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No budget action on local school

04 Jun 2015

Frustration is mounting over the State Government’s lack of action on a school for Docklands.

Despite the Labor Party last year making a pre-election promise to restart the planning process for a school in Docklands if elected, there has been no evidence so far to suggest this has occurred.

The release of the state budget last month did not see any funding allocated towards the planning process for a Docklands school, despite a $3.3 billion investment in education, which is the largest boost of additional funding in Victoria’s history.

Docklands Community Forum representative and local parent Janine Standfield said the budget outcome was disappointing for Docklands families.

“Nothing’s definitive, so it’s really disappointing because our kids are still in limbo,” Ms Standfield said.

“If you want families to move into the inner-city you have to provide the community infrastructure,” she said.

The Labor Party had also promised to release the results of a feasibility study into a Docklands School that it commissioned in 2010 but was not released under the Liberal Government.

Greens Melbourne MLA Ellen Sandell called on the Government to fulfil its election promises.

“In 2010 Labor started a feasibility report on building a school in Docklands, then just last year they promised a second study on it – but today there is still no report and still no school,” Ms Sandell said.

“This is the fastest growing area in Victoria – we are looking at 850 kids in the Docklands by 2016. Parents tell me they want to send their kids to a local school, but there isn’t one.”

“It’s not good enough to have kids travelling halfway across the inner city to schools which are already overcrowded. For example, North Melbourne Primary already has 200 kids more than it has capacity for.”

Ms Sandell also called the Government out on failing to fulfil its election promises relating to Carlton Primary School, contributing to overcrowding of inner-city primary schools.

“This is a budget which saw a $10 million promise to Carlton Primary School broken – suddenly there is only $1 million. Overcrowding in the City of Melbourne is a serious problem, but Labor only seems to care during an election year,” Ms Sandell said.

Following the release of the budget, an Education Department spokesperson said the Government was determined to ensure families in Docklands had access to high-quality education.

“To this end, the Government has restarted the planning process and will release the feasibility study, commissioned in 2010 by the government of the day, in the next few weeks,” the spokesperson said.

“The department will be providing the study to the Minister’s office shortly.”

A local primary school remains an important priority for Docklands residential and business community.

A survey of local workers conducted by Docklands News in March revealed 70 per cent of respondents would enrol their children in a Docklands primary school.

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