Vote for Southbank!
Dear Southbankers, while we are navigating the vicissitudes of spring weather here in Melbourne, we are also racing towards that time in the political calendar of a Victorian State Election.
Held every four years on the last Saturday of November, this year it is Saturday November 26.
As a community group which has no political affiliation, Southbank3006 does not support any one candidate as an organisation, but we have a view as to what our elected representatives need to focus on to support our amazing suburb of Southbank, which of course, sits within the electorate of Albert Park.
Most politicians do not understand the way our suburb has been designed. Our urban landscape has been developed haphazardly. While there are pockets that have been designed more seamlessly together such as the low-rise Southbank Village incorporating streets such as Wells, Dodds and Coventry streets, the high-rises of Clarendon St, Kavanagh St and City Rd, and the variety of iconic buildings between City Rd and the Yarra River are less consistent in their designs and in their street level interfaces.
We are a suburb of distinct precincts and as we continue to grow, which we will, it is very important that whoever is elected to represent us here in Southbank understands that we do need to have a significant focus on a number of key issues over the next four years.
We actually need to have an elected representative who is interested in us, who is interested in what it’s like to be a resident here, to bring up a family here, to retire here, to live and work with diverse and dynamic multicultural residents and businesses. And please don’t assume it’s just that we have proximity to multiple transport options, the fabulous life along the river and the amazing Arts Precinct … it’s much more than that.
It’s about our own community, our daily walks to schools, with dogs, to have coffee in parts of the suburb unknown to visitors and the warmth and connectivity we have in our “vertical villages”.
Another important aspect our elected representative needs to focus on is that we live with high numbers of visitors to our precinct – Southbank has a high tourist value. That comes with both a dynamism but also a challenge for locals. As well as the glorious Yarra, we have Melbourne’s renowned and very important (both nationally and state-wide) Arts Precinct.
The National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, the Victorian College of the Arts, ACCA, The Malthouse, Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne Recital Centre and, of course, the development of the multi-billion-dollar new NGV Contemporary.
Our question for all the candidates is how do we integrate large visitor and tourism numbers into a suburb with more than 20,000 residents, without losing liveability or amenity? How do we create low traffic neighbourhoods with hundreds of daily visitors, how do we ensure the “economy of the future” for Southbank is not just hospitality, but Southbank-generated and -located business, and how do we attract corporate HQs to the proximity of the CBD?
We are already a strong community, but to sustain that into the future, providing significantly more green space and the development (with some urgency) of low traffic neighbourhoods, are essential to ensure we remain, at street level, a vibrant, connected and engaged Southbank community.
These and many more questions need to be answered for us to know who we will cast our vote for in Southbank, some questions were answered at our Candidates Forum on November 6 at the Holiday Inn. But we do encourage you to think clearly about your vote and how, whoever your choice, will work for our wonderful Southbank now and into the future.
And finally, believe or not Christmas is weeks away and we are thrilled to be working with the City of Melbourne and other local community groups to present for you all “Southbank, A Very Merry Friend-mas” on Saturday, December 10 at Boyd Park and Boyd Community Hub. It’s a free event with lots of entertainment, family friendly activities and local businesses. Please bring your friends, families and join us.
We look forward to meeting you all. •
Caption: Green candidate Kim Samiotis, Liberal candidate Lauren Sherson, Labor candidate Nina Taylor, and Independent candidate Georgie Dragwidge.