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First round victory to save Longerenong.

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John Forrest MP The Nationals Member for Mallee

Phone (03) 5032 4510 Fax (03) 5032 9407

Tuesday, 9 November 2004


John Forrest, the Federal Member for Mallee today congratulated the community on its stance to save Longerenong resulting in announcements by Melbourne University Vice Chancellor Kurong Lee Dow that education places will continue at Longerenong.

“I’m very pleased Melbourne University have heard the strong message from Wimmera Mallee communities that they would not tolerate further erosion of the sustainability of Longerenong,” said Mr Forrest.

“The Vice Chancellor has publicly committed, however his qualifications about the future need to be responded to and we have a lot more work to do.”

“He has flagged the need for greater community consultation and industry involvement and partnerships with other players as well as possible financial contributions from governments.”

“I’ve always had a bigger vision for Longerenong and have always been concerned about its continual down grading. A few years ago I promoted strongly the need to establish an international agricultural college which would create an increased student stream.”

“A considerable amount of effort was undertaken at the time lead by Neil May, the then Wimmera Rural Counsellor. Unfortunately, Wimmera Secondary College principals did not provide their enthusiastic support seeing it as a threat to their own colleges. I hope they have had a chance to rethink this and I see it as an important ingredient now for the future of Longerenong.”

“This along with greater industry involvement and future partnerships will all be required I think to put Longerenong on a sustainable basis for the future.”

“I’ve already committed to the Vice Chancellor that I will work with Melbourne University to achieve these outcomes and am prepared to take this case to State and Federal Ministers for any funding requirements necessary.

“Finally, I express my appreciation to the Vice Chancellor for coming to Horsham to hear the community which is what I asked for in my first meeting on the 12th of October.”

Media Contact Sally Turvey (03) 5032 4510 -ends-