Swinburne University of Technology

The Liberal government  forced  the closure  of  the Swinburne  University  of Technology Lilydale  campus as a result  of its savage cuts  to TAFE.  Since June  last year  the  gates  have  been padlocked  and the opportunity  of  a university or TAFE education has been lost  to  thousands  of young  people in  the  outer east. Those  opposite  stand condemned for  closing Swinburne Lilydale. The community has not forgotten nor forgiven the government. The reaction of the community and its support for  the  Save  Swinburne Lilydale campaign have  made the  closure the most passionately felt of any local issue I have been aware  of in my 12 years  as a member of this  place.  The people want their TAFE back; they want  the only higher education facility in the east back. At a time when youth unemployment in the  outer east has increased by  almost 50 per cent, for the sake of the future of young people in the region the people of the outer east must get it back.

This morning the Leader of the Opposition joined with  me,  the  shadow minister for higher  education and  many members  of the local community in front of  the locked gates of Swinburne  Lilydale to make an important announcement. I am very proud to inform the house  that Labor will reopen Swinburne Lilydale. If elected in November, Labor will return higher education and TAFE to the Lilydale campus. Indeed if it is sold off to developers or the local council before the election, which those opposite  want  to do so  they  can  have a Taj  Mahal,  Labor  will compulsorily acquire  it  back.  If  this  magnificent site is sold off, it will never  be replicated. That is why we say that it is not for sale. The university and  TAFE buildings should be used solely for  TAFE  and  higher  and  community education.