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Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Page: 5365


Mr RANDALL (Canning) (09:36): I wish to raise the issue of an uncompleted BER project in my electorate, at Ocean Road Primary School. The expected completion date was before the end of 2010 for the new early learning centre with a playground. As we are now almost halfway through 2012, I was astounded to find out that the BER project at this school is yet to be completed some 1½ years later. The new BER classroom itself has been finished, but it is surrounded by builders' fences. The early learning centre playground is not started, landscaping is not finished and there are still piles of sand and construction rubbish around the school.

How did this shambolic state of affairs transpire? I have been to the school and examined this myself on a couple of occasions. Remember that this is a centre for children four or five years old. This is an area where they need play facilities as part of their education, and they need this project completed so that they can use it safely. I have not only visited the school, as I said, but been in contact with the principal, Dean Finlay, who is at his wit's end about how to try to get these works completed. I have tried for seven months now to get a resolution for the students, staff and parents of Ocean Road Primary School, yet we are still waiting for the project to be finished even though I have raised it in this place before.

You would think that either state or federal education authorities would have contacted me about this issue, but no. On 27 October 2011 I wrote to the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett. I outlined the issue. Five months later, after no reply from Minister Garrett, I received a response from Minister Brendan O'Connor stating that these projects were progressing and there were negotiations, and all the florid language you would expect from Minister O'Connor. So I visited the school again to check these assurances from the minister that things were progressing well. This was over the school holidays. There was a large hole dug for the reticulation, four feet deep and 20 metres long, and consequently the school had problems watering the gardens. I then contacted Minister O'Connor's office, and he told me that it had been passed on to Jacinta Collins's office. If I had not rung the Western Australian education department yesterday and spoken to Milan Trifunovic, who heads the BMA, I would not have found out that shade had been completed, curbing to the soft-fall area has now been completed and they expect that by 28 May they should have finished so that the children of this school might eventually get to use this worthwhile BER project. But why has it taken so long? Why the malaise and the delays? Finally we may have some action thanks to Milan Trifunovic and the WA education department.