Save the Ballerrt Mooroop College Campaign

Major Public Meeting - Stop Press!
A major Tanderrum Ceremony and Public Meeting is to be held on Saturday 5th March at 11 am. in the Gathering Place at 208 Hilton Street Glenroy. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come and continue your very valued support ...
As for the bulldozers! Be prepared. The threat is still imminent and given the bureaucrats lack of vision and commitment to our School expect a fight- more to come?
Former stuident Gary Mutrray with pupils

Support our protest to save this important Koorie school for our children and their children ... When will this genocide against aboriginal people and our children stop? Is the government afraid that our children will be more educated than our generation and become too self sufficient that their aboriginal industry will be non existent ... Ray Kennedy, Chairperson of Tati Tati Aboriginal Corporation, Tribal Council of Victoria

... Support our protest to save this important Koorie school for our children and their children ... When will this genocide against aboriginal people and our children stop? Is the government afraid that our children will be more educated than our generation and become too self sufficient that there aboriginal industry will be non existent ...

Is this the way of keeping the chains around our necks, arms and legs? Do we the most peaceful race of people on earth have to resort to military tactics to protect and preserve our meagre existance doled out by the whiteman - one mangy bread scap at a time? No, of course not!

Good always overcomes evil and this is nothing more than evil intentions against all the black brothers and sisters, so stand strong and proud and beat (them) ... Ray Kennedy, Chairperson of Tati Tati Aboriginal Corporation, Tribal Council of Victoria.

Media Release 16 November 2010 No 1

Protest Rally to Support the Ballerrt Mooroop College (BMC)

Again Pike's Consultation, Communication and Equity Go Missing

A major series of protests and Rallies involving local residents and supporters of the Ballerrt Mooroop College is being held this Wednesday morning to protest the inequities in the building of a new school on the existing BMC school site at Hilton Street Glenroy. The Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (BLAECG) and Traditional Owners have called on the community and supporters to rally for the school and to register their protest at what is becoming an inequitable funding and space arrangement.

Wurundjeri Elder Margaret Gardiner said that "the Ballerrt Mooroop College has been on the site since 1996 and the College Council has not consented to the development of a new $18m school on the same land for the Glenroy Specialist School (GSS). The DEECD has denied the community due process in this whole affair and the Minister is receiving poor Aboriginal education advice to the detriment of our students and community. The DEECD intent is to assimilate our school into some mainstream melting pot that will not lead to real improvement in our students educational aspirations. The Premier and Prime Minister are not investing in our School as they are in others Ms Gardiner stated.

Builders are moving in to destroy the BMC's gymnasium to make way for 170 bus and car parking spaces. Parking space seems to be more important than the health and fitness of Indigenous students. This is not the way to educationally and culturally engage the Aboriginal community in closing the gap or Aboriginal education strategies aimed at providing our students with quality education services she said. The government has failed to deliver funding equity and progress in the development of the BMC's student numbers, facilities or aspirations."

A spokesperson for the BLAECG Mr Gary Murray said that; "we call on the government educational bureaucrats to redesign the Glenroy Specialist School plan. Alternatively, the GSS development should be relocated to the soon to be vacated Glenroy primary school site. Mr Murray said that the College needs to be developed to its fullest educational and cultural potential as it is the only Aboriginal school in Melbourne. We seem to be getting squeezed out by bureaucratic stealth and irrelevant registration from our culturally and historically significant school site, amazingly in the Premier's own electoral area, regeneration has now become denigration and another Northland's battle is looming Mr Murray said."

Our community is fed up with the arrogance, bullying, disrespect, discrimination and lack of real equity in the departmental processes to impose another school on our site when there are other school sites at Glenroy primary school for the GSS project. Our College is getting squeezed out, our main community hall and school gym is being demolished to make way for GSS bus and car parks. There will be around 16-22 bus parking spaces. The community also loses the Park as well for car parking and buildings. The fauna are impacted on as trees will be cut down. The peaceful environment changed to everyone's detriment. It is time the whole Community took action.

The GSS project has $18m in grants to develop, the BMC school has a paltry $750,000 to grow the school which is poor economic modeling and peanuts at a stampeding educational elephant.

WHY IS GSS IMPOSED ON OUR SITE WHEN THE GLENROY PRIMARY SCHOOL IS AVAILABLE OR OTHER SITES? THERE IS NO FREE, PRIOR AND INFORMED CONSENT HERE OR EQUITY!

