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Southbank Residents Association

09 Oct 2018

Here we go again

Our seat, Albert Park, is currently held by the ALP’s Martin Foley by just 3 per cent.

Southbank Residents Association (SRA) will again be holding a “meet the candidates” event to allow the local community an opportunity to ask the hard questions and hear what is on offer.

Owing to our very similar challenges, this year we are joining with the Montague precinct of Fishermans Bend.

This event will be moderated by Walkely Award-winning journalist, former councillor and founder of, Stephen Mayne.

In this forum four years ago, the predominant issue was planning. At that time, we had Matthew “Mr Skyscraper” Guy as the Liberal Planning Minister, whom many would argue was haphazard.

I considered him not too friendly to Southbank, therefore the Liberal candidate had a difficult vision to sell let alone to win our trust. But having said this, we did receive assurances from Martin Foley that if a Labor government was elected, it would respect the overshadowing rules for the Yarra River and Shrine of Remembrance.

To the Labor Party’s credit, it did – at least for one application at the beginning of its term. It forced the reduction of six floors from the Collins St CBUS development that was destined to overshadow the river and put the promenade into shadow during its most lively part of the day.

The Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, then went on to do a review of the built form in the Capital City Zone (which includes Southbank) which was received positively by the Southbank community, mainly through its clarity of what is expected.

However, we were left feeling like mugs after the Minister, within six months of approving the new planning scheme, ignored it, contradicting almost every facet of it, including overshadowing of the Shrine, to give a “state significance” exemption to Crown Casino to develop the site at 1 Queensbridge St – and at significant discount to the previously-legislated community benefit.

And let’s not forget the precedent now set for developments within the Southbank Village or Arts Precinct owing to the minister’s failure to apply mandatory height controls despite SRA lobbying for these controls.

In my opinion the issues affecting Southbank haven’t changed much and there is much that can still be done.

I think anyone who has a solution for the placarded and livestock trucks that are forced onto Power St and City Rd to take an alternate route to the Burnley Tunnel, would win votes.

While the Labor Party has committed $500 million to start the Arts Precinct upgrade, much more is needed. I wonder if any of the parties see this as a worthy project to try to win voters in Southbank?

My number one question to all candidates would be about their position if Crown requested an extension to its planning application for 1 Queensbridge St. The Liberal Party condemned Labor for approving the application, so would it put its money where its mouth is and not renew any request for extension?

Here is an opportunity to not only review a development proposal that should never have been approved under the existing legislation, but to also save some Southbank heritage AND overshadowing of the Shrine of Remembrance. This is certainly a difficult position for any candidate, especially if Crown has donated to their election campaign! I guess that could be a follow-on question!

I encourage the residents of Southbank and Montague to come along to Boyd Community Hub, 207 City Rd, Southbank, at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.

You can register your intention to attend at


Tony Penna - President

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