ANY hopes a long-awaited funding announcement would be made by the State Government regarding Wonthaggi Secondary College were dashed last week when the Premier Daniel Andrews did not include the ailing senior campus in his itinerary whilst visiting Bass Coast.
It has been 14 months since former Premier Denis Napthine made the $21m election promise to relocate and rebuild the school at the Education Precinct site on McKenzie Street.
With heavy rain falling last Friday afternoon, it would have been a good opportunity for Mr Andrews to see how poorly the aged infrastructure copes with bad weather.
Instead, the Premier began his visit by stopping off for a tour at ArchiBlox’s building facility in Keltie Avenue, where he also met with council representatives behind closed doors.
Asked whether he was requested to visit Wonthaggi SC last week, Mr Andrews said matters surrounding the Education Precinct were discussed with the council and that he “understands the issues” surrounding the school.
“I’m well aware of the work that has been going on,” he said.
“There has been some good planning work done and council are to be praised; they’re so proactive in terms of education.”
Mr Andrews said Eastern Region MP Harriet Shing, who was also in attendance at the ArchiBlox meeting, had been working to make sure the Deputy Premier, James Merlino, remained up to speed on the issue.
“But nothing beats having that confirmed by visiting,” he added.
“I think the best thing to do, rather than having one minister a week (visit the area) for a period of months…let’s get a group of ministers to come down and work on a whole range of issues.”
Mr Andrews confirmed this was “the basic outcome” of his meeting with council – that a selection of Labor ministers will come to Bass Coast “in the next couple of months”, led by the Deputy Premier.
He said the Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, would also be part of the group to talk about health service planning for the entire region.
“There will be a few other ministers (and) they will spend a day here meeting with different stakeholders,” he said.
Bass MP Brian Paynter criticised Mr Andrews for not taking the time to at least pop into Wonthaggi Secondary for a brief look.
“I don’t understand how he can come to Wonthaggi and not at least visit the school,” he said.
“I have brought the Wonthaggi Education Precinct to (Labor’s) attention four to five times in Parliament and I’ve asked them to commit to rebuilding the school in the 2016-17 budget.
“I was hoping the premier might have made an announcement on Friday but he has just ignored the school again.
“It has been stated on a number of occasions that Victoria is the ‘education state’ – well let’s start with Wonthaggi.”