Labor promises air conditioning for all class rooms

David Mehan and Jihad Dib outside the Glenvale school at North EntranceDavid Mehan and Jihad Dib outside the Glenvale school at North Entrance

Labor candidate for Terrigal, Jeff Sundstrom, has announced that his party’s Cool Schools policy would result in all schools in the Terrigal electorate being fully air-conditioned under a NSW Labor Government.

Sundstrom said that NSW Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, announced in his 2018 Budget Reply, that Labor would add its $300m ‘Cool Schools’ policy to the $500m allocated in the State Budget to bring the total to an unprecedented $800m, to provide better learning environments for school students. School Infrastructure NSW would be tasked with the delivery of school airconditioning, while solar panels will be utilised to help off-set the running cost to each school. Each school would be audited to determine their individual need. “Children can’t achieve exceptional learning results if they are stuck in sweltering classrooms,” Foley said. The ‘Cool Schools’ policy forms an essential part of NSW Labor’s comprehensive plan to deal with the overcrowding crisis which is affecting a growing number of schools.

Under NSW Labor, surplus government land would go towards building new schools and expanding existing ones in an unprecedented schools building program. Every new public school would also have on-site childcare, or before and after school care facilities, and all new schools, including public, Catholic and independent, would be exempt from local infrastructure charges. Jihad Dib, Shadow Education Minister, said Labor wanted children and teachers to have the best learning and teaching environment possible as part of a world-class education system. “That means that they are not fatigued in a sweltering classroom in the height of summer. “We recognised that airconditioning is crucial in areas which experience hot and humid temperatures, now our $800m commitment will see all classrooms in NSW airconditioned,” Mr Dib said. Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said the NSW Government had already announced a $500 million commitment over five years to provide a sustainable air conditioning program for NSW schools.

“Rather than announcing air conditioning for every single school regardless of need, the NSW Government’s plan carefully considers environmental and economic impacts,” he said. “Under the NSW Government’s $500 million commitment, air conditioning will be provided to schools that need it most, and will also incorporate the existing ‘smart systems’ already in place in some schools. “We are absolutely committed to ensuring that school classrooms that need air conditioning get air conditioning, so that students have the best possible environment for learning. “The NSW Government’s $500 million commitment is also environmentally sustainable, with power required for air conditioning offset by solar panels and battery storage. “History shows us that Labor cannot be trusted to deliver, especially for our local schools. Following 16 years of Labor neglect, public schools across NSW were left with a $1 billion maintenance backlog. “In stark contrast, the NSW Government is investing $6 billion over four years in new and upgraded schools – including at Terrigal and Wamberal Public Schools on the Central Coast.”

Source: Media release, Jun 22 Jeff Sundstrom, Labor candidate for Terrigal Media statement, Jun 23 Ben Sheath, office of Adam Crouch