In Parliament

Adjournment - Bell Station, Preston


Wednesday, 11 November 2020.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (19:39):

My Adjournment this evening is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, and the action I seek is for the State Labor Government to listen to the Preston community over their design concerns with the Preston level crossing removal project in relation to the access to the Bell station car park.

The Bell Residents Group and the wider Preston community have been banging their collective heads against the wall for years. Despite blanket opposition, the State Government has approved the installation of and access to Bell station parking on the crowded residential side of the station instead of allowing access to the vacant VicTrack land located on the west side of the station.

Bizarrely, the Government’s approach includes access to the car park through a rabbit warren of narrow residential streets and heritage-listed homes on the eastern side of the station.

Who will pay the cost of this approach? Residents—with a reduction to their residential amenity.

The decision is illogical, but even though the Labor government will not admit it we know what they are doing. Labor has a secret plan to flog off the VicTrack land and allow inappropriate high-rise apartments to be built there. Labor is selling out local residents.

The Preston community has worked tirelessly to voice their opposition to the State Government’s nonsensical plans. Almost 1,300 residents of the local community have petitioned the government begging them to listen, but the Minister for Transport Infrastructure and the Member for Northcote sneakily tiptoe around the issue.

In a letter to the Bell Residents Group, a community group for residents affected by the proposal, the Minister for Transport Infrastructure casually wrote:

… your suggestion that the project could destroy the community is noted …

What a typical brush-off from a prickly Minister.

The Member for Northcote’s own constituents feel their member has also given them the cold shoulder, with one constituent saying, ‘Kat was always available to us as a candidate until she was elected’.

Accidentally in a letter to the residents group the member admitted that the minister is considering the future use of the VicTrack land, buried deep in her response.

The whole proposal is a sneaky stitch-up. Local residents are being hoodwinked by the Government. They deserve to know the truth.

I call on the Government to come clean and let the Preston community know Labor has a sneaky plan to flog off the VicTrack land and allow inappropriate high-rise apartments to be built there.

I look forward to the Minister’s response.