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What’s behind the lights?

Southbank Residents’ Association

06 Oct 2020

An election is upon us …

By Tony Penna - President of Southbank Residents' Association

… and what a horrible time to be holding one.

Personally, I am disappointed the minister didn’t postpone the election. How can the candidates truly present themselves to the electorate and explain who they are and what they stand for when they are limited to our letterboxes and the occasional “meet the candidates” event that might be held? This decision not to delay the election has only eroded our democracy – well for this election, at least.

Talking about meeting the candidates … as usual, Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) will be holding our own event, albeit via Zoom. We have invited the leadership teams (Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor) to nominate one person from their team (leadership or councillor) to represent them. We have also extended a special invitation to the two Southbank candidates (on opposing teams), Samantha Tran and Artemis Pattichi. Many of you will probably know Artemis from her work with the Southbank Sustainability Group that she co-founded and we were fortunate to have her on our SRA committee for close to three years. Artemis would be a great representative for Southbank, and our whole committee is supporting her and wish her well.

Our event will be held on Monday, October 12 commencing at 6.30pm via Zoom. To register scan the QR code on page 13 or join via our website The event will be moderated by myself. I think you will agree, after my eight years as president of SRA, also running for council at the last election and my never-ending involvement with council, I should be able to hold all candidates to account and know when they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes! I think this will certainly be one Meet the Candidates event that you won’t want to miss. You will have the opportunity to send through any questions you would like asked when you register. We will try our best on the night to ask as many questions we can, but there are no guarantees.

The programmed, “New to Southbank” event that I mentioned in last month’s column, is going to be rescheduled to early 2021. Our committee felt that owing to COVID-19 there hasn’t been much movement in the community so there are probably not too many people new to Southbank. We will certainly let you know when we are running that event again.

As many have probably noticed, there is signage on Boyd Park announcing the new development at the site. As many of you know, who have been following this over many years, this development was always planned. In fact, it was supposed to have been before we got the park, but SRA successfully managed to get the park first so we didn’t have to keep waiting.

The basketball court was always temporary as it was eventually supposed to be located under the Kings Way undercroft as part of the City Rd upgrade. This upgrade has been delayed, but rest assured we have not let up asking council when this will finally occur. This development will be put forward to council’s Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) for further consideration before the minister signs-off on it. There will be an opportunity at that meeting for our community to have its final say on this development. SRA certainly will.

I would like to acknowledge the change in portfolios of our local state member, Martin Foley. As you may be aware, Martin was given the Health portfolio following the resignation of Jenny Mikakos. I am not sure if this Ministry promotion is a good or bad thing. Under the current circumstances I wouldn’t wish that portfolio for anyone, but someone needs to do it and I know the portfolio will be in good hands with Martin.

However, I was fearful Martin may lose the creative industries portfolio, which is what happened. I don’t know much about the new creative industries minister, but I do know that Martin was passionate about his creative industries portfolio and in his short time holding the portfolio he has had some major achievements, most notably progressing the Arts Precinct plan and the purchase of the old CUB site on Southbank Boulevard. Martin will no doubt continue to engage with the Southbank community and particularly SRA. We wish him all the best with his new challenges.

If you would like to support your local residents’ association and its work, you can join via our website –, we would certainly welcome your interest. Without membership we don’t have a voice and the community needs to be heard.

We are so close to being out of lockdown. Our community has been resilient and stayed the course. Thank you to everyone who has done their bit to reduce the spread. Keep safe and hopefully see you on Zoom on October 12 •

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