Mr Murray said that the BMC is the only Aboriginal School in greater Melbourne, so why is it being treated different to other school projects around the Premier's electorate! This school should be allowed to grow and expand in terms of students and facilities, it should be an educational and cultural showpiece with state of the art education facilities and programs. What is going on here!

Authorised by:
Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Spokesperson Gary Murray and
Wurundjeri Elder Margaret Gardiner Mobile 0415 683 202

Inquiry on school merger says council was misled

Jewel Topsfield The Age November 15, 2010

An indendent investigation into a controversial school merger has found it was understandable aggrieved parents perceived the amalgamation of three schools in Melbourne's north lacked openness and honesty.

The investigation, which was commissioned by the state government after the former Lakeside Secondary College council alleged they had been coerced into the merger, comes at a sensitive time for Labor, which has pledged more mergers if re-elected.

Since Labor came to power in 1999, 144 schools have been involved in mergers, which are dubbed "regeneration projects".

However, although the government insists any decision to merge is made by the school councils, some claim they were persuaded to do so by bureaucrats, but the promised funding never materialised.

The former Lakeside councillors said they were coerced into agreeing to the merger with Merrilands College and Ruthven Primary School last year after Education Department consultant Howard Kelly said funding would be approved in 2009 if they did so.

However, the school did not receive the $15-$20 million the council said it had been promised in the last budget. Investigator Greg Gibbs found it was "evident that Lakeside Secondary College council had been led to believe that the chances of receiving funding for a new secondary facility were very high, if not guaranteed".

"On balance, the complainant's perception that the regeneration process lacked openness and honesty is understandable in view of the evidence presented," Mr Gibbs said in the report.

While Mr Kelly acknowledged he had a persuasive manner, Mr Gibbs could not conclude that he had coerced the council to agree to the merger.

The former Lakeside councillors were also angry that students would be relocated to the new site next year, when they had endorsed the merger only on the condition this would not occur until the school was completed.

But Mr Gibbs said decisions made by the council of the merged school, called William Ruthven Secondary College, superseded decisions made by the former council, which was legally dissolved.

Education Department deputy secretary Darrell Fraser conceded it was understandable parents would feel frustrated and disappointed.

Opposition education spokesman Martin Dixon said Labor arrogantly made false promises and bullied school communities until it got what it wanted.

Education Minister Bronwyn Pike said she agreed that consultation and communication could have been better and the department assured her it would not recur.

pdfBallerrt Mooroop College Equity Campaign Media Releases x 2 pdf file

Wednesday November 24th -10am
Rally & Open-Air Press Conference
John Brumby's Office, 145A Wheatsheaf Road, Glenroy
followed by
A Community 'Sit-In' at the Ballerrt Mooroop College in Hilton Street, Glenroy

pdfSave Ballerrt Mooroop College Rally Flyer pdf file

pdfBallerrt Mooroop College Media Releases x 2 pdf file

For more info, Phone Sharon 0401 414 967

Comments

Ballerrt Mooroop College Support

Dear Dotty,
We out here in Warrandyte have read your letter and also followed up on the campaign website. We want to support you and Gary and all the others in this very important cause. We are non-indigenous people but we completely support your position. I have written an email to Gary about what we can try to do. We hope it is not too late.
Warrandyte Supporter

BMC

To All the people of the BMC Community- the school is an issue of human rights and social justice There is government support for all sorts of cultural and religious schools-.BMC should be no exception. This European Australian is disgusted by the contemptuous treatment of indigenous people and culture. Education in your culture is a part of Closing The Gap.

Robert Livesay, Australian Democrats Candidate for Maribyrnong, 2004, 2007, 2010

BALLERRT MOOROOP COLLEGE

HI MY NAME IS DOTTY BAMBLETT I AM THE SCHOOL COUNCIL PRESIDENT OF THE BMC COLLEGE AND RIGHT NOW THIS CURRENT MOMENT I AFAIRD TO SAY IT THAT THE BATTLE MEYBE OVER!!! THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT HAS MET WITH THE SCHOOL COUNCIL SUBCOMMITTEE AND SAID THAT NOTHING HAS CHANGED AND THAT THE GSS PLANS FOR OUR LAND WILL CONTINUE!!!!!!!! I AM DESPRATE FOR PEOPLE SUPPOST AND PROTEST ON SITE AS I AM A MOTHER/CARER/AUNT TO 10 CHILDREN AND CANNOT FIGHT IT ON MY OWN!!!!!

I NEED PEOPLE TO TAKE ACTION AND OD WHAT EVER IT IS THEY CAN TO STEP UP AND HELP ME BECUASE ATY THE MOMENT I HAVE NOTHING!!!

