BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
The Ultimo Pyrmont Education Campaign Committee has ramped up its campaign to attain a primary school which will adequately service the rapidly growing area.
The group was formed a month ago by Mary Mortimer, who feared that attempts to gain political traction for the inner city school had failed.
Since the group presented a significant petition to NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, which has so far not been responded to, the group has now decided to increase its campaign for a new, bigger school.
The group will be reaching out to other parent and citizen associations, through the launch of a webiste. Another petition has been created on change.org petition, in an attempt to draw attention and support.
At the group’s meeting on Tuesday night, the group heard from the North Sydney Parents and Citizens group, who said they are facing the same issue of the Education Department not appreciating the increase in school aged population in Sydney.
The Ultimo Pyrmont community’s attempts to lobby the government for a bigger school had been set for success until the government reneged on an election promise a bigger school for the area, citing high remediation costs of the proposed cite as the causal factor.
Now, the Education Department has vowed to build a school for 700 students on the existing site.
The Education Minister dismissed complaints from the local school community and residents and said that the decision had already been made by the deparment.
But Ms Mortimer told City Hub that the group believed it was ultimately the elected representatives that needed to ensure access to education for every child. “The state government gets an enormous amount of money from stamp duty of
inner city apartments and should be able to spend that money on ensuring the inner city has adequate services,” Ms Mortimer said.
“Minister Piccoli has been approached by a couple of MPs on our behalf, and he has said the decision has been made by people in the Department of Education, but it is not their responsibility to provide education, it is the government.”
The minister has 30 days in which to respond to the group’s petition, tabled in parliament by Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.
He also has 30 days to respond to questions posed by Christian Democrat MP Reverend Fred Nile.
“Were the communities of Ultimo and Pyrmont promised a new primary school for up to 1,000 students with community facilities and a childcare centre on a different site large enough to provide such facilities?” Rev Nile asked in parliament.
“Why is the community still waiting for the new school and facilities?”