40 Percent of Hunter Schools at Capacity

Education Minister Rob Stokes with Premier Gladys Berejiklian

Freedom of Information documents obtained by NSW Labor reveal nearly 40 per cent of schools across the Hunter are at capacity, due to the failure of the Liberal-National Government to deliver new schools to cope with increased demand.

The NSW Government has failed to deliver on the promise of Education Minister Stokes to build a dozen new schools each year. When Labor was last in government, it built and opened an average of five new schools each year while the Coalition government has achieved less than half of that.

The Berejiklian Government’s lazy solution to the overcrowding crisis is to pack more demountables into school grounds, taking precious playground space. NSW Labor revealed earlier this year that almost 4,200 demountables across the state are more than 20 years old. The Freedom of Information documents also showed the Berejiklian Government had spent $870,000 carting the demountables around NSW rather than investing in bricks and mortar school classrooms.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Education, Jihad Dib

“Students and teachers need a quality environment to learn and teach in instead of cramped and crowded classrooms. Piling more demountables onto valuable playground space is not the answer.

“We have been facing increased population growth in our communities for some time and the Liberal-National government has paid lip-service to tackling the issue. This is a government that is good at making promises; the problem is, they just don’t deliver on them.

“NSW Labor has committed to an unprecedented school building program. The difference between NSW Labor and the other lot is that we will actually build them instead of just talking about them.

“A NSW Labor Government will plan for new schools in growing communities- we need more schools across all sectors including government, Catholic and independent.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Hunter, Kate Washington

“Students in the Hunter deserve better than being crowded in cramped classrooms or forced to learn in demountables. The Liberal-National Government refuses to build the extra schools we need to cope with the Hunter’s increasing population.

“The Berejiklian Government has the wrong priorities. Instead of building the schools we need in the Hunter, they’re splashing billions of dollars on stadiums in Sydney.

“The Hunter contributes almost a third of our state’s economy. We’re not getting our fair share.”

This item was distributed as a media release on Tuesday 31 July 2018.


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