4 June 2019
It is a pleasure to rise to address the Victorian budget of 2019–20.
It would have been more of a pleasure if the state Labor government, the Andrews Labor government, actually delivered what I was hoping they would deliver for the people of the Sandringham district.
I did my very best to work collaboratively with the government in regard to providing the infrastructure that my community so desperately needs, the infrastructure that would have set up my community for the benefit of future generations—the infrastructure that would have seen Sandringham Hospital receive funding for an urgently needed upgrade to their outpatient clinic and the funding that would have seen the Cheltenham Football Netball Club receive some $50 000 for an electronic scoreboard at their Jack Barker Oval.
Let me go into a little bit more detail in relation to Jack Barker Oval and the great work the Cheltenham Football Netball Club do.
The Cheltenham Football Netball Club is a volunteer organisation, and they have members who contribute to their club—volunteers who are the very fabric of the Sandringham district community.
The survival of that club depends on their ability to generate funding for that club. Now Bayside council, the local municipality, has dictated that there should not be any permanent signs of sponsors around that Jack Barker Oval, so that means that the club’s sponsorship dollars are put in jeopardy.
Working with that club, as I have done over a number of years now, we came up with the solution that an electronic scoreboard would be an opportunity for them to continue the income stream from their sponsors in order to secure the future viability of that particular club.
Sadly that $50 000 commitment, which I wrote to the Treasurer about before the state budget in April this year, and a commitment that I made in last year’s state election was not matched and was not met in this year’s state budget.
I was also pleased to commit during the last state campaign to $10 million towards a staged development of a multi-hectare regional sporting precinct within the Kingston green wedge. Once again this is something that was not addressed by this state budget. Sporting clubs—soccer clubs, football clubs, hockey clubs, netball club and cricket clubs—come to me and they say, ‘There is a lack of sporting ovals; there is a lack of sporting facilities for us to use’. Now, in that particular Kingston green wedge, there is an opportunity to expand that area and to develop, over a period of time, a regional sporting precinct.
In my view the commitment we made ahead of the last state election was a visionary commitment, a commitment that would have set up those communities and those sporting clubs with the sporting facilities and infrastructure they need to meet the needs of future generations. Sadly those opposite did not see that opportunity.
I committed $7.5 million to Mentone Girls Secondary College, which is a wonderful secondary college within the Sandringham district. It is one of the few single-sex, girls-only state secondary schools within the state of Victoria and certainly within the southern region of Melbourne. They do a wonderful job in not only inspiring but educating young women to be their best and to achieve their best, and we recognised that on this side of the house during the course of the last state election campaign. That $7.5 million commitment was funding towards the master plan for the future rebuild of that school and funding to implement stage 1 of that master plan.
Sadly, Mentone Girls Secondary College has been forgotten in this year’s state budget.
I have written letters not only to the Treasurer but also to the Minister for Education, pleading the case for this school, pleading the case for the needs of the school community, and it has fallen on deaf ears.
Well, I say to those people, those important people who are part of my community at Mentone Girls Secondary College, that I have not forgotten them and I will continue to argue the case for the school they deserve and the facilities they deserve at the college site.
I also committed $9 million for the development and implementation of stage 1 of a master plan for the rebuild of Sandringham Secondary College. Sandringham Secondary College currently has two campuses, and what it urgently needs is a master plan. An important first step in the process for the college to be rebuilt is the development of that master plan, and I note with appreciation that the government did in fact commit some half a million dollars to that master plan work. My point, however, is that the only way that this particular school community will receive the certainty that it needs is a commitment not only to a master plan but also to the implementation of stage 1 and further stages of that particular master plan.
We committed $1.5 million to the installation of new traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Bluff Road and Tulip Street in Sandringham. Acting Speaker, you may not be familiar with this particular intersection—and I would not think many members in this place would be—but to my community this is an important intersection. It is an intersection that is precarious at best.
I note in the chamber the presence of the former shadow minister for roads, the member for Croydon, who actually came out during the course of the last state election campaign to that site and met with residents and affected community groups, where we committed $1.5 million to the redevelopment of that intersection and to the establishment of a pedestrian crossing there.
That intersection is across the road from Sandringham Hospital. There are some cases where ill people need to cross Bluff Road, a dangerous road at the best of times, to access Sandringham Hospital. It makes sense for there to be a pedestrian crossing there.
Tulip Street is also the home of great clubs like the Sandringham Baseball Club.
The Sandringham Soccer Club is within that vicinity.
There are childcare facilities in Tulip Street.
There is the Sandringham Bowls Club, which I am proud to be the patron of.
There is the King Club, a swimming pool and a gym, so it is a very, very busy road with very many people transiting through that particular intersection.
