Great news for Wollombi community

Greens force NSW govt to reveal its plans for Wollombi and Martins Creek primary schools

Media release: 15 October 2014Wollombi School - historical

Two tight-knit communities in the Hunter region today received a massive boost in their bid to save their local primary school from closure, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

The NSW Upper House this morning passed a motion drafted by Dr Kaye and Christian Democrat Party MP Paul Green this morning in the NSW Upper House this morning to release all documents held by either Education Minister Adrian Piccoli or his department that relate to the closure or otherwise of Martins Creek Public School or Wollombi Public School (see full motion below).

The documents must be released to the parliament within 14 calendar days.

The motion was passed without dissent after the Greens informed the government that the motion had the support of the majority of other parties in the Upper House, namely Labor and the Christian Democrat MPs.

The motion comes after months of concerns raised by the Greens and the Christian Democrats on behalf of both school communities about the lack of transparency and clarity about the consultation process.

Dr Kaye said: “Both communities have persistently advocated on behalf of their schools. Their struggle against the Education Minister and his department put this issue on the agenda of the other parties in the Upper House.

“The NSW Upper House has sent a clear message to the NSW government that they can’t unilaterally decide to close down schools without genuine consultation, sound justification and a transparent process.

“The Greens have serious concerns that in both the Wollombi and Martins Creek cases, a pre-determined outcome has marginalised community consultation and the needs of the students currently enrolled as well as future enrolments.

“We look forward to getting a clearer picture of the decision-making process.

“The motion was necessary because we are approaching the end of the school year and both communities desperately need some clarity about the future of their schools.

“We understand that decisions on the future of the schools are imminent.

“When we are talking about the future of a school, the centre of the community in remote and regional areas, it is appropriate that all of the facts are made open and transparent and available to the general public,” said Dr Kaye.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Paul Green 0423 881 873

Motion passed by the NSW Legislative Council 15 October 2014

Dr Kaye to move:

That, under standing order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House within 14 days of the date of passing of this resolution the following documents created since 1 July 2011, in the possession, custody or control of the Minister for Education or the Department of Education and Communities:

(a) any documents relating to any proposed or possible change of the status of Martins Creek

Public School and/or Wollombi Public School, including closure or placement into recess,

(b) any document that refers to the viability of Martins Creek Public School and/or Wollombi Public School,

(c) any document that refers to Martins Creek Public School and/or Wollombi Public School in the context of the February 2014 “Protocols for schools where recess, closure, amalgamation or other educational provision models are to be considered”, and

(d) any legal or other advice regarding the scope or validity of this order of the House created as a result of this order of the House.

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