Napthine’s sham feasibility study failing Lilydale students


The Napthine Government’s announcement of yet another feasibility study will not reopen the gates to Swinburne’s Lilydale campus and will do nothing for the students who had to find another place to study, Shadow Education Minister and Member for Monbulk James Merlino said today.

“No one is going to be fooled by what is just another feasibility study – Denis Napthine is desperately trying to stem the tide of anger in the community in the outer east,” Mr Merlino said.

“Make no mistake about it, the Liberal Government’s slash and burn policy in TAFE closed down our university and TAFE campus and made it into a ghost town. Today’s announcement will not reverse that.

“Most significantly, there is nothing in today’s announcement that protects the university and TAFE buildings from being sold off. Once they are gone, they will be lost forever.

“This feasibility study idea is a joke – it smacks of a Government and Premier running scared from the extraordinary community anger at the disastrous plans to sell off the site.

“Box Hill TAFE has already assessed the viability of the site, but Mr Napthine won’t release that report.

“Now the Premier is giving Yarra Ranges Shire Council $100,000 to replicate this work – what expertise does the Shire have in higher education? It’s something Sir Humphrey would be proud of.”

Mr Merlino called on the Government to rule out any rezoning or sale of education facilities at Lilydale.

“The community deserve to be treated with respect rather than this pathetic spin,” Mr Merlino said.

“The Government’s worst kept secret is their plan with Yarra Ranges Shire Council to rezone the land and sell off the university building to the council,” he said.

“To be absolutely clear: an Andrews Labor Government will not rezone the land to allow the buildings to be sold. Labor will ensure all the buildings will remain solely for TAFE, higher and community education.

“I challenge Mr Napthine to make a similar commitment. Mr Napthine must categorically rule out his secret plans to tear down classrooms and lecture theatres and replace them with council offices.

“A reprehensible deal between the Napthine Government and council will not help the thousands of students who have lost their only opportunity to study at a local university and TAFE.

“It’s time that Mr Napthine matches Labor’s position.”