Beverley McArthur MP

Member for Western Victoria Region

Media Statement


Couzens AWOL at Chilwell


Lower House Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens is nowhere to be found when it comes to representing her constituents.

Last night at the Chilwell Primary School in Geelong, School Council President Phil Joyce convened a meeting for parents and interested parties about the absolutely ridiculous situation where the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) will not listen to or engage with the school community regarding a long overdue build. This all powerful authority demonstrate complete arrogance, a total dismissive approach to the elected school council members and absolutely no interest or concern for students.

Neither the local member, Ms Couzens or the State Minister for Education, James Merlino have shown any interest in representing the views of this vibrant and effective school community. This community is totally dedicated to the welfare and benefit of current and future students. It seems no matter how irrational and illogical the VSBA building refurbishment proposal is, the local Member and the Minister are clearly ignoring the voice of reason and the preferred choice of the school council. The VSBA’s plan results in smaller size classrooms and less outdoor play area.

The Design and Development Plan and the Assessment Management Plan have not been followed and the whole process is fundamentally flawed. The school council have never signed the School Endorsement Letter nor have they completed and signed a Form 5 School Occupational Health and Safety Letter.

I’m calling on the local Member, Ms Couzens and the Minister, Mr Merlino to immediately call a halt to this process to negotiate with the elected and responsible school body to achieve the best outcome for students and a more cost effective use of taxpayer’s money.

After patient and polite advocacy over a two year period the school are at breaking point having just learnt that tenders will be finalised within days for a $2.4m refurbishment of an asbestos ridden, not fit for purpose building when the school has quotes to build a fabulous new structure for the same money that will serve the school’s growing population for decades into the future.

14 March 2019