HSC media wrap up

With the recent announcement of the long awaited taskforce to examine the education needs of Coburg and surrounding communities, our campaign for a high school in Coburg has been in the media quite a bit lately. Just in case you've missed it - here's a quick list of links.

12/04/2010 - Coburg high school D-Day, in the Moreland Leader

13/04/2010 - Coburg 'needs high school' in The Age.

13/04/2010 - Pike announces demographic review into Coburg. This article was in the online Government News,  an Australia independent bi-monthly magazine circulated to all levels of government.

16/04/2010 - What do we want? A high school of our own... The Age, headlining the education section.

There have also been letters to the editor published in both The Age and Moreland Leader. 

Taskforce announced

The Minister for Education Bronwyn Pike has announced the formation of a taskforce to examine the need for a high school for Coburg and the surrounding community. This is the taskforce first announced by Member for Pascoe Vale, Christine Campbell on 30/11/2009. That's four and a half months ago.

High School for Coburg thank Minister Pike for her commitment to look at this long standing issue and look forward to participating in a truly independent taskforce to examine the over whelming need for secondary education options for the community.

The taskforce needs to call for community submissions to reflect the needs and wants of the whole community. Minister Pike has said she is concerned a Coburg High would not be used.  HSC remind her that 96% of the respondents in the HSC parental attitudes and intentions survey have said they would send their children to a Coburg High. Her statistics are incomplete and misleading and her obvious bias makes it imperative that this task force has an independent chairperson and a mandate to be truly impartial. We are looking forward to getting stuck in and finishing the report as soon as possible so local parents can have plenty of time to read the report before the elections in November.

According to the Minister for Education's press release, the taskforce will consult with the local Coburg community – including Member for Pascoe Vale Christine Campbell, local school principals and school councils, the High School for Coburg group and Moreland City Council. It will also assess local demographic information from Moreland City Council, primary school enrolments, parents’ intention for the secondary education of their children, maternal and child health records and future housing capacity in Coburg. The review is expected to be completed by the middle of the year.

Education is a major issue in our local community and is set to become an even bigger issue in light of the $1 billion Coburg re-development and the Kodak and Pentridge redevelopments which have so far failed to take into account the growing social infrastructure needs of the area.

State Planning Logic 101

by Cate Hall

1. A growth area is only a growth area if it is an Outer Growth Area

At a High School for Coburg sausage sizzle at Coburg Mall in early March, we were approached by an employee of the transport planning department who told us that Coburg is a drop in the ocean compared to the outer growth areas which are competing for infrastructure spending and that we didn't stand a chance. Even though Coburg is growing - with Pentridge and the pending Coburg Initiative and former Kodak site redevelopment and increased birthrates and influx of families, it does not to qualify as a growth area. This is ridiculous.

Justin Madden's new outer Growth Area planning guidelines say that if the population is 30,000, provision for a high school is needed. Coburg plus Coburg North hit that population mark years ago and we require secondary education provision to ensure equity of access.The Coburg Initiative alone should qualify Coburg as having needs comparable to an Outer Growth Area.

With the cessation of government plans to grow Melbourne outside it's current boundary due to the collapse of the proposed growth area tax, growing areas like Coburg may now have a chance of getting the infrastructure provision required.

2. If they are leaving because it is not there, you don't need to provide it

Justin Madden in a letter last year to MP Robin Scott acknowledged that there is a pattern of families leaving the Coburg and West Preston areas when their children reach secondary school age but with breathtaking logic goes on to say that is why a secondary school is not required.

Of course the community knows that many families make the difficult decision to leave Coburg and West Preston as their children approach high school age because there is no state high school.

Local real estate agents have gone on record in the Moreland Leader confirming this, as did HSC's Moreland Council assisted survey showing over 50 % leaving because no high school but 96% saying they would support local school if it existed.

3. It is not necessary to do community consultation across the road from a major development if that is the next municipality

The DPCD appear not to have felt the need to extend community consultation process for the redevelopment of the former Kodak site across the street into Darebin.

3 .1. Amendment : It is not necessary to inform residents across the road from a developement - even in same municipality.