CLEMTON PARK PUBLIC SCHOOL
Mr ROBERT FUROLO
(Lakemba) [1.46 p.m.]: I wish to raise a very important safety matter regarding a primary school in my electorate. I have been approached by the Parents and Citizens Association of Clemton Park Public School regarding the poor condition of asphalt around the entire school. The asphalt is in such disrepair that there have been many trips and accidents by students, teachers, parents and other visitors to the school. The situation is so bad the school has been forced to institute a no running on the asphalt rule. It is hardly fair to ask the young children not to run around and play during breaks yet, despite the rule, accidents continue.
Clemton Park Public School is one of the great local schools in the electorate of Lakemba. It was established in 1929 and currently has just less than 600 students. The schools' motto is Vita Lampada, which I am informed translated means "play the game." As I have outlined, it would seem that children are unable to play the game because of the condition of the asphalt. The principal of Clemton Park Public School, Miss Angelica Lappi, is a committed educationalist who is working to improve the opportunities for young people in my community. The school has a strong and supportive community with an active and committed parents and citizens association. Whenever I visit the school I am impressed by the great school spirit and the sense of community that is on display. The school is committed to the values of respect, inclusion and integrity.
The school has benefited from substantial improvements over the last few years, particularly supported by the State and Federal Labor governments. It has received new school halls, new libraries and a range of other facilities. It is a rich, culturally diverse school and it embodies the spirit of the broader community. Unfortunately, the condition of the playground requires urgent attention. It is clear to any observer that the current state of the asphalt presents an unacceptable occupational health and safety risk to the school community. As it is a government school, the Department of Education and Communities has a responsibility to the children, the teachers and the parents to ensure that the school environs are safe. I have made strong representations to the Minister for Education on this matter and I had hoped that such an obvious occupational health and safety breach would warrant immediate attention. Unfortunately that is not the case.
I received a very cavalier response from the Minister which stated that the department would not allocate any extra funding to repair the bitumen. The school has already allocated its programmed maintenance works budget to repairing parts of the asphalt but it was not enough to repair it in its entirety. The only advice that the Minister could give was to use next year's budget and apply for additional funding which may or may not be provided. It is clear that it is a Department of Education and Communities responsibility to provide a safe environment for its students, teachers and the wider community. I therefore call on the Government and the Minister for Education to urgently fund the resurfacing project at Clemton Park Public School as a matter of the utmost priority.