risk bushfire areas will also have access to more funds to ensure they are ‘bushfire ready’, thanks to $44.2m over five years for fire preparedness activities such as vegetation removal.

“We know students get the most out of their education when they have safe, modern classrooms to learn in, and first-rate facilities the school community can feel proud of,” Ms Symes said.

“The Victorian Government is investing $515m in our state schools to ensure Heathcote students can attend a great local school and get a great education.”