TIMBOON P-12 School will have to compete with hundreds of ageing schools across Victoria in its campaign for $7 million to rebuild classrooms.
A report released by the Victorian Auditor-General in February painted a bleak picture for school infrastructure with millions needed to repair decades of neglect.
Buildings across 505 Victorian schools, including Timboon are at the point of “imminent failure, or have already failed”.
Many around the state are running their own high profile campaigns including Geelong High School, which is seeking $21 million.
Polwarth MP Terry Mulder told The Standard he had worked hard to get the school high up on the government’s priority list, but could not guarantee when Education Minister Martin Dixon could tick off on new funding.
“He’s got hundreds of schools around the state, a lot of them are in poor condition, a lot of them are due for rebuild and a lot of areas of the state where we’ve got rapid population growth, where it’s an ever increasing challenge to make sure you’ve got a seat for a child to sit down on,” Mr Mulder said.
“But I will continue to push the cause for Timboon.
‘‘I have had a lot of success with getting funding into this community and this region,” he said, pointing to schools in Colac and Apollo Bay.
Many of Timboon P-12 supporters said the previous Labor government had locked in cash for the shovel-ready plans with blueprints already drawn up for new classrooms and facilities.
However, Mr Mulder said Mr Dixon inherited empty coffers after Labor was ousted from government.
“He walked through the door and had school communities all around the state all told they were next in line for funding and there was no funding there,” Mr Mulder said.
“It was a matter of going back to scratch.
‘‘I’ve had regular meetings with Minister Dixon.
‘‘I’ve had him up here and he understands fully the condition of this school.
“I’ve pushed every button in trying to get support for the school.
‘‘I know when they see new school buildings go up in other regions its frustrating for them but I will do everything I can.”
The Auditor-General’s report placed Barwon South West at the top of the government’s concern list saying the region required “the greatest investment requirements ... with an average investment requirement of $725,076 per school”.
Timboon P-12 School campaign group member Debbie Dalziel said the group would meet with Mr Mulder in the coming weeks.
“We’re working towards the next state budget,”she said.
‘‘Letters will go out to businesses soon and we’re putting a link on the school website to our Facebook page.
“Down the line they’ll also be an online petition we’ll ask people to sign so it can be tabled in Parliament.”