Qld Govt shoots down campaign for Emu Park High School
DESPITE concentrated pressure, the Queensland Government is holding fast in its refusal to build a new high school for Emu Park, citing its unsustainability due to low student numbers.
One Nation’s candidate for Keppel Wade Rothery escalated the school debate this week by revealing his party had phone surveyed 3,674 Keppel residents (15 per cent of the electorate’s households), finding 70 per cent of locals supported Mr Rothery’s push to build the secondary school.
Mr Rothery said the population on the Capricorn Coast was growing quickly and Emu Park’s families were suffering, choosing to buy, rent or build in Yeppoon, which was putting even greater pressure on those schools there.
He quoted a State Government commissioned forecasting study in 2017 which revealed the population of Livingstone Shire Council was projected to increase from 37,055 persons in 2016 to 55,691 persons in 2036, or by 2.1 per cent per annum, which was above the statewide five-year forecast average of 1.6 per cent.
In statistics provided by Education Queensland, The Morning Bulletin established that Yeppoon State High School’s enrolments were less than three quarters of the school’s capacity.
Assistant Minister for Education and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said it was clear Emu Park needed to grow its population size to be able to sustain a local high school
“But that won’t happen on its own,” Ms Lauga said.
“That’s why I am committed to investing more in the local area to make it an enticing place for families to move to.
“Until that population grows I will continue to fight for improved facilities at other local schools like we have seen at Yeppoon SHS.”
Minister for Education Grace Grace said the government was committed to ensuring all students, no matter where they lived, had access to quality educational facilities within their local communities.
“The Department of Education conducts ongoing analysis of local demographics through the Queensland Schools Planning Reference Committee,” Ms Grace said.
“At this stage the data shows that Emu Park does not have the student population to support a brand-new high school.
“And the Rockhampton SHS, Yeppoon SHS, North Rockhampton SHS and Glenmore SHS all remain well below enrolment capacity.”
In the wake of the global recession due to COVID-19, Ms Grace said her government was investing in its plan to Unite and Recover for Queensland jobs.
“That includes investing in new infrastructure at your local school, as well as supporting small businesses, reducing electricity prices and investing in major road projects,” she said.