WELLINGTON Shire Council has thrown its support behind the consolidation of Sale College’s two campuses onto one site.
Council will seek a commitment from Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition to fund a business case through the Education Department, outlining campus options, within 12 months of next year’s state election.
Council will also write to Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien and Eastern Victoria MLC Harriet Shing to support their positive comments regarding improvements at Sale College.
As reported in the Gippsland Times last week, the Nationals and Labor MPs supported the idea of consolidating the campuses, currently located at the corner of Macalister and York Sts, and Guthridge Parade.
Mr O’Brien has written to council, Sale Business and Tourism Association, and the Committee for Wellington to seek their views.
Mr O’Brien believed there was plenty of room for consolidation at the Guthridge campus, but admitted there needed to be a “very open community discussion about the idea before progressing it any further”.
Consolidating the campuses onto a new site has also been suggested.
With residential land filling up along Sale-Maffra and Cobains Rds, councillor Darren McCubbin said if the Education Department wanted to build on a new site, it needed to make a decision soon.
Council should have a role in advocating to the Education Department for a campus amalgamation, according to Cr McCubbin.
“Whilst we have a number of excellent secondary schools in our region … Sale College has its advantages, but they’re disadvantaged by the fact they have two older campuses in two sections of town which need to be amalgamated,” he said.
“It is quite clear that to get first rate education you need first rate facilities, and right now we have two ageing facilities in separate parts of town.
“It’s difficult to co-ordinate courses, and I think we are disadvantaged because of it.
“We’ve recently seen a $15 million expansion onto a single site at the Catholic school, the Grammar school’s announced expansions, and the College is the one lagging behind now.
“I say that with the understanding that we have some excellent teachers there, great students are doing wonderful things, but they deserve a proper campus.”
Cr McCubbin said council had raised the issue of campus amalgamation with the department as far back as 2008.
“It’s probably time we stepped it up a bit, and this letter is about stepping it up a bit,” he said.
“It’s saying to the state government, ‘look, let’s get fair dinkum about secondary school education in Sale and Wellington’.
“We’ve got it fair dinkum with the specialist school, the TAFE is going to come, I’m absolutely certain of that, now we just need to get the ducks in a line.
“We need to get the secondary school in Sale improved.
“It’s essential for our young people to get every opportunity they possibly can.”