MEMBER for Benambra Bill Tilley has slammed the Victorian Government’s double standards that have seen children missing out on schooling at Falls Creek.
Just two weeks after a report that set the alpine resort as the benchmark for the booming mountain summer tourist trade, Education Minister James Merlin has wiped his hands of the issue that has meant more than 20 students can’t be enrolled at its primary school this winter.
Mr Tilley said Falls Creek had embraced the need to grow its “green season” tourism and the result had been increased year-round enrolments but fewer places for the traditional Term 3 influx for the children of mountain staff.
“I raised this in the parliament as a last resort in early June, calling for action,” he said.
“What I got back was lip-service, a couple of paragraphs about the challenges of alpine environments and a half-hearted promise about something that might happen in the future.
“What I’m hearing is that last week, with the snow falls, many of the children who are living at the resort for this term either didn’t get down to school in Mt Beauty, or went for just two days.
“One family got up at 6am to dig their car out of the snow, just to get their children down the hill.
“If this government is serious about making Falls Creek a year-round resort then it needs to provide the infrastructure and services to do just that and that includes education.”
Mr Tilley highlighted the case of one family in his address to State Parliament in June.
“I am not talking about wealthy snow bunnies that use Falls Creek as their winter playground –these are the hardworking average families, many of whom have had their businesses for generations and are heavily reliant on the income from winter ,” he said.
“Take for instance Jodie Spice, whose family have lived and been in business in Falls Creek for over 40 years, operating an accommodation house and retail shop and employing staff all year round.
“They currently have three generations living on the mountain, all passionate about Falls Creek and its development, and Jodie has been unable to enrol her children at Falls Creek Primary School for the winter for what will be five years this year.”
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