MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (13:41): I am very pleased to share with the chamber that the Andrews Labor government has reached an in-principle agreement with Swinburne University to purchase the Prahran campus. Prahran has a rich TAFE history. Starting with the Prahran Mechanics Institute, it soon became a campus focused on art and design. It has focused on the arts for over 100 years. It was a sad day when Swinburne announced that it would end training at the campus, caused by the previous government’s cuts to TAFE. But the community got behind the campus and saved it from closing, with Melbourne Polytechnic taking over the site. Today we are writing the next chapter of Prahran’s TAFE history.
In buying the site we are again cleaning up the mess left by the previous government. The former government gifted almost 50 per cent of the site to Swinburne, despite knowing that Swinburne would discontinue training at the site. This meant that we now need to buy back the land to secure the future of training at the site, and I am pleased that Swinburne has agreed to reinvest the proceeds of the land they were gifted back into TAFE. This will ensure secure TAFE at Prahran and that we will get investment in TAFE at Swinburne’s other campuses. We cannot change the past, but we will redress previous decisions taken.
I want to pay particular tribute to Ms Taylor, who has fiercely argued the case for government to secure the future of the Prahran campus as a vibrant education and arts precinct. TAFE is such an important engine room for the creative industries. This is good for our economy and it is good for Victoria’s reputation as the creative capital of Australia.