Lukey Foley collecting signatures before Saturday's auction in a last failed attempt to stop sale of land next to Berala Public School. Photo by RADIM CECHVALA
IGNORING the pleas of parents, the Education Department has added more than $1.2 million to its coffers after successfully selling off an empty block of land one lot away from Berala Public School.
Last year the Department also passed up an opportunity to purchase the property situated in-between their vacant block of land and the school, despite the long-time owner being keen to see it sold to the school. It was subsequently sold in July last year for $1.169 million.
Taking a break from council elections, Opposition Leader and State MP for Auburn, Luke Foley, said Saturday's auction showed "under the Liberals, everything is for sale".
"The parents here signed petitions and begged the State Government not to sell this land because they want their kids to run around on it," he said.
"There're so many demountables at the Berala Public School, this land should have been for the kids, but under the Liberals, everything is privatised.
"Berala's school is already full and they are turning kids away. It is incrediblly short-sighted of the Education Minister to sell valuable green space that could be used for the school.
"Parents are rightly angry and frustrated."
Prior to the sale, Mr Stokes defended the decision to get rid of the land.
"The main school site has an area of 2.42 hectares and the Department advises the existing site provides ample space for growth as required in future," he said.
"It is important that the department make the best use of its assets and in this case the proceeds raised from the sale of the property will be reinvested in capital works and maintenance projects in public schools."