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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12144


Mr RANDALL (Canning) (22:19): I would like to raise the issue of three Building the Education Revolution projects in my electorate of Canning. These are at the Ocean Road Primary School in Dawesville, Glencoe Primary School in Halls Head and Falcon Primary School in Wannanup. Before I proceed I would like to say as a member of this parliament that infrastructure into the schools as part of the stimulus package was something that I think was quite admirable. It has been popularly received, and the schools are very happy with the results. Unlike the eastern seaboard, where there were many cost blow-outs and rorts, Western Australia has managed the BER quite well and the schools are very happy with the outcomes.

But these three schools have approached me in one way or another or I have found information about them because, having commenced these projects two years ago, these schools are still left in limbo. Ocean Road Primary School is still surrounded by builders' fences. The early learning child centre playground has not started. There are still piles of sand and construction rubbish around the school. Landscaping has not been started. Staff, students and parents are astonished by the delays. No-one has got any answers, and the principal, Mr Dean Finlay, is quite frustrated about being unable to get this project completed in this school and have the children shift into these facilities.

At Glencoe Primary School their new covered assembly area with a music and art block was due to be completed in November 2010. The early learning centre was to be finished by 27 October 2010. Neither building is completely finished, the landscaping has not been started and the sand and rubble still surround these classrooms. A new playground was built for the pre-primary students that they thoroughly enjoyed for a brief moment before a shade cover was built on top and then deemed to be unsafe because of pegs et cetera that were sticking out. The playground was immediately fenced off until the builders could return to make it safe for the children's use. Four months later the kids are still walking past their brand-new playground and still cannot use it. They can look but not touch.

At Falcon Primary School they moved into the new BER building in September, but there are still holes in the walls. There are electrical sockets hanging from the ceiling. There are no concrete pathways through the building site to their classroom yet. This is a huge danger to the students, the staff and the parents. Building fences are still up around the school and these obstacles are unattractive. It is incredible that between the builder, the architect and the education department no-one can finish these buildings or tell the principals what is actually going on. Not only are the parents disappointed at the current state of their children's schools but the kids are being denied the classrooms and facilities that were promised months ago.

I have written to the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, the Hon. Peter Garrett, to find out when these schools can expect the upgrades to be completed, why they are taking so long to be completed and who is responsible for the delays. I have also asked the minister to provide us with the final costs and why there is a blow-out in the costs. I have had indications from Byford Primary School in my electorate that there were delays because they found a well underneath one of the construction areas, and it had to be delayed because there were consultants and others brought in.

The concept of the BER in providing educational facilities to students in schools is admirable but, dare I say it, this is the same minister who was responsible for issues that surrounded the pink batts, which we know resulted in fires and four deaths. This is the minister who is administering the BER projects around this country. Trying to get answers from this minister and his department is unbelievable. This is the same minister from whom I cannot get a response about a chaplain in a school where there have been deaths of two children. We need the minister to come up with a chaplain for this school because they have begged him to do so.

I have written the minister a letter and asked for the responses. I have also asked the minister to not only respond to me but respond to the principals, the parents and the students of the schools. They can then use the facilities, which the taxpayers' money was designed for, to benefit the populations of these schools. As a result, I am going to pursue this issue unless I can get a decent answer.