WE NEED TO STAND AS ONE AND SHOW IN OUR PRESENCE THAT WE WILL NOT ALLOW THE GOVT. AGAIN TAKE AWAY OF LAND, KNOWLEDGE, CULTURE AND EVERYTHING US AS ABORIGINAL PEOPLE ARE.... WHERE CAN OUR YOUN G ABORIGINAL GENERATIONS OF MY CHILDREN NOW AND MY GRAND CHILDREN TO COME BE, WHERE IS A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN FEEL AT ONE WITH THERE CULTURE AND LEARN CUSTOMS AND TRADITION OF OUR CULTURE ALONGSIDE NURMACY AND LITERCY!! HERE AT THE BMC COLLEGE!!!1

I WRITE THIS TO YOU TO SEEK HELP ASAP!!!
NEED SOMEONE WHO CAN PROTEST AND RALLY ALOND SIDE ME, SOMEONE WHO CAN LEND A HELPING HAND, SOMEONE WHO'S SHOULDER I CAN CRY ON!!!!

PLEASE HELP THIS IS THE LAST CRY!!!!

The racist Intervention comes to Melbourne

Alex Ettling Socialist Alternative 30 November 2010

There is escalating anger and resistance amongst sections of the local Indigenous community to a government attack on an Aboriginal school in Melbourne.

Ballert Mooroop College is the only school in Melbourne explicitly for Indigenous students. In operation since 1996, it runs with the assistance of minimal government funding, and is now is having part of its school grounds appropriated for another school (Glenroy Special School).

Apparently the previous principal of Ballert Mooroop College (an Indigenous person) acted against the wishes of the local community. The agreement to let the government use their land was done in a deceptive way, without fully consulting with the school community.

The situation is an attack on one of the few institutions in Melbourne that nurture Aboriginal culture. It represents a continuation of the same ideology behind the Northern Territory Intervention which was introduced by the Howard government in 2007, and has continued with equal vigour under Labor.

The attack on Aboriginal education is an act of cultural genocide, and the attack on an Aboriginal-run school is also an attack on self-determination. In this case, the school has been undermined by a sustained period of inadequate funding, and it has also succumbed to devious bureaucratic manoeuvres to sign away the land without the full participation of the community.

In the last few days, members of the school community have been protesting and conducting a sit-in at the school gymnasium. This is the first building that is to be demolished to make way for the facilities of the special school, in this case a parking lot. The protesters have successfully halted the demolition, and there are negotiations with CFMEU officials to exert influence on the building work at the site.

The school is also reaching out for support from outside their community. They called a protest on Wednesday 24 November and on 26 November held a meeting so people could network and discuss strategy.

Defenders of Ballert Mooroop College are justifiably asking why the special school had to be built on one of the few areas of Aboriginal-controlled land that exist in Melbourne. They are asking why it cannot be built on the site of the soon-to-be-vacated Glenroy Primary School. There are also suggestions that the special school’s existing site could be adequately redeveloped to their needs with proper funding.

There is an emerging political framework which is counterposing the demands of the two schools, forcing them into competition with each other. Both schools require decent resources and space to conduct their teaching. Both are schools that service highly marginalised and under-resourced communities in Australian society. It is important to reject the idea that they are pitted against each other, and that one of them has to lose out.

The Glenroy Special School deserves quality facilities and adequate funding to run the school. Ballert Mooroop College is entitled to control all of its land and have full access to resources to conduct the education of their students in whatever way they see fit.

However, this is far from the reality, and the school has never been adequately funded. It has never been given the appropriate level of public support to achieve what it set out to do – a recurring scenario with projects that are Aboriginal-run, for Aboriginal people.

The government provides a drip feed of cash, with constant promises that they will provide massive injections in funding for social services. It never happens. And now, only a few short years since Aboriginal organisations managed to exert any form of self-determination, we see the government blame Aboriginal people themselves for the less than amazing outcomes. Their lackeys in the media proclaim the “self-determination experiment” failed, and what follows is the re-emergence of 1930s-style assimilationism.

The NT Intervention, now three-and-half years in operation, represents this shift in Aboriginal affairs. The federal government has led the way in the campaign to reassert the racist assimilationism of the past. In the NT, it has shut down Aboriginal-run job projects and organisations, and it is steadily withdrawing social services to strangle the remote communities out of existence.

It is no surprise that Western Australia’s Liberal Premier Colin Barnett has the confidence to disregard the Kimberly Land Council and threaten to “compulsorily acquire” Aboriginal land for a gas hub. The material interests of the mining industry are clearly the government’s priority.

