In what parents have described as a devastating blow to their children’s future wellbeing, Melbourne’s Caulfield Grammar says it has been left with no choice but to temporarily halt plans for a fourth polo field, after the Victorian Government announced that private schools will no longer be exempt from payroll tax.
“This is absolutely shattering. It’s going to significantly hamper our students’ chances to win the inter-collegiate polo championships in Oxfordshire next year,” the school’s principal said.
The polo field, which was due to be built in empty land between the school’s lacrosse stadium and 7,000 seat theatre complex, will now lay dormant for at least the next 12 months. “We might use it as a boutique vineyard or install a floating wetlands wellbeing landscape as a stopgap in the short term. But as far as polo is concerned, we’ll need to squeeze into fields 1, 2 and 3 for now. It’s hard to overstate what a setback this is”.
Other private schools in Victoria said they would also be affected. Melbourne Grammar has suggested its yoga and pilates studios may now need to be combined into one facility, and Geelong Grammar confirmed this morning that it will now review plans to install all four grand-slam surfaces in its tennis complex. “It’s heartbreaking to think that our kids may now miss the opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like to play on Roland Garros. They’ll have to wait the tennis camp to Paris later in the year,” a spokesperson for the school said. She reassured parents the school’s Space Program would still go ahead as planned.