Land (Revocation of Reservations) Bill 2015
Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — I thought the former Minister for Education might have had a little bit more to say about this bill, but anyway here we go. I might be able to fill him in on a few of his questions.
The purpose of the Land (Revocation of Reservations) Bill 2015 is to revoke permanent reservations over seven Crown land sites at Albert Park, Ballarat North, Flinders, Caulfield, Cobram, Waaia and Wedderburn. From my experiences in local government, in government and indeed as a teacher at a school that was sold off by the Kennett regime, I must say that making a decision to sell or rezone land is not something that governments take lightly; it usually indicates that there is a really strong preferred need for the site or that the land is in fact no longer needed.
I understand that in all these cases there has been a concrete study of the needs of the area and how the land can be used or how the proceeds of the sale of the land can be used in a different way. Crown land is something that is highly regarded by the community. People think it is important to keep it as long as you can in government hands, so the decision to sell off Crown land is something that, as I have already indicated, governments do not take lightly.
I am going to speak about two parts of this bill. I will start with the education department land in Albert Park. As we have heard from previous speakers, this has been the topic of some debate in the house. I put it on the record just how important it is that these two new schools in Albert Park are established. As other speakers have indicated, this was an election commitment, and the government is striding forward to make sure that it will happen sooner rather than later. This bill is part of making sure that these election commitments are delivered. I notice that the former Minister for Education has left the house, and I know that he would like to be standing here, but the truth of the matter is that his legacy will be that in 2016 — despite the fact that there are 100 000 people coming to Melbourne every year, despite the growth in the outer suburbs and the population growth in the inner suburbs, and despite the absolute stress and strains in our education system to make sure that every child gets the best education in a quality classroom — the legacy of the lazy, crazy Napthine and Baillieu governments will be that not one new school will be opened in 2016. There is not one new school, despite the pressure on the education department to provide access to a quality education for all Victorian children.
I notice that the South Melbourne Primary School in Ferrars Street is due to open in 2018, and South Melbourne Park Primary in Albert Road will open in 2019. For the information of those opposite, the key elements of our election commitment around these schools, especially the one in Albert Park — the South Melbourne Park Primary School at the current Parks Victoria depot site in Albert Park — makes a total funding commitment of $11.5 million. There will be no net loss of open space in the Albert Park Reserve. In the design of the building the architects are working very hard to make sure that we have not just a great educational space but also a great community space and that the school design integrates the heritage building.
Also at this school there will be a music program that will be incorporated into the school’s curriculum. It is developed in partnership with the Australian National Academy of Music and the Victorian College of the Arts and Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne. So we are not only going to build a quality school on this site we are also going to make sure that we have innovative curriculum. For those who have been following our education state policy, we as a government have said that creativity is one of those key performance indicators.
We want to make sure that every child in a Victorian school gets a holistic education — an education that allows children to do the stem subjects that are so wanted by future employers but also to make sure that our kids are resilient and creative as well. The music program at the South Melbourne Park Primary School will have that very strong emphasis. I am sure that parents in the area will be very much in support of that. There has been consultation with the residents, the school community and parents to ensure that the curriculum at this school will be something that every local parent will want their child to experience.
We have also heard talk about what is going to happen to Parks Victoria and Orchestra Victoria. I am told they will either be co-located with the new primary school or transitioned to a new site. Whatever outcomes are achieved, we know that neither organisation will be disadvantaged by the development of the new school. This is a win-win project for the Albert Park community and also for Parks Victoria and Orchestra Victoria.
The department has not taken these decisions lightly, as I said. Revoking land and putting it up for sale requires high-level reviews. The department has completed a high-level review of the site to identify issues that will need to be addressed to facilitate the development of the primary school at the site. That is just another way of saying that this government is getting on with the job of delivering on its election promises and making sure that things are done properly and that the school community will get a quality school that will be fully integrated.
An honourable member — Finally in this area.
Ms GRALEY — Finally. Other parts of the bill refer not only to the Albert Park area but also to an area I am growing fonder of every day — the Ballarat area. That is where my beloved football club, the Western Bulldogs, will be playing some matches in the future. I know the Dogs are not the first team of the member for Wendouree, but I am sure she will become increasingly fond of the great contribution the Western Bulldogs will make to the Ballarat area in the redevelopment of Eureka Stadium. The revocation of the land in Ballarat North is supported by the Ballarat North Football Club and the City of Ballarat, and the Eureka Stadium project will be bigger and better because of this.
It is a great decision of the Western Bulldogs Football Club to move into regional Victoria. This will not only be good for the people of Ballarat but it will also develop a strong relationship between the west of Melbourne and the regional city. We each have things we can bring to the party to benefit both communities in Ballarat and the western suburbs. One of my favourite players, Marcus Bontempelli, and the captain, Robert Murphy, of whom the Minister for Health is the no. 1 fan, will be up there promoting Ballarat as well as winning games for the fantastic Western Bulldogs. We might even beat the Tigers — which would cause some consternation for the member for Wendouree, but we love beating the Tigers.
This bill is very well timed. It is the result of consultation with a number of communities, and it will deliver on some of the government’s election promises, especially in the field of education, which we on this side of the house know was neglected by the previous government. Things came to a standstill: kids in Victoria were at a disadvantage, especially kids in Albert Park who were not able to access to quality education facility. This bill is a step in the right direction to make sure of the education state agenda of ensuring that every kid in Victoria has access to a quality education irrespective of their background, their experiences or their postcode. I commend the bill to the house.