The NSW Government will spend $4.2 billion over the next four years on capital expenditure to cater for surging enrolments.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Education Rob Stokes on June 20 welcomed the historic spending on school infrastructure, with the $4.2 billion commitment from 2017-18 to 2020-21 representing a 61 per cent increase on last year’s capital program of $2.6 billion from 2016-17 to 2019-20.
The total 2017-18 Budget of $15.7 billion is up 11.5 per cent on 2016-17.
More than 120 new school and major upgrade projects will start in the next two financial years in response to unprecedented forecast enrolment growth of 164,000 more students in government schools by 2031.
“The NSW Government is responding to this once-in-a-generation spike in student enrolments by delivering the school infrastructure to meet the needs of current and future students,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Perrottet said: “There is nothing more important than the education of our children, and this record investment by the NSW Government will ensure we have the schools and the resources we need to meet the challenges of the future.”
Mr Stokes said the NSW Government was also spending a record $747 million over the next four years on school backlog maintenance, including an additional $411 million from 2017-18.
“This is an investment in the future of our state that will transform public education,” he said.
New or upgraded high schools or major rebuilds of existing high schools include locations at Picton, Sydney Olympic Park and Canley Vale.
New or major rebuilds of primary schools include Kent Rd, Eastwood, Schofields, Riverbank, The Ponds, Greystanes and Marsden Rd, Liverpool.
The new projects are additional to projects previously announced such as the new high-rise Inner Sydney high school at Surry Hills, the high rise Arthur Phillip High School at Parramatta, Ballina High School, the Alexandria Park Community School, Queanbeyan High School, and Oran Park High School.
A newly created specialist assets unit, School Infrastructure NSW, has been tasked with responsibility for delivering the significantly expanded program of capital works.
Other initiatives funded in the 2017-18 Budget include:
• Around 1,000 more teachers
• $6.1 million over three years to support an updated anti-bullying strategy and resources for teachers, students and parents
• Funding of $88 million in 2017-18 as part of the $224 million for teacher professional development through the Quality Teaching, Successful Students initiative
• Funding of $50 million in 2017-18 on student counselling and wellbeing services as part of the $167 million Supported Students, Successful Students program
• $149 million on education standards for provision of services related to school curriculum assessment, teaching and regulatory standards in NSW schools
The NSW Government will maintain its full six-year commitment to the National Education Reform Agreement (Gonski), until the end of 2019, which supports funding based on student need across all sectors.
The 2017-18 Budget also provides $1.2 billion in funding support for non-government schools, including increasing the Building Grants Assistance Scheme to support enrolment growth.