Two new flagship secondary schools - one in the metropolitan area and one in the Pilbara - are the centrepieces of a record $3.6billion spend on education and training in the 2008-09 State Budget, Treasurer Eric Ripper said today.
Mr Ripper said the Government would spend a combined $169million to rebuild the 58‑year‑old Governor Stirling Senior High School in Midland and create a new secondary education and training precinct in Karratha.
“These two new projects are just part of a massive school rebuilding program that will see 15 new schools open across the State in 2009 - the greatest number in 38 years,” he said.
The Treasurer said the Government’s commitment to train Western Australians so they could be part of the State’s economic future would continue, with an additional $61million for new apprentice and trainee places in WA, bringing the total to a record 39,000 - double the number in 2001.
“Overall we have increased our spending on education and training by 3.9 per cent on last year,” he said.
“We are investing $83.9million in long-term strategies to address teacher recruitment and retention.
“Of this funding, $21.7million will be spent on continuing the initiatives recommended by the Gerard Daniels Review, $62.2million will go towards increasing graduate teacher salaries and doubling the start-up allowance. A subsidised $3million low-interest loan will be provided to Notre Dame University to expand its teacher education program.
“Notre Dame is the only institution in WA that has seen an increase in applications for teaching, with 30 per cent growth in 2008. The loan will allow the university to increase its total teacher graduates by more than 50 per cent over the coming two years, from 216 to 325.”
Notre Dame traditionally supplies large numbers of graduates to regional WA and Mr Ripper said the Government hoped the initiative would help ensure a steady supply of teachers, particularly to country areas, in the coming years.
The Treasurer said the Government’s focus on boosting the State’s skills base would be further realised with the development of two education and training super-sites at Governor Stirling and Karratha.
“We will spend $63million on a complete rebuild of Governor Stirling Senior High School which will feature state-of-the-art training facilities within a traditional high school,” he said.
“In the Pilbara, which is crucial to our State’s economy, we will spend an additional $46million to build facilities for the students in Years Eight to 10 on the TAFE site.
“This will complete the $106million Karratha Education and Training Precinct, which began when the senior high school was moved to the site in 2005.
“This project, which will give students the chance to complete high school and undertake apprenticeship and trainee courses on the one site, will also involve the construction of a new $26million primary school on the original school site in Turner Way.
“Combined with the $43million worth of new trade training equipment and infrastructure rolling out to TAFE colleges over this year and the next two years and the $241million of recurrent funding invested in initiatives to address the skills shortage since 2001, these new initiatives will ensure WA is well placed to meet the challenges of the future.”
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