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Southbank Residents Association

09 Apr 2019

Meeting with Foley

Last month I met with our local parliamentary member, Martin Foley, for some updates on what is happening, or likely to happen, in and around Southbank during this next term of government.

Fortunately for Southbank, Martin has retained the arts portfolio (Creative Industries). Martin has been a great advocate for the arts. I suppose when the bulk of the arts institutions are in your electorate, it would be hard not to be. He also retains mental health and equality.

You may recall in last month’s column, I expressed my curiosity with what deals may have been done behind the scenes with Crown and the government after they rejected Crown’s request for an extension to their planning application for One Queensbridge St.

I was assured there were no deals as an extension just didn’t stack up, especially in light of the currently depressed property market, which is not looking to improve in the short term, but more importantly the demands on the civic improvements which the development was funding.

Any further delays would just compound the uncertainty of when this community investment will be made, namely for the upgrade to Queensbridge Square, but more importantly, stage three of Southbank Boulevard and these upgrades are becoming of critical importance.

I was not able to glean any information on what might happen with the sites now, mainly because nothing has been decided yet, but that the government and the council are working with the site owners to get some activity there.

I was also very interested to know if this government is serious about the improvements to the Arts Precinct and the development of the recently-released blueprint.

I have been assured it is committed and would like to demolish the CUB building (which the government acquired in 2018) as soon as practicable after the stage one Southbank Boulevard works are completed.

As outlined in the new blue print, the current CUB site is slated to be the new NGV Contemporary – a dedicated space for contemporary art, envisioned to be the Australia’s best contemporary art gallery.

This blueprint is truly an exciting plan and will really transform the space between all our arts locations.

Martin also mentioned that work is beginning on locating a site in Fishermans Bend for a hospital. This hospital will be an extension of the Alfred but with limited services, mainly focused on servicing the local community. This hospital would certainly service Southbank and would be a welcome addition. It is still early days yet, but it is promising to hear the discussions are happening.

On a federal level, as we know, we will be sent to the polling booths in May. Following-on from our highly successful state election candidate’s forum, Southbank Residents Association has brought the federal candidates together for the renamed seat of Macnamara from the three major parties (Liberal, Labor and Greens) for our community to meet the candidates and ask any pressing community questions.

Please note, we will have a change of venue for this event and hold it at South Melbourne Primary School, which is actually located within Southbank, being at 129 Ferrars St, Southbank. The event is on Tuesday, April 16 at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm event start.

We are delighted to have Bernadene Voss moderate this event. Bernadene is a two-term councillor and three-time mayor in the City of Port Phillip. A successful businesswoman, Bernadene has been a resident for 20 years in the electorate of Macnamara. 

I encourage our community to be there to hold all candidates to account.

If you are not a member of Southbank Residents Association, you can join via our website at or our Facebook page. If you would like to become involved in your community, then you may like to consider joining our committee. You would be most welcome. We can be contacted at

Tony Penna - President

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