North Coast


The announcement by the Board of Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools that it has reversed a decision to permanently close St Joseph’s Primary School in Woodburn is a common-sense decision and a win for local mums, dads, carers and students according to the State MP representing the region, Richie Williamson.

“Education was hit hard in the lower parts of the Richmond Valley in the 2022 floods, with both St Joseph’s Primary at Woodburn and Broadwater Public School rendered unusable,” Mr Williamson said.

“Students have been travelling to Evans Head for their learning at temporary sites but now the Catholic Diocese has listened to local families and will reopen its primary school in Woodburn and School Infrastructure NSW will rebuild Broadwater next year.”

Mr Williamson said the decisions would help return a sense of normalcy to the two flood-affected towns on the Richmond River.

“These two communities need and deserve local schools, not just for the benefit of families but the flow on effects for community harmony, small business and the local economy,” Mr Williamson said.

“Families in Sydney are used to having easy access to schools in their neighbourhood and it is good to see the Diocese of Lismore and Schools Infrastructure NSW both recognise that this right should also be available to regional communities like those in the Richmond Valley.

“While I appreciate the obstacles the Diocese of Lismore was faced with around continuing schooling at the flood prone site at Woodburn, I thank them for reaching this sensible decision which will provide certainty and stability for families and staff.”

Mr Williamson said much more still needed to be done to complete flood recovery, but steps like reopening schools were a big leap forward.

“We need to keep working together until everyone is back on their feet and we mitigate the risks of future disasters, because everyone counts,” Mr Williamson concluded.