Government Injects $25 Million More Into School Property

  • Wyatt Creech

More than 800 property projects, ranging from school halls to upgraded classrooms, at over 700 schools have been approved under the Government's Financial Assistance Scheme.

Under the scheme the Government and school communities split the bill for the property projects.

Education Minister Wyatt Creech said the schools would benefit from the $25 million the Government had allocated to the assistance scheme this year.

"The schools themselves are contributing $18 million to this year's improvements," said Mr Creech. "So, together with the Government's contribution of $25 million, a total of $43 million will be going towards improving the environments of schools throughout the country."

Mr Creech said the Financial Assistance Scheme was a feature of the Government property programme for schools for 1998/99. The property programme was also providing $382 million towards school accommodation to meet roll growth, new works, and deferred maintenance, at full cost to the state.

"In essence, the Financial Assistance Scheme is a way for a school either to accelerate work that would otherwise have to wait for full funding from the Government or to get other facilities such as primary school halls," said Mr Creech.

"This year Information Technology cabling projects were a key feature of the scheme. I am delighted that all the cabling projects have been approved. This backs the Government's new Information and Communication Technologies Strategy where partnership between Government and communities is vital to promoting information technology in schools.

"Many schools are very happy to contribute part of the cost of a new property project if the Government at least matches the school's share. This is tangible evidence of partnership in action between schools, their communities and the Government for improving school property."

When applications closed two months ago, just under 1,300 applications had been received. They were ranked by local District Property Consultative Committees within two funding pools, one for modernisation projects and the other for community based or "non code" projects.

"It won't just be the schools that will reap the benefit, the facilities will be a community asset as well," Mr Creech said.

"The commitment schools and their communities have towards the Financial Assistance Scheme is very significant. We want to promote it and encourage schools to go the extra mile for their schools to improve the school grounds," Mr Creech concluded.