Victorian Government to destroy active cultural heritage precinct and Community Centre

To: ted.baillieu@parliament.vic.go?v.au; jeanette.powell@parliament.vic?.gov.au; martin.dixon@parliament.vic.go?v.au

CC: jtopsfield@theage.com.au; reception@3knd.org.au; news.melbourne@aap.com.au; newsdesk@koorimail.com; sundayhs@heraldsun.com.au; newsdesk@theage.com.au; victoria@theaustralian.com.au;? lionel@vaeai.org.au; ceo@aal.org.au

Subject: MEDIA RELEASE
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2011 23:05:52 +1000

QUICK MEDIA STATEMENT

MINISTER DIXON DESTROYS ABORIGINAL HERITAGE SITES AND UNDERMINES TWO SCHOOL COUNCILS IN PROCESS

1. The greatest act of betrayal and treachery has happened today, perpetuated by the State and in particular the VDEECD. A letter and the old GSS/VDEECD Plan (see attachments from VDEECD) destroying our heritage was handed to BMC today confirming the destruction of our cultural heritage precinct and disrespecting our traditions, customs, beliefs and observances. Craig and Co have disrespected the Wurundjeri and all Traditional Owners Groups, par for the course for the State. They have disrespected the only Indigenous School in Melbourne and their School Council, staff and students. They have offended all Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups across this state, decent Taxpayers and protestors.

2. They have undermined a serious mediation process between GSS and BMC and undermined the very outcomes agreed to by both schools including the latest Plan as attached to this email. They are about to now destroy our Spirit Tree, Ceremonial Ground and Gathering Place starting sun up tomorrow (Wednesday) truly an act of heritage bastardry, racism and unlawful discrimination supported by Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.

3. This is Victoria under the new state regime called the Liberals and National Party. Their racist decision hands down generational division and conflict, a deliberate policy of the rednecks in the department, and up there historically with the reasons for the Coranderrk and Cummeroogunga Walk Offs and the recent Lake Tyers Blockade.. Aboriginal people and their supporters should never accept this decision by a handful of public servants and a minister who has no affinity with Aboriginal education and our aspirations..HUMAN RIGHTS AND CULTURAL RIGHTS ARE NOT SAFE IN VICTORIA!

Enquiries Mobile 0415 683 202
"Education, Culture and Land, Go Hand in Hand..."
(c.1981 John Harding, Tom Smith and Gary Murray VAECG)

See Comments on this article below

School for disabled to go ahead on Koori site

Jewel Topsfield The Age August 10, 2011


BMC Protesters

Construction will finally begin today on a new $18 million school for severely disabled children in Melbourne's north, following protracted delays due to a bitter stoush with a neighbouring Koori school.

The building works for the new Glenroy Specialist School, which were due to start last November, were put on ice after the Ballerrt Mooroop College protested against being forced to surrender some of its land.

The college's gymnasium and ground, used for welcome to country and smoking ceremonies, will be demolished.

The Koori school, which has 18 students, staged a sit-in protest and appealed to the state and Commonwealth to stop the works on the grounds that the gym and ceremonial ground had heritage significance.

The Education Department said the heritage claims were being investigated but they were either withdrawn or found to be without substance.

Regional director Wayne Craig said the department decided to proceed after mediation talks with the two schools and Moreland City Council failed.

Glenroy Specialist School, which caters for 150 children with severe disabilities, is currently located on Box Forest Road in Glenroy. The existing site is becoming unsafe, with two sections of the roof collapsing during the holidays.

Principal Raelene Kenny said it was an "absolute relief" the school was being built. But Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group spokesman Gary Murray said: "To just come in like they are doing without consideration of the mediation we've gone through is just an act of betrayal."

'THE AGE' ARTICLE 10th AUGUST - WITH COMMENTS

Not the jewel in The 'Age'

Some factural comments on The Age article 10/8/11 by Jeweel Topfield
By Gary Murray

Article: Disabled school to go ahead on Koori site

Jewel Topsfield The Age" target="_blank"> August 10, 2011

Aricle Paragraph 1: Construction will finally begin today on a new $18 million school for severely disabled children in Melbourne's north, following protracted delays due to a bitter stoush with a neighbouring Koori school.

