This land is mine

February 25, 2014 by Henry Benjamin
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Sydney’s Moriah College has finalised its settlement with the Government of NSW for the land which the school has occupied since 1988 and has functioned as a Jewish dayschool since 1994.

Giora Friede

Giora Friede

In a statement published before the 2011 Capital Appeal, the school announced:  “In 1984, when the College entered into the lease on the Queens Park land, the rent was $140,000 per annum. Since then, the rent has steadily increased to $1.4 million, 10 times what it was originally. At that rate, in five years time we’d be looking at $2.8 million. Inevitably, this situation would have become unsustainable.

Buying the land for $27 million is an astute business decision, ensuring long-term viability by giving certainty to our land cost and, in the medium to long term, allowing us to spend more funds on education, teachers and students. It’s the only way to go.”

On February 17, the land fell under the ownership of Moriah’s Board of Trustees,

Former president Robert Goot, who is currently a member of the Board, told J-Wire: “The purchase was a fortuitous outcome of the failure to secure the Dover Heights site. But the arrangement with the State Government was that the lease costs would rise a minimum of 8% every five years.”

Robert Goot

Robert Goot

Current president Giora Friede has written to ‘Members of the Moriah Family’. He wrote: “As many of you will remember, in December 2010, the NSW Government agreed to sell to Moriah College, the land on which the school sits in Queens Park.

With the support of all our stakeholders, the settlement was completed last week on Monday, 17 February, securing our pivotal role in the Sydney Jewish Community.

This is the culmination of over 20 years of negotiations to assure the long-term viability of Moriah and strengthen Jewish continuity for generations to come.

To complete the settlement, we have teamed up with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, securing funding and re-financing the existing debt.

The CBA looked very carefully at all aspects of the College, from our history, governance and management, to current enrolments and educational excellence. We are grateful that the CBA understood our needs and agreed to grant us all the facilities required on competitive terms, showing a great amount of enthusiasm to be involved with our community.

We are indebted to the many generous donors who stepped up during the 2011 Capital Appeal and ensuing years to help us reach this milestone, and we thank members of successive Boards and Trustees who have worked assiduously to achieve this outcome for the College.

moriah-290We now own the land, we have solid financial support, we have exemplary educational leadership and we have growing enrolments with waiting lists in several key year groups including Year 6, Year 3 and our Early Learning Centres.”

The school has made changes to its constitution. Friede has written to all eligible voters saying: “The Board of Moriah College recognises that it must continue to evolve and adapt to contemporary governance standards, and to support the delivery of excellence in educational standards. To this end, the Board of Moriah is calling an EGM in order to adopt new Constitutions of the Moriah War Memorial College Association and The Moriah War Memorial Jewish College Association Limited.

As you may be aware, for government funding and administrative purposes, Moriah College consists of two Associations: the Moriah War Memorial College Association and The Moriah War Memorial Jewish College Association Limited (the Associations), which have substantially identical constitutions.

While remaining mindful of our values and history, and recognising the significant contributions that past Moriah Boards have made towards the success of our remarkable school, the new Constitutions will allow us to bring about contemporary governance practice in an educational context, tailored to our Jewish communal setting.

We are confident that the revitalised Constitutions, together with a forward-looking Board implementing Moriah’s Strategic Plan, and our College leadership, will assist in Moriah continuing to be a place of excellence, characterised by innovation, student success and wellbeing.”

He added that the proposal follows significant consultation within the community and has the unanimous endorsement of the Moriah College Board.


2 Responses to “This land is mine”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Not so sure about all this excitement. So much more could have been done with the land.
    Spare a thought; instead, we could have had at least 12,387 Meriton apartments, all with 360 degree splendid district views of another 3,781,235 Meriton apartments.
    As about Robert Goot, he missed out on fantastic oportunities to do all the conveyancing.

  2. David Adler says:

    I must admit to a slightly warped smile at the choice of the word “occupied” to describe the leasehold of Moriah College. It would not have been my choice in the current Israeli political circumstances.

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