Education Minister Colin Barnett has rejected claims by Burrup MLA Fred Riebeling that cleaning services in Western Australian schools were sub-standard.
Mr Barnett said today Mr Riebeling was misquoting statistics tabled in State Parliament in March.
The statistics stated that there had been 66 instances in the previous year on which schools from throughout the State had, on occasion, had their cleaning standard rated as ‘in need of attention’ or ‘unsatisfactory’.
“At any one time, there would be only a handful of schools of the 580 across the State that are cleaned under contract, which are rated in need of attention or unsatisfactory,” Mr Barnett said.
“Where standards are found to be less than satisfactory they are rectified immediately.
“The department independently checks the standard of cleaning on a random basis.
“These inspections are done by technical officers who are former cleaners-in-charge, who have the experience to determine the standard of cleaning in a school.”
Mr Barnett said cleaners employed by the Education Department were not required to clean graffiti off walls unless it would wipe off with a damp cloth.
He said the use of chemicals in the cleaning of graffiti required specialised attention and was dealt with through the Education Department’s contract with the Department of Contract and Management Services. Nothing had changed.
Under the new cleaning contracts, there were no ‘cleaning times’ allocated to schools - the contracts were based on standards and not on hours.
The department simply required that a school be cleaned to a certain standard, whether this took more or less time than a school was cleaned under the department’s cleaning program.
Mr Barnett said the State Government was moving to contract cleaning so that resources spent on maintaining cleaning could be used for the department’s core business - educating students. Schools in the Pilbara would move to contract cleaning at the end of the year.
“Once the project is completed in June next year, it is expected that an extra $6.8 million a year will be freed-up for education programs,” the Minister said.
Media contact: Diana Callander 9222 9699