MEDIA RELEASE - Government must deliver on school library promise

Shadow Minister for Education Prue Car MP and Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison visited Rutherford Public School today to call on the NSW Government to honour its promise to the school community and provide a timeline around the delivery of its long-awaited new library.

The new library was publicly promised in Term 3 of 2019 yet work is yet to begin on the allocated space and the attached new, three-storey K Block stands unfinished.

“This is a large and growing school,” Ms Aitchison said. “The current library does not meet Educational Facilities Standards and Guidelines, is too small for the current enrolment, and its condition is poor.

“After a decade of population growth in its catchment and two years of interruptions due to construction, the teachers, students and parents of the Rutherford Public School community deserve urgent clarification that funding for the library has been approved, and a solid timeline indicating when works will be complete.”

During their visit Ms Aitchison and Ms Car met with the school’s P&C president Todd O’Mahony and secretary Nicholas Delaney. The P&C had previously written to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, the Hon Sarah Mitchell MLC, to call for urgent action.

“We believe that the design for the new library upgrade has been signed off by all relevant stakeholders,” Mr O’Mahony said. “But as of August there had been no progress on construction. We are left with an unfinished project and no indication of when the project will be delivered.”

Ms Car said the new facility was desperately needed.

“Rutherford deserves a modern learning environment that is large enough for its school community and provides an adequate range of quality literature and resources,” Ms Car said. “The P&C and school community were under the impression that this would be provided as part of the school’s upgrade. Yet they are still waiting.”

Ms Aitchison called on the NSW Government to immediately deliver the promised works.

“My question to the Minister is: why is construction work going on at other locations around the state while Rutherford’s stands unfinished?” Ms Aitchison said.

“Surely, given the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our economy, this is a project is a win-win – our children and educators will have a badly needed educational space, and its construction will generate local jobs and stimulate economic growth.”