THE Bass Coast community has shown federal and state politicians the fight for funding for the upgrade of Wonthaggi Secondary College’s senior campus is hotting up.
After a successful sausage sizzle last week, an extra 150 people signed the Wonthaggi Secondary College petition. The petition calls on all political parties to commit to and deliver funding for an upgrade of the Wonthaggi Secondary College senior campus, following years of neglect.
Last Thursday, the streets of Wonthaggi were filled with the smell of sausages and who couldn’t go past a free one?
Outside the Sentinel-Times’ office in Wonthaggi, locals and tourists stopped to sign the petition, from residents who’ve been in the area more than half a century to others on day trips.
The Wonthaggi Lions Club generously donated their time to cook up more than 200 sausages in just two and a half hours and Connells Bakery donated bread.
Rumours continue to circulate in the community that a funding commitment again being an election promise in the 2018 State Election.
Wonthaggi Lions Club secretary Georgi Phillips said the students need the upgrade as soon as possible.
“It might well be an election promise. I’m not going to hold my breath,” she said.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s not so much the politicians, it’s the bureaucrats who hold the purse strings.”
Ms Phillips’ children went to Wonthaggi Secondary College.
“It doesn’t matter which party’s in, we’ve missed out with both parties,” she said.
“They definitely need it. It is so outdated and the town is growing.”
The college’s population continues to increase and with it, reduced room on the McBride campus oval, as more portables are brought in to cope with numbers.
The petition was jointly launched last month by the Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association and the Wonthaggi Secondary College School Council.
Association secretary Terry Earl said the Bass Coast community has been very supportive, but encourages everyone to sign the petition.
“It’s just emphasising to people that you actually have to get out and sign the petition and do something,” he said.
“Along with this school, we’ve got to get the council more involved, the hospital more involved and so that we can continue lobbying as a whole.
“If we don’t band together and do something about it, then no one is going to do it for us.”
He said while each organisation has its own outcomes, it all ties together to building a stronger community.
“It’s not just the hospitals. It’s not just the infrastructure. It’s everything,” he said.
The Wonthaggi Lions Club and the Sentinel-Times were visited by an officer from the Bass Coast Shire Council’s Local Laws Department, after complaints from local businesses about the free sausage sizzle. A meeting with Bass MP Brian Paynter, Wonthaggi Lions Club secretary Georgi Phillips, Sentinel-Times’ staff and council officers quickly resolved the issue.
The joint School Council and Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association petition will be submitted to Parliament this month.
The online petition by the Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association and School Council has gained more than 670 signatures, as well as hundreds more in Bass Coast businesses.
In response to questions about how many numbers were needed for the State Government to commit to funding the upgrade, Education Minister James Merlino said the upgrade remains a priority for the State Government.
“That’s why we have already funded the full masterplan for the school,” he said.
“The school is working with the Victorian School Building Authority and the project architects ClarkeHopkinsClarke to get this project shovel ready.
“Work underway includes detailed planning to move the school’s senior campus to a new greenfield site south of Wonthaggi.
“Funding for this project will be considered in future budgets, once this critical planning work is complete.”
To sign the petition, go online to www.goo.gl/SSFPFA
Wonthaggi’s push for $25m campus heats up