Schools: Ivanhoe electorate

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The matter I raise is for the Minister for Education, and it relates to the Heidelberg schools regeneration project and the threat to current community facilities related to those schools. The action I seek is for the minister to meet with me, as the local member of Parliament, Banyule City Council and the affected sporting and community organisations to ensure continued community use of facilities at Banksia-La Trobe Secondary College.

Banyule City Council is keen to have a discussion to make sure it can provide the ongoing service of those facilities to the local community. I have been in many discussions with the council, and I have offered my support to lobby to do that.

We have raised these matters many times with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and we have repeatedly lobbied the government and the department to meet with the local communities to consult with and involve us in the decisions that affect those community facilities. A number of local organisations, including the Spectrum migrant resource centre, the Waterdale Players drama society and the Ivanhoe East Basketball Club, use the facilities associated with the school.

For months now we have been saying that we need to meet with those organisations and provide them with some ongoing security and support.

Banyule City Council is keen to find a way to be able to manage those community facilities in the future, and I am keen to assist those community groups to do that, but we have met with a deafening silence from the government and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, which have the ability to resolve these matters and work for the best interests of these community organisations and the parents who volunteer to provide opportunities for young people in our area.

I note that Banyule City Council, at its meeting last night, indicated that a letter had been written to the Minister for Education seeking an urgent meeting with respect to the vacant schools in Heidelberg West and Bellfield and the community use of those facilities, and that no response had been received. Last night at its meeting, Banyule City Council again reiterated that it would seek a meeting with the Minister for Education and me, as the local member of Parliament, to again try to reach a compromise agreement about how we will provide some security for these community organisations so that council is able to manage these facilities in the future.

Places Victoria now seems to be saying that it is running these facilities and that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is trying to wash its hands of any responsibility it has to manage them and involve the community. It is not acceptable to let these matters fall through the cracks. The government needs to show some leadership. It is a basic role of members of Parliament, of governments and of councils to meet and discuss such matters and work through them. We have a council and a local member committed to providing these services on an ongoing basis to the local community. We need a government that is committed to sitting down, meeting with us and discussing these matters.

I hope the Minister for Education will respond positively to this request and not wait until after Christmas.