The NSW government will deliver more than 1500 extra classrooms and employ about 1000 extra teachers to address surging enrolments in state schools.
The Berejiklian government’s first budget, handed down on Tuesday, injected $1.6 billion into an ambitious school building program, bringing the total over the next four years to $4.2 billion.
The money will be injected into at least 90 new school projects over the next two years, creating 32,000 new student places.
“This is an investment in the future of our state that will transform public education,” Education Minister Rob Stokes said.
High schools will be built or upgraded at Picton, Sydney Olympic Park and Canley Vale and primary schools in Kent Road, Eastwood, Schofields, Riverbank and The Ponds will benefit.
With the Department of Education predicting NSW will need 164,000 public school places by 2031, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the budget shows her government was responding to the “once-in-a-generation” spike, with the budget measures representing a 61 per cent rise in education spending.
The government will also spend $747 million over four years on the school maintenance backlog, including an extra $411 million in the 2017/18 financial year.
Another $46 million will go toward boosting wireless access and internet services in about 900 regional schools, while a community languages school program will receive $11 million in new money.
A rebate of $100 will be given to all students per year from January to cover registration and membership for sport. It will not be means tested.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet defended the move against suggestions it was tokenistic.
“It will build our community,” he said.
“To me that initiative is the soul of the budget and it’s also our secret plan to ensure we win the Origin for the next 40 years going forward.”
An anti-bullying strategy will get a $6.1 million boost over three years, while $2.2 billion has been allocated to TAFE NSW and other training providers.
Early childhood services will receive $435 million, while non-government schools will be handed $1.2 billion in 2017/18 to support their 418,000 students.
The government said it will maintain its full six-year commitment to the national education reform agreement until the end of 2019, but the budget papers also highlighted a $1.8 billion funding loss to the state contained within the federal budget.