Bold plan to build high schools in Gracemere and Emu Park
EMU Park and Gracemere residents could see the construction of two new high schools in their respective communities start by 2023, with One Nation candidates for Rockhampton and Keppel unveiling plans to build the new schools.
According to both One Nation candidate for Keppel Wade Rothery and Rockhampton candidate Torin O'Brien the high schools would be constructed at an existing primary school in each region.
Construction would start in 2023. However, only enough facilities to support one educational stage would be constructed year by year until the school supported PREP through to Year 12.
Mr Rothery said in Emu Park the plan was to build the high school at Emu Park State School using land available.
He said the Year 6 class of 2022 would then be able to continue into Year 7 at the school until graduating in Year 12 when construction would be complete.
He said the Capricorn Coast was growing more than any other region in Queensland and the community had been calling for a high school in Emu Park for years.
"You have primary schools not just here in Emu Park, but also in Keppel Sands and Cawarral and what better way than to send these kids somewhere local where they can stay and work in their community," he said.
"You have teenagers going to school in Rockhampton and Yeppoon and they're coming back later in the evening. They don't have time to find a job because they are still traveling.
"We want kids to go to high school in the regions they are from. They can work in the area, bring their families up in the area; we just want them to remain in the area."
"So, let's start looking now instead of waiting for it to come."
He said he had spoken with a couple of councillors at Livingstone Shire Council about the plans and would raise them again at a meeting this afternoon.
"Everyone in the area I have spoken to have pushed for this idea to go ahead," he said.
"It is cost effective and not promising something that is going to be out of reach. We are not asking for million and millions of dollars to build a high school that is going to be small to start with.
"We have a plan in place. I have full support of the community, the council and it's just making sure the state government gets on board and makes it happen.
"The community wants it, but the state government keeps holding it back. They come up with their excuses and its time the people are heard."
Mr O'Brien said they hadn't selected a proposed location for the high school in Gracemere yet, and would instead be looking into each primary school to see which would be the more feasible option.
"Although it is just under 10km from the centre of Rockhampton that main stretch of highway does get very congested and it is only going to grow as time goes on," he said.
"We have about 700 enrolments between the two state schools in the last year and that has grown.
"It is well and truly time for the town to get its own high school."
He said drawing construction out year by year was a smart approach that not only created jobs but also took the country's financial climate into great consideration.
"We can't just go asking for millions of dollars and expect it," he said.
"Doing it year by year also guarantees several years of construction work as well. You're going to create construction work, teaching work and have students staying in Gracemere and spending their money in town. There are so many pluses involved."
Queensland Senator and One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, said the construction of these new schools was a great idea that her party would be pushing in the next state election.
"When you have an area with growth and a number of kids going to school, such as 700 in Gracemere, then it is feasible," she said.
"If you have a township that is diminishing in class numbers you wouldn't put a high school there, but when you have an area that is growing you should be supplying high schools.
"We need to get these facilities here for the people here and keep people in the region.
"It is about growth and having a vison for the future."