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May 31, 2011  |  Adjournment

Schools: Ivanhoe electorate

I wish to raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Education. The action I seek is for the minister to commit to a full and open public consultation process regarding the future use of land at Haig Street Primary School, Bellfield Primary School and Banksia-La Trobe Secondary College in my electorate of Ivanhoe. These school sites are part of the Heidelberg schools regeneration project, which includes moving students and future students at those schools to the sites at the Charles La Trobe College adjacent to La Trobe University in Macleod West and to Olympic Village Primary School, which will become a junior campus — that is, a prep-to-grade-4 campus of the Charles La Trobe College. The Brumby government funded stage 1 of that project. Some $20 million has already been invested in that school’s regeneration project. We are now moving the students from Haig Street primary and Bellfield primary up to the new school.

At the end of this year students who have been using the Banksia-La Trobe Secondary College site will be moved to the Charles La Trobe College site.

The question that is exercising the minds of people in my electorate is what will become the future use of the vacant school sites of Haig Street primary, Belford primary and Banksia-La Trobe Secondary College? The local community is already using these sites through homework clubs, and a number of sporting organisations use the facilities of the school halls at these sites. I am sure that Banyule City Council would like to have some input into discussions about the future use of these sites and potentially manage some of them; I think the council needs to be involved in those discussions.

The Banyule Community Health Service, neighbourhood houses, neighbourhood renewal committee, local community organisations and the local community members who live opposite these school sites also have a desire to be involved in conversations about how these public land site assets can be used, either through open space or by continuing to provide community facilities. We need to have that discussion.

I am well aware that there are mechanisms that relate to making these sites available to other government departments and local government, but I think there needs to be a very clear and open discussion with the community about what its aspirations are for these sites, and that is what I seek from the minister. It is very important that we provide an opportunity for people to do that, particularly given stage 2 to complete the Charles La Trobe College project is yet to be funded by this government. In addition there is the potential to fund stage 2 through the future use of these sites. I look forward to the minister’s action on this matter.