These works are desperately needed by my community.
I wrote to the Minister for Roads and I wrote to the Treasurer seeking to work constructively with the government for the benefit of the Sandringham district community in implementing this particular piece of infrastructure, and once again that fell on deaf ears.
I will go into some other items that were committed to and were not funded, sadly, in this particular budget.
One of those things is the addition of protective services officers, PSOs, at Mentone railway station.
With Mr O’Donohue in the other place I was pleased, ahead of the last state election, to announce at Mentone station that a future Liberal government would establish PSOs at Mentone station from 10.00 a.m. until the last train, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This is not just a policy idea that we dreamed up.
In fact it was the principals of the five secondary schools within that particular Mentone precinct—five secondary schools with students numbering around 6000 who transit through Mentone station on a daily basis during school terms—that came to us and said, ‘We are concerned about our students’ safety. We are concerned about the safety of local residents and of commuters through the Mentone station precinct. We are concerned about the safety of those who operate shops within that Mentone station precinct as well. We are concerned that if PSOs and a uniform presence of PSOs is not present at Mentone station from 10.00 a.m. until the last train Mentone station could in fact become a honey pot for crime’, knowing that there are younger people, students, who access that station precinct, which is why we committed to that.
I wrote to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and I wrote to the Treasurer seeking to work constructively and cooperatively with members of the Andrews Labor government in delivering this important policy outcome for the Sandringham district, and once again, sadly, that fell on deaf ears.
Additionally I sought funding for the Marine Education Science and Community Centre, MESAC, so that this organisation could commence with the planning for a marine centre purposed with preserving, understanding and building awareness of the Sandringham district’s unique and diverse marine biology. We sought $50 000 to assist MESAC in their pursuit, and once again this fell on deaf ears.
The Sandringham district that I love, that I have the great privilege of representing in this place, is defined by its tree-lined streets, by its parks, by its waterways and by its magnificent coastline.
One of the responsibilities that I have—that falls upon my shoulders—is to advocate on behalf of organisations like MESAC for the future preservation of our natural environment.
It is something that I proudly do and will continue to do. Even if the government does not believe that this is an area of importance, I believe it is, and I will continue to fight for it.
I also sought to work constructively with the Minister for Education and the Treasurer seeking $1 million for the redevelopment of Black Rock Primary School’s presently dilapidated sports oval. I visited the school, and the principal, Sam, has shown me around that particular school oval. It is not an oval; it is more of a cow paddock. It is unsafe for students, and there is an opportunity to bring it up to speed for the sake of that particular school community. I sought to work constructively with government ministers, and once again that request fell on deaf ears.
I sought $3 million for the expansion of the Southern Basketball Association’s stadium precinct. This is a basketball association that hosts some 10 000-plus members on a weekly basis, whether it be summer, whether it be winter—right throughout the year. They are the hub for activity for young people. They are promoting healthy lives amongst our young people. There is a wonderful volunteer base of people there who contribute for the betterment of young people, for their health and for their fitness. But, frankly, they have run out of room with the four indoor courts they have, and they want to expand. They do not just want to expand; in fact they need to expand.
This $3 million would be a state contribution on top of a local government—Bayside council—contribution, to expand that offering and to ensure the viability of this particular basketball association for generations to come.
These were just some of the things that I sought to work constructively with the government on, which is why in an earnest way I wrote to the Treasurer seeking his agreement to the funding of these particular items in the state budget.
I am sad to say that the request for the vast majority of these things that are needed within the Sandringham community simply fell on deaf ears.
In the time that I have left I might just refer to some of the analysis of the budget that has been put together by some of my colleagues, because I think it is good analysis.
I would like to refer, if I may, to a media release from the Leader of the Opposition. His media release of 29 May, headed ‘Arrogant Labor Treasurer tells concerned Victorians to “get a life”’, reads:
‘If there was any doubt that the Andrews Labor government is arrogant and out of touch it was put to rest when Tim Pallas declared that anyone concerned about being hit with his new tax when purchasing a family car should ‘get a life’.
This is the same Tim Pallas— says the Leader of the Opposition— who six months ago promised no new taxes in this budget.
He goes on to say:
‘It says so much about Labor that they think that any Victorian who doesn’t like their new taxes deserves to be mocked and insulted. The class warfare that worked so very, very well for Labor in the federal election has been a writ large in this budget. It has continued, sadly, under this Treasurer, who has mocked and ridiculed those hardworking, earnest people who save their dollars in order to purchase something for their retirement, and his response to them is simply: ‘Get a life’.
Well, if there was one word of advice I would offer this government from the grandeur of this backbench position, it is this: the state Labor government needs to get a life, because the Victorian people will not put up with this arrogance for much longer.