Opposition to the merger of the four Murwillumbah Schools, which includes two primary and two high schools, remains strong. Monday will see Leader of the NSW opposition MP Chris Minns and local MP Janelle Saffin joining concerned parents, students and community members at a town hall meeting in Murwillumbah on Monday at 5.30pm to 7pm at the Murwillumbah Services Club, 10 Wollumbin Street, Murwillumbah.
‘Our community remains committed to the fight to keep our schools open,’ said local parent and Murwillumbah East Public School (MEPS) P&C President Kylie Rose.
‘We have been very vocal in our opposition to the forced closure and merger of our schools. We have spoken up and spoken out. Our children have spoken out. Our teachers, through the federation, have spoken out. All three levels of government have spoken out.’
‘The truth is the current government do not care what we have to say, in fact they have repeatedly refused calls to come here and listen to us.
‘It is abundantly clear that we can not change the government’s mind, so I guess, if we want to save our schools, we are just going to have to change the government,’ she said.
NSW Labor have committed to listening to the community and not merging the four schools if they get in at the next election. With Ms Saffin further reaffirmed ‘NSW Labor’s commitment to keep Murwillumbah East Public School (MEPS), Wollumbin High School, Murwillumbah Public School and Murwillumbah High School open for the community into the future.’
Ms Saffin has previously commented on the planning failures that are apparent in the mega-school merger, especially in relation to the Department of Education development application (DA).
Ms Saffin said ‘Tweed Shire Council’s damning submission and formal objection to the Murwillumbah Education Campus development application, combined with the school communities’ concerns, should be enough for NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell to scrap the Government’s ill-advised plan and heavily invest in existing schools instead.
‘Some issues identified by Council include inadequate playing fields; indoor halls too small to be used as shared community spaces; a lack of shading for students; a 90-space shortfall in car parking spaces (which would put serious pressure on surrounding streets); and an incomplete bushfire management plan.
‘It all adds up to a half-baked plan which sells the local community short, prompting Tweed Mayor Cr Chris Cherry to say the State Government should be a ‘model applicant, but is flouting all of our requirements and at this stage is being anything but’.’
Government change needed
Ms Rose has pointed out that to keep their schools there needs to be a change of government.
‘I commend Janelle Saffin and Chris Minns for giving our community this opportunity to come forward and have our views heard. I would urge our community to come forward, because the only way to save our schools is if Chris Minns becomes Premier of NSW next March.’