Passfield Park School should be knocked down: Macarthur MP

Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander thinks Minto’s Passfield Park School is in such poor condition it should be knocked down and rebuilt immediately.

The Labor MP spoke in Parliament last month and urged the government to address the ‘deteriorating’ condition of the special needs school.

“I’ve tried to undertake the appropriate action, lobbying the state government to take care of the situation, but its lack of compassion and empathy has left me with no choice but to call this out in the Parliament of Australia,” he said.

Dr Freelander said parts of the school – which is housed on the campus of Sarah Redfern primary and high schools – were mouldy and damp and inappropriate for students and staff to continue utilising every day.

He said Passfield Park needed more than just minor touch-ups and instead needed to be completely redone with the latest technology and facilities.

“Instead of receiving the work it requires, the school over the years has merely received touch-up jobs,” he said.

“Some visible mould has been removed from time to time and minor paint jobs have been undertaken.

“But, from firsthand experience and exposure to the school, I can tell you that the school needs much more than that to bring it up to an appropriate standard.

“It needs to be knocked down and rebuilt. It is no longer fit for its purpose.”

A Department of Education spokesman said the school had been appropriately maintained, with a significant sum of money allocated to repairs this year alone.

“More than half a million dollars has been spent on maintenance works at Passfield Park School so far this year,” he said.

“This includes cleaning, roof repairs, ventilation works, bitumen and soft fall area repairs.

“A further $27,000 is currently being spent on the installation of playground safety fencing and handrails, the fitting of privacy screening and remediation works including ceiling replacement.”

However, Dr Freelander said more needed to be done to make the school appropriate for its students.

“This is a special needs school, for some of the most vulnerable children in our region,” he said.

“There are parts of the school that aren’t even wheelchair accessible.”

He invited NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to meet him at the school and witness firsthand the condition of the school.

“We can even meet there on the weekend,” he said in Parliament.

“Trust me – I know my way around the school.

“There will be no PR, no cameras, no spin – just bring yourself and some builders, please.”

The spokesman said the Department would “continue to work closely with the school to identify its needs and maintain and improve facilities to support students and teachers”.