Gary Murray Comment: We are not a neighboring school, BMC is the school that has been on the site since 2005. GSS has been imposed on BMC's site without the free, prior and informed consent of the BMC Council or Local Aboriignal Community in breach of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The current dispute may have far reaching consequences for both schools into the longterm including protrscted and stressful legal action. The question here is why are students with severe disabilities being forced to travel for up to four hours a day from as far away as Werribee, Brunswick, etc.

Aricle Paragraph 2: The building works for the new Glenroy Specialist School, which were due to start last November, were put on ice after the Ballerrt Mooroop College protested against being forced to surrender some of its land. The college's gymnasium and ground, used for welcome to country and smoking ceremonies, will be demolished.

Gary Murray Comment: We regard this facility as a culturally significant Gathering Place that records our cultural footprints on the site and is a functional facility. These facilities are used for Smoking Ceremonies, Tanderrum or welcoem to Country Ceremonies, traditional games, art and craft, teaching and performance of ancient Corroborees, Elders activities and a range of other ancient and contemporary activities. These activities link our ancient culture to our contemporrary culture, trdaitions, customs, observances and beliefs.

Aricle Paragraph 3: The Koori school, which has 18 students, staged a sit-in protest and appealed to the state and Commonwealth to stop the works on the grounds that the gym and ceremonial ground had heritage significance.

Gary Murray Comment: VDEECD Wayne Craigs letter quotes 18 students at BMC, but the DEECD projection is 40 and the Aboriginal people believe the demand will be 200. BMC Is building the school numbers as per our Master Site Plan and expected enrolments in the future. This will include student accommodation and a day school.

Aricle Paragraph 4: The Education Department said the heritage claims were being investigated but they were either withdrawn or found to be without substance.

Gary Murray Comment: The Commonwealth heritage protection applications were withdrawn in good faith to ensure no impact on the mediation processes involving BMC, GSS, VDEECD and the City of Moreland. There are outstanding legal issues around the State and Commonwealth heritage protection laws that will now be pursued by the Aboriginal Parties in the light of the deliberate destruction and desecration of our cultural heritage precinct.. VDDECD are relying on a shonky heritage report commissioned by the department and which actually documented the cultural significance statements from Traditional Owners. This report will also be tested. Legal advice is urgently being sought as to the next step in the light of the department's betrayal and possible illegal actions. A Statement of Reasons is being sought also from the Minister by all affected Aboriginal parties for his decision and a previous Complaint to the Victorian Ombudsman reactivated.

Aricle Paragraph 5: Regional director Wayne Craig said the department decided to proceed after mediation talks with the two schools and Moreland City Council failed.

Gary Murray Comment: This is an absolute lie and is news to all parties involved in the mediation process. The final outcome after various meetings over four weeks was that a new site plan was generally agreed to by all Parties and the next step was to meet with the Minister to get his agreement. The meeting was undermined by the VDEECD and the Minister's position is now public. Neither the BMC, Wurundjeri or City of Moreland agree with this blatant fabrication by Wayne Craig.

Aricle Paragraph 6: Glenroy Specialist School, which caters for 150 children with severe disabilities, is currently located on Box Forest Road in Glenroy. The existing site is becoming unsafe, with two sections of the roof collapsing during the holidays.

Gary Murray Comment: Principal Raelene Kenny said it was an "absolute relief" the school was being built. But Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group spokesman Gary Murray said: "To just come in like they are doing without consideration of the mediation we've gone through is just an act of betrayal."

In concluding, positive negotiations were taking place with BMC, GSS, Moreland Council and we all thought, VCEED. The DEECD and Minister have not replied to the issues raised in several letters over he past few months including a request for a meeting and approval for BMC to seek legal advice. The desecration of our heritage areas for car parks and sewerage pipes is unnecessary as the Site Plans attached and agreed to in mediation talks show this. The DEECD has commissioned BMC to produce a Master Plan, but DEECD has not been in discussion with BMC about it nor has it gone through proper consideration that all other schools Master Plans go through. This latest departmental blunder continues the lack of sincerity, transparency and the lack of proper process followed by VDEECD.