Australian education minister defends school building program

10:59, July 21, 2010      

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Australian Education Minister Simon Crean on Wednesday defended the federal government's 16.2 billion dollars (14.3 billion U.S. dollars) of schools building program, saying the budget has been withheld from New South Wales (NSW) to achieve value for money.

The Building the Education Revolution program, a key component of the government's economic stimulus, has been criticized for being too wasteful.

Crean said 75 million dollars (66.2 million U.S. dollars) had already been withheld from NSW where most of the complaints had arisen.

As well, NSW had a 50 million dollars (44.13 million U.S. dollars) pool from projects coming in under budget, which was being used to address deficiencies in other projects.

"So I am very satisfied that not only are we knocking heads together, but we are addressing many of the problems that have been raised with us," Crean told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

"We are ensuring they (taxpayers) do get bang for their buck."

The government in April appointed businessman Brad Orgill to head an investigative task force into the program, following complaints.

Crean said he had conducted extensive discussions with Orgill.

"I am very satisfied with the way in which not only he is conducting the analysis but his visitations to the sites, his preparedness to follow up on all the complaints that come to him and his preparedness to look for ways in which we ensure value for money," Crean said.

Source: Xinhua


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