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June 17, 2014  |  

Rosanna Primary School

I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Education. The action I seek is for the minister to direct his Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to remove the old, empty, redundant and dilapidated classroom building at Rosanna Primary School which the school council has determined is unsafe for students. I have previously raised this matter with the regional office of the department – this was back in 2011 and in 2012, with regional director Wayne Craig – only to be told that the department did not have the funds available to pay for the demolition of this no-longer-used classroom building.

I will read from a letter, dated 3 June, from Rosanna Primary School council president Marie Alafaci:

Our school was very grateful to receive a new, six-classroom building from the former federal government as part of the BER program. This resource has been put to good use, serving the needs of our students in the middle and upper school – grades 3 to 6.

These classrooms were built on our asphalt oval, a significant play space for our children, on the understanding that the building it was replacing would be removed and the area made into play space.

The old building is quite unsafe for the students as the floors slope badly and the windows and doors don’t open and close properly. It is being used for storage, but the school would like to return it to play area as was part of the initial plan.

Further, we are concerned that if it is left uninhabited for much longer … it will be a magnet for vandals who may then damage the rest of the school as well.

Council has investigated the cost of removing the old, derelict building and making good the area, but this is beyond what we can afford as a school. We have had estimates of up to $100 000 to bring the area back into use.

We have plans to raise local funds to re-establish the area for a number of uses, but to simply demolish the building is out of our reach financially.

The school council is obviously keen to engage both me and the government in seeking to have those facilities removed to improve the other facilities for children and for future generations of children at Rosanna Primary.

Rosanna Primary is a great school and, as Rosanna residents, my wife and I know it is one of the schools of choice for local families. Our daughter Ava is a likely future student, as Rosanna Primary is our closest local school. You can get a great education at the school, and we have great facilities there to match. Increasing enrolments, however, further highlight the critical need to maximise play space for student wellbeing. Given the education department has been a multibillion-dollar department these past few years, we hope there would be an opportunity to pursue the school’s request to remove these unsafe and redundant buildings, which would return significant play space to the school for the future wellbeing of the students.

I encourage the minister to make inquiries into the matter. It is a longstanding issue and one I look forward to a positive response on. The school council and the assistant principal, Mr Jeff Jackson, are also keen to further discuss those matters. It is hopefully something the minister can take some action on. I look forward to a positive response on this matter on behalf of the Rosanna Primary School and that school community.