Government schools with the longest maintenance lists will have them slashed in coming months with a record $390 million being spent on a new backlog repair blitz announced today.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes announced an extra $60 million as a special allocation to target schools with longest job lists, bringing to $390 million the amount being spent to reduce the school maintenance backlog.
This is the single biggest injection in maintenance backlog spending in the State's history. The additional cash means that the Government's maintenance blitz will be extended to reach over 2100 schools.
Ms Berejiklian said NSW government schools offered the highest quality of teaching and learning and it was essential that buildings and playgrounds were at a high standard.
"Well-maintained schools lead to better educational outcomes, and we want our schools to be in the best condition possible," Ms Berejiklian said.
"An investment like this will ensure that those schools with the greatest need receive the most urgent attention."
Under the program, roofing, floor coverings and painting, and other items will be fixed by December 2018. Many schools will have little or no outstanding maintenance backlog after this blitz.
The $60 million is on top of the $330 million over two years announced in the NSW Budget 2016-17. The additional funds will ensure that schools with the biggest job lists, such as Great Lakes College Forster, Colo High School and Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College The Entrance, will get priority.
Mr Stokes said Education Infrastructure NSW, a specialist assets unit announced last week, will take over responsibility for the schools maintenance program.
He said a new lifecycle condition assessment system would improve management of the maintenance backlog, including introducing a new triage system to prioritise maintenance tasks.
"The new lifecycle condition assessment system will ensure maintenance needs are managed to keep schools in good condition at reasonable cost," Mr Stokes said.
Mr Stokes said with a $25 billion property portfolio of 2,200 schools there will always be maintenance, but good management will keep the list as short as possible. The estimated cost of the present backlog maintenance list is now $775 million, down from more than $1 billion under Labor.