Local students numbers set to soar, no new schools on cards
STUDENT numbers at Gladstone and Biloela schools will increase by two thirds over the next two decades, but the State Government has no immediate plans to build new schools in the region.
Instead, Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said he would manage "immediate growth" by relying on Gladstone State High School to take in more students.
"As part of the Building our Future Schools funding, the Newman Government has spent $6.8 million to provide 15 extra classrooms and five learning spaces at Gladstone State High School," Mr Langbroek said.
The new figures come as the State Government released detailed infrastructure plans on Wednesday to help accommodate student numbers in growth hotspots Brisbane, Townsville and Caloundra.
The Queensland Schools Planning Commission found student enrolments in Gladstone primary and secondary schools would leap-frog student growth in Townsville in 2021 and 2031.
The projections reveal a 38% increase in students in Gladstone by 2021 and 66.5% growth by 2031.
Meanwhile, Townsville student numbers will increase by only 23.5% by 2021 and 44.9% by 2031.
The commission's projections also reveal there will be more demand for secondary schools than primary schools over the next two decades.
In May, Calliope residents protested against the State Government decision to sell a block of land previously earmarked for development for a new high school.
Mr Langbroek said population growth data has found Calliope would not need a school until 2061.
"A school in Gladstone and Tannum Sands is needed before a school in Calliope," Mr Langbroek said.
"By the end of the year we will have a detailed report on the demand for schools in the Gladstone region."
Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers said she had exhausted all other avenues after she had lobbied Mr Langbroek to reconsider the decision to sell the block, to no avail.
"I can't understand the decision, why would they sell the prime block?" Cr Sellers said.
The block located at 55 Don Cameron Dr was passed in at auction but remained on the market.
Despite more than 1600 residents signing a petition to keep the block, the State Government has not altered its position.
The mayor said she was frustrated at the lack of interest being shown for the concerns of residents.