School air con pledge costs $1.5b
THE cost of installing air-conditioning in every state school classroom would be at least $1.5 billion.
This week the Opposition pledged to install air-conditioning in each of the 32,000 classrooms in the state.
No complete costing was released along with the pledge, announced during budget week, but the LNP is confident it can fund the program.
Air-conditioning schools was investigated by the LNP when it was in government.
In December 2014, the party decided against the project citing costs - estimated to be about $2 billion and $50 million per year in maintenance costs.
Now, party leader Deb Frecklington has revived the policy.
Should the LNP win government at the next state election, due late 2020, it has pledged to roll out the program over two terms of government.
It means Ipswich kids, who suffered through 43C heat inside the classroom during summer, could be waiting until 2028 for air-conditioning.
Education Minister Grace Grace, who has previously said her government had no plans to install air-conditioning in Ipswich schools, slammed the Opposition's pledge.
"...the LNP is saying they will fully fund air-conditioning in our schools, but where would they get the money to do that?" Minister Grace said.
"We know the LNP loves cuts - what would they cut to fund their air-con promise?
"A cost of $2 billion is more than double the entire annual infrastructure budget for state schools, which funds the delivery of the new classrooms and classroom buildings Queensland needs for the future.
"How can the LNP leader be so obsessed with the State debt level one minute, then promise to double the education infrastructure budget the next?"
She said more than 380 state schools in the hottest and most humid parts of our state were already air-conditioned, under the Cooler Schools Zone policy.
Ipswich mum Rochelle Caloon was one of the vocal parents, campaigning for air-conditioning in schools.
She was relieved the LNP had listened to the public.
"It's so important that our children and teachers are comfortable in their classrooms," Ms Caloon said.
"Our children are our future. We need them to learn."