In the latest stage of a debate that has been raging for more than a decade, NSW Labor has committed to build a new public high school at Pottsville if elected next year.
The announcement was made yesterday (November 5) by NSW Labor Opposition leader Luke Foley and Country Labor candidate for the Tweed, Craig Elliot at the site, which has been languishing for years, despite being set aside as part of the Sea Breeze estate.
In 2015 Tweed Council came to the rescue of the site by refusing to allow developer Metricon to rezone it for 65 new houses.
Last year the court reaffirmed the land should be retained for a school despite an appeal by the developer.
Labor’s action contrasts with the Liberal/National government, which has consistently refused to support the construction of a local high school in Pottsville.
Labor says the nearby Pottsville Beach Public School is ‘bursting at the seams’ and is soon expected to have ‘up to 1,000 students’.
According to a media release, there are more than 750 secondary students who currently have to travel for at least 30 minutes each way by bus north to Kingscliff High School and another 100 schoolchildren forced to travel to other district government high schools such as Murwillumbah High School.
Labor’s first task would be to purchase the land from the developer but construction would begin ‘in the first term of a Foley government’, the party promises.
NSW Labor says it has allocated $40 million for the high school.
The pair have lashed out at sitting MP Geoff Provest (Nationals), who they say ‘promised to build a Pottsville high school in 2007 but after 11 years has failed to deliver – and now he just ignores the community, claiming that there is no need for a new high school in what is a rapidly growing area.
Opposition leader Luke Foley MP said ‘Make no mistake, NSW Labor and Craig Elliot will build a high school at Pottsville.’
‘The case is clear. Pottsville needs a high school and only a NSW Labor Government will build it.’
Country Labor candidate for Tweed Craig Elliot said he was, ‘out listening and talking to locals every day and the calls for a public high school for Pottsville are growing louder and louder’.
‘Pottsville has a huge number of young families and locals are sick of having their needs ignored by the National Party.
‘It is unfair for their children to spend countless hours a week on the bus going to other high schools when there is a clear need for a high school at Pottsville.’