Some remote Aboriginal communities in WA are facing obliteration because of the very dysfunction for which the government and the private sector is responsible. The WA Department for Indigenous Affairs confirmed to The West Australian newspaper in October that it was considering the withdrawal of government services to the remote community of Oombulgurri.

For the Balanggarra people who live there, there is no say in how to solve the devastating problems that afflict their community. There is no option for more public services to address their problems. Instead, Colin Barnett has said that the “future [is] bleak for many Aboriginal communities in WA”. What will happen to the people in Oombulgurri if their community is shut down?

This is not a concern for Colin Barnett. He is contentedly implementing the ruling class’s new approach to dealing with Aboriginal people. For most decent people, any shift in Aboriginal policy would be about doing what is necessary to redress over 200 years of genocide and the ongoing dispossession of Aboriginal people, which has led to the horrific statistics that we are all aware of.

Instead, what we see from the Barnetts and Macklins, is the smashing of Aboriginal self-determination and the withdrawal of funding. It is the re-emergence of the assimilation model to finally and fully absorb Indigenous people into mainstream capitalist society. It was spearheaded by the racist NT Intervention, and can now be seen in this attack on the Aboriginal school in Melbourne.

Sit-in defends Koori school

Sue Bolton Green Left weekly November 27, 2010

... Ballerrt Mooroop College has been at the site since 1996. Several years ago, the state Labor government talked about shutting it down. The school community won a reprieve, but the government changed the school’s registration in 2009 from being a general school to a Koori pathway school.

Pathway schools are only for students who don’t fit in at mainstream schools. Ballerrt Mooroop College can not independently enrol students, instead getting referrals from the education department. Several months ago, the enrolments dried up, eventually dwindling to just 20.

It appears to be an attempt to close the school by stealth.

Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group spokesperson Gary Murray told Green Left Weekly state Labor education minister Bronwyn Pike wanted a “melting pot education”. He asked why Aboriginal children couldn’t have a Koori school, given there are many schools catering to single religions.

“We want a full school”, he said, “not just for Aboriginal kids in trouble at mainstream schools. Eventually we would like a boarding school for Aboriginal kids from all over Victoria”, he said.

The community sit-in was continuing 24 hours a day. The protesters would appreciate visitors and messages of support. December 17 will be critical: builders are due to begin demolishing the gymnasium.

by Sue Bolton
Read Full Article

Anger at land grab on Koori college site

Jewel Topsfield The Age November 26, 2010

Melbourne's only Aboriginal school has accused the government of trying to assimilate Koori students into mainstream schools by "squeezing out" the Ballerrt Mooroop College and forcing it to surrender more than half its land.

A community "sit-in" is being held in the college's gymnasium to protest against its demolition on December 17 to make way for a new $18 million special school to be co-located on the site.

The Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group said it was inequitable and discriminatory that Glenroy Specialist School had received $18 million for a new school, while Ballerrt Mooroop College had gotten just $750,000 for portable classrooms and would lose its gymnasium and hall.

"You can't build a mansion and then build a humpy next door," said spokesman Gary Murray.

"We want at least one Aboriginal school in Melbourne. They are trying to assimilate our kids into big melting-pot schools, but it's not working and our kids are dropping out."

But Glenroy Specialist School principal Raelene Kenny said the special school, which catered for 150 of the most disabled students in the state, was using inadequate leased premises that were more than 30 years old and desperately needed a new home.

She said while $18 million sounded like a big budget, $2 million alone would be spent on a ceiling hoist to help move the students, and heating and cooling.

Ballerrt Mooroop College, which has about 20 students, is a Koori "pathways" school, dedicated to assisting disengaged 12 to 16-year-olds return to mainstream education or employment.

Forty per cent of indigenous students in Victoria failed last year's national reading tests, and Wurundjeri elder Margaret Gardiner said the treatment of Ballerrt Mooroop College was not the way to engage the Aboriginal community in closing the gap.

The college council claims it has not consented to the development of a special school on the same land. It is angry that Ballerrt Mooroop's gymnasium and hall will be razed and turned into a car park for the new school.

College council president Dorothy Bamblett said the gym and hall were needed for physical education. "These are indigenous students with high issues - a place like the gym is somewhere we can control them and manage their anger and emotions," Ms Bamblett said.

Education Department spokeswoman Anna Malbon said the department and the project's architect had regularly consulted with the college and the department "continues to meet with both school communities to resolve any issues and ensure the best outcome for all parties".

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