THE state government has earmarked Swinburne’s Prahran campus for a future education facility.
A letter addressed to Prahran MLA Clem Newton-Brown from higher education minister Peter Hall on January 21 confirmed the High Street site would remain zoned for educational purposes with heritage and design development overlays.
The minister’s letter eases months of uncertainty among traders and residents who feared the site could be sold to developers after Swinburne University announced its withdrawal from the site last July.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Post a comment below.
The letter was the second received by Mr Newton-Brown since December 13 notifying of the government’s intention to maintain educational zoning on the site.
Minister Hall did not confirm whether another TAFE institution would take over the exclusive Prahran real estate.
The department of education and early childhood development remains in talks with the university and "other interested parties" over the school’s transition planning process.
Cabinet-in-confidence documents leaked in September summarising the transition plans submitted by Victoria’s TAFE colleges showed the Prahran campus would attract a sale value of up to $50 million.
“I am so pleased that the Swinburne Prahran site has been secured as an educational zone. It is particularly important to retain large inner city sites such as these for community use as once they are gone, they are gone forever," Mr Newton-Brown said.
Swinburne has confirmed it will continue to lease the land to the National Institute of Circus Arts "at peppercorn rent" for the remainder of Swinburne’s head lease.
Mr Newton-Brown said the zoning of the site for education purposes opened the possibility of co-locating a secondary school with a TAFE, subject to the outcome of a feasibility study.
The results of the feasibility study are expected to be released within the first half of this year.