Ryan calls on Minister to commit to Benalla P-12
24 March 2015
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has extended an invitation to Education Minister James Merlino to visit Benalla P-12 College before the May State Budget.
Ms Ryan raised the matter in Parliament after the Minister failed to respond to an invitation made in writing in early February.
“I know the Minister must be extremely busy, however I am disappointed that a government which came to the election promising to make Victoria the education state hasn’t bothered to respond to my invitation to see the school’s problems firsthand.
“Classrooms at Benalla College are riddled with mould, one so badly that it has been permanently sealed off because of the health and safety risk it presents to students and teachers,” Ms Ryan said.
“The school’s learning environment is not fit for purpose and students are unable to work in collaborative learning spaces which befit a 21st century school.
“In fact, former students have recently made the observation that the college has not changed since they attended in the 1960s.”
Ms Ryan said the previous Coalition Government had recognised how vital it was to upgrade Benalla College and in the 2013 budget allocated $5 million to begin the rebuild of the school.
“We went to last year’s election with a commitment of a further $15 million to complete the project however Labor has made no such commitment and the school has been left in limbo.
“The latest advice from the Minister’s department is that the school must spend the $5 million allocated by the Coalition on maintaining the old building it intends to demolish when it rebuilds.”
Ms Ryan said she had visited Benalla P-12 on three separate occasions since being elected in November and had discussed the situation at length with the executive of the college and the wider community.
“I would urge the Government not to shove this project on the back burner but to deliver funding in this year’s Budget as the Coalition intended,” Ms Ryan said.