Peter Garrett has added insult to injury by stealing the name of the Australian National Academy of Music after closing the world class institution, the Australian Greens said today.
The Greens are calling on Prime Minister Rudd to intervene immediately and, at the very least, impose a 12 month moratorium on the closure of the school, so that its future can be properly planned without disadvantaging students and staff.
"The Government clearly wants to continue to trade on the global reputation of the Academy while gutting it and everyone associated with it," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Arts Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne.
"Everyone knows that brand recognition is vital, and Peter Garrett has added insult to injury by taking the name of the Academy of Music and giving it to his new institution which he and everyone in the music world knows is a shadow of the Academy as it stands.
"Mr Rudd has talked about an education revolution, but if this revolution means destroying one of the most prestigious schools in the nation, then it is not the kind of revolution that the Australian community voted for a year ago.
"Mr Rudd and Glyn Davies must take personal responsibility for the fate of each and every one of the students from the beginning of next year and must answer to each and every student for the damage they are doing to their careers.
"There are no appropriate transitional arrangements in place which give the students the same opportunities and experiences they would have had at the Academy next year. Without any disrespect to the University of Melbourne, the programs it runs are not geared to the specialist elite training that the Academy's students enrolled for.
"To claim that today's allocation of $500,000 is new money is plain wrong. The Government will still be saving more than that amount by not opening its new institution for the first half of next year.
"Prime Minister Rudd should take a leaf from Lord Keynes' book, when he famously said 'When I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?'
"We need time to discuss the future of elite classical music training in Australia while the existing institution continues to provide its world class services.
"No less than a 12 month moratorium will do."