Cootamundra Electorate Schools Benefit from Regional Renewal Package

The NSW Government’s Regional Renewal Program is delivering improvements to schools with 45 projects across the Cootamundra electorate.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said it is great to see local schools benefiting from the NSW Government’s historic investment in public education infrastructure.

“This program has supported upgrades to local schools from every corner of the electorate no matter how big or small, including Wombat Public School and West Wyalong High School,” Ms Cooke said.

“Since its launch in 2020, 39 schools have benefited from these investments which are delivering new and improved facilities including car park and kitchen upgrades, the construction of COLA’s.”

Successful projects announced under Round 1, 2 and 4:

  • Ardlethan Central School, Shade Structures & Walkways
  • Barellan Central School, COLA, Shade Structures & Walkways
  • Beckom Public School, Playground Upgrade
  • Caragabal Public School, Toilet Upgrade
  • Coolamon Central School, Toilet Upgrade
  • Cootamundra High School, Hall, MPC, Gym & Communal Space Upgrade
  • Cootamundra Public School, Playground Upgrade
  • Cowra High School, Admin & Staff Upgrade
  • Cowra Public School, Cricket Nets, Kitchen & Window Upgrades
  • E A Southee Public School, Sports Court Upgrade & Shade Structure
  • Eurongilly Public School, Admin & Staff Upgrade
  • Gooloogong Public School, Admin & Staff Upgrade
  • Grenfell Public School, Upgrade Basketball Courts
  • Gundagai High School, Performance Unit Upgrade
  • Gundagai Public School, Carpark & Transport
  • Gundagai South Public School, Admin & Staff Upgrade
  • Holman Place School, Landscaping & Shade Structure
  • Illabo Public School, COLA, Shade Structures & Walkways
  • Junee High School, Welding Bay Upgrade & Playground Equipment Replacement
  • Junee Public School, Playground Upgrade
  • Matong Public School, Sporting Facilities
  • Mulyan Public School, Relocation of Kitchen
  • Murringo Public School, Admin & Staff Upgrade
  • Murrumburrah High School, Replacement of Doors, Roofing Upgrade, Install Automatic Doors at Front Entrance
  • Murrumburrah Public School, Structural, Fabric & Building Upgrade
  • Nangus Public School, Sporting Facilities
  • Narrandera Public School, COLA, Shade Structures & Walkways
  • Quandialla Public School, Playground Upgrade
  • Temora High School, Admin and TAS Shed Upgrades
  • Temora West Public School, Toilet Upgrade
  • The Henry Lawson High School, Sporting Facilities
  • Weethalle Public School, Toilet Upgrade
  • West Wyalong High School, Toilet Upgrade
  • West Wyalong Public School, Toilet Upgrade
  • Wombat Public School, COLA & Covered Walkways
  • Woodstock Public School, COLA, Shade Structures & Walkways
  • Wyalong Public School, Playground Upgrade
  • Young North Public School, Storage Facilities
  • Young Public School, Upgrade PAA Areas

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the Regional Renewal Program is driven by what school communities want and includes work such as upgrades to school playgrounds, sport courts and libraries.

“I’m thrilled that regional projects are being delivered for our school communities,” Ms Mitchell said.

“This $120 million investment from government, combined with contributions from local school communities, is delivering for our regional schools providing students with engaging and modern learning spaces.”

The program is supporting more than 1,300 jobs across regional NSW, and wherever possible, local contractors and suppliers have been engaged ensuring the positive impacts of this stimulus are felt as far and wide as possible.

The NSW Government is investing $7.9 billion over the next four years, continuing its program to deliver 215 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.

More Cootamundra Electorate Schools Set to Shine

The NSW Government is continuing to improve the quality of classrooms and cut school power bills with an additional four schools in the Cootamundra electorate added to the LED Lighting Upgrade Program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s Lighting Upgrade Program is improving schools and supporting jobs in regional and rural areas.  

“This program has been able to target small to medium sized contractors to install the lights which is great for local jobs and our local economy,” Ms Cooke said.

“This program continues to deliver the improved facilities and is now in 40 schools in our electorate.”

