The NSW Government is undertaking unprecedented recovery work to ensure the 178 schools in bushfire affected communities are repaired and cleaned for staff and students for Day 1, Term 1.
Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the work will be a mammoth task, with the repair bill sitting at approximately $20 million.
Ms Mitchell and Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead, toured the reconstruction of Bobin Public School today which is on track to be ready for students on the first day of term.
“Communities in both Northern and Southern NSW have experienced an absolutely harrowing bushfire season, impacting many of our local schools,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We have seen school damage ranging from critical in the communities of Bobin and Wytaliba, to lost fences, burnt outdoor play equipment and contamination from ash and fire retardant across other parts of the State.”
“We know schools are at the heart of communities, and will play an important role in the recovery from these fires.”
“It’s crucial for students to be reconnected with friends, share stories and return to their school routine after what has been a traumatic time.”
“Thanks to the efforts of department staff, emergency services, RFS and local tradies we expect all schools to be open for the first day of term.”
Ms Mitchell also welcomed the announcement of additional funding from the Federal Government, and said the payments will mean families have one less thing to worry about as Term 1 approaches.
“This funding will ease the pressure on families when it comes to back-to-school preparations, with the payments helping out with school necessities like stationery, school shoes, uniforms and backpacks, all of which may have all been lost in the fires.”
The NSW Government will also be implementing a number of additional strategies to support staff and students as they return back to school.
“We are very aware of the emotional impacts these bushfires have had on students across the State, so we will be focusing heavily on ensuring appropriate mental health support is available at every affected school,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We’re also looking at support for Principals and teaching staff to ensure they are properly equipped with the knowledge and skills to deal with recovering school communities.”
For more information, visit the NSW Department of Education website.