Secondary students’ hopes soar sky high – Maribyrnong Weekly

THE change in state government will not delay providing high school education in the Seddon, Kingsville and Yarraville area, state Education Minister Martin Dixon has assured parents.

Parents under the banner of the SKY High working group have been battling for about six years for a high school in their area, with detailed research underpinning an outline of the growing need.

Mr Dixon confirmed he had been briefed on a shortlist of options produced by the department as part of its consultation with SKY High last year. “There’ll be no artificial delay built in by the change of government,” he said.

“The process is continuing and I was pretty well informed of the issues when I was shadow minister.”

The investigation and planning work would be “steady as she goes”.

Asked what was on the shortlist of options, Mr Dixon said he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of any work done by the department.

“The most important thing is that the outcome is the model most people want, [what] we think will work and will meet the needs of the community. We’ve got to [first] see what it is that comes out at the end [of the planning process] as to what the extra provision might look like, where it might be, whether it’s going to use existing sites [or] new sites.”

Mr Dixon told the Weekly there was not a timeframe set in stone for a school.

“It has significant cost impact, so we’ll have to wait and see what comes out and then put that into the budgetary process. I can’t put a year on it.”

Mr Dixon would not confirm whether a start would be made during this term of government.

“There’s a process that we’ve inherited, which I support, and to build that airtight case as to where it should be, when it should be and what it should look like.

“Those discussions will be ongoing during this year and I’ll be receiving briefs on that as it goes along.”

Williamstown MP Wade Noonan said the department’s options paper should be made public.

“Locals will at least be heartened by the fact that the new minister hasn’t trashed the process.

“Let’s hope for the community’s sake that [Mr Dixon] allows his department to be open and transparent with the community about the potential options.”