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New business association for Southbank?

18 Mar 2013

With the changes to the precinct funding program being undertaken by the City of Melbourne (as reported on page 1) a new precinct may emerge on the southern border of Southbank.

The St Kilda Rd Precinct and Promotions Committee was not a recognised association under the previous Melbourne Business Precincts (MBP) program and has, therefore, not received council funding.

Many years ago, the group had been a council-funded organisation, and was one of the founding precincts when the funding was launched in 1994.

The MBP model only allowed one precinct in the southern region of the city, and with the Yarra River Business Association (YRBA) holding the majority of that area, the funding for the St Kilda Rd group ceased.

In its report on the failure of MBP the council suggests the St Kilda Rd group may apply for funding and goes as far as suggesting the council should put funding aside to allow it (as well as a group from Kensington) to do so.

St Kilda Rd Precinct and Promotions Committee executive officer, Ken Davis, was non-committal on a decision, and said the group was simply yet to make up its mind as to whether it would apply for the funding or not.

“It’s certainly on our radar. We obviously used to be a precinct, and we are going to review the opportunity to become one again,” Mr Davis said.

“At this stage we may or we may not, I really can’t say either way what our decision is going to be,” he added.

“An issue for us is that only about one third of our membership is actually in the City of Melbourne. Having said that, we’ve always liked working with the council, and its been very good to us in the past.”

The existing association in Melbourne’s district south, the YRBA, said it welcomed the introduction of another council-funded group in the region.

YRBA president John Ahern said there were diverse issues facing businesses along St Kilda Rd and they were not always the same as those facing businesses along the Yarra River.

“It has become apparent that the issues facing St Kilda Rd and their community of interest are much different to that of the Lower Yarra and Southbank areas,” Mr Ahern said.

“We would be comfortable with a St Kilda Rd group,” Mr Ahern added.

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