Cementing Southbank as the arts capital

Cementing Southbank as the arts capital
Tony Penna

Early this month Southbank Residents’ Association held its annual general meeting (AGM), with Melbourne Arts Precinct Team (MAPT) as the guest speaker to update us on the status of the $1.5 billion precinct upgrade which includes the new NGV contemporary gallery.

This is an exciting project and is going to cement Melbourne’s title as the arts capital of Australia. The project will take a number of years to complete so sadly there is going to be much disruption to Southbank Boulevard, but we are used to that as after all the upgrade along there has already taken at least four years.

After such a great community response from our event, the team is holding another community information session on September 15 at 6.30pm. To get the registration details send an email to [email protected].

Clearly, since I am still writing this column I renominated to remain on our committee. In fact, there had been so much interest from the community that we received 10 new nominations, plus Dan O’Keeffe and myself meant we now have a full committee (our constitution only allows for 12 committee members).

There is a diverse range of community members and skills. I am looking forward to working with this new committee going into this new year, I am sure we can achieve much for our community.

I did receive some welcome news from the City of Melbourne recently. I met with the deputy CEO and directors of infrastructure and capital works to discuss communication with the residents of Southbank.

As many in our community are aware, I have been critical of the council’s ability and efforts to reach out to us for important community items.

We received a commitment from the Lord Mayor at our Southbank Community Forum that the council needs to do better and that they would do better.

I know senior management has a real desire to ensure the community is not forgotten about and they have committed to review their processes to once again try to implement measures that will keep our community informed. I made a number of suggestions, but I guess time will tell.

However, I did ask about the “we’ll take it on notice” items from our community forum from almost six months ago that we are still yet to get a reply to, to be assured that they have been working through an audit of every Southbank council plan with the commitment to provide us with a detailed update.

This has been a mammoth task (which I believe as there are many Southbank-relevant plans), but it will be comforting to know it is coming. I am looking forward to this being released.

Remember if you want to support your local community advocacy group, membership is only $10. Without members we are merely a whisper. It is our membership which gives us our voice. You can sign up on our Facebook page (southbankresidents) or through our website southbankresidents.org.au •  

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