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Speech on overcrowding at Indooroopilly State High School

On Thursday 2 May 2024 I spoke in Parliament urging the state government to fund new buildings for Indooroopilly State High School to address underfunding and overcrowding.

You can read my full speech below, or in the official Parliamentary record of proceedings (Hansard).

I have a pretty simple request here tonight. I am asking the state government to commit to funding new buildings at Indooroopilly State High School in the budget this June. A little over a year ago, I stood up right here and warned about the overcrowding at Indro High. I urged the government to commit to more funding in the state budget. I told them that strictly enforcing the catchment would not be enough and that we needed more buildings to meet the current demand, let alone the future enrolments.

I was asking them to tackle the problem before it reached true crisis levels, but they did not act quickly enough and the predictable crisis arrived. At the end of last year, we heard that Indro students would lose their library, instrumental music rooms, storage sheds and more just to accommodate 2024 enrolments. We were all, frankly, gobsmacked because by that time other spaces at the school, including staffrooms, student support areas and the like, had already been repurposed as classrooms to cope with overcrowding.

I had to stand up in front of cameras with P&C representatives to literally beg the education minister to intervene so that our kids’ school would have a library. Thankfully she did step in. Just over a week later, we saw demountables being installed on the oval. That was a win, but a bittersweet one to be honest. We have needed new buildings at Indro for years and demountables simply are not the solution.

Next year the government’s own figures project that more than 3,000 students will be enrolled at Indro, which is almost 900 over the maximum student enrolment capacity. The state government has finally said that they will develop a master plan for new buildings and, from what I have seen, the draft plan looks really promising, but that plan is useless without funding. We simply cannot wait years and years for this to be funded. In fact, we cannot wait any longer than this year, because there is a real chance, as horrifying as the thought might be, that we will have an LNP government after the next election and, frankly, we have zero idea what their plans are to address overcrowding at Indooroopilly State High School. We know it was the LNP that closed the Taringa State School back in 1997, which is why local primary schools are now so overcrowded and we are desperately seeking a new site for a primary school.

This is what happens when you fail to plan ahead. The way enrolments are going at both Indooroopilly State High and Kelvin Grove Secondary College, we will probably need a new high school in the inner west very soon. The government needs to learn from its past mistakes and start planning for that now. In the meantime, my community and I are waiting with bated breath for a funding commitment for the new buildings at Indro and for the ministerial infrastructure designation to get a wriggle on. You cannot kick this can down the road until after the election. We cannot have kids choosing between learning in storage sheds and learning on their ovals anymore. Please, put it in this year’s budget and let’s start planning ahead rather than playing catch-up.

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