Deaf Children Australia (DCA) has been reviewing its property strategy for 597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne over the past 18 months with the professional and independent assistance of Ernst & Young, Real Estate Advisory Services.
A two-staged “Expression of Interest” process was commenced in late 2014 by Ernst & Young to secure a long-term partner for the site. The process was underpinned by the following guiding principles and requirements:
- Preservation of deaf education on site
- Preservation of a “sense of place” for the deaf and hard of hearing community
- Long-term financial security for DCA
- Continued and expanded service delivery opportunities for the organisation
As part of this process, the site was considered by the Victorian State Government for a future Prahran High School.
Deaf Children Australia welcomed the State Government’s participation in the process, and identified numerous complementary benefits and outcomes that could be achieved with close collaboration.
Last week, the negotiation process was concluded as an agreement could not be reached between the parties. Deaf Children Australia CEO Damian Lacey states, “From DCA’s perspective, the offer put forward by the State Government was uncommercial, did not meet our guiding principles and could not be progressed any further. We accept the State Governmment’s decision but are disappointed for the Victorian College for the Deaf who had been looking forward to the establishment of a co-located high school on the site.
“In light of the conclusion of negotiations, Deaf Children Australia is in the process of progressing opportunities for a portion of land at the rear of the property. A further announcement will be made shortly.
“The DCA Board appreciates the State Government’s interest and participation in the process, and welcomes further dialogue going forward.
“Deaf Children Australia currently leases a portion of the property to the State Government to enable the Victorian College for the Deaf to operate on the historic property. The Board of Deaf Children Australia is still committed to supporting Victorian College for the Deaf, has offered an extension to this current lease, and seeks to formalise a commercial agreement with the State Government in this regard.”
This media statement was issued in response to the ‘Labor Government Moves Ahead with a High School in Prahran’ media release issued by the Minister for Education, James Merlino. Read The Age coverage and the Leader Newspapers coverage of this issue. You may also want to read the Victorian Deaf Education Institute’s announcement.