The proposed lot for a high school in Calliope is under threat. Lot 126, 55 Don Cameron Drive. Photo Tom Huntley / The Observer
The proposed lot for a high school in Calliope is under threat. Lot 126, 55 Don Cameron Drive. Photo Tom Huntley / The Observer Tom Huntley GLA300413SCHO

$60m project 'at risk' if Gladstone loses crucial town

WHEN Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher announced $60 million to build a high school at Calliope, it was a breakthrough moment for the community.

But with changes to the electoral boundaries and a looming state election, Mr Butcher said funding for the secondary school could be "at risk" under a Liberal National Party and Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

Although funding for the school was currently budgeted for and expected to be built in 2019, this could all be wiped away if Labor does not win the next state election.

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THUMBS UP: Education Minister Kate Jones give Calliope the thumbs up as she sits with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Gladstone state MP Glenn Butcher and Calliope kids who were at the announcement.
THUMBS UP: Education Minister Kate Jones give Calliope the thumbs up as she sits with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Gladstone state MP Glenn Butcher and Calliope kids who were at the announcement. Campbell Gellie


The date for the next election has not been set but bookmakers Sportsbet already has the LNP ($1.67) ahead of Labor ($2.15) to form government.

Prior to Mr Butcher's announcement last January, the LNP had tried to sell the land for the school on Don Cameron Dr.

>>Calliope promised new high school by 2020

In parliament in 2013 the former Newman government's Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said "the Calliope state high school site (was)... considered surplus and appropriate for disposal".

But despite the proposed changes to Mr Butcher's electorate, which would have Calliope yanked from Gladstone and given to Callide, he said he would be "fighting hard" to keep Calliope.

Callide MP Jeff Seeney has said that education would be a focus for him, however he did not respond to questions asking him to commit to funding for the school.

Lynda Ninness, who campaigned hard to secure government funding for the proposed high school, said it was a "huge concern" about what a change in government would mean for the school.

She also felt that any change to the electoral boundary was "ludicrous" because of Calliope's ties to Gladstone.

 

Lynda Ninness.
Lynda Ninness. Mike Richards GLA310116HIGH

"Calliope is almost becoming a suburb of Gladstone and although I live towards the Boyne Valley I work, shop and my kids go to school in Gladstone...we have nothing to do with the other side of the range," she said.

Brad Henderson, who usually pours beers at the Calliope Central Bowls Club, said the high school would be a "great asset" and also thought Calliope would be best served if it stayed connected with the city of Gladstone.

"At the moment we've got both a state and federal member here and (although) we'll keep our federal member, as the crow flies we're only 19km from Gladstone so I don't know why they're shifting us out bush," he said.

Councillor Chris Masters, who lives at Calliope, said he thought the majority of people who lived at Calliope would want to stay part of the Gladstone state electorate.

 

Cr Chris Masters.
Cr Chris Masters. GRC

"It's our place of business and where we identify with," he said.

"With things like the Port Access Rd it's supposed to be about getting our agriculture into Gladstone and the port ... when we sit down to decide these things we should be talking to Gladstone."

Cr Masters said the need for the Calliope high school had been demonstrated and encouraged residents to make submissions against the change.

But sticking to the principle of keeping things simple, Calliope local Sharon Meyer asked why the government couldn't "just keep it local and keep it the same".



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