THE fate of Timboon P-12 School rests in the hands of the education minister, Polwarth MP Terry Mulder says.
Campaigners gave Mr Mulder two petitions last Thursday — each with 800 signatures for both houses of Parliament calling on the government to spend $7 million to rebuild classrooms.
The MP told The Standard he had done everything possible for the school and said any decision was now up to Education Minister Martin Dixon.
Under parliamentary rules, another MP will have to table the petitions. Both Mr Mulder and the Education Department faced criticism in June after WorkSafe closed the school following the discovery of asbestos and lead-based paint.
“I understand that and that’s why I suggested they put this petition together,” Mr Mulder said, adding he had met with school leaders, the department and the minister.
“My role has been to highlight the campaign and push their cause. I don’t know that there’s any more I can do.”
Campaigner Debbie Dalziel said she hoped the petition would be tabled in the final sitting of Parliament this week, although Mr Mulder said the budget would not be finalised until May. School principal Rosalie Moorfield said the top priority was to demolish disused buildings over the summer holidays.
The school was snared in a bureaucratic catch-22 this year when it was denied capital works cash because it was “over-allocated” with closed classrooms.
“Unfortunately when we came to government every school was told they were next ... the education minister faced hundreds of these cases."
Mr Mulder said he raised the issue with the minister but couldn’t give a timeline on when buildings would be torn down.
“I’ve had discussions with the minister but I’m not sure whether any demolitions would be part of capital works,” Mr Mulder said.
He repeated comments that the Coalition inherited empty coffers and a long list of promises when it came to power in 2010.
Timboon P-12 had been tagged for a rebuild by the previous Labor government.
“Unfortunately when we came to government every school was told they were next ... the education minister faced hundreds of these cases,” Mr Mulder said.
“On the death knock the formula changed and they felt like they had been poorly treated because of it.”
He said the government had delivered $16 million for schools in Colac and Apollo Bay.