MAKING Medowie families' dream of a local public high school a reality would help stimulate the economy and create local jobs in the fallout of COVID-19, as well as save children hours travelling on school buses and take pressure off crowded classrooms.
That's the message from Opposition Leader Jodi McKay and Port Stephens MP Kate Washington, who launched the Building Schools Creates Jobs campaign in Medowie on Thursday to kick-start construction across the state. "What we've said to the government is 'Stop focusing on those big
infrastructure projects like moving the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, which no-one in Sydney wants mind you, but look at school projects'," Ms McKay said.
"If you're focusing on building schools in areas they're needed you're not only focused on bettering the education of young people, but you're also creating jobs.
"We're saying to the government, make a commitment to Medowie. Labor has made that commitment during the last two elections."
They met at a Ferodale Road site that has been allocated for a public high school since 1983.
Meanwhile the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is building Catherine McAuley Catholic College, which will open next year. The suburb is already home to the independent Medowie Christian School.
"What does it say about this government when every other sector can realise there is a need here in Medowie, has been a need for many years, but this government is failing to even see the need or if they are, they're ignoring us," Ms Washington said.
She said there were five housing developments underway - Bower Estate, Tall Trees, Medowie Gardens, Blue Heath and Tallowood - that will create 1000 new dwellings. More than 700 will be family housing.
"We have over 1000 kids travelling on buses to get to secondary school so that's only going to get worse."
Ms Washington said both the suburb's public primary schools Medowie and Wirreanda and the two closest public high schools Irrawang and Hunter River were over capacity.
"The government talks about earmarking them for upgrades to increase capacity and that frustrates me because it's just locking in the status quo," she said.
"There are more families coming in and the growth is here, not in Raymond Terrace. It's short-sighted and unfair.
"Yes, those schools could do with an upgrade. But increasing capacity locks in the awful status quo."
Mum of three Marnie Coates' two oldest children attend Medowie Public School but are facing an uncertain future.
"I'm going to cross that bridge when I come to it, it's I guess a quandary for all parents." They are zoned for Irrawang High and are likely to have to travel to Newcastle or Raymond Terrace for high school.
"The kids already do a long day at school and then they've got an hour or more travelling each way to get to school and it doesn't leave time for them to get home, to do extra curricular activities or get their homework done or just have downtime as a family."
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