The City of Sydney is very concerned that the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) has withdrawn the offer to purchase land from the City of Sydney for a new inner city school.
The land is at the corner of Fig and Wattle Streets, Ultimo. DEC informed the City at a meeting on 25 November that the department no longer considers the purchase of the land a value proposition. This follows a meeting between the DEC and NSW Treasury.
For many months, the City negotiated in good faith over the sale of the land so that the community would provided with a new school. The City and state government agreed on the value for the land, an in-kind contribution for an 80-place childcare facility and were finalising negotiations on the outstanding issue of remediation costs.
On 3 November, Council approved the immediate sale of the Fig and Wattle street site subject to agreement on remediation costs.
On 13 November, I met with the Minister for Education, the Hon Adrian Piccoli MP, to progress negotiations. I made it clear that the City is committed to working with DEC until this matter is resolved and the Minister seemed committed to concluding an agreement. The City expected that the meeting of 25 November would succeed in finalising such an agreement.
The Minister for Education made a clear commitment to the local community that a new school would be provided. DEC's decision at this late stage to withdraw its offer for the Fig and Wattle St land will be extremely disappointing to them. Education is a NSW Government responsibility.
The Minister for Education must now explain to the local community what plans he has to provide a new school in the area given the Fig and Wattle St site has been abandoned by the NSW government.
On 26 November I wrote to the Minister for Education expressing my concern at the actions of his department and asked him to explain what he will do now to honour his commitment to the local community and provide them with the school they need.
Click here to read our press release on the issue.