Two new high schools – in Jerrabomberra and Bungendore – and $23 million for an innovation precinct in Jerrabomberra: it’s been a busy day for NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, as he continues to roll out spending pledges ahead of the state election in March.
In a $23 million announcement, Mr Barilaro said the South Jerrabomberra Innovation Precinct would transform vacant land into a 43-hectare Technology Park and a 16-hectare industrial estate, with 33 hectares allocated for a Business Incubator Hub, Regional Sports Hub, Rail Modal and a new high school.
“The proposed Business Incubator Hub will be operated in partnership with a suitable university, with links to the new high school, both of which will offer pathways to companies in the new Technology Park and Sports Hub science and rehabilitation centre,” he said.
The $23 million in funding will see a new access road and cycleway to the precinct built, as well as essential electrical, gas, water, sewerage and fibre optic connections delivered in partnership with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.
“Building these access roads and service connections is a vital first step that will enable the innovation precinct to be developed, creating local jobs, generating demand for business and growing the local economy,” Mr Barilaro said.
The South Jerrabomberra precinct could also include new rail freight facility, with links to Port Kembla, Nowra, Batemans Bay, the port of Eden and Canberra Airport.
Mr Barilaro said the precinct would attract businesses wanting to be close to the nation’s capital along with other firms looking for more cost-effective facilities, and create 5900 new jobs.
“It is an important project that will provide business and employment opportunities for Queanbeyan, attracting technology and sport science businesses and providing a pathway for our best and brightest young minds,” he said.
Three suitable sites had also been identified for a new high school in Bungendore, although they are privately owned and subject to further negotiations.
Mr Barilaro said a new high school meant parents would not have to send their children across the border to the ACT for their education. The ACT has been tightening access to some of its more popular schools, prompting complaints from NSW families, including those in Bungendore.
The Government was also considering the creation of an education precinct in Bungendore, which would mean not just a new high school but added investment to the primary school.
“Parents are moving out of Bungendore when their kids approach high school age because of the lack of a local public high school,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Today’s announcement means generations of local kids will be able to receive an education from kindergarten to year 12 without leaving town.”
Mr Barilaro has already promised a new distance education facility at Queanbeyan High School, a School for Specific Purpose, and major upgrades at Queanbeyan High School, Karabar High School and Queanbeyan East Public School.