It’s not too late to Save the VCA - Sue Pennicuik MLC

"It's not too late for the state government to step in to ensure that the VCA does not disintegrate as a result of its incorporation into Melbourne University," Greens MP for the Southern Metropolitan Region, Sue Pennicuik told a rally of VCA students and supporters on the steps of state parliament today.

The Minister for Arts, Lynne Kosky told parliament, when she presented the legislation to incorporate the VCA into Melbourne University in 2006, that the integration of the VCA with the University of Melbourne would ensure the long-term financial viability of the college and enable it to continue to fulfil its role as the leading Victorian provider of visual and performing arts courses.

"Three years on and it seems that that was a hollow promise. The VCA is not faring well," said Ms Pennicuik. "Courses have been axed and experienced staff have lost their jobs with others set to follow. The University is looking to impose its academic teaching model on a college that is world famous for its hands on courses. What has made the VCA courses so sought after is in danger of being lost."

"The crux of the problem is the withdrawal of funding by the Howard government in 2003. That was a very bad decision that led to the current problems. However, funding from state and federal arts and education budgets could fix it," she said.

"The arts minister and the Premier should stand up for the visual and performing arts in Victoria and negotiate a solution with the university to retain the status, uniqueness and distinct identity of the VCA as promised."

"Victoria is known as the arts capital of Australia. Victorians love to see their home grown actors, dancers, musicians and technicians on stage locally and around the world," she said. "The people of Victoria support our artists. It's time the government did."

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