Murrumbateman is often called a satellite suburb of Canberra rather than part of the Yass Valley, and it is easy to see why.
Most residents travel to Canberra for education, employment and recreation.
This, combined with a lack of local sporting teams, limited community events and no educational facilities once children reach kindergarten age, means there isn't much to bring the community together.
When I was in primary school, I was one of 350 students travelling to Canberra by bus. I started the day by walking out the door at 7.35am and walking back through it at 4.45pm.
On the weekends, I knew only one other child from my school who lived in Murrumbateman, and even then he lived more than 10 kilometres away on the opposite side of the Barton Highway.
The children of Murrumbateman deserve the opportunity...
For secondary school I went to Yass High, which – while closer than Canberra – meant that to stick around and attend clubs and play sports usually increased my dad’s commute home from Canberra from 40 minutes up to an hour and a half.
How does that story relate to a case for a Murrumbateman school?
When a school is developed in an area, it isn’t long till events and sporting clubs to cater to the students of that school develop as well.
Supporting Murrumbateman students in a local school would bring our community much closer together than does the current situation of being scattered across a range of Yass and Canberra campuses.
There is also a real need to plan for the future. The town is quickly growing, and we can’t keep sending students to Canberra or Yass forever.
Students from Murrumbateman face uncertainty in Canberra as the current enrolment policy of the ACT Government is for all non-ACT enrolments to be considered only after all ACT enrolments have been finalised.
There are also issues for Murrumbateman students who go to Yass schools, as Yass High and Berinba Public have both reached their student capacity. Each has resorted to housing students in demountable buildings to meet the rising numbers of enrolments each year.
The children of Murrumbateman deserve the opportunity to live, learn and play in the same town.
- Lachlan studies politics, international relations and communications at the University of Canberra
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