Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has welcomed support from her political opponent, Gareth Ward MP, Member for Kiama, on the issue of education infrastructure for West Dapto.

During a Private Member’s Statement on Tuesday, Ms Watson criticised the Government’s lack of foresight in planning for the future of West Dapto, on the floor of the NSW Parliament.

“With the development of West Dapto, Calderwood and Kembla Grange, the population of the Shellharbour electorate is set to increase significantly, yet the Government has announced no plans for the development of additional schools despite there clearly being a need for it now” said Ms Watson.

Her comments triggered a response from the Parliamentary Secretary for Education and for the Illawarra, and Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, who accepted that Ms Watson was right to be raising this matter in Parliament and commended her on her advocacy on behalf of her community in relation to education places.

“Whilst I welcome Mr Ward’s comments, I think that he could be doing more in his capacity as Parliamentary Secretary for Education and for the Illawarra, to secure additional education places in West Dapto”.

“West Dapto has been attracting young families and couples since its initial development. It is predicted that the area’s school aged population will rise by 40 percent, by 2026, requiring an additional eight primary schools and three high schools in order to meet the increase in demand for education places. Unfortunately, to date, the Government has yet to acquire any land to accommodate for additional educational infrastructure”

“In order to address population growth in the area, Dapto Public School was relocated to West Dapto in 2004.This school was the first and to this day remains the only primary school in the area. At capacity, Dapto Public School, is struggling to meet growing demand in the area”.

“The time for action is now. Surely, education and the futures of our local children trump party politics. I am calling on the Government to quit playing party politics and invest the money where it is undeniably needed, in securing the required educational infrastructure for the people of West Dapto” said Ms Watson.

Once completed, West Dapto it is expected to include approximately 19,000 new dwellings, housing more than 50,000 people and is predicted to create around 8,500 jobs.


3 May 2017