The Newman Government’s chaotic decision-making has been brought into focus once again with the axing of a planned kindergarten in Gordonvale, says Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt.
“Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek’s U-turn on this issue is another example of poor judgement and muddled thinking and a cruel blow for parents,” Mr Pitt said.
“Earlier this year Mr Langbroek announced that his department would build a new kindergarten alongside Gordonvale State School. Now I have been informed that he has reversed this decision.
“The Minister says that it won’t proceed because there is no demand for it, a conclusion that I find questionable given the advice I received from his office in June.
“Based on existing planning methodology using 2011 census data, the department initially found a shortage of kindergarten places in the Gordonvale local planning area and, if the proposal had not been scrapped, it would have provided up to 44 new places – for many families at low or no cost.
“It would also have made it possible for low income parents who currently can’t afford to send their children to kindy to get subsidised places.
“This Kindy was not only about meeting current needs, but also future needs and it would have been great for Gordonvale, an area that is expanding.
“The recent announcement of the Woolworths development provides greater certainty for more house and land sales and will bring with it more families and the need for more childcare places in the future.
“As recently as last month Mr Langbroek issued notice that he had designated land close to the school for the proposed kindergarten.
“Then, in correspondence received by my office on 12 September from Mr Langbroek makes it clear that he has been advised that existing kindergarten providers in the area have significant vacancies and there had been little interest from local families in enrolling their children in a new facility.
“Either it was a poor decision in the first place, or it’s a poor one now. Either way it is clear that Mr Langbroek raised community expectations which have now been dashed.”
Mr Pitt said the most recent letter was date-stamped 2 September – before the federal election – but as revealing the outcome may have been considered bad news for Coalition candidates, it was sat on until after the election.
“Mr Langbroek did not have the courage to make his decision public until after people had voted for a new Federal Government,” said Mr Pitt.
“Shamefully he delayed the announcement of his decision to close six Queensland schools until Tuesday of this week, now that Tony Abbott is safely installed as the nation’s new leader.”