In Parliament

Adjournment - Brighton Primary School.



Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (19:06):

My Adjournment is to the Premier, and the action I seek is for the Premier to provide fair investment to Brighton Primary School and stop forcing one of Melbourne’s four specialist hearing units for deaf children to learn in demountables next to a train line.

Every child deserves to be treated fairly. It is time for the State Labor Government to put children first and invest fairly in schools in the Brighton community.

Brighton Primary School is turning 150 in 2025. Despite genuine need, the school has been continually overlooked for capital funding. The Brighton community knows that the last time the school had meaningful State Government infrastructure improvement was over 50 years ago. Nearly two-thirds of the school’s 550 students are taught in 14 50-year-old demountable classrooms, which are situated next to a train line.

Brighton Primary School houses one of four specialist hearing units for deaf children in Melbourne. The school’s hearing unit is based in demountables next to the train line. It is completely unacceptable for the State to force children with hearing difficulties to learn only metres away from regularly passing trains.

In the lead-up to the State Election the Liberal Party committed to investing $9 million in Brighton Primary. The Liberal commitment, announced by the then Shadow Minister for Education, would have funded transformational improvements to the school, including: a multipurpose library; a science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning space; an arts facility; and the
development of a master plan for future works.

The Liberal funding commitment was not matched by Labor. We know that Labor refuses to meaningfully invest in schools outside of Labor electorates. We know that the recent state budget directed 93 per cent of school funding into Labor electorates, despite Labor holding just over 60 per cent of electorates in the chamber. Despite the coalition holding a third of the seats, those electorates – our electorates – only received 6 per cent of school capital funding. Nineteen out of 20 school investments were in Labor seats.

Sadly, the trend on funding being misappropriated has been longstanding. In the last budget, 85 per cent of new metro school constructions occurred in Labor seats, 82 per cent of school upgrades were in Labor electorates and 82 per cent of metro school upgrades were in Labor electorates.

Premier, how is it fair for the Government to refuse upgrading a school that houses one of Melbourne’s four specialist hearing units for deaf children because it is in the Brighton electorate?