TAFE in Victoria | 12 June 2013
Yarra Ranges Council will attempt to buy part of the Swinburne University Lilydale campus in a bold attempt to maintain the site as an education centre.
Mayor Jim Child said that after nine months of discussions with different education providers, there was “very little serious interest in acquiring the site for education” and something needed to happen.
“In light of the lack of interest in the site from the education sector, we believe council ownership would give us the potential to influence the longer-term vision for the strategic development of Lilydale,” he said.
“This includes relocating the council offices there as the anchor tenant.”
It is understood Box Hill Institute — the only education provider to show real interest in the site — has indicated it only requires part of the existing facility.
If BHI was to buy part of the campus, it would share the site with the council.
“This will provide us with the best opportunity of master planning a civic/community precinct for the whole community with an active TAFE/university facility,” Cr Child said.
“Without the council’s political and financial intervention that won’t happen.”
A BHI spokeswoman could not provide an update on its position as it was still waiting on the state government’s response to its feasibility study on the campus.
The National Tertiary Education Union last week savaged the council’s plans and claimed it was “secretly negotiating with Swinburne and local Liberal politicians to shut the campus”.
Cr Child said this was not true.
“There are no secrets here. The best chance of retaining local education provision on the site is through the active participation and commitment of council. For that, I make no apologies.”