School funding mystery: Why won’t Labor reveal spend?



Labor MPs are taking to social media to spruik their electorates' haul from more than $200m in funding for schools as the government refuses to reveal the exact spend for each electorate.

The Courier-Mail again asked for an electorate breakdown of the pre-election announcement designed to support jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis, but the government would not release the details.

Instead, the Education Minister's office provided a breakdown of about a dozen of the 93 seats in parliament, as a number of Labor MPs revealed their electorates' carve up of some of the funding on social media.

The government confirmed $114.7m would be spent in non-government seats, including those held by the crossbench, while $105.3 million would be spent in government seats.

Sandgate MP Stirling Hinchliffe, Kurwongbah MP Shane King and Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert were among those on social media promoting some of the schools funding in their local areas.

Asked how many government, LNP and non-government MPs had been told about how much would be spent in their seats, Education Minister Grace Grace said all MPs were being contacted about the projects in their electorates.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled

She insisted that any suggestion that the funding process was political in anyway was "completely ludicrous".

"Schools, in consultation with Regional Offices in the Department of Education, identify the projects that they require to be built, upgraded or repaired on an annual basis," Ms Grace said.

"This year was no different. Our $220m school funding announcement will not only provide better facilities for staff and students, but will also support 720 local jobs across the state."

LNP education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said the government should release the list of funding in the "spirit of accountability and transparency".

He yesterday said he had asked LNP MPs and none to his knowledge had been notified of school announcements - beyond what had been announced through some media releases.

"(Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to explain why she refuses to release the full report," Mr Bleijie said. "In the spirit of transparency, they have to release it."

The government confirmed that under the $220m package, $7.3m would be spent in the Traeger electorate, $9.8m in the Bonney electorate and $10.2m in the Southern Downs electorate.

Another $5.1m will be spent in the seat of Aspley, $600,000 in McConnel, $4.3m in the Nanango electorate and $9.6m in Mansfield. The funding will go towards projects like the refurbishment of classrooms, libraries and playgrounds.


Originally published as School funding mystery: Why won't Labor reveal spend?