MILLION DOLLAR NEED: Murwillumbah High School has accumulated a maintenance backlog of more than $1 million, the second highest in the Northern Rivers.
MILLION DOLLAR NEED: Murwillumbah High School has accumulated a maintenance backlog of more than $1 million, the second highest in the Northern Rivers. SCOTT POWICK

Local MP hits back at school backlog blowout

LOCAL MPs for Ballina and Lismore thrown their weight behind the State Government's efforts to bring down school repair backlogs in their electorates.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith welcomed the government's plan to invest $3.4 million for maintenance at Ballina's public schools over the next two years.

As a former school teacher, Ms Smith welcomed the priority funding for the electorate's schools.

"We welcome it because there are so many maintenance issues that are desperate for schools to look and feel the best they can," Ms Smith said.

Ms Smith was surprised at the climbing backlog costs at Ballina's Southern Cross School, which has hit more than $2 million this year.

Southern Cross School currently has the highest delayed maintenance costs on the Northern Rivers.

Lismore MP Thomas George said he measures concerns at schools in his electorate by talking with their executives rather than looking at dollar figures from maintenance backlogs.

Mr George has not heard any concerns from schools in his electorate, which he said has the second highest number of government schools in NSW.

"I have just on 70 government schools (in the Lismore electorate) and I have not got any outstanding works that have been brought to my attention," Mr George said.

"I keep fairly close to my schools and their principals and their directors."

To exemplify his point, Mr George said he met with Murwillumbah High School's acting principal last Friday morning.

The high school's backlog costs have tipped the $1 million mark this year.

But, based on their hour and a half discussion, Mr George said there was not one mention of any backlog outstanding at the school.

Both Ms Smith and Mr George said the State Government budget allocations to address the problem of school maintenance backlogs are a good start in addressing the issue.



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