Newell defends school spending



TWEED MP Neville Newell has hit out at claims that the State Government has skimped on public school spending, suggesting the North Coast has received its "fair share" under the Iemma Government.

The government was under fire yesterday, with media reports suggesting more money had been spent on new cars for its workforce than on fixing schools.

According to the report, the government had committed only $109 million for capital works projects at schools, compared with $307 million on government cars.

The figures, which outlined costs in individual electorates, also found spending would be concentrated on marginal seats in the lead-up to next year's March election.

Treasurer Michael Costa has since defended the education budget figures saying more would definitely be spent on schools than on government cars.

Mr Costa said the figures in the media report were wrong and did not include information considered to be "commercially sensitive". The government intended to spend $574 million on capital expenditure for education in 2006-07.

Mr Newell said the government had provided plenty of money to help repair and improve public schools on the North Coast.

"Even during the school holidays there are contractors in local schools right now working on the final stage of the government's air cooling program," he said.

"I'd say public schools on the North Coast get their fair share from the government.

"They definitely get more (from the State Government) than they do from the Federal Government."



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