Do we need an Inquiry into Education Central?

In a media statement of May 15, the Government announced a Commission of Inquiry to investigate financial mismanagement of the previous government.

So how would their own Education Central proposal stand up under the terms of reference proposed for the inquiry?

The inquiry’s terms of reference have been published.

1. Their financial consequences – including any ongoing liabilities and obligations (intended or otherwise), and whether those undertakings represented value for money.

Helen Pederson, former President of Engineers Australia (WA chapter) stated in The West May 6-7 that Education Central was likely to cost about double that to build a regular school.

2. The adequacy of the decision-making processes leading to the awarding of the projects, including the adequacy of their supporting business cases and assessments of risks to taxpayer funds.

Sue Ellery, Minister of Education, has visited an Eastern States inner-city vertical school. Before committing to this project: no advice was obtained from the Education Department. Since the election, no business case has been released and no assessment of risks to tax-payers’ funds; and no assessment of the ability to achieve educational outcomes. Yet the Minister persists with the policy and refuses to consider other less-costly alternatives.

3. The adequacy of their procurement processes.

No doubt, the procurement processes for construction will be undertaken in accordance with the usual government procurement practices – but what of the original decision to commit to this project as the solution to over-crowding in western-suburbs schools. There was no expert or Departmental advice on the suitability of the proposal as a solution to that problem and the proposed catchment area for Perth Modern general in-take does not include the suburbs with the apparent growth issues.

4. Whether reasonable value for money outcomes were achieved.

Helen Pederson, former President of Engineers Australia: “This project does not appear to be viable financially …” Ms Pederson also expressed concerns that the proposed timeline for the project was not feasible (The West 6-7 May). No business case has been formulated for this project.

5. The validity of the use of ‘commercial in confidence’ reasons to justify non-disclosure to the public of contract information and whether that justification was valid (in the public interest) in the particular circumstances.

There has been no meaningful consultation with the Perth Modern School community and despite repeated public and private requests, the Government has failed to answer concerns or to release further details of the proposal. No reason to justify the non-consultative approach and non-disclosure has been advanced.

The terms of reference then asks the inquiry to include in a final report to government:

“Any measures that should be introduced by the State Government to ensure greater rigour and transparency in decision-making and procurement processes to ensure the highest value for money outcomes from government programs, projects and contracts.”

How about? Consult, gather evidence, consider expert advice, prepare a business case and risk assessment, assess all reasonably available options, choose the best option for the entire community based on measurable costs and achievable outcomes.

Alana Dowley
Building & Construction Lawyer
Concerned Parent, Perth Modern School
16 May 2017

Huge Information night — but Labor are a No Show. Afraid to explain Skyscraper School to parents?

election-2017  After dropping the disruptive, upsetting plan on the families of Perth Mod, Labor was unable to find a single person to defend Education Central. Instead, nearly one third of  families affected managed to come on short notice and nearly every other party managed to find a representative. Panel members included Peter Collier (Minister of Education, Lib), Mike Nahan (Treasurer, WA, Lib), Alison Xamon (Greens),  Julie Matheson and Andrew Mangano (Julie Matheson for Western Australia Party) plus local M.P.s Elani Evangel (Perth), and Michael Sutherland (Mt Lawley).

Mark McGowan, Sue Ellery, Peter Carey, Simon Millman and Alannah MacTiernan were invited but not present. The Labor party did not even send a substitute. How much do they love this Flagship project? Not. The Tower of Babylon is a lemon.

Pauline Hanson sent apologies and the message: “Schools were not meant to be offices. Kids need a balance of outdoor activities on ovals and in playgrounds as well as in the classroom.”

It was standing room only with an estimated 200 people. Packed.

Businessnews Western Australia reports: Labor’s education spokeswoman, Sue Ellery, said although she was unable to attend tonight’s meeting she has discussed the issue with the parents representatives on Sunday. If Labor wins Saturdays election, Ms Ellery undertook to consult fully with relevant groups to ensure the smooth implementation of the policy. But she indicated there was little room for compromise, saying ‘the policy is the policy”. –see Labor’s Modern School Backlash

But there are no “parents representatives”. Sue Ellery has met with a string of angry individual parents, but because this bombshell was dropped on the families of Perth Modern School during an election campaign, there are no organised representatives on this topic. Just 1,000 angry families.

Consultation about the color of the walls after a decision that no Perth Mod family had a say in is not consultation.

The Labor Party could have discussed this a year ago. IMG_2905.JPG Leaving it to the last minute suggests they knew Perth Mod families would not want it and didn’t want to allow them time to protest. Except they are. Teams are working to inform voters of the office-block-school for 11 year olds that’s next to pubs and drugs and of the $40m hole in the future budget for Mt Lawley SHS and Churchlands SHS.  (Contact us to offer to help!)


Are you a Labor Voter?

election-2017 Parents of Perth Mod children didn’t want to get involved in politics, but the current plan from Labor compels us to.

If you want a Labor government but don’t want to move the school — perhaps because sticking school children in a skyscraper near business, pubs, and drugs strikes you as a poor idea — then please send your messages to Labor candidates. Get involved. Your opinion counts. Labor is more likely to listen to Labor supporters. There is still time to stop this high-rise thought bubble!

It was the Labor Party that got Perth Mod back to its original role as an academic school, in 2005. Credit to Geoff Gallop. Perth Mod helps to keep talented families in Perth and slow the brain drain. It’s a Smart State policy. Ex-pat West Australians have moved back to Perth from places like Singapore and the US only because a child was enrolled at Mod.

Many current parents are saying they will leave the school if this plan occurs. Parents of year 6 students are already changing priorities because of the uncertainty. No one wants their kid cooped up in a high-rise for high school.

Selling out children to win one marginal seat?

election-2017 Labor argue that we need an inner city school, but it doesn’t stack up. There are only 200 school age students in the city.  The school that is really struggling to cope is Churchlands, a long way from the CBD and headed for 3,000+ students unless something changes fast.


Click to enlarge

However the overcrowded and fastest growing schools are in solid Liberal held seats with 20% margins (blue area). Does Labor care about these voters (or their children)? Instead they are moving a school that doesn’t want to be moved, destroying the heritage and community there, building a new expensive rental high rise school where there are hardly any kids, and appear to be selling the reputation of the top public school in the state to marginal voters in the seat of Perth. (Marked in red). Continue reading “Selling out children to win one marginal seat?”

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