The NSW Government has announced a historic $4.2bn investment to school infrastructure across the state.
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Education Minister Rob Stokes said the money would be spent on new schools and significant school upgrades over four years.
The additional funding represents a 61% increase on last year’s Budget commitment and is the biggest NSW Government investment in education infrastructure in history.
The 120 new and upgraded schools will create 32,000 more student places and 1500 new classrooms across NSW.
“The NSW Government is already building the roads, public transport and other hard infrastructure we need – now it’s time for a huge investment in the social infrastructure we need, including schools,” Berejiklian said in a statement.
“In this year’s Budget, we are committing more funding to the construction of new schools and more school upgrades than Labor did in their last 11 years of office combined. We are spending more on school infrastructure in four years than Labor did in their last eight in government.”
Earlier today, NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, said as part of the record investment, $46m would be put towards upgrading wireless connectivity in more than 900 schools as part of the government’s four-year Connecting Country Schools program.
“From Queanbeyan to Old Bar to Wamberal, the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is investing in education infrastructure to meet the rising demand for regional school places,” Barilaro said in a statement today.
“Right across this state you can see the infrastructure and economic boom and this historic investment in education, capitalises on this and delivers straight back to families in regional NSW.”
Barilaro said the initiative would also bridge the digital gap between metropolitan and regional schools.
“You shouldn’t have to go to school in Sydney to have access to fast and reliable online learning resources and this investment ensures no school community in regional NSW misses out,” he said.
“The NSW Government is backing our country kids and ensuring they are given every opportunity to succeed at school because they deserve nothing less.”
Assistant Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell, said work on the program will begin at three pilot schools, which will “road test” the solution and the process of implementation.
“This investment ensures no school community in regional NSW misses out because the students in Bourke have every right to use the same learning tools as their counterparts in Bondi,” Mitchell said.
“Urunga Public School, Grafton High School and Whian Whian Public School will pilot the Connecting Country Schools program where they will have strong wireless installed with improved internet connectivity.”
Mitchell added that the pilot program will run until the end of September, and then will be rolled out to more than 900 schools and 13,000 learning spaces.
“In addition to the pilot, work will begin to schedule internet upgrades for very remote schools,” she said.
“Once a school has been upgraded, they will be able to apply for additional funds from an innovation fund to maximise the use of the capability within their school and their community.”