Notre Dame expert warns political parties not to discount importance of education in lead up to State Election

Education appears to have been overshadowed as a State Election issue in Fremantle.
Education appears to have been overshadowed as a State Election issue in Fremantle.

IN 2018, Fremantle will get its first new public school in 30 years in the form of Fremantle College.

The $30 million amalgamation of South Fremantle and Hamilton senior high schools is expected to instil a greater academic focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses, a maritime trade training centre and a Gifted and Talented program.

But there have been few announcements about education in the region.

On Sunday, the Liberal Party announced that two local high schools could benefit from the sale of Western Power, promising $25 million to John Curtin College of the Arts and $3 million to Fremantle College as part of the $1 billion Next Generation Education Fund.

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The Labor Party has promised more funding for education assistants and science labs across the state.

University of Notre Dame politics and international relations senior lecturer Martin Drum said Fremantle candidates should not underestimate the importance of education to voters, despite other issues taking the forefront.

“Without doubt the biggest election issue in Fremantle will be the future of the Perth freight link project,” he said.

“It’s not the only issue, but its certainly crowding the others out at the moment.

“Education is always one of the key issues in a State Election because it is central to the thinking of families in particular. But more broadly people see education as linked to the future of our state.”

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Despite this, Dr Drum said the biggest issue facing Fremantle was the economy.

“Most people seem concerned about the strength of the local business sector and how we can get more investment in our local area,” he said. “This is one area which local candidates can gain some traction, regardless of which party they are standing for.”