First schools for $100m aircon rollout revealed

 

SWELTERING teachers and students will be offered a reprieve in coming months with hundreds of classrooms to receive airconditioning.

Bargara, Bundaberg West, Burnett Heads, Norville, Thabeban and Walkervale state primary schools have been named among the first 15 schools to benefit from the State Government's $100 million pledge.

It comes as the state braces for scorching conditions, with temperatures expected to reach 40C in Ipswich, Laidley, Esk, Gayndah, Blackwater, Julia Creek and Doomadgee today.

The first 15 Queensland state schools to receive airconditioning as part of the $100 million program.
The first 15 Queensland state schools to receive airconditioning as part of the $100 million program.

The Government allocated $100 million over four years in its June Budget to both install and replace airconditioners in classrooms - including those outside the Cooler Schools Zone.

The first 400 classrooms are expected to cost about $6 million.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 15 schools were included in the first tranche of the rollout because they were located in some of the hottest and most humid areas of the state.

"My government is committed to ensuring every Queensland child gets a great start through a world-class education and our additional investment in airconditioning is yet another demonstration of that," she said.

It comes ahead of what is expected to be a warmer and drier than normal summer, according to forecasts.

More than 3500 classrooms in 390 state schools are currently airconditioned within the Cooler Schools Zone in Queensland.

The Government's investment in the plan is expected to support about 300 jobs over four years.

Education Minister Grace Grace said work was being informed by a review of state school airconditioning needs.

"The Palaszczuk Government is taking a measured and fiscally responsible approach to airconditioning schools outside the Cooler Schools Zone," she said.

Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: AAP/Jono Searle
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: AAP/Jono Searle

The LNP has promised to aircondition every state school classroom if it wins the 2020 election.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said it was unfair for kids to "slug out it in hotboxes".

"School P & C's are taking years to fundraise for airconditioning and I believe they need a state government who will support them," Ms Frecklington said.