Adjournment: Balaclava Super Tram Stop

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (17:20:35) — (14 134) I raise a matter for the Minister for Planning. The action that I seek is that the Minister for Planning review his decision to overturn the proposed super-stop near Balaclava station on Carlisle Street. This is a matter that we certainly raised when we were in government in August 2014. The proposed super-stop was something that Public Transport Victoria and the City of Port Phillip were then working towards. At that time many of the shopkeepers fought very hard to ensure that it did not get developed. There were lots of issues with that super-stop, including a number of car spaces that were going to be taken away, a lot of tables and chairs on the sidewalk that would be lost and the issue of the overall amenity of the area.

To my surprise in only the last few weeks we were notified that the super-stop would proceed without any consultation whatsoever. None of the traders were aware of it, and it first came to my attention when I had a meeting with the mayor, who informed me that this would be taking place again. What I was even more surprised about was that the Minister for Planning on 3 August 2017 had a planning scheme amendment, GC68, approved, which would allow Public Transport Victoria to run roughshod over any of these developments and not have to consult with the community and not have to seek approval from council. The original proposal had community consultation, but Minister Mulder, in the former government, ensured that the project was scrapped. Now under this government there will be no consultation and many of the retailers will just have to live with whatever decision is made.

We are told now that it will go ahead in May, without any consultation at all. Certainly the likes of Mal from Ramsay Pharmacy, Dean from Sir John’s Gifts homewares store and Naomi from the Little Lost Land boutique clothing and many others that I have met in the last week are very concerned that they are not being consulted properly about this new project. How many car spaces will be lost? What will happen with the issues already with congestion and the accessibility issues for emergency services vehicles travelling along Carlisle Street? There is also the design element of this project.

What we are seeking from the minister is for him to allow proper consultation and not to have a project like this put in place in such quick time without any ability for the community, for retailers and residents, to have a proper consultation about this important project.