25 June 2015
Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) – The adjournment matter I raise is for the Minister for Education. It refers to the proposed Echuca schools regeneration project which will bring together Echuca Specialist School Echuca South Primary School and Echuca West Primary School on a single site. I ask the minister to receive a deputation from the three schools so that the school councils can present their completed master plan to him.
The concept of developing an education hub in Echuca has been flagged for more than a decade and these three schools agreed to merge in 2007. Since that time the schools have worked hard to secure funding. They were prepared to forgo Building Education Revolution funding at their individual schools because of the promise of funding for the three existing schools to be merged on a new greenfields site. The Liberal-Nationals coalition government funded the purchase of the land for a new greenfields school site. In the 2014–15 state budget the coalition government allocated $200 000 to prepare the master plan at the new site and prior to the election committed $25 million to build the school. The master plan is now finished and the school councils are seeking the opportunity to meet with the minister to discuss progressing to the next stage of their development of the new school site.
I congratulate the school councils and their staff for the way they have worked together to develop a master plan of what will be a great education facility when it is built. This is particularly important for Echuca Specialist School which provides education for children aged 5 to 18 years with special needs. Numbers are progressively growing with indications that this trend will continue into the future. These students are currently being educated in portable classrooms on leased land which the Department of Education and Training does not want to spend money on for maintenance.
It is vital that Victorian school students whether they live in the city or the country get a quality education and a modern purpose-built school in Echuca will provide the learning environment that the teachers and students of these three schools deserve.