The Minns Labor government has announced a $3.5 billion investment in over 60 new and upgraded public schools to service the rapidly growing Western Sydney suburbs on Sept.11.
Labor’s four-year investment in Western Sydney’s quality new public schools is $500 million higher than the former Liberal National government’s budget. Meanwhile, the school’s upgrade would deliver new facilities to current schools and address overcrowding.
Upgraded school suburbs include Austral, Cecil Hills, Condell Park, Dundas, Eagle Vale, Kingswood, Leppington, Northmead, and The Ponds.
New South Wales (NSW) Premier Chris Minns said, “Thousands of families moved into suburbs like Schofields, Tallawong, Nirimba Fields, and The Ponds on the promise of local schools for their children, but the former government never delivered them.”
Further, he said the Labor government was elected with a mandate to “rebuild essential services—and there is nothing more essential than the education of the next generation of children.”
The order was also to fix the school infrastructure backlog in Sydney’s growth areas.
Delivering on the mandate, the Minns Labor government said it would rebuild essential services “that we all rely on” and prioritise spending “where it is needed most” in a long-term plan to repair the state’s budget sustainably and gradually.
These essential infrastructure builds and upgrades were funded because the Minns Labor government said it was “making the difficult but responsible decisions with spending.”
It comes after NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the government inherited “the largest debt in our state’s history” and it “can’t be fixed overnight, it will take time, and there will be tough choices.”
The move comes after the NSW government also agreed to give a historic pay rise to NSW’s 95,000 teachers on Sept. 10, a deal aimed at tackling the teacher shortage.
The Minns government also committed to building nine schools in the west.
In response, the NSW opposition said Labor was “reaping the rewards of the groundwork put in place by the Liberals and Nationals.”
Labor Claiming Credit for Coalition’s Work: Opposition
NSW Opposition Leader Mark Speakman said several schools of the nine were already in the development stage on Sept. 11.
“Most of these projects were only made possible by the planning and funding set aside by the former government, but the government is yet again trying to claim ideas that aren’t theirs,” Mr. Speakman said.
More specifically, the Liberal Party said $3 billion of the $3.5 billion in funding was from the previous budget delivered by the Liberals and Nationals.
Mr. Speakman said proof of this “includes the fact that construction began in 2022 for the new high school at Wentworth Point, and work started at Gulyangarri Primary School in Liverpool before Labor was elected.”
The Coalition’s 2022-23 Budget allocated money for the schools in various delivery stages, and Shadow Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said Labor’s funding needed more detail and transparency.
“The government hasn’t said if this is new money or a redirection of existing funds in the budget. The government needs to be upfront with families about what other projects might be on the chopping block and what other parts of the state will miss out to pay for any new commitments in Western Sydney,” Ms. Mitchell said.
“To say we didn’t invest in school infrastructure is another blatant labor lie, especially considering only $500 million of their announcement is supposedly ‘new’ money.”
Meanwhile, the government is due to hand down the findings of its Enrolment Growth Audit later this year, which will ensure education is factored into future planning for the city and “address the former government’s failures to provide local public schools in expanding suburban areas.”