Premier Mark McGowan has again downplayed the seriousness of safety risks facing students and staff at Hedland Senior High School.
Education spokesperson Peter Rundle initially brought the Premier’s attention to the problems facing Hedland SHS last year when he publicly detailed the findings of a report which concluded it was “inevitable” there would be a “serious” injury to a staff member or student due to a “multitude of risk situations”.
Mr Rundle raised the issue again in Parliament last week but got short shrift from the Leader of the State.
“After admitting the issue had slipped his mind, the Premier proceeded to outline how much money had been spent at Hedland SHS since 2004,” Mr Rundle said.
“The Premier crowed that the school had received $33 million since 2004 – the problem is the vast majority of that funding came from The Nationals WA when we were in Government. The remainder was made up of Commonwealth funds.
“Labor, on the other hand, have said they will only provide $500,000 to fix the litany of infrastructure issues facing current staff and students.
“It’s a token gesture and it’s not good enough.”
Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Jacqui Boydell said The Nationals had called on the Premier to commit to quarantining a small portion of the vast sum of revenue Port Hedland generates as the State’s chief iron ore port in order to fix the problems.
“Today we again asked the Premier to consider quarantining a miniscule percentage of some of the billions of dollars that Port Hedland generates each year in royalties for the State, and put it back into fixing safety concerns at Hedland Senior High School once and for all,” she said.
"We have a situation where the Government is telling the Hedland P&C that there is no money for upgrades to make their school safe or to provide basic necessities like shade for students.
“Yet over past weeks, the Government has made several announcements on the millions of dollars it will spend on new facilities in Perth schools.”
Ms Boydell said it was yet another example of the blatant disregard the McGowan Government had for the regions.
“For the second time in just a matter of months, we have given the Premier the opportunity to step up and demonstrate to the people of WA that regional students matter,” Ms Boydell said.
“The state of Hedland SHS has been front and centre in mainstream news in recent weeks. For the issue to have slipped the Premier’s mind, one must conclude that he and his Ministers simply turn a blind eye to any issue outside of the metro area.”