by Darren Saffin
The suburbs of Coburg and Coburg North meet the new Precinct Structure Plan guidelines for outer suburban developments announced by The Hon Minister for Planning Justin Madden MP.*
The suburbs have a combined population of over 30,800 (2006 ABS Census) not to mention the other suburbs in any new state secondary school catchment zone. The obvious difference is Coburg is not an outer suburban development, but Coburg has the greatest population growth in children of all suburbs in Moreland (iD Forecast population projections) and has the Coburg Initiative, Pentridge Prison development and old Kodak factory site development. All of which mean the continued growth of secondary school age children and a very real lack of local community options for secondary school education – an education blackhole.
Public consultation has begun for the development of the former Maribyrnong Defence Site, which Justin Madden has already said will contain schools. Meanwhile in Alphington, the Government is set to negotiate with developers to buy land to build a local government secondary school. These are both commendable actions. Where is the same consideration for Coburg and surrounds which have a great need already and more growth forecast? It is hard not to be cynical with a state election coming up and seeing the safest Labour seat in Melbourne being neglected while vote buying happens around it.
*The new Precinct Structure Plan guidelines for outer suburban developments state that for populations up to 30,000 the plan should provide space for a government secondary school. See Growth Areas Authority - Part Two - Page 31 - Key Principles for Designing Integrated Community Facilities.