State's promise to students broken

The State government has been accused of turning its back on public school students on the Coffs Coast.
The State government has been accused of turning its back on public school students on the Coffs Coast.

THE Country Labor MLC for Coffs Harbour Greg Donnelly has warned that NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell should eat his words.

Mr Donnelly said that the Premier and his state government has broken its election promise to replace unflued gas heaters in Coffs Harbour public schools, despite warnings the heaters pose health risks to children and need to be replaced.

While in opposition, Mr O'Farrell said in May 2009 via a media release: "As the parent of school age children, I would expect government to do everything possible to replace these heaters... only an incompetent and inexperienced Premier would ignore parent and teacher concerns."

The Coalition government campaigned on replacing unflued gas heaters but Mr Donnelly said that now they are in power, they have turned their backs on local schools and broken their promise.

"Local Coffs Harbour school communities believed an O'Farrell/Stoner Government would replace unflued heaters but the recent announcement has confirmed that is never going to happen," Mr Donelly said.

"There is no funding set aside over the Budget forward estimates to pay for the replacement of unflued heaters in NSW public schools under the O'Farrell/Stoner Government."

It is believed that the state government's policy on the issue changed to only replacing unflued heaters once the majority of heaters in a school 'reach the end of their serviceable life'.

"This means the O'Farrell/Stoner Government will be replacing unflued heaters with unflued heaters until the school can prove that the majority of their heaters are broken," the Country Labor MLC member said.

"All this policy will do is ensure local schools don't reach the trigger point where their unflued gas heaters will be replaced with flued heaters.

"The O'Farrell/Stoner Government decision has ignored research warning of the health risks associated with unflued heaters."

Topics:  barry o'farrell greg donnelly

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