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School closer than ever

18 Sep 2012

Southbank is closer than ever to an elusive primary school, after the State Government released its Melbourne urban school feasibility study report.

In what is a massive breakthrough for Southbank parents and the community, Education Minister Martin Dixon has announced the State Government’s preferred site for a school is 129-161 Ferrars St, South Melbourne.

The Minister said the lobbying of Upper House members Andrea Coote and Georgie Crozier, who were made aware of the inner-south primary school problem by action group Two Schools Now, also influenced his announcement.

“There is no doubt that in the coming years, the Southbank, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Fishermans Bend area will need an extra primary school to cater for new families moving into the area,” Mr Dixon said.

He also said the feasibility study raised a range of issues any new school will need to consider.

“The Coalition Government recognises this, and that is why we commissioned a comprehensive feasibility study looking at where a primary school could go, and what it might look like,” he said.

“We believe parents should have the choice of sending their children to an excellent government school, and that’s why we are pushing ahead with a new school in the area.”

Upper house advocate Georgie Crozier acknowledged a school in this area of Melbourne needed to think outside the box.

“Inner city sites tend to be smaller than a typical school block in a new suburb, so an exciting part of the challenge will be looking at ways to provide a state-of-the-art school while embracing the surrounding environment and facilities and making the most of available space,” Ms Crozier said.

Allan Phillips, a Southbank Residents Group (SRG) representative with Two Schools Now, said the announcement was fantastic news for both groups.

“SRG and Two Schools Now are very happy with Minister Dixon’s announcement that a new school is planned for the area. The feasibility study report has considered many issues and raises some important points,” Mr Phillips said.

“A new school will mean a great deal to families in Southbank and South Melbourne. Parents will no longer have to move suburbs to send their children to a local school.”

Mr Phillips also pointed out that it wasn’t just parents and families who benefited from the announcement.

“A school will also provide Southbank with another place of community interaction, thereby enhancing the further development of Southbank as a strong and vibrant community,” Mr Phillips said.

The group was wary that this was not the end of the battle, and plenty more work has to be done.

“Will the new school be funded by the 2013 budget? Has the site been purchased yet?” Mr Phillips asked.

“Will the government commit to the opening date of February 2017 as suggested in the report?” he said.

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