The following is a response from Steve Minnikin MP, provided to us by a local, dated July 3rd 2013. You can add comments at the end of this post.
Dear [name removed],
I would like to sincerely thank you for taking the time to contact me, raising your concern for the Queensland Government’s proposal to sell surplus land at Whites Hill State College.
Please be assured that your concerns, along with the concerns of other local residents who have contacted me about this matter have been duly noted.
It is important to note that the previous Labor Government left behind a maintenance backlog of over $300 million. As a result of this neglect, many of our local schools were left with asbestos in their ceilings, cracked footpaths and overgrown vegetation; none of which is conducive to a creating a safe learning environment. Since April 2012, the Newman Government has been working tirelessly to clear this maintenance backlog. However, there is still a significant way to go before the backlog is cleared entirely, especially for schools such as Whites Hill State College, who had one of the largest maintenance backlogs in the State.
In order to fully clear the maintenance backlog, the Department of Education, Training and Employment has undertaken a detailed investigation in order to identify land and facilities which are surplus to schools’ requirements across the State. The Department has also taken into consideration whether it is appropriate to dispose of these sites.
A portion of land at Whites Hill State College has been identified as being surplus to requirements and has now been progressed to sale. I can assure you that this decision has not been made lightly and that community feedback has been factored into the decision.
However, it is important to note that community benefit will be taken into account as part of the assessment of offers on the site. This will enable offers submitted by community groups and other schooling sectors to be evaluated on the basis of both financial value and community benefit.
I appreciate this is not the resolution you were seeking, however I’m sure you can appreciate that, given our State’s dire financial situation, some difficult decisions need to be made to ensure that our schools provide our children with the safest possible learning environment.
Steve Minnikin MP
Assistant Minister for Public Transport
Member for Chatsworth