Labor to build better learning spaces for our kids


Up to 100,000 students will be returning to demountable classrooms on the first day of school today – compromising the learning environment of one in ten NSW public school students.

Labor leader Luke Foley and Shadow Education Minister Ryan Park today outlined Labor’s plan to provide permanent classrooms for the thousands of students currently learning in demountables.

A Labor Government will dedicate an additional $100 million to replace ageing demountable classrooms across NSW with permanent, air-conditioned classrooms - to give our students the world-class facilities they deserve.

“A good education is the key to giving our kids the best start in life,” Mr Foley said.

“If our kids are to get the best education we need to provide them with the best possible learning environment, including modern and permanent classrooms.

“Unfortunately up to 100,000 students will be going back to school today in demountable classrooms – a legacy of the Liberals’ failure to invest in our schools over the last four years.

“One in ten teaching spaces are now demountable buildings, and almost one in five of the around 4,500 demountables in NSW have been at schools for more than 15 years. It’s clear that temporary demountables have become permanent classrooms.

“Our school facilities should reflect the high priority we place on education.”

Under a Labor Government, the schools with the oldest and highest number of demountables will receive priority through Labor’s additional $100 million.

“A Foley Labor Government will take a long-term view of our schooling needs – with proper planning and investment to ensure we have the best school environments,” Mr Foley said.

“The funding we announce today is the first step in better planning and investment in our schools – providing the best educational opportunities for our kids.”

Shadow Minister for Education Ryan Park said: “Our students shouldn’t be studying in second-rate facilities – but that’s exactly what’s happening today because the Liberal Government has been replacing demountables at a snail’s pace.

“Demountables are a temporary fix, and Labor had a program to replace these buildings with permanent, modern classrooms.

“But the Liberals shoved the Demountable Replacement Program into the wider capital works budget – and then ripped $280 million from it, leaving thousands of students in demountables with little prospect of being replaced.

“Rather than leaving our students in ageing, substandard facilities, Labor will invest in modern, permanent classrooms to give our kids the best education possible.”

Key Facts:

  • There are around 4,500 demountable classrooms in NSW (ten per cent of all teaching spaces) that are used by up to 100,000 students. Over 1,000 of these classrooms have been at the same school for at least 10 years. 
  • The previous Labor Government had a Demountable Replacement Program – but the Liberals rolled this into the school capital works budget, and then cut that budget by $280 million.
  • Labor will allocate $100 million over 10 years – in addition to the existing capital works budget – to replace temporary demountable classrooms, libraries and administrative facilities.

Read more about Labor's plan to build better learning spaces