Queensland’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has announced a $9bn investment for education in the State Budget, targeted at building new schools, delivering more teachers and improving access for students with a disability.
Education Minister, Kate Jones, said the money would provide a massive boost to the quality state’s education sector.
“The major investments include an additional $152m over three years for an extra 875 teaching positions over and above normal enrolment growth,” Jones said.
“In total, 2,500 new teaching positions will be delivered from 2016 to 2018. In the same three-year period we will spend $8.9m to employ an extra 45 full-time guidance officers in state high schools.
Jones said that by 2018, the additional investment would bring the total number of government-funded guidance officers or equivalent positions in Queensland state schools to more than 550.
The Budget will also provide $763.4m as part of a four-year investment in state school maintenance, as well as a $456.2m capital works program for schools and early childhood education centres over 2015-2016.
“This is an increase of $64m on last year’s capital works program,” Jones said.
“The capital projects include $90m over four years for a new primary school and master planning for a new high school both in Townsville.
“We will also deliver a one-off $10m injection this year for special education facility upgrades and $25m over two years for a long-awaited new special school in Cairns to open in 2017.
“The $178m maintenance investment in 2015-16 includes $4m to improve tuckshops and amenities at schools in Queensland’s Indigenous communities.”
The budget also includes an additional commitment of $41.8m over four years for Children and Family Centres.
“This funding will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island families can continue to access vital health, early education and support services,” Jones added.
Queensland’s 10 Children and Family Centres provide essential integrated services and programs which address health, development and education needs of young children in a culturally safe environment.
“Disability support for children in kindergarten will receive a $14.2m budget boost over the next four years which includes expenditure of $3.5m this financial year.
“This funding represents the Palaszczuk Government’s recognition that demand for support for children with disability kindergarten is growing at an average 11% per year.”
The budget includes $123.6m over three years in capital grant funding for the non-state schooling sector to meet enrolment growth, with $41.2m in 2015-16.