Shadow Minister for Education, Jihad Dib, has today joined Member for Strathfield, Jodi McKay and local parents at Homebush West Public School to launch a last ditch appeal for the NSW Government to purchase land for the school’s expansion.
Despite negotiating the sale of the land for four years, the Government has refused to provide local families with an explanation as to why the land adjacent to the school will be placed on the private market in coming weeks.
Instead, the Government claims the classrooms will now be built on the current site, forcing students into a ‘rooftop playground’ to compensate for a loss of space.
The refusal of the Government to acquire this land coincides with the release of the Draft Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy, which confirms the forecasts that predict school enrolments will rise to 900 over the coming years.
The Strategy also proposes 40,000 new dwellings from Granville to Camperdown, more than half of which are in the Strathfield Electorate.
In the areas of Homebush, North Strathfield and Concord West alone, the Government proposes that the population will rise from 4,693 to 25,929 and the numbers of dwellings from 1,721 to 14,228 by 2031.
During a statement to Parliament this week, Member for Strathfield, Jodi McKay said the decision to walk away from buying this land is short sighted, reeks of mismanagement and is an example of the failure of this Government to futureproof our schools.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Education Minister Jihad Dib
“We all know the population of this local area is growing rapidly. This is a rare opportunity for the Government to adopt a policy to ensure this school can be future-proofed.
“Unfortunately, it seems the Government just doesn’t get that their first priority should always be ensuring students have access to the very best learning environment.
“The Minister has broken his promise to local students, parents and teachers alike, and it is incumbent upon him to front up and explain to local families why he has failed to put the interests of their children first.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Strathfield Jodi McKay
“The purchase of this land is vital to the future development of our local area. If the Government continues to insist on population increase by stealth, it is pivotal they also plan adequate school infrastructure and services to ensure the demand on our local schools can be met.
“This is very much the last chance we have to send a clear message to this Government. The parents of our local community are demanding the Government get on with the job, purchase this land and ensure we have adequate land to build the infrastructure this school will need into the future.
“Many of the students who attend Homebush West Public School already live in apartments; they deserve green space, not the roof of a building, to play.
“This is just another broken promise, and our community has a right to deserve more from this Government.”