LABOR is courting the Catholic school vote as the state election draws nearer, pledging $9 million towards schools in Torquay and Armstrong Creek if the party retains government.
Labor candidate for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman visited Lisieux Catholic Primary School in Torquay last week to make the announcement, which comprises $4 million towards the $6 million upgrades to Lisieux and $5 million towards $6 million in upgrades at Iona College.
At Lisieux, the funding will be used for stage 2 of the primary school, which will include general learning areas, student amenities, associated areas and an oval.
The $5 million at the catholic secondary college will go towards the construction of a AFL-approved sporting oval to support both the college and the community, including a pavilion, change rooms and car parking.
The upgrades are part of a $400 million fund Labor will establish in partnership with the non-government school sector to upgrade and build non-government schools across Victoria.
Lisieux principal Susan Ryan welcomed the announcement, saying stage 1 of the school on South Beach Road was under construction and would hold 150 pupils but the school’s eventual capacity would be between 450 and 500.
“We’ve started with a small number this year because we’ve been working out of a remodelled house and we’ve only been able to accommodate up to grade 3, but already our enrolments for next year are at 130 and a lot of people don’t even know that we’re here yet; it’s such a growth belt.”
Mr Cheeseman said Labor was a strong supporter of the education system for both government and non-government schools.
“This is a fantastic school, and a growing community. This is a huge growth area and we very much as a Labor government want to provide choice for families.”