For some months, local Member for Northern Victoria, Wendy Lovell has been pursuing a risk assessment for the Greater Shepparton Secondary College under Freedom of Information process. In September, the Public Access Deputy Commissioner ordered the department to release the report, who had argued it was not in the public interest to release the document, at which point the department took the case to VCAT which has seen the request delayed until now.
Ms Lovell’s concern has been the ability of the government to fund the school under the existing budget, a concern that has now been allayed in the past few weeks.
On Friday, the Education Department finally released the risk assessment that did in fact include a major risk, being the ability of the government to fund the project.
“The government continuously claimed that releasing the document was not in the public interest but there is nothing in it that the community should not have the right to know,” Ms Lovell said.
Ms Lovell said the document also identified several other points of concern regarding the Shepparton Education Plan and the building of a single site secondary school to replace the four former Greater Shepparton schools. These include the project being six months behind schedule, it also confirms that teachers have expressed concerns over the design. It was also a concern that uniforms would not be available which is still causing concern.
Ms Lovell said, “There no mention of plans for alternative public education options for students who do not fit in at this school, nor has any consideration been given to the impact a single, extremely large school may have on the ability to attract professionals and others to Greater Shepparton or consideration of potential decrease in educational jobs to the region.