THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
THE HON ADRIAN PICCOLI MP
NSW Minister for Education
BER funding improves facilities for students with disability
Students with the most complex learning needs at some of NSW’s special schools will receive improved Building the Education Revolution (BER) facilities through an agreement between the State and Federal Governments.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten and NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced that 16 schools for special purposes (SSPs) will receive up to $80 million in reallocated funding as part of the Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) element of the BER.
P21 is the largest component of the BER, providing funding to primary schools, special schools and K-12 schools for the building or renewing of large-scale infrastructure works like libraries, multipurpose halls and classrooms. P21 funding provided over 10,000 projects in 7913 schools in towns and suburbs across Australia. 99% of those projects are complete and in use by schools and their communities.
Mr Shorten and Mr Piccoli visited Kurrambee School in western Sydney today to make the announcement.
“The Federal Government is pleased this money will be going to special schools, like Kurrambee,” Mr Shorten said
“This is a common sense decision between the State and Federal Governments that is great news for some of New South Wales neediest students.”
Mr Shorten said he was pleased to work with Mr Piccoli to reallocate residual government funds that were provided to NSW Government schools, whilst ensuring the requirements of the BER program continued to be met.
Mr Piccoli said the upgrade at Kurrambee School will include over 10 new or refurbished classrooms, a hydrotherapy pool, special programs room and associated multi-purpose building, new administration facilities and improved drop-off access to meet special needs requirements.
“I’m thrilled these funds will be targeted to the schools that need it most. This is what the BER is all about − delivering the best possible outcomes for school communities.
SSPs cater for students from Pre-school to Year 12, who require extensive levels of support because of their physical, intellectual, sensory or behavioural learning needs.
“This now means that under the BER nearly one in five SSPs in NSW will be completely refurbished,” Mr Shorten said.
“This will include replacing demountable classrooms with permanent classrooms, providing customised facilities for students with special needs, expanding student activity areas, improving disabled access to buildings, hydrotherapy facilities and accessible toilets and showers.
“This is great news for jobs too as local and regional construction businesses will benefit from this work.
Mr Piccoli said “In addition, school principals will be invited to Chair the Project Control Group (PCG) to ensure the school community has a greater say in the facilities they receive. “
The $16.2 billion BER program is delivering over 23,000 projects in nearly 9,500 schools across Australia. The NSW Government received more than $3.4 billion to refurbish and construct new facilities in 1780 schools across the state.
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