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In the News: April 2023

Contacting three tiers of ‘decision-makers’

By Keith Platt. Read the original story from MP news here.

BUSINESS lobby group Committee for Mornington Peninsula is making good its aim of identifying and contacting decision-makers to help achieve its “long-term outcomes” and “strategic objectives”.

Members of the committee’s executive in recent weeks have met with the Labor MP for Hastings, Paul Mercurio and the Labor MP for Dunkley, Peta Murphy.

The committee wasted no time in issuing a news release congratulating Kate Roper on winning the byelection for the Watson Ward seat on Mornington Peninsula Shire Council left vacant by Mercurio’s November election to state government.

Roper, who represented Cerberus Ward from 2016 to 2020, was sworn in as a councillor at last Tuesday’s public council meeting (4 April). The committee’s congratulatory new release was dated Monday 27 March, the same day her victory was announced by the Victorian Electoral Commission.

The committee’s CEO Josh Sinclair said the shire and committee “have a lot of shared objectives in and around Watson Ward” and “will meet with councillor-elect Roper in coming weeks”.

One day later, Sinclair and four of the committee’s board met with Mercurio “to discuss shared advocacy priorities for the electorate of Hastings”.

“The committee would like to thank Paul for being so generous with his time, and we look forward to working closely with him and [his] neighbouring Labor government colleagues over the next few years in delivering on key investments into our region,” Sinclair said.

He said objectives held in common between the committee and council included the opening-up of port zoned land for industry, improving the Stony Point railway line, better bus services across the peninsula connecting Mornington, Hastings and Rosebud and establishing the renewable energy terminal of Victoria in the Port of Hastings.

“The committee looks forward to working with Cr Roper and advocating for Western Port at all levels of government,” Sinclair said.

“Jobs, housing and infrastructure improvements are all key issues in Somerville, Tyabb and Baxter.”

After meeting with Murphy, Sinclair said the committee was looking forward “to working and partnering with her on local projects that have already attracted federal government funding, including infrastructure upgrades, public transport, sporting precinct developments, and significant investments in health”.

He said the committee would “continue to effectively engage with all levels of government to attract investment within our region”.

“The Committee has productive relationships with both the Member for Flinders [former committee board member Liberal Zoe McKenzie} and Member for Dunkley, which is so important when it comes to advocating for the big issues because all of these things are above politics and parties,” Sinclair said.

“We want to work with our local representatives to shape the Mornington Peninsula over the next 20 years.” 

The committee says its “its long term Western Port advocacy priorities for 2023” include seeing a 1000-seat plus performing arts centre built on the Western Port side of the peninsula; the staged electrification of the railway line from Frankston to Stony Point; improved bus services linking Mornington, Hastings and Rosebud; using surplus port-related industrial land for “broader high amenity industrial and commercial uses”; and backing the state government’s plan to use the Port of Hastings as terminal to transport wind turbines to Bass Strait.

The committee defines its role as being “to advocate for significant government investment for projects that will dramatically shape and enhance the Mornington Peninsula for the long term”.

“Working with our local representatives in a productive and inclusive way, we are seeking to partner with the Victorian and federal governments on a number of projects that will benefit our region,” Sinclair states on its website.

He says the committee is the peninsula’s “peak advocacy body”.

“It is an independent, member-based organisation committed to leading and influencing long-term outcomes and contributing to our strategic objectives for the peninsula.”

Sinclair says the committee “works beyond electoral cycles and partisan politics to enhance social, economic, and environmental sustainability to improve our regions’ liveability, growth, and sustainability” (“Lobby group aims to be bipartisan” The News 14/3/23).

“The Committee for Mornington Peninsula was formed because we can and must do a better job at attracting state and federal government funding, policy attention and sustainable investment.

“As a committee, we look forward to working closely with our elected representatives, state and federal government’s and community Leaders to help deliver significant government investment to our region.”

The committee’s strategic objectives are at:

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 11 April 2023