The four schools that have been included in Tranche 4 of the LED Lighting Upgrade Program include:

  • Caragabal Public School 
  • Eurongilly Public School
  • Maimuru Public School
  • Marrar Public School

Across the state, an additional 180 schools added to the LED Lighting Upgrade Program.

The $157.8 million program was launched in October 2020 as a stimulus response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is replacing old inefficient lights in NSW public schools with smart LED lights.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said research has shown that improved lighting has a positive impact on students’ education.

“The NSW Government is not only investing record amounts in new and upgraded schools but is also improving existing classrooms, libraries, halls and administration areas for students right across NSW.

“The government is continuing to roll out record amounts of funding for our regions, and schools are a major part of that investment.”

The installation works are being tendered using the Local Trades Scheme, allowing businesses and tradespeople the opportunity to bid for the work in their local community.

The NSW Government is investing $7.9 billion over the next four years, continuing its program to deliver 215 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.

These additional 180 schools brings the program to a total of 1,000 schools upgraded, supporting more than 1,200 jobs across the State.

New Curriculum Released for Our Young Learners

New English and Mathematics syllabuses for the State’s youngest students were
released today, marking a major milestone in the NSW Government’s Curriculum
Reform agenda.


This is a comprehensive review that has come in more than 30 years, with year 1
and year 2 to be the first to benefit from the changes.


Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the Liberals & Nationals Government
are making the changes to the education space that will benefit our students now
and for years to come.


“One of the most important things the NSW Government can deliver to its
constituents is to provide a quality education,” Ms Cooke said.


“This new reform will allow our young learners to develop a solid foundation to grow.”


“This review will see a strong focus on the important foundations of literacy and
numeracy skills.”


Changes in the new K to 2 English and Mathematics syllabuses include:
 Simple, concise language which identifies key knowledge and skills.
 Easily accessed and navigated on a new Digital Curriculum platform.
 Clear expectations on student reading progression.
 Renewed focus on handwriting.
 New supports for students with significant intellectual disability.
 Emphasis on ‘reasoning’ in mathematics.
 Advanced counting strategies.


Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said it is first time
the curriculum is completely online and comes with explicit teaching examples.


“The new online curriculum removes any ambiguity for teachers, and comes with
explicit teaching advice on an online platform. This will be particularly helpful for earlycareer teachers,” Ms Mitchell said.


“This reform is exactly what we have been needing to benefit out youngest of learners and I am so excited that this will come into teaching for 2022.”


The reformed curriculum will be delivered to schools on a new Digital Curriculum
platform, a $13.6 million NSW Government investment.


The new syllabuses are available at curriculum.nsw.edu.au. Implementation begins
next year, with all NSW schools teaching the syllabuses from 2023. The NSW
Government continues its work to deliver the new K – 12 NSW Curriculum by 2024.

Brightening more classrooms with LED lights

The NSW Government is calling for local tradies to install smart LED lights in NSW public schools with the announcement of the third tranche of schools to benefit from the LED Lighting Upgrade Program, taking the total number of participating schools in the Cootamundra electorate to 36.

The $157.8 million initiative was launched last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is targeted at replacing old inefficient lights in NSW public schools with smart LED lights.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke has welcomed news more public schools in the region are set to be involved in the program, benefitting the eyes and mind of students, as well as school power bills.

“I’ve had great feedback from schools involved in earlier rounds of this program, so I’m delighted more have been added to the list under the latest round and I would encourage local tradies to explore the opportunity to get involved,” Ms Cooke said.

Local schools receiving the new LED lighting in Tranches 2 and 3 include:

  • Koorawatha Public School
  • Woodstock Public School
  • Wyangala Dam Public School
  • Barmedman Public School
  • Beckom Public School
  • Bongongo Public School
  • Bribbaree Public School
  • Ganmain Public School
  • Greenethorpe Public School
  • Gundagai South Public School
  • Junee North Public School
  • Matong Public School
  • Monteagle Public School
  • Murringo Public School
  • Narrandera Public School
  • Tallimba Public School
  • Weethalle Public School
  • Gundagai Public School
  • Jugiong Public School
  • Nangus Public School
  • Junee Public School

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said that the NSW Government is committed to improving the learning spaces for students as well as supporting communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The lighting upgrade is a great way for the schools to improve teaching spaces, reduce their power and maintenance bills but is also a fantastic way to stimulate local economic growth,” Ms Mitchell said.

