School computer blow-out: $576m and rising

THERE is no end in sight for the NSW Government's budget blow-out on its upgrade of school computer management systems.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has already confirmed $576 million has been spent rolling out system to just 10% of the 2218 schools in the state.

He refused to tell parliament how much the Learning Management and Business Reform package would cost to complete.

"We trust principals to make the right decisions about how to use the resources of their schools, unlike the socialists on the other side who do not trust anybody except their mates in Sussex St and the unions," he said.

"They do not trust anybody.

"If principals are to be given their budgets to run them the way the principals want them to run and to make decisions about how they spend their money, then they particularly need a finance package to be able to do that."

No amount of baiting would get Mr Piccoli to budge on the project's final cost.

"We are not going to jeopardise taxpayers' money by contravening commercial-in-confidence negotiations with some of the providers of the training etc," he said.

"Those figures will be given out in due course."

Labor MP Linda Burney suggested Mr Piccoli would soon be replaced by Skills Minister John Barilaro as the Nationals' deputy leader.

Other internal fights had broken also broken out, she said.

"We have heard reports of a toxic battle of power between ministers in this government," Ms Burney said.

"The Deputy Premier is actively undermining the Attorney-General.

"They are barely on speaking terms."

Not that Labor was without criticism for its last term in power.

"I remind you that when you were in government you made a deal with the Public Service Association that you would sack 400 administrative staff in schools," Mr Piccoli said.

"You were going to sack 400 of the very people you need to do this work." -APN NEWSDESK



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