The release of the Auditor-General’s Report into school infrastructure raises serious concerns about the lack of planning being undertaken by the NSW Government for the provision of public education.
The report reveals that School Infrastructure NSW “advised the NSW Government in early 2020 that the currently funded infrastructure program would not meet forecast classroom requirements for 2023 and beyond.”
The report further confirms a projected enrolment growth of180,000 additional students expected to enter the public education system by 2039.
NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the lack of planning and investment in public education in NSW was totally inadequate.
“State and Federal Governments are funding private schools whilst failing to plan for and invest in public-school infrastructure,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
“We are seeing steady growth in enrolments in our schools at the moment, with huge increases projected, and yet the State Government gifts an additional $500 million for capital works to private schools at the last election.”
“On top of that, the Morrison Government has put in place a $1.9 billion capital grants fund exclusively for private schools with not one cent of that available for public schools.”
“Instead of meeting the actual needs of our schools, the Auditor-General has found that School Infrastructure NSW has focussed on delivering existing projects, election commitments and other government announcements.”
“If the Government was doing its job, it should have been identifying and delivering projects that better meet current and future needs.”
Mr Gavrielatos said the NSW Education Department was failing to provide enough schools and failing to recruit sufficient teachers to address the current teacher shortage across the state.
“The Government doesn’t know how many additional teachers will be needed to staff new schools due to the lack of proper workforce planning,” he said.
“The Gallop Inquiry found an urgent need for a resetting of the profession to better support principals and teachers. “
“It found that teachers’ pay has not kept pace relative to other professions and recommended salaries be increased by 10 to 15% in the next wages agreement.”
“We need competitive salaries to attract new teachers into the profession and retain those working within it.”
“The future of public education in NSW is at risk and a 1.5% pay rise won’t help recruit the thousands of additional teachers we need.”