BATTLEGROUND GRACEMERE: Will they get a high school?
BIG AND ambitious is an apt description of NQ First's run at the 2020 State Election and the most recent announcement is dead on brand.
Fifty million dollars towards a Gracemere high school was announced today as part of the party's Building the North program aimed at harnessing $6 billion in mining royalties for regional development.
While neither have a direct stake in the Rockhampton electorate yet, NQ first leader Jason Costigan and his Mirani candidate Jason Borg met at the school today to discuss plans.
Mr Costigan said he was not married to how or where it should be built, just that it had to be.
"I'll be guided by what the government tells us, if they've got land over here or over there, then that's great … we've got the money, let's make it happen," he said.
"We will build that high school here in Gracemere - it's been talked about for a long time," he said.
the Mirani candidate who has potential constituents just west of Gracemere said reducing travel time for students in areas like Kabra and Stanwell would have big benefits.
"One of the big issues the local people have always talked about is needing a high school," he said.
"If they don't have to get up as early and they can get home earlier, it gives them an opportunity to be more active after school and get into sporting competitions.
"Having their own identity is very important."
Speaking to The Morning Bulletin previously, the State Government questioned the feasibility of a high school in Gracemere saying schools in the region were not at capacity.
"The Department of Education conducts ongoing analysis of local demographics through the Queensland Schools Planning Reference Committee," Education Minister Grace Grace said.
"At this stage the data shows that Gracemere does not have the student population to support a brand-new high school.
"And the Rockhampton State High School remains well below enrolment capacity."
However NQ First is not the first to express interest in a high school.
One Nation has added schools in Emu Park and Gracemere to its growing list of election promises while LNP candidate Tony Hopkins has also stated his intentions on the issue.
"The Gracemere community is growing and the government needs to ensure that the infrastructure that our community needs is provided and if I'm elected I will be fighting hard for (the Gracemere high school)."
Rockhampton region Mayor Strelow also appears to be on board.
"There is already a piece of land owned by education Queensland ready for the high school at Gracemere," she said on social media earlier today.
"The people of Gracemere deserve a proper high school."
Mr Costigan said he was keen to open up dialogue with the Mayor about the issue.
"I'm happy to contact mayor Strelow today even though we come from opposite sides of the political divide," he said.
"I respect her as an elected representative of her community and her contribution to local government.
"It's probably a real crying shame Strelow didn't get elected (last federal election)."
Where do you stand on the issue? Vote below.
Does Gracemere need a high school?
This poll ended on 30 July 2020.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.