LABOR CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO MEDOWIE HIGH SCHOOL

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Opposition Leader Luke Foley will today join Shadow Minister for the Hunter Kate Washington in Medowie to confirm Labor’s commitment to build a high school in Medowie, and to call on the government to deliver the much-needed project. 

Luke Foley used his budget reply speech to commit Labor to an unprecedented school building program which will ensure unused public land goes towards school infrastructure. 

Labor’s commitment comes after a damning Auditor General’s report into the Berejiklian Government’s school infrastructure backlog which revealed that high schools in the Hunter top the list for being the state’s most crowded (table below).

A staggering 42% of high schools across the Hunter are bursting at the seams with classrooms full or exceeding capacity. A new high school at Medowie will ease pressure on the Hunter’s already overcrowded schools.

Not only has the government failed to ensure there’s adequate schools, it’s also failed to ensure existing schools are adequately maintained. Irrawang High School and Hunter River High School in Raymond Terrace had a combined maintenance backlog of $3,416,648 in 2016-17

Port Stephens Council’s 2016 Medowie Planning Strategy predicts over 7,000 new residents will call Medowie home by the mid-2030s.

The NSW government has owned the land since 1982, the community has been calling for a high school ever since.  Over many years, Liberal MP’s have expressed their support for the proposed high school (quotes below).   

A thousand students from Medowie and surrounding areas are currently bussed to high schools in Newcastle, Raymond Terrace, Salamander Bay and Maitland, spending over 10 hours a week on their school commute. Young people aged 5-19 already make up a quarter of Medowie’s population.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Six years of neglect means we now have a school overcrowding crisis. Only Labor is prepared to invest what is needed in our public schools.”

“When it comes to investing in our childrens’ education, Labor will do so much more than the Liberals and Nationals.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Hunter Kate Washington MP

“Families in Medowie have already waited too long for a local high school.  Children who were told they would be a part of the first cohort to attend Medowie High School, have now got kids of their own.

“Medowie is growing daily, but the infrastructure just hasn’t kept up. There are at least five local feeder primary schools with a combined student cohort of almost 2,000. We’ve even got two supermarkets! To say that we don’t need a high school is ludicrous.

“I will continue to call on the NSW government to honour its commitment to build a high school in Medowie. If they don’t, Medowie residents will know that only a Labor government will deliver local public secondary education for their children.

Liberal MP’s support for Medowie High School

2004 – Robyn Parker – NSW Parliament: “That is what the community wants, and I will assist them enthusiastically in making their wishes known to the Government.”

2007 - Robyn Parker – NSW Parliament: “Will the Minister explain to the families in Medowie and Tilligerry Peninsula why they are waiting for a high school to be built in Medowie and their children are travelling considerable distances each day to the nearest high school when there has been vacant land available to start construction of this school next to the existing public school in Medowie?”

2010 - Craig Baumann - NSW Parliament: “I speak today about one of the most important issues in my electorate: the need for a high school in Medowie”

2011 – Craig Baumann – ABC News: "I'm committed to a high school in Medowie, but it'll only be built when the population can justify it.

2011 – Craig Baumann – Newcastle Herald: “Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann said the Coalition would "immediately begin the planning and design stages for a high school" if it won office. An Education Department spokesman confirmed this week no planning work had yet been done. Mr Baumann said he would meet with Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to discuss the need to expedite planning.”