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Australia Victoria to spend $240 million on land for new schools in growth corridors

06:57  13 march  2018
06:57  13 march  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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The money will go towards purchasing primary and secondary school sites for 14 new establishments in booming corridors of Melbourne's north, west and south-east.

The land will be used to build 14 schools across Victoria.© Provided by ABC News The land will be used to build 14 schools across Victoria.

The Victorian Government will spend nearly $240 million buying land for 14 new schools in Melbourne's growth areas.

The money will go towards purchasing primary and secondary school sites in booming corridors of the north, west and south-east.

The ABC's Four Corners has reported Victoria will need an extra 220 schools by 2026.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the $236.8 million commitment at John Henry Primary School in Pakenham, which opened last year and is already over capacity.

Land next door to the primary school will be purchased for a new secondary school.

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Mr Andrews said funding for land purchases was about future-proofing for growth.

"Part of that — making sure that we stay ahead of growth, making sure we continue to invest in the best facilities in order to deliver the very best outcomes — is to make sure that not only do we have a large number of schools that are being built right now, but it's also to set aside the land that we need for the future," he said.

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The City of Whittlesea, which covers these growth corridors , said new schools are urgently needed within The state government announced in May it will spend 3 million to build 13 new schools in growth areas of metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria through the public-private partnership.

Local government areaNew schools
Hume and Whittlesea4
Melton, Maribyrnong and Wyndham5
Casey and Cardinia5

90,000 extra students expected by 2022

The Government is yet to make the purchases and has not announced funding for building on the sites, so it is not clear when the schools would open.

It typically takes two years for a school to design, fund and build a new school.

Mr Andrews was tight-lipped about funding in this year's budget, but said it would be strong on education.

Education Minister James Merlino said it was part of the biggest school building program ever seen in Victoria.

"Ten new schools opened last year, 11 new schools this year, nine new schools next year, more new schools in 2020, and now we're announcing a further 14 school sites right across Victoria," he said.

"We need to accommodate 90,000 additional students by 2022, and that's exactly why we've made this announcement."

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Mr Merlino said the Government would talk to communities about what they wanted from new schools in their area.

Opposition calls for investment outside Melbourne

The Victorian Opposition said funding for new schools was welcome, but the Government should be focused on decentralisation instead of building in already-booming suburbs.

The City of Casey, in Melbourne's south-east, is expected to grow to more than 500,000 people by 2041.

Whittlesea in the north will boom from 220,000 to 380,000, while Melton in the west will more than double from 150,000 to nearly 400,000.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said his party was focused on encouraging growth outside the city.

"Daniel Andrews can announce new roads, new schools, anything he likes for a growth area but it doesn't take the pressure off Melbourne, it's a reactive measure," he said.

"By Western world standards we are the fastest growing city in the world. We have to fundamentally rethink the way we grow our state."

He said the Government could build 40 new schools and 40 new police stations in growth areas if it had not spent $1.3 billion scrapping the East West Link road project.

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