With the introduction earlier this year of a cash injection for schools to build halls etc. as part of Kevin Rudd’s nation building concept. Have you wondered really how well this money is being spent, given the short time frame that they were given to spend this money. Now a know a lot of schools are building halls with a stage or performance space. Therefore you can sing and play netball at the same time. But are these schools getting the right type of advice in regards to the technical aspects of the performance area. How many dodgy companies have started up and are installing dodgy equipment that is not up to the job. Schools can be harsh on the equipment and the equipment needs to be good and tough. And how many people are working down to a price to get as much equipment into the venue, so the quality is down but the quantity is up. It should almost be mandatory that the audio system be of reasonable quality and sufficient to basicly work in a factory like space – lots of hard surfaces and large volume. Now so of this cheap equipment might sound great, but what happens when it breaks down? Will the schools have sufficient funds to repair or replace? Or will it fall into disrepair? Disrepair is whqat will happen I feel, this cheap equipment that is coming from overseas will look good and maybe sound good. But itis only a copy and often uses inferior components that will not last the distance of the equipment that they are copying. And these cheap Chinese copiers are also forcing some of the major manufacturers to lower their prices and potentially lower their quality, so we all lose out.
So how do we know if the schools are getting value for money and has the government allowed provisions in the budget in future years to look after these venues and the equipment. We as tax payers need to ask our local members these questions. We do not want our children attending at school with what looks like great facilities only for them to break down and the school becomes even more in debt trying to maintain them. The schools need to be able to access quality equipment and advice, and to be able to put some of the funding away for future maintenance or a maintenance contract. How will this equipment put up with being belted with the odd basketball, especially if the lighting is exposed. Are these types of venues really ideal for schools, will be be sufficiently hands on for the students. Will students actually be able to access lighting bars etc legally? Because the purpose of these venues will be to teach students some technical skills. Or is there going to be a staff member sufficiently interested in the technical side and also possessing the necessary skills to use the equipment and make sure that it is maintained. Then you might have a school with no one that is interested in looking after the audio and lighting gear? What is going to happen to it? There are a lot of unanswered questions about this whole scheme. Is the money going to be wasted in a lot of these schools that are getting money through the Nation Building Scheme. some schools will make the most of it and will listen to industry professionals. but what about those who get in someone that is only interested in selling one brand, or is a music shop that does not have experience of venue installations and mainly sell amps, guitars and portable PA’s. Or the consultant that has no true venue experience as a tech. Hopefully the consultant will have access to engineers, good suppliers, has good insurance nad is willing to listen and to ask the hard questions and not be afraid to tell a client that installing rubbish is not the way to go.
If the government is investing in the nation’s children the investment needs to be ongoing one not a one of payment.
Your input on this topic would be gratefully accepted, this is an important topic.