Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, and it is in relation to Portland North Primary School and in particular the old schoolhouse on its grounds. I understand from constituents that they have sent correspondence to the Premier on this issue but are yet to receive a reply.
The old schoolhouse was built in 1878 and obviously has considerable heritage merit. It is currently being used as a music classroom, with students enjoying those activities in the space. However, parents have become aware that the old schoolhouse is to be demolished, and they are particularly concerned that it may be demolished as soon as the end of this term. The demolition is a result of the tied-funding arrangements that are in place in relation to old buildings with high maintenance requirements.
When you are successful in gaining funding for a new building, a new facility, it is often the case that an existing building needs to be demolished.
I do not believe that would have been the intention of any person involved in developing the tied-funding arrangement, regardless of whether a Liberal or Labor government was in office at the time it was developed. I do not think anyone would have intended that a heritage building would be demolished to make way for a new facility, particularly when, as in this case, there are a number of portable buildings towards the back of the grounds that could be demolished and the new creative arts and performance space envisaged for the school could be built there.
The action I seek is for the Minister for Planning to work very quickly and cooperatively with the Glenelg Shire Council, which has also only just become aware of the situation and is undertaking a heritage assessment.
As I understand it, the schoolhouse has not been in a heritage overlay or included in any heritage asset audits because it was on education department land, so it has really slipped through the cracks. This is a genuine issue that has the community quite concerned, and I ask that the minister urgently do whatever he can. I also encourage the Premier to address the correspondence that has been forwarded to him by constituents.