MPs scrap over western suburbs school shortage

A new campaign to have more schools built in Melbourne’s western suburbs has been dismissed by a Liberal MP as a “smoke and mirrors” tactic.

Altona Labor MP Jill Hennessy launched the campaign last week, saying the west would continue to struggle if more schools were not delivered to service the growing population.

She called on people to sign an online petition demanding that the state government act.

“As development continues to be approved across Melbourne’s west, there is a distinct lack of adequate investment in education infrastructure, especially at the senior level,” she said.

“Many local residents are travelling long distances to access schools, dealing with transport challenges and congestion in the process. Many in the local community have expressed concerns about the lack of senior options available for their children.”

Ms Hennessy said she would continue to advocate “for greater funding across the local community in the Parliament and outside to ensure we can deliver the education excellence local young people deserve”, but she made no commitment that more schools would be built if Labor won the state election in November.

Western Metropolitan Liberal MP Andrew Elsbury said the campaign was an election-year hoax.

“Once again, this is absolute smoke and mirrors from Labor,” Mr Elsbury said.

“They’ve said nothing new. They’re not saying what they’d do differently. Yes, you can sign the petition, but what are they going to do?

“We are building Tarneit K-9, Alamanda K-9 and Wyndham Vale P-9. Ms Hennessy is getting two new schools in her area.

“This is the first time they [Labor] have woken up in years and they’re still not saying anything new.”

Mr Elsbury said at least five western suburbs schools had been closed when Labor was last in power, and the Liberal government had been left with a $400 million school maintenance backlog.

To find Ms Hennessy’s petition, visit