BER a monumental failure: Pyne

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The government’s Building the Education Revolution (BER) scheme has been a monumental failure, opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne says.

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An interim report into the BER scheme, released on Friday, found the program, designed as part of Labor’s stimulus measures, inflated building costs by up to 12 per cent.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard appointed businessman Brad Orgill to investigate, after concerns of waste and rorting in the $14.1 billion Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) section.

Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Friday the interim findings were a damning indictment of the management of a $16 billion program by Julia Gillard when she was education minister.

‘Failure’

“It has been a monumental failure,” Mr Pyne said.

“Julia Gillard’s defence is that there was a cost premium to rushing the program out quickly.

“In fact what really happened is an $8 billion waste of taxpayers money occurred.

“Speed has not been achieved, the program is at least 12 months behind.”

The coalition is offering a full judicial inquiry into the scheme, he said.

Mr Pyne said Ms Gillard had mocked people who raised concerns about the BER.

Yet her hand picked taskforce head had found every concern the opposition had raised was valid, he said.

Greens want ‘efficiency’

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the party would continue to push to see the school projects continue in an efficient manner.

“That’s something the Greens will make sure we push for and ensure happens – particularly if we are in the balance of power with an Abbott government.”

Mr Pyne said the coalition would give every single dollar left over to the schools to self manage the building of their infrastructure.

“So the Greens will get exactly what they want in a coalition government.”