Students in bushfire-prone areas will be safer, with the Andrews Labor Government making sure schools in fire danger areas are better prepared for bushfires.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Jane Garrett announced that 6 schools in East Gippsland will be among 81 school campuses across the state to share in an extra $8.84 million under the Planned Maintenance Program for their ‘Shelter-in-Place’ building.

The Planned Maintenance Program provides targeted funding for vital maintenance works based on need. Funding is allocated based on the outcomes of a facilities evaluation that occurs at each school every five years.

School Shelter-in-Place buildings are ember-resistant shelters that serve as temporary shelter for staff and students during a bushfire until emergency services arrive, or as a shelter of last resort if there is insufficient time to evacuate.

The funding is in addition to the Bushfire Risk and Readiness Program, which has already funded essential maintenance of school bushfire shelter buildings so that 356 schools on the Bushfire at Risk Register met the required standard.

This work will improve the standard further and includes a range of activities such as removing combustible materials on the building, covering openings in walls and roof penetrations, and reinforcing skylights.

Schools will be contacted in coming weeks, with works commencing as soon as possible thereafter.

Schools receiving funding are on the Bushfire at Risk Register and are in areas that are at the highest risk of fire danger within bushfire-prone areas.

The last five State Budgets have allocated more than $6.1 billion to school facilities to ensure the right school infrastructure is in place to meet teacher, student and school community needs.

Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino:

“We continue to see the ferocity of bushfires, so we are preparing by ensuring Victorian students living in bushfire risk areas are safer at school through these maintenance upgrades.”

“These upgrades will make sure the shelters at 81 school campuses in fire risk zones are even safer.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Jane Garrett:

“These upgrades will make sure the shelters at schools in East Gippsland in fire risk zones are even safer, and that students have access to the first-rate facilities they deserve.”