Major parties fail school test

BOTH the Liberal and Labor parties have scored an F from a local parents’ community group that has been trying for two years to get a high school built in Hammond Park.

The Barnett government had put aside land for the school at the corner of Gaebler and Rowley Streets in the fast-growing southern Cockburn suburb, but then squibbed on building it, claiming there weren’t enough school-aged kids in the area to justify it.

The Hammond Park Needs a High group then got in the ear of Labor leader Mark McGowan but when the Opposition released its education policy there was no mention of it.

Instead, Labor promised to build a high school in Ellenbrook, in the marginal seat of West Swan, which it holds by 4.1 per cent.

Hammond Park falls just within the safe Labor seat of Cockburn, held by Fran Logan. Just metres away, over the electoral boundary, is the ultra-marginal seat of Jandakot, held by Liberal Joe Francis.

HPNH convenor Rose Beasely says her group has gathered 1000 signatures, demonstrating popular support for a new high school, and is disappointed the major parties aren’t listening.

“Mark McGowan and Paul Papalia came and saw us and Fran Logan has been behind us from day one,” she says. “And we had a meeting with Liz Constable, when she was minister, but she didn’t seem that interested.

“So it’s very disappointing meeting with both sides and nothing happens.

“I’m not into playing politics and I don’t care who builds it, we just want the high school.”

Ms Beasley says Hammond Park and surrounding suburbs are bursting with kids, who will be ready for high school soon.

“The growth in those areas is growing at a rate of knots,” she says. “They have already put aside land for the high school and they don’t get built overnight.”

Ms Beasley says the only other local public high school is Atwell College, which is almost at its limit. “I’ve got two kids and I can’t afford to send them to a private school.”

by BRENDAN FOSTER

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