Council rejects call to cover HSC hall costs

Clarence Valley Council has told Maclean High School it must pay for hire of the Jim Thomson Pavillion for this year’s Higher School Certificate exams.

Council last week voted 5-4 to reject an application from the school to waive the $3000 hire fee.

Councillor Greg Clancy put forward the successful motion at last week’s council meeting, back-flipping on his previous support of covering the hall hire costs.

“I supported the idea of providing the funding last week because it is a good thing to support high school and students and children generally. But I’ve had time to think about it, and really it’s not council’s role, and the ratepayer’s role, to be providing facilities for a state government department such as the Department of Education and Training,” Cr Clancy said.

Cr Arthur Lysaught argued against Cr Clancy’s motion, suggesting the funds should be taken from the Maclean Showground Trust.

“I think it’s mean and miserable for us not to support Maclean High School in this particular matter,” Cr Lysaught said. “My belief is as community leaders we should be supporting our most precious asset in this Clarence Valley, and that is our youth.”

Cr Andrew Baker supported Cr Clancy, saying the Department of Education should have budgeted for the expense, and council had pledged to ratepayers to show financial discipline.

Cr Peter Ellem agreed with Cr Lysaught that not waiving the $3000 fee for Maclean High School was “mean and miserable”, and urged other councillors to “show some heart”.

Cr Toms said council needed to use its head, not its heart. She added that the lack of a venue for the HSC exams had been a problem at Maclean High for many years, and questioned why the department had not taken action to provide suitable facilities.

Crs Debrah Novak and Mayor Jim Simmons argued council should waive the fee.

Crs Jason Kingsley and Richie Williamson stayed out of debate, but cast their deciding votes behind Cr Clancy’s motion to make Maclean High pay for this year’s HSC hall hire.