In this follow-up audit, we examined whether the Department of Education has effectively implemented the recommendations we made in the original audit. We also assessed whether the actions taken have addressed the underlying issues that led to our recommendations in that report.
The Department of Education is responsible for providing a safe working and learning environment for its staff and students in its schools across Queensland.
The number of students in Queensland state schools has grown by 6.5 per cent since 2014. The department must plan accordingly to build new classrooms and schools, and consider when to renew buildings no longer suited to a modern curriculum and maintain existing buildings to an appropriate standard.
In Maintenance of public schools (Report 11: 2014–15), we found that the department was not maintaining its schools to its own standards and requirements. This was due to historical underfunding of maintenance, which created a backlog of repairs and other corrective maintenance tasks. This then consumed almost all available recurrent funds set aside for maintenance.
We recommend that the Department of Education:
1. supports all schools to develop three-year maintenance plans for all school buildings with a replacement value greater than $100 000.
This should include:
- schools and regional infrastructure managers developing a three-year maintenance plan during the next round of asset life cycle assessments
- ensuring the plans cover the key preventative maintenance elements, such as roofing, drainage and painting for the next three years
- aggregating the asset demand data at a regional and portfolio level to inform the development of its maintenance programs
- ensuring plans are in place to maintain school buildings at the expected standard of S3 or S4