By TONY FOSTER*
THE Brighton community is being invited to have a say on the development of the new Brighton High School and the upgrade of Jordan River Learning Federation School Farm.
The $30 million new high school development and the $4.3 million School Farm upgrading were major election promises by the Liberal Government, with the high school to be completed over the next four years. The initial planning funds were allocated in the most recent State Budget.
As a prelude to the detailed planning, the Government is now advertising its consultation program and it is very much in our community’s interest to have a say. You’ll see there I an advertisement for that consultation in this edition of Brighton Community News.
Education and Training Minister Jeremy Rockliff says he wants people to get involved in the planning through the Department of Education’s ‘Get Involved’ campaign giving Tasmanians the opportunity to shape their schools and communities.
The Minister said the community engagement was about listening and consulting with people on what is the best possible outcome for a community when it comes to a new school.
Brighton Council negotiated long and hard with the State Government to secure the high school commitment as well as securing funds for the upgrading of the School Farm.
We’ve long believed that education is a key to the future of our municipality and a new high school to complement the fine work of the Jordan River Learning Federation will take our municipality to the next level.
Brighton is one of the fastest growing regions in Tasmania and the need for the new high school is certainly justified. It will help to meet our community’s desire for additional educational opportunities for the growing number of young people living here.
As I have explained previously, the new Brighton High School will serve not only our municipality, but also students from our surrounding region. It will mean that the hundreds of school children who currently are bussed or driven daily to schools in Glenorchy or even further afield, can start and complete their schooling much closer to home. This is infinitely better for the students, better for families and while it may only be a minor benefit, will also reduce some of the traffic on our roads.
Of course, our challenge now is to make sure the high school is delivered over this four-year term of government and to get the very best development on the very best site. We want the high school to truly meet the needs of our community and for it to complement the education outcomes of the existing Jordan River Learning Federation and the School Farm. We also want to see the School Farm development proceed as soon as possible so it can provide an even better experience for our young people.
So, this community engagement proposed by the Government is important. Council has already been involved in assisting and providing information to the Minister and his department, and we will continue to do so.
Yes, the decision on the location of the new high school is the responsibility of the State Government and the Education Department, but we want to assist to ensure that all the relevant issues are canvassed and that the community’s views are considered as the detailed planning gets underway.
This is an exciting time for the Brighton Municipality.
When the new high school is developed, our students will have two options for their senior education, each offering unique and valuable opportunities. The enhanced School Farm will be an added bonus and offer a great experience for students wishing to pursue rural or associated careers.
Undoubtedly this major increase in education infrastructure will encourage more people to consider the Brighton Municipality as an attractive location to live and raise families and in turn, this will encourage more growth, development and employment opportunities. It will be a great boost for Brighton and our entire community.
The Government’s community engagement program is now underway and the consultation will run for an initial six weeks. It’s being publicised via social media, direct mail and advertising and there’ll be a second round of consultation in 2019 covering other major education projects.
We don’t want to see any delay to the building of the new high school or the works planned for the School Farm, so I urge those interested to get in early and have a say.
If you want to have input to the Government’s planning for these important projects, you can find out how simply by contacting www.education.tas.gov.au/get-involved.
We have campaigned long and hard for many years to achieve this and our efforts are now bearing fruit. I will certainly be putting forward my views and I urge others interested to do the same.
*Tony Foster AM OAM JP is Brighton Mayor