Questions raised over maintenance funds

Questions raised over maintenance funds

Member for Riverton Dr Mike Nahan is not happy with Labor's school funding Major Maintenance Blitz.

Member for Riverton Mike Nahan has questioned the State Government’s Major Maintenance Blitz stating that it appears the Labor government is only replacing funding it had already cut from the budget.

“The school maintenance funding announcement is sadly another example of Labor politicking, given the government’s education asset investment has significantly dropped over the budget years from $1.38 billion in 2017/18 to $1.02 billion in the 2019/20 budget, representing a $360 million reduction in investment,” he said.

“This recent $200 million maintenance announcement only represents a portion of what has been cut since Ben Wyatt’s first budget in 2017/18.”

Minister for Education Sue Ellery said Dr Nahan did not appear to know the difference between budgets for building schools and budgets for ongoing maintenance.

“Dr Nahan’s facts are wrong and some of his statements are just silly,” she said.

“It is disappointing but not surprising that a former treasurer can’t even analyse a state budget.

“The asset program is about capital funding for building new schools and improving existing schools while maintenance funding is recurrent.

“And when it comes to comparing track records the truth is we spent $416.9 million on new and improved school buildings in Western Australia in 2018/19 while the liberals spent less – $348.2 million in their last year.”

Ms Ellery said the $200 million maintenance blitz was on top of existing recurrent maintenance funding and would address ageing schools and a backlog of works that needed to be done.

“A total of about $3.3 million will be spent across every public school and one education support centre in the Riverton area with the new maintenance funding addressing overdue work in a range of areas,” she said.

Dr Nahan said he was not happy with the $35 million which would be shared amongst WA’s 789 public schools to address maintenance items or identify minor works listed in building condition assessment reports.