15/02/2021 - 15:00

Labor picks marginal seats for school stimulus

15/02/2021 - 15:00

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Schools in marginal electorates, such as Darling Range, Mount Lawley and Scarborough, will receive $110 million in upgrades if Labor is re-elected in March.

Labor picks marginal seats for school stimulus
Mark McGowan says Labor's development works will create more than 1,600 jobs. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Schools in marginal electorates, such as Darling Range, Mount Lawley and Scarborough, will receive $110 million in upgrades if Labor is re-elected in March.

The funds form part of the party’s $355 million school development package, which alongside $136 million for an array of science-related classrooms, programs and equipment, includes $219 million for school redevelopments.

Half of the 16 schools that will receive funding are in marginal electorates, with three schools in Darling Range receiving the largest share of upgrades at $30 million in total.

Liberal small business and tourism spokesperson Alyssa Hayden holds that seat on a 3.5 percentage point margin, having won it at a byelection in 2018 following the resignation of Barry Urban.

Mr Urban had won the seat for WA Labor in 2017 but resigned after he was alleged to have misrepresented his credentials ahead of the election.

Ms Hayden will face Hugh Jones, who has experience as a City of Armadale councillor, in March; Mr Jones is friends with Premier Mark McGowan owing to their days in the Navy, and the two have already made a series of campaign appearances together.

The single largest spending promise is for Rossmoyne Senior High School, based in the electorate of Riverton, which will receive $35 million of upgrades if Labor is re-elected.

Mike Nahan, who served as opposition leader between 2017 and 2019, has held that seat since 2008 and defied state-wide trends to retain it at the most recent state election.

He is retiring next month, with Anthony Spagnolo, a former adviser to former finance minister Matthias Cormann, nominated to run as the Liberal Party WA candidate.

Academic and GP Jagadish Krishnan will contest the seat on behalf of WA Labor.

Elsewhere, schools in several battleground electorates in Perth’s north, including Mount Lawley, Kingsley and Scarborough, will receive funding should the state government be re-elected.

Mount Lawley and Kingsley are held by Labor on margins of 4 and 1 per cent, respectively, while Liza Harvey, who served as opposition leader until November, holds Scarborough with a 6 per cent margin.

To the south, Melville Senior High School in the electorate of Bicton will receive an $8 million gymnasium.

Labor holds the seat on a margin of 4 per cent, with Lisa O’Malley winning it in 2017 based largely on opposition to the then state government’s plan to extend Roe Highway.

In safer seats, Camboon Primary School in the electorate of Morley will receive $2 million for the purpose of building a new childcare centre.

Amber-Jade Sanderson holds that seat for Labor on a safe 12 percentage point margin; she is widely tipped to become a minister should the state government be re-elected.

Mr McGowan promoted today's announcement in the context of job creation, claiming the upgrades would create more than 1,600 jobs.

“Over the past four years, we have made WA schools a priority to create a better learning environment for Western Australian kids, but also to create jobs in areas like builders, carpenters, electricians, painters, plumbers,” he said.

“The quality of STEM education in WA schools has and will continue to be a key priority under WA Labor.

“A re-elected McGowan Labor government will continue this work to ensure every student in WA has access to a great STEM education, regardless of where they live.

“If re-elected we will continue our efforts to elevate the presence of these important subjects in WA schools, from primary right through to the final years of high school, and will continue to deliver high quality school facilities for WA kids across our state.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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