The Gillard Labor Government’s mismanagement of the Indigenous boarding school program has reached new levels of farce with more bureaucratic delays and cost blow-outs, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion said today.
“In 2008 Labor promised to have three boarding schools operating in remote Northern Territory Indigenous communities by 2010 and not one is yet operational,” Senator Scullion said.
“The money allocated was meant to provide 152 beds, but with cost blowouts it will be well less than 100.
“Construction of the Garrthalala school hostel in East Arnhem hasn’t started and won’t start until the next dry season at the earliest , departmental officials told Senate Estimates.
“The Gillard Labor Government could be spending over $15 million for a school hostel without a school to go to. They haven’t even secured an agreement with the NT Government to construct a school to provide for the hostel residents at Garrthalala. They only have a so called ‘in-principle’ agreement from bureaucrats under the former Labor NT government .
“This wasteful Labor government has already spent $1 million on the school before even turning a sod and it will be a long time until it is built if ever .
“The whole program is a mess, and beyond a joke with farce on top of farce.
“The 40-bed Wadeye boarding school is open but has no students and we know the Garrthalala boarding school, originally announced as 70 beds is now planned for 40.
“The money is running out and if or when the third boarding school supposedly to be located near Yuendumu will be built is anyone’s guess.
“Whether building these boarding schools in remote communities is of value or not is a question for another day – but having embarked upon this experiment Labor has yet again been unable to deliver on its own promises,” Senator Scullion said.
Media contact: Russel Guse – 0438 685645
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