A new Labor Government will deliver a $32 million special school for Cairns which will become a flagship for disabled student education in Queensland.

In Cairns today Premier Anna Bligh said there was an increasing demand for resources for students with disabilities in the Cairns region.

“That’s why we will deliver a brand new, fully resourced $32 million special school that will create around 125 additional placements for students with disabilities,” she said.

“Construction on the Cairns Special School will commence in 2013, and will be ready for students to enrol for the 2014 school year,” said the Premier.

“This major initiative will have a positive impact on the Cairns region as it will alleviate ot her services for student with disabilities in the surrounding areas.

“And this commitment will also ensure that our students with disabilities in the Cairns region can access world class special education programs.”

In 2011–12, the State Government injected more than $20 million to upgrade Queensland’s 43 state special schools.

“Education Queensland has identified Trinity Bay State High School as a preferred site for the new Special School,” said the Premier.

“This is the site also shared by the School of Distance Education and Flexible Learning Centre, while another possible site is Bentley Park College.”

The Premier said that under a new Labor Government community consultation would be undertaken this year to seek the views of the local community on the final location of the new Special School.

“Extensive planning will also be undertaken for the Cairns region as part of the consultation process to achieve quality education provision for the broader Far North Queensland community,” she said.

Member for Mulgrave Curti s Pitt, who is also Disability Services Minister, said: “I know what a difference this will make. To have a facility like this, that will be a flagship for the state, is a big boost for the education of students with disabilities.

Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall said: “This announcement brings a double benefit – not only do we get new places but the pressure is relieved on other education services for disabled kids in the region.

Candidate for Cairns Kirsten Lesina said: “A $32 million special school for Cairns is further proof that Labor is focussed on delivering for the regions.

Member for Cook Jason O’Brien said: “Parents of disabled children across the region will welcome this sort of spending that will have a positive impact on the lives of their children.