Shock development plan raises questions about jobs, land
OPPOSITION towards the new Murwillumbah education combined campus announced today has begun despite assurances from the State Government.
Deputy premier John Barilaro told members of the media today there was no plans to sell off the land currently housing three Murwillumbah schools set to close and combine for a new Murwillumbah education redevelopment on Murwillumbah High School grounds.
Murwillumbah Public School, Murwillumbah East Public School and Wollumbin High School will close to create the new facility in the $100 million four-year rollout plan.
"Right now we are planning for the new school and as we always do, as governments being in education, health or any other agency we look at our assets and use those assets for other community infrastructure - those decisions haven't been made," Mr Barilaro said.
When asked if there were plans to sell the land, Mr Barilaro answered "no".
"What we have to do is get a school open by 2024 and once we do that we will determine what that infrastructure looks at," he said.
"Often we find the community often calls out on that sort of community land for hubs of some sort of community facilities - we will work through that and those opportunities may arrive."
Federal member for Richmond Justine Elliot hit out at the closures labelling them "disgraceful, shameful and wrong".
Ms Elliot claims the closures will result in job losses and worse educational outcomes despite Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell assuring no permanent staff roles would be lost in the transition.
Ms Elliot also raised concerns about selling off the schools' locations as prime real estate.
Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has also demanded "full and frank consultation with the teaching staff, the NSW Teachers Federation and Parents and Citizens Associations".
"NSW Labor obtained a briefing paper to Minister Mitchell which reveals that the amalgamation of four schools to form the MEC in 2024 will change the staffing allocation and potentially displace some teaching and support staff," Ms Saffin said.
"I am seeking a guarantee from the NSW Government that all current teaching and support staff jobs will be retained under this shake-up of public education in Murwillumbah because this cannot be implemented as a cruel cost-cutting exercise; it must be about improved educational outcomes.
"I also am seeking a guarantee that public land stays in public hands and is not flogged off to private developers."
Ms Mitchell said the decision had been made and while community consultation would take place, the decision to close and amalgamate the schools would not change.
"We have made the decision this is the way forward and we have done that because we have recognised the massive educational benefits for the students," she said.
"It is a big change and change is different and we know we need to be talking to the community about the benefits of this."