Serious concerns have been raised that Barcaldine and Blackall could both be left without kindergarten programs next year and local member Lachlan Millar is calling for the Education Minister to personally intervene.
“The Premier and the Education Minister visited Barcaldine in April this year to announce their commitment to new kindergartens and child care centres for Barcaldine and Blackall. Now I’m hearing there are already major cost over-runs and the projects could be quietly shelved,” said Lachlan Millar MP, Member for Gregory.
“On the strength of the Premier’s media announcement in April, the existing community kindergartens are both slated to close at the end of this school year. Parents and committee members are understandably alarmed and I am publicly calling on Kate Jones to step in and publicly guarantee that Labor will deliver on its promise.”
Mr Millar said the contribution by the Federal Government and the two local councils were still secure.
“The question is around the State Government’s component. After people raised their fears with me, I have tried to identify a dedicated funding line in the Budget Papers, but I have been unable to do so. People need the Minister’s clear reassurance that she is still committed to delivering these projects in time for the new school year,” he said.
“If the Queensland Government backs out now, both Blackall and Barcaldine will be worse off as a result of that April announcement.”
Mr Millar said he understood both facilities would comprise pre-fabricated, modular buildings and that the Department used two preferred suppliers to build and install these.
“I’m told the quotes from the suppliers have over-run by a cost of about $800,000, even trimmed of so-called “fat” such as playgrounds and landscaping. I believe the suppliers do not use any local suppliers or subcontractors so there is very little local input or control,” he said.
“This why we need that public confirmation from the Minister that she will deliver on her promise.”