12noon Wednesday 8 August – Swinburne University – Lilydale Campus, LA Building, Jarlo Drive (off Melba Avenue), Lilydale
A community rally to protest the closure of the Swinburne Lilydale Campus is expected to draw a sizeable crowd tomorrow.
After speeches, protestors will take off down Melba Avenue at around 1pm and cross Maroondah Highway to the office of local Liberal MP Christine Fyffe where they will present her with a letter asking her to fight for higher education in Lilydale.
Colin Long, the Victorian Division Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), said that there was a lot of community outrage at the decision to close the campus, following the $35 million State Government cut to Swinburne’s TAFE operations.
“Swinburne Lilydale is the only University campus in the outer east. It provides thousands of students the opportunity to access tertiary education – an opportunity which will be lost if the closure goes ahead,” Long said.
“Staff and students know how important this campus is and we have been encouraged by the massive support we have received from the local community right out through the Yarra Valley community. Shops, factories, schools and community centres are collecting thousands of petitions calling on the Baillieu State Government to reverse its savage and unnecessary funding cuts.”
Long said the decision was a body blow to the local economy.
“Local businesses rely on Swinburne to train staff. Local families rely on Swinburne to give them access to training and education. A lot of students will be lost to higher education altogether and miss out on the opportunity to attain the skills our economy demands,” he said.
“For some young people, it will be a ‘go straight to jail, do not pass go’ card – no wonder the State Government is keen to build a new jail in Melton. Spending $500 million on a new jail and taking $290 million off TAFE system has a horrible kind of logic,” he said.
"The loss of this campus, only 15 years after it opened, is a tragic outcome of this government’s disregard for the TAFE system.
“Save Our Swinburne is a community campaign and we are encouraging everyone concerned by these decisions to join us this Wednesday 8 August at Swinburne Lilydale as part of our rally against the cuts.”
The rally is being supported by both the NTEU and the Australian Education Union.
Tomorrow’s rally is the latest in a series of protests against the TAFE cuts being organised across Melbourne, culminating in a mass rally on Thursday, August 16, 12 noon at the State Library of Victoria.
Save Our Swinburne Campaign Committee
Swinburne Lilydale Student, Amie Watson, 0416 395 693
Swinburne Lilydale TAFE Teacher, Gage Rossiter, 0414 530 066
Swinburne NTEU Industrial Officer, Josh Cullinan, 0416 241 763
Media comment: Colin Long, Division Secretary, NTEU Victoria, 0403 920 361
More info: Carmel Shute NTEU Media Officer: 0412 569 356