Barry Everingham writes:

Melbourne’s
internationally respected Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) has reached crisis
level and education insiders claim it has been abandoned by the education minister,
Brendan Nelson, and his department.

Insiders told Crikey that Nelson has
driven a wedge between the college and Melbourne University, which has been told
to top up VCA funding from its own budget. Pleas for NIDA-type
funding have been laughed off by Nelson who says he is treating the VCA
“fairly.”

The VCA’s budget was cut by 35% and the demands on the University
of Melbourne to take up the slack from its own meagre budget are totally
outrageous. Our source says five Asian governments have
recently sent people to Melbourne
to view the VCA’s model, which is recognised internationally as one of the
world’s most successful arts education centres.

It’s believed that Nelson wants the VCA to be absorbed into the
University, which would allow the college’s $300 million worth of
assets to be sold. The VCA is affiliated with the University and it’s
feared a total amalgamation would remove its identity.

Peter Fray

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