Welcome back folks to Connolly’s Corner.
If you’re a parent like me, then you’ve had a busy couple of weeks getting the kids back to school. In the Connolly household, Miss Eleven is beginning her last year of Primary School, and Mr Eight is starting Grade 3.
Over the last couple of weeks, you might have seen an article in The Age talking about the need for more schools in Wyndham, painting a picture of overcrowded schools that are bursting at the seams. You might have seen this story covered on Nine News or shared about in your local Facebook pages.
With so many babies born each week in Wyndham – now over 120 a week – there can be no doubt that we’re seeing a lot more children starting school in our community than ever before, and that we need more schools to cater for Wyndham’s growing population. I absolutely agree with that. We definitely need more schools in our growing Wyndham community.
But here’s what that story doesn’t tell you.
It doesn’t tell you that in the last seven years, the Andrews Labor Government has invested a whopping $780 million into Wyndham schools. That’s about $111.43 million a year on average. Compare that to the previous Government, who only spent $93.6 million in four years. That’s about $23.4 million a year – almost a fifth of what our Government has spent.
There’s no mention that two of our schools – Dohertys Creek P-9 College in Truganina and Saltwater P-9 College in Point Cook, have completed their second stages and opened their doors this month to students in Year 7.
The story doesn’t tell you that in the last four years alone, we’ve built eight new schools in Wyndham, including five new primary schools, two P-9 colleges and a senior secondary school. They don’t tell you that next year, four new primary schools will be finished and open to students, including two brand new primary schools for Tarneit.
They didn’t tell you that another five schools are also confirmed to be in the pipeline, which includes two for Point Cook and two for Tarneit, including a brand new high school.
And do you know what else they don’t tell you? That all these schools were delivered by a Labor Government. When I ran for Tarneit at the last election in 2018, I ran with the Labor Party’s promise to build 100 new schools across Victoria by 2026. Of these 100, at least 16 will be built in the City of Wyndham alone. Compare that to the Coalition (the same team with the same leader running), who could barely commit to four schools. And you know none of them would have been built in Wyndham, let alone the whole western suburbs of Melbourne.
Every child deserves the best education possible, and I have always fought for the schools in my electorate to get the funding they need to deliver just that. That’s what I’ve done and it’s what I’ll continue to do going forward.