The WA Government’s $1.16 billion education capital works program includes four new primary schools a year for the next four years, and three new high schools, but the Opposition insists it still won’t be enough to match surging demand.
Education Minister Peter Collier today highlighted allocations in last week’s State Budget for eight previously unannounced primary schools on Perth’s ever-growing urban fringe.
New primary schools are slated to open in 2016 at Ellenbrook, Harrisdale, Baldivis and Alkimos, and in 2017 at East Landsdale, Caversham, Baldivis, and another one at Alkimos at an estimated total cost of $112 million.
They join primary schools scheduled for opening next year in Golden Bay, North Broome, Baldivis and Lakelands and another four campuses opening in 2018 at yet-to-be-decided locations.
Three previously announced secondary schools opening during the four-year Budget cycle are Banksia Grove stage one, opening in 2015 and costing $40 million, Harrisdale ($61 million, 2017) and Ellenbrook North stage one ($54 million, 2018).
Mr Collier said there was “constant demand and constant pressure” on the Government to cater for student population growth but claimed the planned works would cover it.
He rejected Opposition claims six new primary schools a year were required.
“The Education Department make the recommendation, they monitor growth, and we provide the capital,” he said.
Shadow education minister Sue Ellery said the Government Budget predicted student growth at just 2.9 per cent next year.
“But the Department of Education’s own enrolment growth in public schools this year was 4 per cent and last year was 3.3 per cent,” she said.
“It’s going to continue around that level. To keep pace they need to build six primary schools per year and they are only building four.”