State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has called on the Minister for Education to explain why schools across the Wallsend electorate have again missed out on air conditioning as part of the Cooler Classrooms program.
Only 15 of 447 schools have been approved for the Cooler Classrooms program in round 2 after schools waited more than two and a half years for an outcome.
Some 900 schools were approved for air conditioning under the first round of the program, but less than 150 have been delivered.
Ms Hornery warned that the rollout will take decades if the Government doesn’t stop the delays.
“The Government should be fast-tracking projects that create jobs, not delaying them,” Ms Hornery said.
“This program was meant to provide better learning environments and boost employment. Instead, it’s created disappointment and false hope.
“It will be summer again soon and local schools are still waiting for promised air conditioning.
“We know summers are getting hotter. It’s not comfortable for kids in older school buildings.
“Children shouldn’t be forced to swelter at school.”
“At a time when temperatures continue to rise, and in light of the importance of ventilation for COVID safety in schools, this program should have been a priority.
“Now is the time to fast-track school infrastructure projects and get construction started by the end of the year. School infrastructure projects are good for jobs and good for students.”
“It’s clear the Government did not properly plan this program. Either it was a political fix that was never modelled to be sufficient, or the program has been so badly mismanaged that there’s no money left for more than 400 schools.
“The Government should have treated schools fairly under this program – instead it has left dozens of school communities in the lurch after two and a half years of waiting,” said Ms Hornery.