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Question Time: new inner-west primary school

On Thursday 12 October 2023, I asked the Education Minister what progress has been made towards a new inner-west primary school. 

You can read the question, and the Minister's response, below, or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard)

Mr BERKMAN: My question is to the Minister for Education. It has been over three years since the minister announced funding for a much needed new inner-west primary school, and local schools like Toowong and Indooroopilly are still struggling with overcrowding. What progress has the department made on acquiring land for a new school and when will the community be consulted on a revised proposal?

Ms GRACE: I thank the member for the question. I want to say that it has been really great working with the member in relation to this issue. I know that recently he wrote to me, and we are discussing a number of possible sites. The department is doing extensive work. I think I received the letter about 6 October—just last week—and I have referred that to my department to investigate further. The inner west is obviously a very densely populated area. We had a site. We discussed this with the member and with the community and quite clearly we made a decision that it was not a suitable site for us to continue with, which was a bit sad. There was flooding that occurred in that area. Once that occurred we made the call, after listening to the community and to the local member, that that was not the appropriate way to go forward.

The member will be interested to know that today I can announce that there is a new way, because we want to tease out possibilities—and I know that we have been liaising in relation to that—with a register of interests process to identify options for a future primary school in the inner west. It is a new way that we can look at this with a register of interests about how we might be able to deliver something in the inner city that is a little bit different to normal. It will be open on Monday, 16 October. The department has been working on this and we are asking for those registers of interest to come through until 27 November. The ROI process will invite developers and investors to come forward, register their interest and work with us to deliver a schooling solution for the inner west. This could include purchasing land only—as I think in relation to the member’s letter—or even repurposing existing buildings for educational purposes. We would like to hear alternative solutions.

In relation to the other part of the question, community consultation will be undertaken on any new school proposed, including on any proposed master plan and school design. We have been a bit lucky post COVID. The numbers that were anticipated for student growth did not occur in the area. However, we have not sat on our laurels. The budget this year includes $22 million for enhancements to schools in the inner-west network. Planning is currently underway for Indooroopilly State School to receive a new admin learning building and for additional classrooms at Toowong State School, so we are in-filling those schools. There are some catchment boundary changes for 2024 to take pressure off some of the schools. They are flagged for Chapel Hill, Kenmore and Fig Tree Pocket state schools. We have negotiated these boundaries. They will reduce the pressure on Indooroopilly while we undertake this register of interests during October and November so that we can deliver a fantastic new high school in the area. It is getting more difficult than ever in inner-city seats, but I thank the member for the question.

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