Safe space: Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allen presented Eaglehawk North Primary School captain Ava Scott and principal Craig Burnett with funding for upgrades to the school’s fire safety. Photo: JONATHON MAGRATH

Funding for bushfire protection

April 8, 2021 BY

EAGLEHAWK North Primary School students and staff will have greater safety against bushfires, following a State Government grant.

The school received $220,000 to go towards upgrading the shelter-in-place building, providing accommodation in emergencies.

Principal Craig Burnett said the upgrades are essential.

“It really is an upgrade for the school and the safety of our kids and we’re really excited about that,” he said.

“Bushland around our school is absolutely wonderful but it comes right up to our school and it is a safety hazard in the January/February time.

“We were planning on even relocating the school on days of total fire ban, with this funding now we can stay here and be safe.”

The Eaglehawk North’s current shelter-in-place is a small art classroom, which Mr Burnett said is “inadequate” for the school’s population.

“It’s a classroom size, about 10 by 15 meters and that was the space that was allocated to us at a time when things were done very quickly,” he said.

“It is a space where 340 kids in one classroom obviously isn’t going to work.”

The new shelter will be in the school’s grade 5 and 6 building, with upgrades to the air conditioning and windows to stop embers getting inside.

Last week, the State Government provided $10.4 million to 230 schools across Victoria as part of its Planned Maintenance Program.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allen said ongoing maintenance is essential for local schools.

“These projects are part of our overall efforts to build and invest new school buildings and we also know we need to keep up with the maintenance on the buildings we’ve got,” she said.

Nearby, Eaglehawk Secondary College has received funding of $25,000 to address roof plumbing issues as part of the PMP.