JULY: LNP's Callide candidate backs high school for Calliope
THE LNP'S candidate for Callide Colin Boyce has thrown his support behind the proposed Calliope State High School.
Education Minister Kate Jones announced last year a secondary school would be built in Calliope, ready for the start of the 2020 school year.
But May's redistribution of Queensland's state electoral boundaries, which had Calliope shifted from Gladstone into the neighbouring electorate of Callide, raised concerns in the community for the project's future.
The Newman Government attempted to sell off the land reserved for the project in 2013, leading some to fear that the town's shift to Callide, traditionally a conservative electorate, could put the project in jeopardy.
Mr Boyce moved to put those fears to rest while visiting Calliope this week.
"Absolutely, without a doubt, I will be pursuing the issue as much as I possibly can," he said.
"From my research it just absolutely amazes me that nothing's been done about this issue before I've found out about it."
The LNP's candidate for Gladstone at the previous election, Michael Duggan, went to the polls at odds with his party's policy to sell the land, saying if elected he would pressure the Newman Government to sell the site of Calliope State School and construct a P-12 school on the land reserved for the high school.
The ALP's then-candidate Glenn Butcher promised to build the high school, and it was announced by the minister a year later.
But Mr Boyce said the announcement did not mean the school's construction was a certainty.
"I've done some research into the school and it appears that it is possibly on estimation for a 2019-20 delivery, however nobody can find it, so we don't actually know whether it's there or not," he said.
He said Calliope had a history of being ignored by its previous representatives.
"If you analyse the history of Calliope, its representatives previously were Liz Cunningham and Glenn Butcher currently, (and) over all that time Calliope's pretty much been forgotten about," he said.
Mr Butcher shot back at Mr Boyce yesterday, saying the LNP candidate didn't appear to have done his homework.
"It's disgraceful. To say I've forgotten Calliope, when in two-and-a-half years I've delivered a $6.5 million new facility for Calliope State School... as well as a host of other benefits for the region through things like the Gambling Community Benefit Fund," he said.
"And to drag Liz Cunningham into it, well she lives in Calliope, it's her town. To says she's forgotten that community is a slap in the face to her and everyone who lives there.
"If he wants to get Calliope on side with his first foray being these comments to the media well he's well and truly on the wrong track."
Mr Butcher said the idea the school was not necessarily going to be funded under the Palaszczuk Government was laughable.
"He should go into Hansard and search for 'Kate Jones budget speech', and he'll see where she's mentioned in there that it's been funded under this government. It's not hard," he said.
"The reason it's not in this budget is it's not being built until 2019."
Mr Butcher said Mr Boyce has "some small shoes to fill" when it came to the LNP's record on the proposed high school.
"When they were in government they put the land up for sale," he said.
"And just because Calliope is now in the Callide electorate does not mean I'm going to stop supporting this school.
"Whoever the member for Callide is after the next election, I'll be there in 2020 when that school is opening, cutting the ribbon - I guarantee it."
Mr Boyce spent three days in Calliope this week talking to locals about issues important to the town, after securing the party's nomination last month to succeed former deputy premier Jeff Seeney as the LNP's flag-bearer in the rural seat.
He said Calliope locals had raised several issues with him that he would advocate for if elected, including creating a pedestrian crossing across the Dawson Hwy in front of Calliope Shopping Centre and flood-proofing roads around the town's outskirts.