School canteens built by the Catholic school system under the Government stimulus scheme are up to five times cheaper than those delivered by state governments, The Australian reports.
The vast difference between the cost of buildings delivered by state governments and those delivered by Catholic schools was highlighted yesterday at the Senate hearing into the BER.
Bill Walsh, executive officer of the NSW Catholic Block Grant Authority, which is handling $1 billion of funds and delivering architect-designed buildings at a fraction of the cost of the public sector, said the authority set maximum construction rates for all Catholic schools, to prevent price gouging and rip-offs.
"We know what a building should cost; we didn't allow any price gouging" Mr Walsh said.
"We don't allow builders to say 'You've got funding of $3m, so this building is going to cost $3m'."
Fronting the inquiry yesterday NSW Department of Education director-general Michael Coutts-Trotter said he "absolutely" stood by claims the NSW government "ensures value for money" under the BER.
But he was unable to adequately explain the vast difference in costs of buildings delivered to Catholic schools from those delivered by the government, except to claim those NSW government buildings were of a higher quality.
The inquiry heard that the school building program has widened the divide between public and private schools, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Representatives from the independent and Catholic school sectors told the Senate inquiry into the Building the Education Revolution program yesterday that they had received value for money through self-managing their projects.
Catholic canteens five times cheaper (The Australian)
Private schools got more bang for the bucks from building program (Sydney Morning Herald)
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