REVEALED: Govt secretly planned $100M project for months
A DECISION to amalgamate four Murwillumbah schools to create a mega-campus was made in February, it can be revealed.
A document obtained by NSW Labor has indicated the decision to merge Murwillumbah and Wollumbin High Schools with Murwillumbah and Murwillumbah East Public Schools "was approved in February 2020".
Plans for a $100 million kindergarten to Year 12 campus, at the current Murwillumbah High School site on Riverview St, were announced last week.
In the document, which served as a briefing for Education Minister Sarah Mitchell, it is revealed a "final business case for the Murwillumbah Education Campus" was "expected to be submitted by the end of June 2020" while a draft final business case was submitted to NSW Treasury for feedback on April 17.
The document indicated "consultation with affected principals" began early this year.
But other staff, students and the broader community found out about the decision last week, when it was announced as a set-in-stone change.
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay, who visited Murwillumbah East Public School today, said the lack of prior consultation demonstrated "complete disrespect" for the community.
Ms McKay said Labor would ask the state government to halt the plans in parliament next week
Lismore MP Janelle Saffin said the Minister phoned her "one minute before" last week's announcement.
"That's not consultation," she said.
"I'm the representative for the community, for the people.
"I'm a negotiator but I'm also a fighter.
"For this one, I'm up for the fight and I'm fighting for the community.
"It's just not fair. To dump this on the community in that way is no way to treat a community that's still reeling from COVID."
MEPS P&C president Soenke Biermann said all four affected P&C groups wanted to see the government put their plans on hold and consult the community.
"As parents and as a community we are really shocked, angered and disappointment that there was zero consultation in the lead-up to this announcement, that we've been kept in the dark about these plans and we've been strung along and … told as recently as a few weeks ago that our rebuilding of flood damaged buildings would still go ahead," Mr Biermann said.
"We're asking for genuine consultation from the government."