The State Government has ruled out building a new high school to cope with increasing population growth in the Flinders and Shell Cove areas, Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson, said today.

“I am shocked that the State Government won’t even agree to undertake a scoping study to see whether a new high school in the area would be feasible.

“The State Government is essentially saying to families in the Flinders and Shell Cove areas that their only choice is to send their children to the already over-crowded Warilla High School.

“I’m not going to accept this one-finger salute by the State Government to my community.

“Warilla High School already has 1152 enrolled student for this year.

“The State Government’s own statistics indicate that this is 309 more students than the other nearest local high school at Oak Flats.

“I am appalled that the Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli seems to think it’s acceptable to continue to shoe-horn more students into Warilla High School when it already has a very high enrolment level.

“I will continue to argue that the Flinders and Shell Cove growth areas need a new high school.

“At the very least the State Government should re-consider undertaking a scoping study for a new school.

“This is essentially a costless planning exercise that any prudent State Government looking at the future would undertake as a matter of course.

“The Minister’s response is incredibly short-sighted”, she said.

Ms Watson said that she also had concerns that new education facilities at West Dapto would also suffer from the State Government’s short-sightedness to accommodate population growth rates.

“Dapto High School is just 152 additional enrolments off the Warilla High School enrolment level.

“It seems the Minister’s view will be the same dismissal of the need for a new high school at West Dapto.

“Again this is unacceptable given the State Government’s own draft infrastructure growth plan calls for the development of eight new primary schools and three new high schools in this area”, she said.

Ms Watson said that Labor had pledged both a new $44 million high school at West Dapto and a scoping study for a new high school in the Flinders or Shell Cove area if it had been elected in March 2015.

Ms Watson also said that the State Government would need to plan for a new school for specific purposes because local schools catering for children with a disability were also at peak enrolment levels.

8 July 2015