Bundaberg Port is one facility that has been earmarked for growth in a state government draft report.
Bundaberg Port is one facility that has been earmarked for growth in a state government draft report. File

Plan proposes school for Bargara

A FUTURE planning report led by Treasurer Andrew Fraser recommends a high school for Bargara in the next 20 years - despite Education Queensland maintaining the area's “stable” population does not require it.

The recommendation is part of a 154-page report just released by Mr Fraser, also the economic development minister, who is asking Bundaberg residents to make submissions on the draft plan for the region's next 20 years.

The draft Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Plan said population growth in coastal areas may result in the need for a high school in Bargara.

But Education Queensland's acting deputy director-general of infrastructure services, Graham Atkins, said the department had not considered a school for the area because it was “not experiencing a high level of growth”.

“Enrolment levels have remained stable, therefore there are no plans in place for a new school at Bargara,” he said.

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said he was glad the state government had acknowledged the need for a high school in the area.

“The Minister for Education was saying on May 22 that it was not required, but now they come out with this report,” he said.

As well as flagging a need for a school, the report says the Wide Bay-Burnett region is set to be one of the state's fastest growing areas, with Bundaberg's population expected to increase from 95,100 people in 2009 to 153,000 by 2031.

Bundaberg mayor Lorraine Pyefinch welcomed the population influx.

“We'll certainly welcome that growth because we will have a large enough rate base to help build the infrastructure to keep Bundaberg going,” Cr Pyefinch said.

She said the council would use the report's information to help finish compiling its own Bundaberg Region 2031 report.

As part of the projected population increase, the Port of Bundaberg is expected to expand significantly over the next 20 years, as it has the possibility to meet mining needs generated in central Queensland and the Surat Basin.

The report also identifies “potential to build on the opportunities presented by the identification of Fairymead, on the northern side of the Burnett River and opposite the port” as a growth area.

An information session on the report will be held at the Bundaberg Civic Centre on October 12 at 6pm. To read the report, visit www.dip.qld.gov.au/widebayburnett.



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