Question: consultancies, project management and departmental administration costs of Building Better Schools Program


Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (15:07): Supplementary: can the minister confirm how much of the funding announced yesterday will be taken up with consultancies, project management and departmental administration costs? Will it be less than the one-third that has been spent on those expenses in the STEM Works program?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE (Port Adelaide—Minister for Education and Child Development, Minister for Higher Education and Skills) (15:08): There is a twofold answer to this. First of all, we are still developing the project management office, the precise costings for the work that has to be done. Project management has to occur; design has to occur. The member is inaccurate in drawing on what he understands to be the case for the STEM facilities in saying that a third goes into that kind of expenditure. It is not the case.

Yes, there is expenditure that is associated with project management and with good design. Of course that happens, and that will vary from project to project, but there is also a contingency amount set aside because some of our projects go over budget and some go under budget, and we need to make sure that across all the STEM projects we are able to balance the dollars we spend. We are constantly spending over the amount that is required in order to make sure that a project is successful. Where a project doesn't need to have as much spent on it, that's what can occur as well so that we balance across the system.

There is also a portion set aside—and this is absolutely crucial for the STEM facilities to be successful—for what goes into those buildings. It is not simply about having a building: it is about what is in those buildings so that the students and teachers can spend time on science, technology, engineering and maths. This is one of the most important learning areas for our young people as they transition into adulthood in a very different world, a very different economy, from the one which many of us left school to greet.

I recall when computers first materialised in our school. That was an unusual and unexpected event. Now that must be standard, and so we have set aside a proportion of the STEM funding for what goes in and that will again vary across the different schools, but it is not accurate to say that a third simply disappears out of the school itself, and we are still working on how that will—

The Hon. P. Caica interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Colton is called to order. Member for Florey.