No need to move TAFE

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

I WAS disappointed but not surprised on many levels to read the headline "TAFE 'must be built in Sale CBD'".

The arguments presented in the article were predictably flawed and reasons for developing the TAFE in its current location ignored.

I was surprised the old chestnut of accessibility did not appear but the case for this was lost before it started as it is admitted employers can find a way to send trainees and apprentices elsewhere, and the argument that we need a TAFE to accommodate dropouts from the normal levels of schooling cannot inspire prospective operators of a TAFE institution to invest in the area.

The argument to develop a TAFE in its current location has many positives.

Importantly there is a basic infrastructure there already so any new courses deemed to be viable can start at a moment's notice.

The facility may be tired but surely a tired facility with the scope for development is better than waiting another 10 years to develop a new site.

The desire for a "sexy and appealing campus" may have some merit, but if the local community had not spent so much energy denouncing the facility we currently have we may still have an organizdation that was committed to developing education in the Sale area.

If students have a desire to learn, distance would not be a problem with a well-designed public transport timetable in place.

The need for a TAFE is apparent, its location is not.

The Port of Sale area is as far from the dormitory areas of the city as can be and, depending on which flood levels are chosen to suit the argument, lies within flood overlays.

There is also an assumption that the TAFE is to serve the city of Sale but it would appear obvious that the city does not have the population to accommodate a TAFE of economic size, and therefore must draw on the surrounding towns for students. A TAFE college at Fulham is closer and more convenient to Rosedale, Heyfield, Maffra and the surrounding area than a land-locked facility in the Sale CBD.

The same newspaper that said the TAFE must be built in Sale CBD also announced a new 800 house development on the west of Sale, five minutes from the current TAFE.

A brief perusal of the areas around Sale that are suitable for further growth of housing development would indicate the Wurruk-Fulham corridor has a lot of merit.

That the TAFE in the CBD would be more accessible for staff is also a furphy as it is only a 10 minute drive from Sale to Fulham, assuming the staff do want to live in Sale they will have a 5-10 minute drive anyway.

From the inception of a desire for a new TAFE facility the attitude has been bring it into the CBD, this is a narrow and un-progressive outlook.

A quick look at the history of the development of tertiary education facilities will show that when Melbourne University was built it was on the outskirts of the CBD and only just short of the cemetery, Monash University was built out in the sticks, on open ground where it could expand, and La Trobe University was built so far out it was suggested no-one would ever go there, these are all now inner suburban establishments.

On a more local case is the campus at Churchill, built miles from anywhere, was it ever suggested it should be in the middle of Morwell or Traralgon?

Let us look a little past the end of our noses and look to the future and develop a campus with room to grow, easy accessibility to all students and a chance to draw from a larger clientele.

Sale has been introspective for far too long.

Gippsland Senior
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