New school land doubt

LAND on which the new Brighton high school will be built is still the subject of price negotiations. The State Government has compulsorily acquired about half the 20ha site, but the Office of the Valuer-General is still to negotiate with the land owner an agreed price and there are fears it will end up in court.

The project is in the design stage, construction is due to start next year and be completed in 2025. The development is already $20 million over the original budget of $30 million and could blow out further.

Education Minister Roger Jaensch said the land was now owned by the State Government and the “Office of the Valuer-General is managing the acquisition process which is ongoing’’. “We anticipate those costs are going to increase from previous estimates,’’ Mr Jaensch told Budget estimates. “We remain committed to the project and will remain engaged with Treasury for the resourcing required to deliver it.’’ Labor education spokesman Josh Willie said the 2018-19 Budget said the project would be completed in 2024. “In this Budget it is now saying 2025, since that time there has been a cost blowout of $20 million,’’ Mr Willie said.

Mr Jaensch said community consultation was vital. “The other thing we find with all public infrastructure, but schools in particular, is that consultation with local communities and the school community are critically important,’’ Mr Jaensch said. “We take that very seriously and we need to ensure that we’re bringing communities with us and reflecting their expectations in our projects.”

Labor Leader Rebecca White said it was no surprise the Government hadn’t secured the land. “The Liberals promised a new school for the people of Brighton five years ago,’’ she said. “The project is now two elections old, $20 million over budget and they’ve delivered nothing. “The Rockliff-Ferguson Government’s broken promises and continued failure to deliver are hurting the Brighton community.’’