DIXON DITHERS WHILE GLEN DEVON POSES FIRE
Tim Pallas, State Member for Tarneit, has condemned the State Liberal Government for its inaction at the Glen Devon site.
The school site became vacant shortly after the Baillieu Government came to power and its deterioration stands as a symbol of this Government’s neglect of this community.
Mr. Pallas has made representations to the Minister for Education, Hon. Martin Dixon, on
behalf of the Werribee Fire Brigade, who have raised serious concerns about the risks the vacant Glen Devon site poses for the local community and firefighters.
Michael Wells, Captain of the Werribee Fire Brigade, stated, “The Werribee Fire Brigade has been contacted by many local residents regarding the Glen Devon site. Security fences at the site have been tampered with, boarded up windows have been prised open and there are a number of rooms that contain old rubber mattresses. It is a haven for squatters and has easy access for vandals to enter buildings. If another fire occurs at the property, it would endanger the public and our fire-fighters. The site poses a smoke and environmental hazard due to the asbestos content of the buildings.”
“The Education Department/the Minister for Education must commit to re-securing the Glen Devon site and remove mattresses and any other furniture that would aid the spread of fire within the building until a decision has been made about the future of the site. Ideally, the buildings would be demolished if they are not going to be used,” said Mr. Wells.
“The Glen Devon site has sat empty, burnt down, and become a derelict dumping ground with rubbish strewn across the site and rife with vandalism. What should have been a fantastic community resource has become an eyesore and a danger under Minister Dixon’s watch,” said Mr Pallas.
“The State Government has taken long enough to make a decision about the Glen Devon site. It’s about time that they made a commitment about the future of the site. There is wide support and demand for a local community centre,” Mr Pallas said.
After almost two years in government and repeated promises of advice regarding the future of the Glen Devon site, the Minister for Education, Hon. Martin Dixon, has flagged
the possibility of selling the land to private developers.
In a letter to the State Member for Tarneit, Tim Pallas, responding to a local resident’s
concerns regarding the Glen Devon site, Minister Dixon states:
“I understand the Department of Education is considering the future use of the site,
including options to dispose of it in accordance with requirements issued by the Government Land Monitor.”
Minister Dixon continues, “In the event that neither any government department or [sic]
the Wyndham City Council have an interest in the site, the site will be offered
for sale to the public.”
Over 12 months ago (2 June 2011), Minister Dixon told State Parliament that comprehensive advice on the future of Glen Devon would be “finalised in July
In August last year, one month after the advice was supposed to be finalised, the Minister told local Labor Member of Parliament, Tim Pallas, “We are currently going through a cost benefit analysis of the future use of this site.”
The Minister assured the local community that “Once I receive the outcome of the cost-benefit analysis we will then make a decision about the future of the site as regards that outcome.”
Then, in December last year, Minister Dixon stated that “the department had completed a cost-benefit analysis for retaining the site for education purposes and was investigating the feasibility of rebuilding the fire damaged back as part of refurbishment works.”
A further six months later, on 16 May 2012, the Minister said the decision process had to be worked through, “If the community has got a project there that is going to add to the community and something that is going to work for them, I am for that but obviously, we don’t give away sites.”
It is now September and the only action the Government has taken is to confirm that it is yet to take any action.
Mr Pallas called upon the Government to make a decision regarding the Glen Devon site that would benefit local residents, saying “This community has seen very little local investment by the State Government over the last two years and it’s about time the Liberals deliver on their commitment to invest in the West.”