THE Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has blamed the Education Department for the failure of the Andrews Government to deliver funding for the construction of a new senior secondary college at Wonthaggi.
Speaking on ABC Radio this afternoon he said, as much as the project was needed, it wasn’t given sufficient priority by the Education Department to reach the funding threshold that some other school projects which were funded reached.
“Fifty nine schools around Victoria are being built and a record $4 billion has been committed to regional Victoria,” he said.
“Just because you have an advocate on the radio you says it’s needed (the Wonthaggi project) doesn’t mean it should get funding. Others people realise you can’t do everything. You can’t do it all at once.
“We’re trying as hard as we can to fill in the backlog left to us by the former government.
“If we got a little more help from the Federal Government we would be able to do more.”
But why didn’t Wonthaggi Secondary College get the priority from the Education Department – it’s the worst resourced school in the state! Or is that just a cop out? Did the Education Department let us down or did the Andrews Government let us down.
Whatever the case the local community is devastated fearing that Gippsland’s allocation of funding has all gone into the Latrobe Valley.
And Bass Coast Mayor Cr Pam Rothfield said it best on our behalf today:
“I am confident that I speak on behalf of my fellow Councillors and the broader community that we are devastated that funding the Wonthaggi Education Precinct was not included in the State Government Budget.
“Like many in our community, we had been hoping for some significant investment towards education and health in Bass Coast. Although we welcome the funding that has already been announced for roads, it is such a shame that our community has again been overlooked for critical funding that is urgently needed, in particular for health and education.
“Judging by the number of phone calls I have already received from members of the community, many of whom feel absolutely gutted by todays announcement.
“We recently ran an engagement campaign to develop our Council Plan and we heard how important health and education are to the community. We share the community’s frustrations that this was a missed opportunity. Improving health and education in Bass Coast is long overdue.
“As disappointing as the outcome for Bass Coast is, all it does is strengthen our resolve to continue advocating to State Government for improved services.”
So we want answers Mr Andrews, Mr Merlino, Mr Pallas, Ms Shing and the others who have paid lip-service to the situation at Wonthaggi… especially those that have seen it firsthand.
Caption: Wonthaggi Secondary College students, Liam Cairnduff and Kobey Cook, were hopeful last week but unfortunately everyone has been devastated by the news that the building project has not been funded.