CORANGAMITE Shire mayor Chris O’Connor says it’s important local voices are heard on the future of Glenormiston College.
Cr O’Connor has called for a reference group to be set up which would incorporate all relevant stakeholders.
The mayor’s comments come after plans to turn the college into a low-security prison were ruled out by the state government.
A report earlier this month suggested the college was on a shortlist of sites proposed to ease the state’s ever-growing prison population, given the site was already owned by the state government.
However, at the time Acting Premier Peter Ryan said Glenormiston would not be acquired by the state government for the purposes of a prison.
Referring to the report, Cr O’Connor said it was obvious a jail had been suggested and considered but was done so without any local interested parties knowing.
He said it was disappointing the option had been suggested without local consultation.
Cr O’Connor also criticised the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, which sent out expression of interest letters into the college’s future a day before the public meeting in December.
“We were disappointed they hadn’t done anything positive before that date,” he said.
Late last year South West TAFE announced it would end its association with the college.
Cr O’Connor said a reference group could include volunteers from the Riding for Disabled and staff from Glenormiston College.
“We’d want people with strong ideas that might help drive the renewal and advocate to the government,” the community leader said.
He said the group should also include a representative from the minister’s office or the department to help flesh out ideas.
“It would be good if the community could be kept better up to date,” Cr O’Connor said.
“I think it’s important we always have locals involved in the dialogue.
“If local interests were represented we could advocate for action sooner rather than later so it doesn’t get lost in the bureaucracy.”
Cr O’Connor said a reference group was something which would be set up by the department but the council was happy to help with establishing it.
Seven employees will lose their jobs when the college closes and TAFE will deliver its agricultural and horticulture courses through a blended model made up of on-the-job, off-campus and online delivery.