Liberal Member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick, raised the plight of Coomandook Area School’s non-existent internet service in Parliament yesterday.
A tower was put up on the south-western side of the silos at Coomandook to allow the school to access the internet.
A signal was meant to shoot over the silo, however, the school believes that the location of Viterra’s silos (which are now owned by Glencore) block out the signal.
“Internode put an antennae on the school, which they thought would fix the problem. However, the tower and the antennae do not talk to each other,” said Mr Pederick.
“Internode have walked away and other providers have come and looked at the situation but they have also looked at the placement of the tower and said they cannot help.
“I was talking to one parent who informed me that the internet access is so bad for the kids who have to do distance education that some of them are kept at home by their parents so they can do their work from home. This is the only place they get reliable internet access.”
“The problem for these children is that they are formally recognised as being truant from school. They stay at home so they can do their work, but they are on the truancy list. It just keeps getting worse.
“It is severely restricting the types of lessons Coomandook Area School students can access, and limits their chances of completing the core prerequisite subjects required for certain university degrees, like physics.
“I note that the Principal has taken this issue to the district office and the Department of Education head office, which do not appear to have the funds or the inclination to get this situation fixed and get proper internet access so that these children can have a decent education out in the bush.
“I will certainly be working with all parents and the school to make sure we get this resolved, because it has a heavy impact on people making decisions about whether they keep their children at Coomandook.”