In Parliament

Members Statement - Gardenvale Primary School



Thursday, 14 October 2021.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton):

Gardenvale Primary School, in Brighton East, is an outstanding school that has been teaching our local children since 1922. Gardenvale Primary is a split-school learning environment with a junior campus and senior campus and a growing enrolment of almost 630 students. We are all looking forward to celebrating the school’s century of service to our community.

The Department of Education recently visited the school and deemed a senior school external fire escape staircase non-compliant. Yet, concerningly, the government has placed the burden of the $200,000 repairs onto the school.

As the school has advised the minister, this burden is unfair because, in the school’s words:

a) facility maintenance is the department’s responsibility, not the community’s;

b) the issue of OH&S is not a discretionary matter—the works need to be done as the only other viable staircase is even older and is extremely slippery when wet;

c) almost the entirety of our school’s funds (outside of the department mandated reserve) have already been committed—and there is not sufficient financial capacity;

d) it is the department’s specific direction that funds raised from families are to be directed to student consumables and not facilities such as this expenditure.

Over recent years the school community has invested $1.27 million into school works. Though an incredible testament to the community’s hard work, it is unfair that the parent body has contributed two-thirds of recent capital investment.

Sadly, Labor’s only investment came after significant community advocacy called for upgrades to basic needs, like bathroom updates. The school community has described government funding as ‘yet to commence and has been severely slowed by lockdown and general bureaucracy’.

Labor needs to do the right thing by Gardenvale Primary School and the Brighton East community. We are talking about support to fix a fire escape staircase. Government funding should be based on need, not on politics, and it must fund basic school safety needs. I call on the Minister to stop Labor’s partisan approach to school funding and help Gardenvale Primary.