Statement – Port Phillip Council Meeting Appearance
5 July 2023.
Good evening Councillors,
My apologies for not appearing in person, but I have just welcomed hundreds of new citizens at a Bayside Citizenship Ceremony.
I speak tonight, opposed to the installation of the proposed public toilets next to St Kilda Park Primary School (on Fitzroy Street, in St Kilda).
I speak as both a Member of Parliament representing part of the Port Phillip municipality and as the Shadow Minister for the Environment.
Councillors, our community deserves to be heard. And as community leaders we need to listen.
Right now, they are speaking to us loudly and clearly.
They are saying that there is a community safety issue in parts of St Kilda, and it is not safe to install public toilets nearby to the entrance of a Primary School.
The community is right on both accounts – there are genuine safety issues in the area, and it is not appropriate to install toilets at the proposed location.
So the vote tonight is not about whether the community is right – because they are – tonight is a test of which Councillors are actually listening the community.
Almost one and a half thousand people from our community have signed a petition, calling on Council to stop the proposal – children, parents, small business operators, long term residents – all speaking with one voice.
That voice is saying, we are concerned about ongoing safety issues in St Kilda, ongoing reports of drug use in public facilities, and open violence around Fitzroy and Acland Streets.
And they are saying that our children deserve to be safe in their school.
As we know, the proposed site is on Crown Land.
Irrespective of Council’s position, any installation will require State Government approval.
As the Shadow Minister, I want the community to know that I have publicly called on the Minister for the Environment to overrule the installation of toilets at the site.
The State Government has the power to give that assurance – and the Minister must state her public position on whether she will allow the build.
Councillors, listen to our community, stand with our children, and vote against the installation of the public toilets next to St Kilda Park Primary School.
James Newbury, Member for Brighton