Millions ‘wasted’ on closed schools

Millions ‘wasted’ on closed schools

More than $36m has been spent on more than 93 schools that have since shut down, a new analysis has revealed.

The funds were part of Labor’s $16.2bn Building the Education Revolution (BER) program, which ended in 2013.

The figure adds to $1.1bn of wasted BER money.

Responding to the analysis, Opposition education spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, said it was no surprise that a small number of schools received grants before being closed.

“It's difficult to say that a program that ended in 2013, that has since seen schools close down, that we didn't have a crystal ball to know which schools we're going to close down,” Plibersek told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

“It's no surprise you'll find the occasional project among 10,000 that could've been improved.”

Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, told The Australian that he was working to recoup the lost money.

“Where possible, my department now works to stop any further waste and recover taxpayers' hard-earned money should a school close, or at least ensure the facilities built under the program can be used by other schools or the community in a way that puts investment from taxpayers to good use,” he said.

However, Plibersek pointed out that the Coalition had staunchly opposed the post-GFC stimulus package, saying she would “never apologise that Labor kept 200,000 Australians working during the Global Financial Crisis”.