By Brendan Rees
New schools will be built in Cranbourne West and Clyde North as the Victorian Government plans to spend nearly $240 million buying land for 14 new schools.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino visited John Henry Primary School in Pakenham to announce the $236.8 million commitment on Tuesday, 13 March.
The funding will buy land for a primary and a secondary school in Clyde North, as well as a secondary school and special school for Cranbourne West.
Mr Andrews said a date had not been set when the schools would open as land purchases had not been finalised and funding for each of the building sites would be announced in the May budget and later in the year.
Mr Andrews said: “It takes two years to plan, and then build and have ready to open a school.”
“We know that’s a fast growing community (Clyde North and Cranbourne) and we know we need to invest there and we will,” he said.
“We’re giving local families the certainty they need that their kids will be able to attend a great local school, close to home.”
Member for Cranbourne Jude Perera said the new schools would meet the future needs of families in the fast growing communities of Clyde North and Cranbourne.
“It’s no secret that Cranbourne West is booming, and we have got on with the job of delivering the new schools local families are crying out for,” he said.
“When it opens, this much needed secondary college with a special school will be a great local school that the whole community can be proud of.”
City of Casey Councillor Amanda Stapeldon said although she welcomed the announcement, the Government needed to ensure a safe environment was provided for parents and carers to drop off and collect their children from school by car.
“We’re left with a legacy of really dangerous circumstances, putting our children in danger,” she said.
Officer Specialist School principal Sue Campbell said “Any extra support to help students with disabilities is greatly appreciated and supported.”
Minister for Education James Merlino said the announcement was the biggest school building program seen in Victoria.
“Ten new schools opened last year, 11 new schools this year, nine new schools next year, more new schools in 2020, and now we’re announcing a further 14 school sites right across Victoria,” he said.
Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy said had the Government not scrapped the East West Link project and wasted $1.3 billion, 40 news schools and 40 new police stations could’ve been purchased.
“If it was just schools, 77 new schools in our growth areas could’ve been built,” he said.
The Government will talk with communities at the end of March about what they aspire from their new schools. Details available at the Victoria School Building Authority website: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au.