Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) — The matter I wish to raise on the adjournment tonight is for the Minister for Education. The action I seek is for the minister to visit made by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the coalition government. This maintenance is needed because of a decade of neglect under Labor.
Caulfield Primary School is a fantastic school in my electorate led by Peter Gray and an enthusiastic teaching team. It is also symbolic of the 11 years of neglect under Labor which saw schools begin to rot and crumble because the previous government saw fit to blow money on spin, desalination plants and waste in each and every portfolio. Caulfield Primary School is an innovative school with a strong focus on language education, specifically Japanese.
The Japanese program, which sees students immersed in the language and using it across all disciplines, is an excellent initiative which helps the school differentiate itself and provide students with a unique educational experience.
While the school is fantastic, its buildings are in dire need of repair. It has had difficulty attracting new students as it was left to fall apart by the former education minister and government. It is amazing what a coat of paint and new carpet can do to make the buildings as attractive as the curriculum. The $47 000 will be spent on internal painting upstairs and new carpet upstairs, including in four classrooms, the upstairs staffroom and a stairway in one of the school buildings. I am pleased to have been informed by the principal that the process for this to occur is under way and that the money has been credited to the school’s account. This is a great example of the way this government delivers — unlike the previous government, which dithered.
In its first budget delivered last May the Baillieu government announced $208 million for school capital projects in Victoria over the next four years. This was on top of the $100 million commitment already made for school maintenance. Victorian teachers do a fantastic job, but under Labor they were not afforded the right to work in safe and modern facilities. As usual it has been left to a coalition government to do the hard yards and address more than a decade of Labor neglect. Caulfield Primary School’s $47 000 grant also shows the difference between the coalition and Labor in the provision of school funding. Victorian and Australian taxpayers will never forget the federal Labor government’s school hall fiasco, which has wasted billions of dollars on cost blow-outs and dodgy management. I can only assume that if Labor were in charge of this project, the $47 000 would barely buy a carpet sample from the store.
Once again, the action I seek from the Minister for Education is for him to visit Caulfield Primary School to hear directly from the principal and the team about the benefits of these funds and the innovative language programs being run by this fantastic school. This is a great example of a school that is delivering and will continue to deliver with the support of the government. It shows that we are delivering on our election promises. It is ironic that the opposition has called for new schools that it did not deliver in its 11 years in government.