Addressed to Victorian Parliament:
The matter I raise tonight is for the attention of the Minister for Education. On 27 February a meeting attended by over 500 people was held at the Beaumaris campus of Sandringham College. The meeting was addressed by four departmental officials and consultants who planned to complete a new review of evidence regarding a stand-alone Beaumaris secondary college.
As I have raised in the house previously, this is a process that drags on endlessly and seems to sum up the Baillieu government’s approach — make a $6 million election commitment to the school, then procrastinate for two years and conduct another feasibility study. The school community has been actively engaged in over 12 months of meetings, surveys, consultations and feedbacks.
The community has been clear in its desire for the Beaumaris campus to once again be a stand-alone school and the Sandringham College school council has given its support for Beaumaris secondary college to stand alone. There was a promise of $6 million, but so far not a cent has arrived and there is still no decision or support from the minister.
The school buildings are in dire need of refurbishing and rebuilding and the school community desperately needs a decision; many parents have made the hard decision to send their children elsewhere because of the terrible uncertainty about the future and direction of the school. There were only 17 enrolments in year 7 this year — all boys.
But this is the thing: while Nero fiddles, Rome burns. At the meeting the community begged the Liberal member for Sandringham in the other place, Murray Thompson, for his support, but he did not provide it.
He could not bring himself to address the crowd until he was forced to by questions from the floor, and even then he would not commit to supporting a school at Beaumaris. On his own website he states ‘Academic research indicates a strong correlation between the built environment and student learning outcomes’ and that ‘more money needs to be invested in state education to provide an appropriate learning environment for all Victorian students’. Now it is his and the Baillieu government’s chance to put their money where their mouth is!
At the meeting the department told the community that demographic data did not provide enough evidence for a secondary college in this area. It is now way past the time for the government to honour its election commitment. The action I seek is that the minister commit to stand behind the community of Sandringham College and give it an assurance that the Baillieu government is committed to building a stand-alone school at Beaumaris that can again become a centre of the community and a hub of educational excellence for their children.
What the community desires more than anything else is that the government stops procrastinating and does something other than to consult until it wears the last parent into the ground.