Schools short-changed in program

Narranga Public School was one of eight Cowper government schools singled out in the Taskforce report.
Narranga Public School was one of eight Cowper government schools singled out in the Taskforce report. BRUCE THOMAS

COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker says it’s now official – many local schools have received poor value for money from the $16 billion Building the Education Revolution program.

Mr Hartsuyker said “rorts and rip-offs” which had plagued the program were confirmed in the first report of the BER Taskforce released yesterday.

“Taskforce Chair Brad Orgill has singled out eight government schools in the Cowper electorate where school communities complained about poor value for money, poor quality of work and the de-scoping of many projects.

“Those local schools are Corindi, Nana Glen, Narranga, Eungai, Scotts Head, Stuarts Point, Repton and Willawarrin public schools.

“The Taskforce made it very clear that when it came to the cost of projects, many North Coast school projects did not represent value for money. This is what school communities have been saying for a long time.”

Mr Hartsuyker said Scotts Head and Corindi public schools were two of the worst affected, with the Taskforce giving each project zero out of 10 for value for money on cost.

“While other schools such as Stuarts Point also failed the cost test, the Government has obviously been in damage control to limit the fallout from their gross mismanagement of this program,” he said.

“Many school projects are now being ‘re-scoped’, which in many cases means more taxpayers’ money being spent to give the schools what they were promised.”

Mr Hartsuyker said management contractors of local projects also attracted criticism from the Taskforce.

“The report notes that on the North Coast there were serious shortcomings arising from the management contractors’ delivery and installation process,” he said.

“The Government has also been criticised for not listening to school communities to determine their needs. Instead the Government arrogantly told the schools what they would get.

“From day one, this program has been farcical and Julia Gillard has been in denial. The Government has spent $16 billion of borrowed money giving many schools infrastructure they didn’t want or need. It’s just another Government mess ... a further reminder that when it comes to managing money, you can’t trust Labor.”

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