Where has the money gone?
WHAT has the Queensland Government done with $5.6 million of Federal Government funds it administered to schools that have since been closed, amalgamated or, in the case of Kandanga Creek State School, mothballed.
The school was to receive $264,000–$250,000 for a resource centre and $14,000 for shade sails over the playground.
The Queensland Education Department has refused to give details of what happened to the money despite Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard vowing she would try to recoup the funds.
Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss said he believed that the money should still be spent on schools in the area.
As for the Commonwealth recovering the money Mr Truss said it “depends on whether the funds had been paid to Education Queensland in full or nominally.
“The Commonwealth can adjust that from future funding,” he said.
“If the [Education] department refused to hand the money back that the Commonwealth provided, when Queensland came to make a case for funds down the track, that $5.6 million [or whatever percentage had not been allocated] would be deducted.”
Mr Truss said the “short answer” as to whether the Commonwealth could demand the money back was “no”.
Member for Gympie David Gibson said “nothing shocks me anymore because of how the State Government has mismanaged the economy.
“First and foremost the mothballing of the school in the first place is an issue of concern when the State Government has no idea of the future of the Mary Valley and what its growth will be.
“There is a fundamental lack of planning by this government.
“I’m not surprised the State Government does not want to return the money; they went bust in a boom time.
“They’re probably using it to pay teachers’ wages.
“We’re $86 billion in debt because of their mismanagement.
“That money was provided for students.
“Those students [who attended the schools that have been closed, amalgamated or mothballed] went somewhere else and that money should be made available to schools in those areas.
“Our students deserve a good learning environment and our teachers deserve a good working environment.”