HAND IN HAND: School students walking.
HAND IN HAND: School students walking. Contributed

Build a high school in Bargara already

BARGARA families are calling on the State Government to build a high school in the region, saying the time is ripe and the seaside suburb is ready.

A Hughes Rd housing estate development for 85 homes approved by Bundaberg Regional Council this week prompted Mayor Jack Dempsey to comment that as Bargara's population grew, so did its chances for a high school.

In 2014, an independent review by the Queensland Schools Planning Commission identified that one new state or non-state primary school may be required in the Bargara area by 2021 and one new state or non-state secondary school may be required between 2021 and 2031.

Campbell Gradon has lived in Bargara for four years and has two young children.

He said building a high school would attract more families to the area, in turn boosting the local economy.

Mr Gradon said exciting developments happening in the region including the opening of Aldi and a gyprock factory in Burnett Heads meant the demographic would change.

"I think if they started the process now, because it takes time to happen, by the time it was finished there would be enough people.”

But Department of Education and Training assistant director-general Kevin Mara quashed any hopes for a school in the short-term, saying the department had no plans for new schools in the Bargara area.

"A review by the department of the local area indicates that local schools have sufficient spare capacity to accommodate population growth over the short to medium term,” he said.

Burnett MP Stephen Bennett disagreed.

"Parents are crying out for a high school to be built in Bargara, and with the latest residential development approval, it's even more of a reason to have further discussions and look at the needs basis now and into the future,” he said.

Division 5 representative Greg Barnes said although it was a numbers game he thought Bargara was ready for a high school.

"I often speak to people who are thinking about relocating to Bargara and one of the first things they say is they are waiting for their kids to finish high school because there isn't one there,” he said.

"They are deferring a move because of it.”

Mr Mara said consultation had been held with Bundaberg Regional Council and local stakeholders as part of the new schools demand mapping activities.

"The department will continue to monitor population and enrolment growth in this area and review planning as required,” he said.

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