Education Department documents released by the Labor Opposition today reveal the full extent of crumbling schools in the Illawarra under a massive $732 million statewide maintenance backlog.
The documents obtained under freedom of information reveal the individual maintenance backlogs for 2,173 primary and high schools across the state as at 30 June 2015.
Illawarra schools feature prominently on the list, with eight local schools all with a maintenance backlog bill of more than $1 million.
Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts is the third most dilapidated in NSW, with repairs of $2.36 million outstanding. Smiths Hills High ($2.15m) is the second worst in the region followed by Oaks Flat High ($1.84m) and Bulli High ($1.71m).
The 10 most rundown schools in the Illawarra have a combined backlog bill of $15.1 million.
A wide range of works are needed across Illawarra schools including toilet and sewer upgrades, carpet replacement, painting, fixing damaged rooves, installing guttering, replacing windows and other general repairs.
Statewide analysis of the data shows:
- 120 schools have an individual maintenance backlog in excess of $1 million each;
- 486 schools have a backlog in excess of $500,000;
- Less than three percent of schools (64) have a backlog bill of less than $10,000.
Under the Baird Liberal Government the school maintenance backlog has surged.
According to the NSW Auditor-General, between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the maintenance backlog jumped a whopping $195 million in one year – more than 36 per cent.
In 2014-15 the government spent just $158 million on the school maintenance backlog.
The maintenance bill is growing faster than the maintenance spend across the state, meaning many schools will never be up to scratch.
While the government pursues a seemingly limitless upgrade of stadia across Sydney, there is no plan to fix crumbling schools in the Illawarra.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park
“Illawarra schools with huge maintenance backlogs need an urgent cash injection.
“As a former teacher I know how frustrating it is to have distractions in the classroom like broken windows and worn carpet.
“It’s yet another example of the Baird Liberal Government taking our region for granted.”