THE Baillieu government is facing calls to halt the multimillion-dollar sale of a TAFE site near Richmond and instead use it to establish a boys’ high school.
The large block that houses the Kangan Institute in Cremorne was put on the market late last month after training at the site was transferred to a new centre in Docklands.
Local residents say the site would be ideal for a badly needed boys’ high school in the area, while local MP Richard Wynne said the sale showed the government ranked privatisation above helping local communities.
He said the government was ignoring a shift in demographic trends that showed families were increasingly settling in the inner city.
However, the government has said the sale will proceed because a high school is not needed in the area.
Richmond High School was closed in 1992 by the Kennett government as part of its massive cuts to public services to fix Victoria’s tattered economy.
The site was used to establish Melbourne Girls College in 1994, meaning Richmond families send their boys to suburbs such as Camberwell or Kew to educate them in a government secondary school.
The education facilities already at the Kangan site, which is expected to fetch about $8 million for the government, and public transport accessibility mean residents say it is an obvious choice for a new school.
Cremorne resident Alexandra Davine, who has a twin eight-year-old son and daughter, said Collingwood College was an option but traffic congestion made it difficult for local families to get to. She said she would like her children to attend the same school but this was unlikely because her daughter would probably go to Melbourne Girls College.
She said the local population was booming but the government was selling a potentially excellent school site.
”A government education should be available to all, in reasonable proximity to their homes and be safe to get to.”
The population of the Richmond, Cremorne and Burnley area grew by more than 6 per cent to 26,000 in the five years to 2011.
Justin Naylor from the Richmond High School Choices action group said there was increasing pressure on the government to deliver a new school. He said the government must conduct an independent study to ensure the Kangan site would not be an appropriate site for a new school before selling off a public asset that it may have to replace in the near future.
A spokesman for Education Minister Martin Dixon said future enrolment predictions for the Richmond area showed a new secondary school was not needed, but growth in the area would be monitored.
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