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Protest Monday shocking tree loss in slyly proposed re-build Beaumaris Secondary College

Citizens wearing red - to show anger - at the school site at 6:45 a.m. on Monday, 24 October 2016 will deplore the 229 trees' axing, after Government's secretive, anti-environment prelude to its attack. The State Government knew full well that all of Victoria’s municipal councils would be in caretaker mode when they arranged the present scheme for removing the 229 trees proposed. In that mode, the Council could not take out an injunction. The term of all Bayside City councillors ends today, at the declaration of the poll. The new Council cannot act until it first meets and its councillors have taken the oath, or affirmation, of office. It seems the deadline for lodging an application for that was 2:00 pm yesterday. The work is scheduled to start at 6:45 am on Monday. The Beaumaris Conservation society has a campaign site to retain the Secondary College open space and vegetation.

State government drives population growth that drives the concreting over of our children's environment.

Although state governments throughout Australia have been doing the bidding of the property development lobby by inviting more and more immigrants since Kennett, there could be even more to this. When we hear of the proposed cutting of a small forest on the grounds of Beaumaris Secondary College, we wonder if the international student flood that is supplanting Australian students in universities has now got to secondary and primary schools - even the government ones. Prime Minister Mr Turnbull's outrageous new visa rort to attract foreign primary school students to Australian schools will likely motivate schools to reduce their grounds to increase profits by increasing paying students. Even in government schools. It is just another form of land speculation, with children the currency of exchange. Is this a threat to free education in Australia?

From July 1, 2016 students aged six and above would be able to apply for student visas regardless of their country of citizenship – and their guardians can also apply for Guardian visas (subclass 580)

These visa-rule changes, which were announced during Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to China in April, also mean non-residents can buy several new properties or one existing property…

Dave Platter, from the leading Chinese international-property portal Juwai.com said there has been a nearly 20 per cent jump in inquiries for properties in Australia since Mr Turnbull’s announcement…

The Beaumaris Conservation society notes that "An email from the Victorian School Building Authority, and its website page each propose the same list of replacement plants, very many of which are not indigenous to Beaumaris and will clash with and water down the present strong and highly-regarded indigenous character and beauty of the continuous bushland corridor, interrupted by only two roads, that consists of the nearby Beaumaris Reserve, the Long Hollow Reserve, the Secondary College, Balcombe Park, and Royal Melbourne Golf Club's west course.

Before and after the second world war, Australians were known for their strong and healthy bodies. Tennis courts and bushland abounded. But as we are forced into a more and more densely urbanised society by a spineless breed of planners, our children can only look forward to less. The forest at Beaumaris, as well as being paved over, will be replaced with sports grounds. As one who remembers taking refuge and pleasure in the trees at my school, and the horror of organised sport for a person of small stature, I cannot help but imagine the sadness of children with nowhere to escape from organised activities in such a new school.

Comments

Many schools have been closed by successive governments in Banyule, and now they are all over-crowded and bursting at the seams. There was a primary school at Haig Street, that had over 80 trees, and most of them had to be chopped down for housing developments! They are all going to be turned into housing. There is no "planning" for the future. Where will the children study in the future? Population levels are set to soar by 2031 and schools are at capacity now, with most schools in the southern end of the municipality having caps or zones approved by the DEECD. There is only one public secondary college servicing the needs of the southern end of Banyule - Viewbank Secondary College. It is zoned to take local kids within a 6km radius. It is at capacity now! So where are all these extra kids going to fit? Most primary schools have class sizes larger than the OECD average of 21 kids. Oh..... and not to mention the horrendous traffic and parking congestion issues around schools at drop off and pick up times! Banyule is booming!
Here are the schools that have closed since the 1980s.
Here is a list of closed/merged schools in no particular order:

Heidelberg Girls' School;
Rosanna High School;
Bellfield Primary School;
Macleod Primary School;
Heidelberg Heights Primary School;
Haig Street Primary School;
Banksia Secondary College;
Banyule High School;
Heidelberg Tech;
Banyule City Council, at a cost of $26million to the rate payers of Banyule purchased the three closed schools sites from the Napthine State Government in September 2013. Since then Council has demolished the three schools. Consequently, Council plans to develop those sites for medium and high density housing. So, the Council have become property developers with vested interests in housing! They clean their hands of local educational needs as they are not responsible for education!
With the Gonski recommendations now a focus, children require accessible, local public schools, no matter what their socio-economic background or status. It shouldn't be a car ride away - but in local communities - what happens if your family doesn't own a car or have means to travel?
Petition - Victorian State Government: Re-open Bellfield, Haig Street and Banksia Secondary College school sites

I get the impression Viv that these people, the neolibs, only want education for the rich. According to the neoliberal mantra only the rich deserve to be educated and the peasants can rot in hell.

