Brauer College building demolition

Mr PURCELL (Western Victoria) (12:01:20) — My question is to Minister Tierney, representing the Minister for Education. In May I asked the minister to review plans regarding the demolishing of some buildings at Brauer College in Warrnambool following growth in student enrolments over recent years. According to the minister's response, the plans are designed only to cover the school through until 2022 and do not account for predicted growth in enrolments in years to come. The buildings were built and self-funded by school families and are needed — and certainly will be needed in the future — and the cost to demolish them will be in the order of $750 000.

So I ask the minister: considering this increase in enrolments, will you reconsider the demolition of these buildings?

Ms TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) (12:02:07) — I thank Mr Purcell for his question. I am familiar with the buildings that he raises. I was at Brauer College to announce the money for the redevelopment, and then of course there are the other outstanding buildings that he raises today. This is a question for the Minister for Education. I will obviously refer the matter to the minister and seek whether he will revisit this issue, and I am sure that he will provide a written response within the guidelines.

Mr PURCELL (Western Victoria) (12:02:47) — I thank the minister for the response. The buildings are actually in very good condition, and it is not because of the condition of the buildings that they are being proposed to be removed and knocked down in relocation of services. It is actually just because enrolment numbers have taken a dive and the predictions are that these will increase — they are already on the increase — and that the buildings will be needed in the very near future.

The community and the council have gone through the process in the past of building these when numbers were up and now they are going to be knocked over and then they will have to rebuild them. It just seems a waste of $750 000, which the community believe could be much better used in providing education programs and services to the school. As well as that, the council are willing to take over the control of those buildings.

So my supplementary question is: Minister, will you save the Victorian people $750 000 by allowing the school council to take control of these buildings?

Ms TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) (12:03:51) — I thank Mr Purcell for his supplementary. Of course the response to those questions will be contained in the response to your substantive question. I am sure that the minister will respond in a written form within the guidelines.

Written Response - received 27 July 2018

Question asked by:       Mr Purcell

Directed to:                  Minister for Training and Skills

Asked on:                    25 July 2018

RESPONSE TO SUBSTANTIVE QUESTION:

The Andrews Government is committed to growing educational opportunities for all Victorians. We have invested more than $3.8 billion to improve classrooms, upgrade facilities and build new schools across the State. This school building boom has delivered more than 1300 school upgrades and 70 new school projects across the State.

This involves addressing surplus buildings at schools allowing schools to mitigate health and safety risks posed by over entitled facilities that are in poor condition and in some cases, obsolete. All school facilities used for curriculum purposes receive some maintenance funding, and reductions in over entitled facilities enables schools such as Brauer College to direct more funding towards entitled facilities.

The Andrews Labor Government has provided $4.6 million to upgrade school infrastructure across Brauer Secondary College. This is in contrast to the previous Liberal Government, which did not invest a single dollar towards capital funding at the college.

Furthermore, the Andrews Government has invested $48 million in the South West Coast electorate compared to just $7 million under the Liberal Government, and in the Warrnambool LGA, $33.6 million has been invested under Labor compared to a measly $1 million under the Liberals.

I am advised that the upgrade is being designed to enrolments of 850 students and that this allows for some growth into the future compared to their current enrolments of 726 in the current 2018 school year.

RESPONSE TO SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION:

The proposed capital works program at Brauer College originally included the demolition of five buildings. These buildings have been assessed to be in very poor condition, including the current Block E (classrooms), Tech Building, Wellbeing Centre Building, VCE Common Room Building and a Games Room Building.

However, further discussions with the school have occurred. The school has asked that the Table Tennis Room and the VCE Common Room be retained and the Victorian School Building Authority is working with the school and the relevant design team with the aim of retaining these two buildings. The Doctors in Secondary Schools Program has its own purpose-built relocatable building and will not be affected by the removal of those buildings identified for demolition.