At the time of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), one of the government plans to help to keep Australia working was the now infamous School Halls Building Project, a part of the Building the Education Revolution (BER).
This was conceived to build school halls quickly for many schools in Australia, both in the State sector and Private sectors, and keep employment up at the same time.
Following many complaints about unusual costings etc., a study was done into how this was actually handled, and some of the official results consisted of the following:
Building cost per square metre in New South Wales schools:
- $3,900 for NSW State Schools
- ? for NSW Catholic Schools
- $2,112 for NSW Independent schools
Building cost per square metre in Queensland schools:
- $2,829 Queensland State Schools
- $1,829 Queensland Catholic school
- ? for Queensland Independent schools
This seems to confirm that many government projects were allowed to be ripped off, whilst the Independent schools looked for value for money in their costing process.
Julia Guillard defends the process, accepting these over-costs as part of the cost of having to do this urgently, to avoid Australia going into recession.
All this says to me is that everything should be kept out of Government hands, as the private schools managed to keep construction costs to almost half of the government ones, in the same frame that was so Desperately needed.
Julia Gillard is also quoted as saying that the plan itself was sound, as Tony Abbott must agree, as he will keep the plan if elected (but see below), but she also said that it was problems in the implementation that they have now learned from.
Tony Abbott has stated that he would keep the plan going, but would allow the school P&C committees to process it, to ensure that the schools get better value for money. Hopefully avoiding in the waste.
Examples of the Waste:
A GOLD Coast school is using a $3 million Federal Government grant to rip up new tennis courts, move them and build a hall just metres from two existing halls. http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2010/06/05/224971_gold-coast-news.html
A SCHOOL hall that cost $2 million to build but does not even accommodate all the students has highlighted the mess the Federal Government’s $16 billion education revolution building program has become. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/school-hall-cant-fit-them-all-despite-costing-2-million/story-e6freuy9-1225842575116
There have been 240 formal complaints amid reports of tiny $600,000 tuckshops and unwanted duplicate libraries. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/election/rudd-and-gillards-achievements-stuff-ups-and-unfinished-business/story-fn5zm695-1225892790726
Queensland schools left wanting in Building the Education Revolution projects