Save Our Schools has accused the ACT Government of financial duplicity over its school closure program. SOS spokesperson, Trevor Cobbold, said that the Budget estimates clearly show that the ACT Government duped the community on school closures.
“The Budget Papers show that the school closure program was based on a financial ‘con’ trick – perhaps the greatest financial confidence trick in the history of ACT self-government.
“Last year, the Government told us that the ACT could no longer afford neighbourhood schools because it faced an $80 million deficit in 2006-07 and a further large deficit in 2007-08. According to the Government, the ACT faced an unsustainable financial situation.
“Now we find that there will actually be a $40 million surplus in 2006-07 – a turnaround of $120 million from last year. Further surpluses are estimated at $103 million in 2007-08, $52 million in 2008-09, $61 million in 2009-10 and $102 million in 2010-11.
“We have had financial surpluses in each of the last six years. It is hardly evidence of financial exigency. The Government simply invented a deficit that enabled it to ignore major education and other community needs and justify its pre-determined school closure policy.”
Mr. Cobbold said that families subjected to school closures were entitled to be extremely angry at being ‘conned’ by the Government.
“Many families have lost access to a local school and they have lost the choice of attending a small school. The school closure program is forcing over 2000 students to travel longer distances to school and many face increased traffic safety risks. Families are experiencing major disruption and increased transport costs. All this is happening because of a financial confidence trick.”