A very short announcement - you might like to listen into this on Monday morning. Talkback on 1300 222 774.

The resident group of Äshburton are very angry about a proposed development in the control of Places Vic.

It is a very large area of high density public housing funded by high rise high density private housing, which will pay for the public housing and with money to spare.

Oh and by the way the Minister is the Responsible Authority, not the council, and no appeal to VCAT is possible. Places Vic promised extensive community consultation which they are not doing.

One of the group leaders, Susan Rayner, has written to the Minister complaining and she copied Jon Faine 774 and he is getting her on air tomorrow Monday - might be interesting to listen in and hear the talk back. Talkback on 1300 222 774.

The people do not object to the public housing, they object to so much and so big private blocks of apartments, insufficient parking and the traffic problems and a lack of community consultation. They say the land should be used for a much needed school.

Correspondence from Protectors of Public Lands with Minister:

Dear Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.members and friends

Reference our previous news bulletin detailing the campaign by the Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. and allied community groups opposing removal of the hundreds of mature trees from the 8 hectare Beaumaris Secondary College Site. Attached are several photos of the site which we provided previously showing initial clearance of the site back in October 2016.

I draw your attention to the letter PPL VIC received from the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education on 21 November, 2016. See below PPL VIC was NOT previously aware that “In partnership with the Melbourne Cricket Club, the college will feature world class sporting facilities that will be used by the entire Beaumaris community.” We ask the question – is this one of the reasons for development of the site? Why would the “entire” Beaumaris community want or indeed use “world class cricket facilities”? The letter says that an information session will be held by the State Government at the Beaumaris Library on Friday 25 November between 5:30 - 7:30 pm. We hope this question can be asked at the meeting.

At PPL VIC AGM last Saturday Dr Greg Moore delivered an important address on “The Importance of Preserving Trees in Urban Landscapes” in which he pointed to incremental loss of canopy tress across suburban Melbourne with ongoing development projects. The Beaumaris site appears to be a case in point.

Regards

Julianne Bell Secretary Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. (PPL VIC)

From: Office of the Minister for Education
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2016 2:07 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Correspondence from the Office of the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education

Good Afternoon.

Thank you for your email regarding trees at the site of the future Beaumaris Secondary College.

The Andrews Labor Government has provided $20 million to deliver a new stand-alone co-educational Year 7-12 school for 650 students. In partnership with the Melbourne Cricket Club, the college will feature world class sporting facilities that will be used by the entire Beaumaris community. The Victorian School Building Authority is delivering this project and has provided me with the following advice.

Following recent discussions with local residents, tree removal has been put on hold while we further assess significant vegetation, including trees along Balcombe and Reserve Roads, to see whether more existing flora can be retained.

Every effort is being made to retain as much vegetation as possible; however, flora which sits within the new school footprint (and where root structures are impacted, making them unsafe) must be removed. Every tree removed will be replaced by two new trees. In total, around 5,000 new trees and plants will be instated as part of the redevelopment.

The Authority is committed to meeting again with conservation groups to provide further information and gain feedback on the proposed works. We will also be hosting a public information session to engage transparently with the local community. The session will be held at the Beaumaris Library on Friday 25 November between 5:30 - 7:30pm. No vegetation will be removed from the site until this has occurred.

If you would like further information, you may contact Ms Briony Grigg, Director, Major Projects, Victorian School Building Authority, Department of Education and Training, on 8392 5005 or by email: grigg.briony.h@edumail.vic.gov.au.

Yours sincerely

The Hon James Merlino MP

Deputy Premier

Minister for Education

Minister for Emergency Services

Please do not reply to this message. This mailbox will not be monitored. If you would like further information please see the Department of Education and Training website at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/contact/default.htm