Liberals call for school in Lucas

INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED: Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling and Ripon MP Louise Staley are calling for a state government school for Lucas. Picture: Kate HealyOpposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling has called for a state government school in Lucas.

Mr Wakeling and Ripon MPLouise Staley visited the Ballarat West suburb on Thursday and said education facilities were urgently needed to cater for the rapid population growth.

“I’ve raised this issue since the state government has been in power,” Mr Wakeling said.

“This is a growing suburb here and there is a lack of planning for growth.”

The first sod was turned on new Catholic primary school, Siena, in July but there is no government primary or secondary school in the Ballarat West zone as yet.

However, Ballarat City Council said a designated public school site had been identified and was now fully serviced and available for occupation.

The council’s infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo said Lucas developerIntegra wasworking with the Education Department on a “firm commitment” for a school.

“Council works with the development community in advocating for early delivery of these key public assets,” Mr Demeo said.

Mr Wakeling said the former Liberal government had committed $5 million for a Lucas school but the current state government hadn’t planned for new schools in growth corridors.

“The state government is about to mark its two year anniversary and, in that two years, they could have invested in new schools.

“There is no excuse for why they can’t explain why schools aren’t being built and this community wants answers.”

Ms Staley said Lucas was a very fast growing suburb that needed its own school.

She said nearby Alfredton Primary School had nearly 600 students while St Thomas More and Delacombe Primary School were also “bursting at the seams”.

However, Education Minister James Merlino said the state government hadinvested more in Ballarat school infrastructure in two years than the former Liberal government did in four.

“As a former minister who completely abandoned state education, Nick Wakeling lacks credibility in any claims he makes about government investment in our schools,” Mr Merlino said.

“Earlier this year I announced $1.5 million towards the new Catholic primary school in Lucas. Funding for future schools will be considered as part of the government’s annual budget process.”

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