$5 million spent clearing maintenance backlog in shire schools to meet election promise

Premier Gladys Berejiklian at Heathcote High School in January 2019, where the promise was made. Picture: John Veage
Premier Gladys Berejiklian at Heathcote High School in January 2019, where the promise was made. Picture: John Veage

Dozens of state primary and high schools in Sutherland Shire have received additional maintenance work during the last few months as the state government races to meet an election promise deadline.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian promised during a visit to Heathcote High School in January 2019 to clear the maintenance backlog for all NSW schools by July this year.

Ms Berejiklian said the move would "ensure students across NSW enjoy the best possible learning environment".

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The maintenance blitz has focused on additional repairs and upgrades including roof works, new floor coverings, drainage, electrical work and painting.

Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman said almost $5 million was spent in the last few months on shire schools.

"We are now over halfway to achieving our election commitment to wipe the additional maintenance backlog at our schools and we are on track to achieve it by July this year as promised," he said.

The government said shire schools that have had work done recently include:

  • Cronulla electorate: Gymea Bay Public School, Cronulla High School, Lilli Pilli PS, Yowie Bay PS, Caringbah North PS, Cronulla PS, Woolooware PS, Kurnell PS, Caringbah PS, Cronulla South PS, Grays Point PS, Burraneer Bay PS
  • Heathcote electorate: Bangor PS, Engadine PS, Marton PS, Heathcote East PS, Loftus PS, Engadine HS, Waterfall PS, Heathcote HS, Yarrawarrah PS, Menai PS, Minerva School.
  • Holsworthy electorate: Lucas Heights Community School.
  • Miranda electorate: Bates Drive School, Sylvania Heights PS, The Jannali HS, Gymea North PS, Port Hacking HS, Como West PS, Sylvania Heights PS, Menai HS, Port Hacking HS, Miranda PS, Alfords Point PS, Bates Drive School.

Labor has raised doubts about whether the government can meet the deadline.

"It took twelve months to get just half of the maintenance done, with five months to get the rest done it looks unlikely that the Liberals and Nationals will be able to keep their promise," the party's spokeswoman on education Prue Car said in January.

Ms Car said maintenance was not the only issue in schools.

"Programme for International Student Assessment figures, released in December, show, compared with top-performing nations, NSW students were three years behind in maths, a year and three months behind in reading and a year and nine months behind in science," she said.

"Schools are more than bricks and mortar. Throwing a coat of paint on the walls and laying new carpet isn't going to fix falling student results."