Glenora shafted – mayor

REGIONAL communities including Glenora had been “shafted” by Tasmania’s Labor-Green government, Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans said on Friday. Expressing his dismay at the State Government’s decision to consider closing schools, Councillor Evans said the vast majority of these were in regional and rural areas.

“This is a real kick in the teeth for these areas, and a very short-sighted move on the part of the State Government. I understand that these are tough economic times, but closing schools is a false economy,” Cr Evans said. “When [a] school is closed or downgraded, the whole community suffers, and so does the regional economy of the area,” he said.

Education Minister Nick McKim last week announced that 20 schools were being considered for closure, including the secondary section at Glenora District High School. The school serves students from a wide area of the Upper Derwent Valley and has a SkillsCentre, child care facilities and an Online Access Centre attached. The school hall was recently upgraded at a cost of nearly $1 million.

“Glenora, like many other regional schools, is the hub of the community, it’s a place that parents meet and talk about what’s happening, and it helps to build the fabric of the community,” Cr Evans said. “If years 7–10 close at Glenora District High, what will happen to the Skills Centre there?”

“When areas such as this lose services, families are forced to reconsider their lives, and some are forced to move on. A drop in population leads to a drop in services. Some parents may decide that if the high school closes it is better to send their child to primary school in New Norfolk as well, to avoid disruption. This leaves us with a community without a school, but with another large empty building courtesy of the State Government.”

“This is a poorly thought out, inept and blunt tool to solve an issue that should be looked at in terms of the survival of communities, not in dollar terms,” Martyn Evans said.

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