My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Fishing and Boating and I ask: can the minister confirm for my community when the Hampton Pier will be repaired to a standard that permits its reopening for community use? It was more than four months ago that the many moorers, recreational fishers and pedestrian patrons of Hampton Pier—a community icon that has served many locals for more than 130 years—were shocked to find that fences barring access to the pier had been erected. Signs indicated only that the pier was closed due to structural damage. No indication of a date for remediation, let alone reopening, was given. Not only did this deprive the local area of one of its great community assets, it also left moorers in the unenviable position of needing to quickly find alternative storage for their vessels.
In the face of adversity and uncertainty our community did what it does best—it rallied. As a result—some may say ‘pier pressure’—it quickly escalated. Together with my colleague the state member for Brighton, local pier users and others, we have coordinated a petition that has since been signed by 4112 local residents, and there are more coming, demanding that this pier be repaired and that funding necessary for its ongoing maintenance be made available and guaranteed by the government.
The silence of this government has been deafeningly disrespectful. I wrote to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change in her capacity as the minister responsible for Parks Victoria—the pier’s managing authority—on 11 June 2020. Having received no response, and after repeatedly dealing with the outsourced call centre to which the minister’s office had off-loaded inquiries, it was only on 17 September that my office received confirmation that this correspondence had instead been registered with the Minister for Fishing and Boating. Local moorers, fishers, walkers and I are still waiting for this government to respond to a letter sent in June this year. We are asking the minister to do what should have been done even before the pier’s closure: to consult with locals, give us the facts, but more importantly give us back access to Hampton Pier.