Piccoli's broken promise: Ultimo Public School

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Shadow Minister for Education Linda Burney is demanding Adrian Piccoli explain whether he deliberately misled the community following his backflip on building a new school in the inner city – and confirm how many more schools he will fail to build.

After long negotiations between the Department of Education and City of Sydney Council, on 15 December 2014 Education Minister Adrian Piccoli finally agreed to build a new Ultimo Public School, on the site of the Wattle Street council depot.

Mr Piccoli promised the school would open in term 1 of 2018, a claim that now seems unlikely to be fulfilled.

The Government has backflipped on this promise, and will instead knock down the existing school and build a high-rise school in its place – relocating students during construction.

“It took so long for the Liberal Government to commit to meeting the needs of inner-city parents – the news that Ultimo Public School won’t be built on the agreed-upon site is a huge slap in the face to local parents,” Ms Burney said.

“This backflip raises the serious question of whether Mr Piccoli ever really planned to build this school.

“This is an outrageous breach of trust with the electorate. Either the Minister knew the school wouldn’t ever be built on the site, or he didn’t do his due diligence on the proposed site before committing $74 million of taxpayer funds to purchase it.

“This new school is an important part of ensuring the local public education system can cater for the booming school-aged population in the area.

“The Minister’s new plan means students will have to be bussed out of the area every day until the redevelopment of Ultimo Public School is complete – and who knows when, if ever, that will be.

“What other promises is the Minister planning on breaking?

“Parents hoping their children can attend new schools promised by the Coalition in Parramatta or Ballina will rightly be concerned today about just what the Minister’s plans for their children are.

“Schools across Sydney and the state are stretched. The Government needs to have a real plan, not just one that is politically convenient during an election.

“This backflip is either the result of incompetence or political opportunism, and neither are acceptable.”