Upgrades promised for skate park, Gracemere primary
NOT prepared to take the foot off the pedal the day before the State Election, Katter’s Australia Party candidate for Rockhampton Christian Shepherd has promised more vital upgrades for infrastructure around the electorate.
If KAP captured Rockhampton and the balance of power, Mr Shepherd promised $1 million towards upgrades and associated drainage works at North Rockhampton’s Stapleton Park skate park.
He also reaffirmed his support for upgrading the educational facilities at Gracemere State School.
The Morning Bulletin has previously written about the drainage issues and general deterioration of the Stapleton Park skate park after complaints were made by locals about the facility.
Mr Shepherd said it was a key skatepark facility in North Rockhampton, providing an important recreational space for Rockhampton’s youth to have fun, be physically active and improve their fitness.
“The park holds a special place in the hearts of many local families and is key to the social fabric of the surrounding suburbs. Unfortunately, it is prone to flash flooding during heavy rain which can put it out of action,” Mr Shepherd said.
“Rockhampton Regional Council has proposed that the expansion include street style elements and drainage improvements to reduce the inundation.”
Mr Shepherd said he was “more than happy” to work with all levels of government, local and federal, to ensure the best possible outcomes were achieved for the community.
“As a Rocky local and a former skate-rat, I’m overjoyed to be able to contribute to this project which will improve recreational opportunities for our youngsters,” he said.
“I was in my skateboarding prime when this park was opened up and even though we roamed around town making nuisances of ourselves, the skate park was always home base where we met up, hung out and practised our skills.
“Other candidates keep saying they support this and support that, but aren’t showing they have any ideas or plans on how to do it. Just empty expressions of sentiment.
“Rockhampton doesn’t need any more cheap talk. We’ve had decades of it. We need action. I will support our communities, our sports, our jobs and our families, and every election pledge is showing voters how.”
Upgrading Gracemere State School
While Rockhampton’s candidates have remained focused on delivering Gracemere a high school, Mr Shepherd has been a lone voice during the election campaign calling for improving Gracemere State School.
“I’ve spoken up about the condition of Gracemere State School in the past, hoping that other local candidates would recognise their plight, particularly the incumbents,” Mr Shepherd said.
“The Keppel candidate was the Assistant Minister for Education who makes no hesitation to use the Gracemere region for media attention and continually claims that ‘every child deserves a good education regardless of their suburb’.”
“It would seem that being a suburb whose Labor vote is down to 30 per cent from 50 per cent since they ripped the heart out of it with the sale of QR National, that puts a black mark against Gracemere’s name.”
Mr Shepherd said the construction of Gracemere High School was “low hanging fruit” for candidates.
“One doesn’t have to even scratch the surface of Gracemere’s needs to back it, as it is basically the default position for all but Labor,” he said.
“But if they were to stop and actually talk to the Gracemere community, they’d discover the gross neglect and absolute contempt that Labor have shown for the students, parents and staff of Gracemere State School.
“As the Katter’s Australian Party candidate for Rockhampton, I will commit to upgrading the educational facilities at Gracemere State School to ensure that these wonderful young students get a fair go.”
He said this would include a new amenities block, a perimeter fence to ensure the safety and security of students and teachers, an expanded carpark with pick-up and drop-off areas as well as a completely new building consisting of several additional classrooms and more amenities.
“If properly equipping Gracemere State School also requires relocating demountables from the numerous Rockhampton high schools that are suffering a massive shortage in enrolment numbers, that is what we’ll do,” he said.
“The Gracemere State School P&C are sick to death of their school and their kids being blatantly, wilfully ignored while already modernised schools in Rockhampton are lavished with multimillion-dollar projects by the State Government.
“No more ignoring Gracemere. No more excuses. No more games with booth percentages. No more kicking the can down the road. The buck stops here.”
Speaking to the Morning Bulletin in July, Labor’s incumbent candidate for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said he was well aware of Gracemere’s State School’s priorities after having a “very fruitful meeting with the principal” a few weeks prior.
“We discussed the $35 million Lawrie St upgrade and how that would improve access for parents and staff,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“We also talked about the infrastructure priorities for the school going forward.
“I look forward to working with the Education Minister to ensure our local schools continue to secure funding for upgrades in the coming months.”
Education Minister Grace Grace said her government was committed to ensuring all students, no matter where they lived, had access to quality educational facilities within their local communities.
“That’s why we have invested $90 million across Central Queensland for new or improved facilities at existing schools in the past 12 months,” Ms Grace said.
Labor’s incumbent candidate for Keppel Brittany Lauga was approached for comment.