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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Cost savings not education behind Murwillumbah ‘mega campus’ says Saffin

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Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has blown the whistle on the government after obtaining a ‘damning’ NSW Department of Education School Profile of Murwillumbah High School, the proposed site of the mega campus, which shows major capital works are badly needed there.

Making cost savings by shelving replacement or maintenance of buildings at four public schools appears to be the main driver of the NSW government’s agenda for its mega Murwillumbah Education Campus, says Ms Saffin.

These four public schools – Murwillumbah High, Wollumbin High, Murwillumbah East Public and Murwillumbah Public – all have their own well-established traditions of academic, sporting and cultural excellence,’ Ms Saffin said.

Labor MP Janelle Saffin. Photo supplied.

Ms Saffin has invited NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell MLC to come to Murwillumbah early next year to meet with the four Parents & Citizens Associations and other representatives of students, teachers and staff, and the local community.

‘Our school communities deserve to hear from Minister Mitchell what the evidence-based educational benefits to Murwillumbah’s primary and secondary school students are of the government’s plan to merge them into one “mega” campus by 2024.

‘However, the evidence is mounting that the Department has dragged the chain on capital works and maintenance at Murwillumbah High and Murwillumbah East Public School, badly affected by the 2017 floods, and the Department’s fix is to close four schools and replace them with a centralised American model.’

The sensitive profile of Murwillumbah High, the Far North Coast’s oldest high school having been established in 1929, states: ‘There are a number of classroom blocks that have leaking rooves. School Infrastructure NSW has advised that due to the scope and scale of the repairs, including redesign of the roof and guttering, it may not be cost effective to undertake the works.

Nationals MP Sarah Mitchell
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning

‘Whilst some temporary remedial works have taken place, the rooves still leak in heavy rain and several classrooms are flooded annually, leading to closure and necessitating disruption to learning programs, regular replacement and repair of carpets,’ the profile states.

‘A number of blocks and classrooms across the school require significant capital works and in some instances demolition. Due to the scale and scope of the work to date it has not been cost effective to undertake.’

Ms Saffin said the community deserves a clear explanation from the Minister on how her “mega” school is going to improve standards and outcomes for their children.

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