This program utilises the Local Trade Schemes supporting more than 1,200 jobs by using local trades people to do installation work where possible. This will help to stimulate local economies and help communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Local tradies will be able to tender for lighting upgrade opportunities via the Local Trades Scheme, an online platform where small businesses can engage directly with the Department of Education to bid for work at public schools in their local communities.

Already hundreds of tender opportunities have been published via the Local Trades Scheme with more to come in the following weeks.

The LED Lighting Upgrade Program will bring savings on electricity bills and also improve the sustainability of schools and take steps towards the NSW Government’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 

The NSW Government is investing $7.9 billion over the next four years, continuing its program to deliver 215 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW. 

New incentives for teachers in the Cootamundra electorate

Teachers in regional, rural and remote NSW will have better employment benefits than ever before thanks to a complete overhaul of the incentive system in NSW public schools.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke MP said the NSW Government had listened to teachers and stakeholders to improve the already existing regional incentives for teachers to work in the bush.

“It is important that we support our teachers and encourage more to move and work in regional areas, and a fair and flexible incentive system helps make this possible,” Ms Cooke said.

“I want to thank our local schools and their teachers including Junee High School, Young High School, West Wyalong High School and Murrumburrah High School for being such passionate advocates in what our communities have to offer.

“Living in the bush is amazing and I want teachers to come out to the Cootamundra electorate and experience our small towns and villages that surpass any city living.

“The updated incentives will strengthen the supply of quality teachers in our region now and into the future.”

The NSW Government has committed $15 million to action initiatives immediately in response to the Incentives Review, including:

  • Increasing the value of targeted recruitment bonuses from $10,000 to up to $20,000, making schools located in the hardest-to-staff parts of the State more attractive for prospective employees;
  • Giving more employees the opportunity to experience regional NSW by doubling the number of Teach Rural scholarships to 120 per year, and expanding the investment in the Rural Experience Program to fund up to 50 places from 2022;
  • Expanding eligibility so temporary teachers can receive incentives like the Rural Teacher Incentive, Retention Bonus, and Experienced Teacher Bonus, enabling a greater number of employees to be attracted to the regions; and,
  • Working alongside the Teacher Housing Authority to upgrade, repair and build new accommodation for teachers in areas of high demand.

Principals, teachers, key education stakeholders and education experts will begin developing longer-term initiatives, including:

  • The revamping and simplification of the transfer point system to reduce inequity, better communication on what is available for teachers in the regions, and allowing employees to work on a bespoke package which suits their individual circumstances;
  • The creation of a more holistic approach to regional relocation which focuses on ‘families’ rather than just individuals; and,
  • The establishment of a centralised team to oversee regional staffing.

The NSW Government also wants to see more teachers in training experience teaching in the bush.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, said while NSW already has the most comprehensive rural incentive in Australia, securing sustainable staffing levels across the state is vital to maintaining equity of opportunity for students.  

“We will create a smarter, simplified transfer point system and an easier-to-understand benefits package for teachers, ranging from additional salary, better professional development opportunities, rent assistance and family support,” Ms Mitchel said.

“Regional NSW is an incredibly attractive place to live and work. I want to see more people experience teaching in regional NSW and I want to remove barriers for anyone wanting a teaching career in the bush.”

Improved school facilities at four schools in the Cootamundra region

Students and staff at four local schools are set to benefit from improved facilities, as part of the $484 million 2021/22 Minor Capital Works program.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said she was proud of the continued investment in public school students in the electorate.

”I’m delighted that school communities will benefit from continued upgrades, such as new fencing and continued improvements to accessibility,” Ms Cooke said.

“It’s essential for our students, that they can thrive in a great learning environment, no matter where they live or what their circumstances may be.”  

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the projects at local schools in the Cootamundra electorate was part of the NSW Government’s record investment in public education infrastructure and complements works that have commenced across schools as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Across NSW, thousands of students are benefitting from new and upgraded schools and improved learning environments,” Ms Mitchell said.  

“These projects also provide hundreds of jobs for local businesses across NSW.” 

The NSW Government is investing $7.9 billion over the next four years, continuing its program to deliver 215 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW. 

