Priorities for the next four years

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By Deputy Mayor Serge Thomann

The State Election is at the end of November and as a Council, we felt it important to advocate on our community’s behalf to the various parties and candidates.

One of our top four election priorities is funding of up to $40 million for urgent repairs to the Palais Theatre. As discussed last month, the Palais is nearing the end of its structural life and has not had any significant capital investment for a long time.

The building is State owned and, as per the heritage protection guidelines, it is up to the State to protect its heritage listed assets.

We are asking the State Government and State Opposition to commit this funding as the Palais is a significant place for the music and entertainment industry. It also provides enormous economic benefits to not only the City of Port Phillip but the whole of Victoria (generating $3.4 million directly and $34 million in visitor spending every year for Victoria).

It is paramount that the Palais is repaired to make sure this Grande Dame, who is 13 years short of 100, keeps bringing music to our ears for another 100 years.

Fishermans Bend is the future of our City with 80,000 residents and 40,000 workers expected to be there by 2050.   We need to learn from the past and build communities in new precincts from the start – not just buildings – or risk having a soulless suburb. To achieve this, we need to invest in community infrastructure and public transport from the very beginning and purchase open space. This needs to be done now.

To ensure Fishermans Bend is easily accessible, the City of Port Phillip has been advocating for the Collins Street Tram Extension to link the city to the bay. While welcoming the State Government’s commitment to build a new train station at Montague in Fishermans Bend, the tram extension will service a larger area of Fishermans Bend.

Another election priority is the revitalisation of St Kilda’s Fitzroy and Acland Streets.  We are seeking a $5.3 million election commitment from all parties to works to enhance these iconic destinations.  We need to revitalise our two main shopping precincts to provide a welcoming ambiance for everyone to enjoy.

Council also strongly supports more schools in our City – primary schools and secondary colleges. Education opportunities are critical to every child.  I have been lucky to spend quite a bit of time in our schools – I really enjoyed being Principal for the Day at the St Kilda Park Primary School – and I think we are blessed with excellent schools and colleges.

But we need more schools and some need to be upgraded, like the wonderful Elwood College. I hope that all parties will realise what is needed and will commit to a better future.

Other priorities are the activation of Junction Oval, a review of the impacts of the congestion levy on local business and tourism and more funding for community and social housing.

These are just a few priorities and I’ll be scrutinising the policies  of all candidates on these issues before casting my vote.

Until next month.

Serge

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