Half a billion dollars to air condition more classrooms
Up to 1000 public schools will receive air conditioning thanks to an unprecedented $500 million funding boost from the NSW Government in this year’s State Budget – the largest investment of its kind in NSW history.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Education Minister Rob Stokes today announced the NSW Government’s new Cooler Classrooms policy, which will provide improved learning environments for thousands of classrooms and libraries.
“This funding will ensure thousands of classrooms that previously did not have air conditioning will now receive it,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This is something that parents and school communities have called for and we are the only Government that can deliver this, thanks to our strong economic management.”
As well as providing air conditioning for existing schools, all new schools and school upgrades delivered from today will also have air conditioning installed in all classrooms and libraries. Today’s announcement also includes funding for the removal of unflued gas heaters where new air conditioning is installed.
This investment will ensure that the NSW Government responds to the needs of students in not only the hottest parts of the State, but also in other areas across NSW, allowing even more schools to benefit from air conditioning than ever before. It will look at other factors that influence how a classroom feels for students such as humidity, the local microclimate, design of the classrooms and schools, as well the impact of hot days on students with specific needs.
Mr Perrottet said the $500 million policy would target schools with the greatest need in metropolitan, regional and remote areas.
“Our half-a-billion dollar Cooler Classrooms investment will benefit hundreds more schools than Labor’s announcement,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals means we are in a position to invest record amounts into infrastructure like this.”
Mr Stokes said the NSW Government is committed to supporting students to reach their full potential through the State’s excellent public education system.
“The NSW Government has already committed record amounts for school infrastructure across the State and we are continuing that investment to make sure our students have the best possible environments for learning”, Mr Stokes said.
“Air conditioning such a vast number of schools is a significant undertaking that requires careful consideration of the economic and environmental impacts, now and into the future, and that is exactly what we are doing through this exciting initiative.”
The commitment will improve the internal environmental quality of schools with ‘smart systems’ that offer heating, cooling, humidity control and outside fresh air to ensure students have healthy and comfortable environments to learn in.
To ensure the initiative is sustainable, the power required will be offset by power generated by solar panels and, where possible, supported with battery storage. The systems will automatically shut down after hours.