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Powell Speech – Maleny, Indoor Aquatic Centre; Palmwoods, High School (15 July 2015)

Mr POWELL (Glass House—LNP) (10.53 pm): Tonight I would like to address two pressing matters in the electorate of Glass House. Over the past two days I have tabled a written petition with 1,273 signatures and an e-petition with a further 282 signatures seeking the assistance of the state government in delivering a new indoor aquatic centre for Maleny. At the outset, I acknowledge the hard work of Maleny Swimming Club’s Kim Easton in driving this petition.
Maleny, the regional hub for much of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is in desperate need of a new pool. The current pool at the Maleny State School was built through community fundraising some 30 years ago. At that time it was considered quite an achievement. Unfortunately, by modern standards the pool is small. Competing butterfly swimmers clash arms. The area where the pool is located is landlocked with no room to expand. It creates a traffic nightmare, with no allocated parking area. The pool is also uncovered, meaning that it is closed for nearly half the year. Maleny deserves better.
After years of council studies it was determined that the schoolgrounds remain the best location for an upgraded facility. For the past two years I have been working tirelessly with the principal of Maleny State School, John Byrne; Trevor Schultz from Education Queensland; Belinda Walker from TMR; Councillor Jenny McKay and her council officers; and with Kim Easton from the swimming club to find a solution. I want to take a moment to applaud and commend John and Trevor in particular. Their willingness to consider community partnerships and to make this happen is so refreshing and so appreciated, and we are nearly there. This petition confirms the community’s desire for this happen. I trust that the education minister will be as supportive as her departmental staff of this process and assist in ensuring that the land can be transferred to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
The second matter that I want to raise also relates to education. Recently, the minister and shadow minister for education, as well as the member for Nicklin, would have received a submission from Mrs Alison Donaldson of Palmwoods. Alison has written on behalf of a significant number of parents and residents of Palmwoods, Woombye, Chevallum and Montville calling for a new high school to be planned and built in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, ideally at Palmwoods. The residential heart of the lower Sunshine Coast hinterland used to be Nambour. That is why there are two high schools in that town. But as farms have been subdivided, families have progressively moved into the communities around Palmwoods.
Alison received survey responses from over 500 families and in analysing the responses found that the resounding majority of them would use a local high school. Through careful analysis, Alison has revealed that, if a new high school were built, it would have minimal impacts on existing schools as students are currently attending some 13 different high schools. Alison’s effort are exhaustive I will not table all of the responses, but I will table the letter and key survey results.
Tabled paper: Bundle of documents regarding proposal for Sunshine Coast Hinterland High School.
Mrs Donaldson concludes her letter with the following—
Our survey results indicate within two or three years we would have sufficient students to fill a 700 student high school and … we would urge you to listen to our community and move forward towards the creation of a Hinterland High School.
I say to the minister that Alison and I genuinely look forward to receiving her response.

Click here to see the video of my speech-


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