Published November 18, 2014 - Rohan Smith, reporter. Photography Adam Yip.
Jamie Parker MP urges for cooperation between the City of Sydney council and the state government to build a new school at Ultimo.
Pictured: Balmain state Greens MP Jamie Parker, who is pushing for a school in 2017, took Esther (4) and Lachlan (5) for a look inside the site last week.
A NEW school at Ultimo is a long way from a sure thing as the State Government and the City of Sydney bicker over the price of a contaminated council depot being used to store heavy rock.
The two parties have yet to reach an agreement to turn 14-26 Wattle St into a new school despite the State Government promising to do so as early as 2017.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli met for the first time in months last week for a closed meeting, but a spokesman said the minister’s office was “investigating all options”.
The spokesman confirmed negotiations over the price of decontamination were holding up the process and the State Government was not willing to overpay.
“The asking price does not represent value for money,” he said.
Balmain state Greens MP Jamie Parker, who met future students Esther and Lachlan at the site, raised the issue in Parliament.
He said he was “not concerned about meeting an arbitrary date but it needs to be done as soon as possible”.
“The bottom line here is both parties need to compromise so we can get an outcome for students.”
Labor candidate for Balmain Verity Firth, who set up a petition calling on the State Government to honour its promise, said parents and their children are becoming “collateral damage”.
“Both parties must return to the table,” she said.
The City of Sydney last week said it was “negotiating in good faith with the Department”.
STUDENT NUMBERS RISING
■ An inner west council declared a baby boom last year and labelled the area “pram city”
■ From 2001-2011 the number of children aged 5-14 in Leichhardt increased 20 times faster than the NSW average
■ The new school will cater to 1000 students from Ultimo/Pyrmont
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