Why Queensland taxpayers paid $8000 for teachers to catch taxis to school
Why Queensland taxpayers paid $8000 for teachers to catch taxis to school

$8k in four days: Taxpayer hit to get teachers to new school

Taxpayers forked out more than $8000 for teachers to catch taxis to a new inner-city Brisbane school across just four days because the car park hadn't been finished.

The Courier-Mail can reveal taxi vouchers were offered to staff at the new Brisbane South State Secondary College between January 18 and 22 because it was considered the safest way to access and set up new classrooms.

A total of 235 vouchers were used, costing $8300, with teachers allowed to catch taxis to and from their homes.

This is despite the school being located just minutes away from two train stations, including Dutton Park and Park Road.

Inner City South State Secondary College while under construction at Dutton Park, Brisbane. May 9, 2020. Picture: David Clark
Inner City South State Secondary College while under construction at Dutton Park, Brisbane. May 9, 2020. Picture: David Clark

The car park wasn't available until January 27.

Education Minister Grace Grace said the cost of the trips - averaging $35 each - represented 0.000058 per cent of the government's $14.2 billion education budget for 2020-21.

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

"The school was ready for the first day of school, along with the other four new state schools that opened their gates to their first students in January," she said.

"The Palaszczuk Government has invested $5.2 billion into school infrastructure since 2015 and we are adding a further record $1.9 billion in 2020-21, supporting almost 4800 jobs."

LNP education spokesman Christian Rowan asked whether Ms Grace was satisfied the voucher outlay was an "appropriate" use of taxpayers' dollars.

"This seems an extraordinary expense for taxpayers with a total of $8300 over four days for taxis and the explanation that the Labor Minister for Education needs to provide is why was there not available parking when the opening date was well known in advance," he said.

LNP education spokesman Christian Rowan. Photographer: Liam Kidston
LNP education spokesman Christian Rowan. Photographer: Liam Kidston

"This would appear to go to the core of how the Palaszczuk Labor Government is unable to manage and deliver various projects on time and on budget."

The school, which is located in Dutton Park, opened to about 200 Year 7 students this year and is one of the first inner-city schools to be built in 50 years.

An Education Department spokesman said offering vouchers was considered the safest approach for staff to bring in all of their materials and equipment over four days to prepare for the new school year.

"Staff were able to use these vouchers to travel to and from their home or from a central location, such as a train station," he said.

The ABC recently reported more than half of the school's cohort lives outside the catchment area, despite it being built to help ease pressure on surrounding facilities.

Originally published as $8k in four days: Taxpayer hit to get teachers to new school


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