Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (12:27): My constituency question today is for the Minister for Education. Now, whilst I was really pleased to see good funding for Lalor Primary, Lalor Secondary and Peter Lalor College—in fact they are sharing tens of millions of dollars in funding—the Northern School for Autism in Lalor, however, has yet again been overlooked. Since the beginning of this year the Northern School for Autism has had to bring in generators to provide their electricity needs.
It is extraordinary in this state that we would have a school, particularly a school for children who have autism, that has to use generators. They are loud; they cause major distress for children with sensory complications. My question is: what is the minister’s plan to address this urgent situation at the Northern School for Autism and its ongoing funding requirements?
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Constituency question 22/6/21
Answered: 21 July 2021
The Andrews Labor Government is committed to embedding inclusive education in all school environments across Victoria. The Northern School for Autism (NSA) is a major provider of specialist learning and support for hundreds of students with disabilities and their families. I would like to commend NSA, its school council, and the local community for their ongoing contribution towards developing students’ personal and educational potential.
The Government has invested more than $10.9 billion over the past seven years to build new schools and modernise existing educational facilities across Victoria. Our ongoing challenge, however, is to responsibly balance and prioritise the needs of over 1,540 government schools, all in varying condition.
I am aware that NSA has capital and maintenance requirements. As you are aware, NSA was allocated $15 million in 2010–11 and 2011–12 to deliver its Reservoir campus, a purpose-built facility designed in accordance with international autism-specific and educational best practice. In 2018–19, NSA was also allocated $2.2 million to construct a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) building at its Reservoir campus.