Local Liberals fail to stand up for Swinburne students

Liberal MPs failed to stand up for students and staff at their local Swinburne TAFE campus, voting against a measure that would have ensured the Lilydale and Prahran campuses would remain open.

Labor moved a ‘reasoned amendment’ to the Education Legislation Amendment (Governance) bill 2012 that would require the department secretary ‘provide sufficient VET funding for the continuation of existing campuses’, particularly Swinburne’s Lilydale and Prahran Campuses.

If voted upon successfully, the amendment would be to ensure that campuses, earmarked for closure as a result of the cut in government funding, would be spared.

Member for Monbulk James Merlino said when a vote was called on to include Labor’s amendment, Liberal members for Evelyn, Kilsyth, Gembrook, Seymour, Bayswater, Ferntree Gully, Warrandyte and Mitcham all voted against the measure that would save Swinburne’s Lilydale campus.

“Today, Christine Fyffe, David Hodgett, Brad Brattin, Cindy McLeish, Heidi Victoria, Nick Wakeling, Ryan Smith and Dee Ryall have all sold out on the Lilydale campus,” Mr Merlino said.

“On a day when the Baillieu Government is attempting to resurrect its failing credentials on education, the Liberal party showed its true colours.

“By failing to support this measure, these nine local members failed to stand up for the communities they were elected to represent.

“Once the campus is sold off, it is gone for good, which will strand both current students and staff, while at the same time reducing the options for future students in the area – it will close the door on a generation.”

Mr Merlino said without Labor’s amendment, it was hard to see how the campus could remain open.

“This could be the last chance to save Swinburne’s Lilydale campus,” he said.

“Swinburne lost $35 million in funding after the Baillieu Government’s budget cuts earlier this year. The Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne, Linda Kristjanson, said the decision to close the campus and sell the land was the result of the cuts made by State Government.

“This was supported by Swinburne’s leaked transition plans, which outlined the measures it would take to account for the cuts, which included the closure of Prahran and Lilydale campuses for closure.

“These Liberal Party Members have no-one else but themselves to blame.”