Deaf Children Australia’s CEO Damian Lacey would like to provide an update on our property. After this statement, you may be interested in reading the related Age article which has just been published.
Damian stated: “Deaf Children Australia (advised by Ernst & Young Real Estate Advisory Services) are conducting a process in relation to our historic property at 597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. These discussions with a number of complementary short-listed parties are underpinned by a number of threshold DCA principles including the preservation of deaf education and the legacy of property to the deaf community.
Commencing in 1913, we have worked in partnership with the Victorian State Education Department to ensure the provision of deaf education on this site. The Victorian College for the Deaf (VCD) was once the only option for deaf education – and it remains one of the important options – in our state.
Deaf Children Australia remains committed to supporting the College as exemplified by DCA incurring the cost of developing their current accommodation (at no rental / peppercorn ground lease), and payment of other associated annual property costs (including ground and building maintenance).
In context of wider changes to the charitable sector and pressures on DCA, the current arrangement is not sustainable. Combined with the demands of the historic property itself, a disproportionate share of income has had to be directed to the maintenance of DCA’s bluestone building and property (including gardens).
In order to address these increasing demands and balance our current commitments, Deaf Children Australia has invited conditional offers from various shortlisted parties. Offers must be on the basis of ensuring continued deaf education on the site. We acknowledge the significant association that the Deaf community has to this historic property, and any offers must also protect the long term legacy of the property so a sense of place and cultural identity is maintained.
Following the conclusion of the transaction process, Deaf Children Australia will seek to make an announcement about the future of the property as soon as possible.
Deaf Children Australia looks forward to a very positive outcome to enable us to prioritise our core mission to support the wellbeing of children and young people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
DCA has always been innovative and adapted to major changes over 150 years of continuous service. We will manage this change with deep respect and consideration for the concerns of the children and young people who attend the College, along with their families and the whole Deaf community. The commercial returns from this process will be reinvested into both enhanced and additional services for the deaf community by DCA.”
For background on the property project, please go to our Organisation Updates page.