NSW Budget: $1.4 billion to continue historic regional school building program

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The Minns Labor Government will invest more than $1.4 billion over the next four years to continue delivering a massive pipeline of new and upgraded schools for regional communities.

With planning work now well-progressed, this significant investment includes funding to deliver a new public primary and high school in Huntlee, serving the growing Hunter communities of Branxton, Huntlee and North Rothbury. The new primary school will also include a co-located preschool.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car will join local Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr and Government spokesperson for the Upper Hunter Emily Suvaal today to reveal the site of the new co-located public primary and high schools for Huntlee, and announce the regional school infrastructure Budget for 2024/25.

The Liberals and Nationals neglected or ignored the educational needs of many families in regional NSW, leaving a backlog of school projects in the regions.

The NSW Labor Government has a long-term plan to rebuild public education, and we are focused on building and upgrading essential educational facilities in the bush, creating better communities for the people of NSW.

Through this plan, we are ensuring NSW has world-class public education infrastructure throughout the regions so all young families can access a high quality education, regardless of their postcode.

Our plan to build better regional communities for NSW includes:

  • A new primary school for Huntlee
  • A new high school for Huntlee
  • A new primary school in Calderwood
  • Rebuilding Willyama High School in Broken Hill
  • Jindabyne Public School and Jindabyne High School at Jindabyne Education Campus
  • Googong Public School – Stage 2 upgrade
  • New school halls for Griffith’s high schools
  • Nowra East Public School upgrade

Many of these new schools will also benefit from the Minns Labor Government’s record $769 million investment to build 100 new public preschools, co-located with public primary schools, by 2027.

49 of these new public preschools will be in regional locations including the South Coast, the Hunter, Illawarra, Mid North Coast, New England, Southern NSW, Northern Rivers, Far West, Riverina, South-West Slopes and Central West regions.

Following investments made in the 2023-24 Budget, the NSW Government has launched significant regional school projects, including:

  • A new high school in Googong
  • A new high school for Medowie
  • A new primary school for Nowra

Major upgrades are also being delivered at primary schools in Gillieston Heights, Lennox Head, Ulladulla and Milton, and at high schools in Newcastle, Bomaderry, Heatherbrae, Irrawang, Moruya, Ulladulla, Vincentia and Yanco, as well as four schools in Murwillumbah.

Planning work is continuing for a new high school for Pottsville, a new high school for Flinders and a new primary school for West Dapto.

Work is also continuing to ensure that communities across NSW don’t just have the schools they need, but also the teachers.

This Budget builds upon work to address the chronic teacher shortage created under the former government, which is felt particularly in rural communities, with the expansion of the Priority Recruitment Support program. This program allows schools with longstanding vacancies, primarily in regional NSW, to advertise a recruitment bonus of up to $20,000 and relocation support package of up to $8,000.

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring every single child across New South Wales, no matter where they live, have access to a free, quality, public education.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:

“The NSW Labor Government is committed to delivering regional school infrastructure to communities left behind by the Liberals and Nationals.

“For too long under the former government, families in regional NSW were promised the world, while little was delivered to the regions.

“This Budget demonstrates our commitment to ensuring children across NSW can access a world-class education in high-quality facilities – no matter their postcode.”

Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said:

“Students in the regions deserve access to high quality education facilities and I am proud to see our Minns Labor Government continuing to make significant investment in our regional communities.

“This Budget demonstrates our Government’s commitment to investing in our regional communities.”

Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr said:

“It will be refreshing for our community to have a Government that lives up to its election commitments – I couldn’t be more proud of the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education Prue Car on this front.

“She came and made the announcement for the Huntlee school in the lead up to the election and now she is here to deliver funding and in the coming years I am sure that we can get her back to cut the ribbon at the official opening.

“We have known for some time that our local primary schools and local high school were packed to the rafters, but the previous Government did nothing. This new Government is changing this.”

Member for the Legislative Council and Government spokesperson for the Upper Hunter Emily Suvaal said:

“Despite population growth and demand for new schools in Huntlee, the former Liberal National government would not commit to delivering these new schools.

“As a Labor government, we committed to the growing communities of Huntlee, Branxton and beyond, that we would build this much needed, long overdue school. Today, we’re announcing the next step in delivering that.

“The Minns Labor Government delivers on its commitments, and only a Labor government actually delivers the much needed schools for our growing regional areas.”