St George Matters with Chris Minns: NSW Government letting our schools fall into disrepair

Kogarah MP, Chris Minns.
Kogarah MP, Chris Minns.

This week the Inquiry into Public School Infrastructure heard evidence that children are avoiding eating and drinking throughout the day to avoid using their school's toilets.

This was one example of how the NSW Government's wrong priorities are causing students and teachers to put up with poor infrastructure and facilities.

The Inquiry was established in response to an Auditor's General Report last year that revealed the NSW Government was using taxpayers' funds to fulfill election promises. The Auditor General found this "diverted attention from identifying and delivering projects that would have better met present and future student and classroom needs."

Since 2018, out of the 88 school infrastructure projects announced by the NSW Government only 17 were identified as priorities by School Infrastructure NSW. The other 71 projects were the Government's own announcements and not identified priorities.

Since 2018, the NSW Government has funded just 32 per cent of all the projects identified as priorities - ignoring 36 projects that were in desperate need of capital improvements.

It is our students that suffer the most from this blatant misuse of taxpayer money.

The Government's desire to fund schools to politically benefit themselves means kids with real needs miss out on basic facilities - even decent toilets. This is causing children to have urinary tract infections and bladder problems because they refuse to go to the toilet during the day.

Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW vice-president, Yvonne Hilsz told the inquiry that "some school toilets don't have working soap dispensers, the doors don't lock, they're dark and they stink from decade's worth of urine soaking into tiling grout."

Our kids deserve so much better. The NSW Government's pork barrelling has to end and school infrastructure funding must be allocated according to need.