Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says he is continuing his campaign to see a new state school delivered for families living in the growing suburbs on Townsville’s Northern Beaches.
Mr Cripps says an answer to a Question on Notice he asked of Education Minister Kate Jones indicated that the need for a new school on Townsville’s Northern Beaches was acknowledged.
“The Minister advised that the Department recognised that the Northern Beaches of Townsville was an area of significant growth and that new schools would be required” said Mr Cripps.
“I’m relieved the Minister confirmed purchasing land for a new state school is being considered as part of the 2015-16 budget process, because we need to move this project forward” he said.
Mr Cripps had pointed out to the Minister in his question that Bohlevale and Bluewater State Schools had enrolment management plans in place to cope with large numbers of students.
“I also explained to the Minister that St Clare’s Catholic Primary School at North Shore had experienced very strong enrolment growth and been expanding rapidly since it opened in 2011”.
“I started asking the Queensland Government questions back in 2010 about a new school on Townsville’s Northern Beaches, but no arrangements had been made to meet future demand”.
Mr Cripps said the former LNP Government had acted by establishing the Queensland Schools Planning Commission to determine future education infrastructure needs across the state.
“The Commission’s report clearly identified Townsville’s Northern Beaches as an area of significant growth, so now it’s time for the Queensland Government to act on these findings”.
“Bluewater and Bohlevale can’t take any more students, St Clare’s is growing quicker than it planned for – if we don’t get a new school soon there will be a real problem in this area”.
Mr Cripps said he would like to see the Queensland Government provide funds to purchase land in the coming budget and then fund the construction of a new school out of the 2016-17 budget.
“This would see construction occur in the second half of 2016 and through 2017, ready for the new school to open at the start of the 2018 school year, which I think is achievable”.
“I know the Department has been talking to Stockland about a site at North Shore, it really needs to get on with the job of sealing the deal, so we can move this project forward”.
Mr Cripps said with much more residential growth expected on Townsville’s Northern Beaches over the next 20 years, further schools, including another high school, would also be required.