Locals have started receiving responses back to their letters to the office of John-Paul Langbroek MP opposing the sale of the Whites Hill State College oval. One of these responses has been provided by a local resident for publishing (below). You can add your comments and questions at the bottom of this post.
Dear [name removed]
Thank you for your emails dated 18 June 2013 to the Honourable John-Paul Langbroek MP, Minister for Education, Training and Employment opposing the potential sale of land at Whites Hill State College. The Minister has asked me to respond on his behalf.
The concerns you have raised about the sale of portion of land at Whites Hill State College have been noted. I can assure you that the decision to dispose of surplus land is not one made lightly.
However, the Government is committed to ensuring that our school facilities are appropriately maintained and that Queensland children are provided with learning environments that allow them to achieve positive educational outcomes that prepare them for successful futures. This is why we invested $300 million in addressing maintenance backlogs left to us by the Labor Government.
Part of this is ensuring that our school facilities and the land around our schools are fully utilised. This includes identifying areas where there are surplus facilities or land and freeing this to enable us to reinvest in the facilities that we need.
To achieve this, the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) has undertaken investigations to identify any land that is surplus to requirements for the delivery of education services throughout the State. The investigations have also considered whether it is appropriate to dispose of specific sites.
The disposal of these sites means that DETE can not only ensure that all of its sites are use to their maximum potential, but also that funding can be directed to school communities in Queensland where it is most needed.
A portion of land at Whites Hill State College was identified through these investigations as being surplus to requirements and has been progressed for disposal.
Through the department’s disposal process, the evaluation of offers for the site will consider community benefit as part of the assessment of offers. This will allow for community groups and other schooling sectors to submit offers through the market process and have these offers considered not only on the basis of their financial value but also using an assessment of community benefit. Taxpayers expect that, as a Government, we are maximising value to ensure that funds can be reinvested in other school infrastructure but at the same time weight up the potential of community benefit.
While I understand the concerns you have raised regarding the effect the sale of this portion of the land will have on the school community, I am informed the school will have sufficient remaining oval space to be used. In addition, the portion of land being sold will enable any realised funds to be put back into school infrastructure.
I appreciate that this will not be the answer you are seeking. However, I trust that you can understand that, in looking to secure the State’s finances for the future, and making sure that we are maximising the use of our facilities, some difficult decisions have needed to be made. The disposal of surplus land is one of these decisions.
Again, thank you for writing to the Minister on this matter and I hope this information is of assistance to you.
Should you wish to discuss this matter further, I invite you to contact Mr Paul Hobbs, Assistant Director-General, Infrastructure Services Branch, by telephone on 3237 0568 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief of Staff
Office of the Hon John-Paul Langbroek MP
Minister for Education, Training and Employment.
We welcome locals to add their comments below or to contact email@example.com with further information you would like to provide.