School nameProject Summary
Cootamundra High SchoolVision Works
Junee High SchoolLift Access to stage
Temora Public SchoolSafety Fencing
West Wyalong High SchoolAdmin & Staff upgrades

Wins for Wyalong Public School

Steph Cooke and Kylie Taylor smile at the camera. Behind they classrooms can be seen.
Steph Cooke MP and Principal Kylie Taylor

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has joined students and staff at Wyalong Public School to celebrate two new funding boosts.

Wyalong Public School is set to receive new LED lighting in the first Tranche of the LED Lighting Upgrade Program, and a playground upgrade thanks to a $40,000 investment from the School Renewal Program.

Ms Cooke said the improvements would be a boost to the entire school community.

“It’s such a joy to visit the school and celebrate these two rounds of funding which will help create an even better learning environment,” Ms Cooke said.

“Students in rural and regional schools deserve the same infrastructure and opportunities as those in larger towns and cities and I am proud of the NSW Government support for Wyalong Public.”

“This work will help our students grow and thrive, while ensuring staff have the best conditions to teach in. I can’t wait for my next visit to see the changes to the playground and the new lighting.”

Principal Kylie Taylor said the school community was excited about the upgrades.

“The lighting will help students to concentrate and focus on their learning, rather than have flickering fluorescent lights,” Ms Taylor said.

“The playground upgrades will make a safer and more enjoyable space for the students at recess and lunch. We are removing the asphalt and creating a new shelter, with a lawn extension.”

“This is fabulous for the school, we are feeling very privileged because we are one of the first schools to get this new lighting and see this new technology in our classrooms, it’s great to see rural schools getting this investment.”

New LED Lighting for Local Schools

William Hedley, Steph Cooke MP wand Marley Loader stand next to a brick wall with a sign that says '1968 Grenfell Public School Primary Department'.
Steph Cooke MP with Grenfell Public School Captains Marley Loader and William Hedley

Students at 14 schools across the Cootamundra electorate will soon benefit from brighter and smarter learning spaces with the NSW Government announcing the first tranche of schools in the LED Lighting Upgrade Program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke celebrated the news and said the program is evidence of the NSW Government’s commitment to improving school facilities and supporting jobs.

“It’s wonderful to be in Grenfell to make this announcement and hear firsthand just how much of a difference this is going to make to the teachers and students. They have had poor lighting here for some time,” Ms Cooke said.

“This is a great investment in to our students and teachers, improving their learning and work environment, and in to local jobs.”

“We know student learning is enhanced when the learning environment is comfortable and LED lighting is proven to provide a more stable source of light.”

“I am so pleased so many of our local schools will be among the first to see these upgrades.”

Grenfell Public School Principal Michelle Morley said the school community was delighted.

“This new lighting will be brighter in the classrooms, I know some people struggle with the flickering fluorescent lighting so this will be a great addition to classrooms to have a consistent brighter light,” Ms Morley said.

“It will make the place a lot cheerier!”

“This is extremely exciting that we are one of the first schools to be getting this done.”

“The children were very excited to have Steph here and to know they will have nice new lighting.”

Local schools receiving new LED lighting in Tranche 1 include:

  • Cootamundra Public School
  • Gooloogong Public School
  • Grenfell Public School
  • Junee High School
  • Murrumburrah Public School
  • Narrandera High School
  • Temora High School
  • Temora Public School
  • Temora West Public School
  • The Henry Lawson High School
  • Wallendbeen Public School
  • West Wyalong High School
  • West Wyalong Public School
  • Wyalong Public School

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the program is an initiative funded by the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan.

“The LED Lighting Upgrade Program will not only support jobs, but through the replacement of inefficient lighting with LED luminaires we will be delivering better classrooms and learning areas for students,” said Ms Mitchell.

“This program is part of our $450 million school based COVID-19 Recovery plan to deliver thousands of school projects to hundreds of schools.”

More than 290 schools have been announced in the first tranche with up to 1,000 schools to benefit from the $158 million program. The program will also reduce school energy bills with smart LED lighting offering a more efficient and sustainable option.  

The NSW Government is investing $7 billion over the next four years, continuing its program to deliver more than 200 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.