Poor planning 101: a new school at expense of cultural precinct

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Shadow Minister for Education Linda Burney has criticised the Liberal Government for poor planning of future schools – with reports a new school will be built at the Old King’s School in Parramatta, a site long reserved for a Western Sydney cultural precinct. 

The area around the Old King’s School has been slated to become an arts hub – the government’s own agency, Infrastructure NSW, proposed the site to be the centre of a cultural precinct in 2014. 

The announcement of a new school comes despite the existence of other appropriate locations for a school and without adequate consultation with locals and groups pushing to establish a Parramatta Cultural Precinct.

“There’s no doubt the area needs another primary school, but the Old King’s School site has been chosen with no consultation or reference to plans the Minister’s own MPs had supported,” Ms Burney said.

“Our schools are becoming increasingly overcrowded. We most definitely need new classrooms – but not at the expense of longstanding plans for a dedicated cultural precinct.

“The government has disregarded advice from its local MP and Infrastructure NSW to undermine any chance of this cultural and arts precinct being built.

“Yet again Adrian Piccoli has demonstrated he’s allergic to proper planning.

“First the Minister allocated $70 million for a school he can’t build in Ultimo, and now he has announced a school in Parramatta that undermines the cultural precinct planned in the State Infrastructure Strategy.  

“You would hope the Minister has planned for our growing school-aged population – but Adrian Piccoli appears to be getting desperate to find places to accommodate new students.

“The establishment of a cultural precinct has been a goal for the Parramatta community for some time, but with one announcement the Minister has effectively ended its chances.

“The Minister’s plan will deprive the local community of the jobs and investment an arts and cultural precinct would have brought.

“Minister Piccoli clearly hasn’t read the State Infrastructure Strategy and apparently doesn’t have a schools planning strategy to work from either.”