Media release

17 August 2016

 A Parliamentary Inquiry into plans to redevelop the inner city schools with a focus on Ultimo, has today been formally launched and will begin receiving submissions within days.

Greens MP and Education Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The Government has a responsibility under the Education Act to provide access to quality public education for every child in this state including the inner city, regardless of local property prices.

“There has to be a better option for the students and school community at Ultimo that putting students in demountables for 4 years followed by high rise towers.

“A key part of this, particularly in the Sydney CBD, is planning for sites for schools appropriate to the number of students seeking places.

“We need to revisit the Fig and Wattle site and see what can be done to break the impasse between the City of Sydney and the Baird Government to deliver the best outcome for public education.

“We have spoken to many parents in the Ultimo Public School community who have real concerns about their children spending their primary school years in a stop-gap, demountable facility,” Mr Shoebridge said.

 Greens Member for Balmain Jamie Parker (the electorate of Balmain includes Ultimo) said:

“This inquiry is an opportunity for school parents to get some answers about how it has come to this, and what needs to be done to deliver quality public education in the city.

“We have serious concerns about the Government’s proposed sale of Ultimo Public School and the shoehorning of students into high rise towers.

“Children and their educational outcomes should be at the heart of decision making, yet here they have run a clear second place to cutting costs.

“The ultimate goal here is a school that meets the needs of the community,” Mr Parker said.

 Full terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:

1.      the total costs of the project to date including consultancy fees,

2.      the estimated costs of the alternative sites for a new Ultimo Public School,

3.      the reasons the alternative sites were dismissed by the Government,

4.      the costs of rehousing Ultimo Public School students in Wentworth Park while the school is rebuilt,

5.      the impact of the Bays Precinct development on future enrolment capacity in the inner city, and

6.     Any other related matters.