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Lobby Group aims to be Bi-Partisan

First published by MP News here.

THE previously Liberal-heavy business group the Committee for Mornington Peninsula is realigning itself with new partnerships as a bipartisan lobby group to bring money and support to the “ignored” Mornington Peninsula.

The committee’s CEO is Josh Sinclair, former staffer for ousted Nepean Labor MP Chris Brayne, and has now added to its ranks members from the non-profit sector, Wallara Disability Services and Lord Somers Camp.

Wallara supports adults with different abilities and has a recently opened cafe and a gift shop at Sage’s Cottage, Baxter while the Lord Somers Camp is a charity for disadvantaged children. The organisations are the committee’s first non-profit members.

The committee’s founding president (March 2019) was Bruce Billson, a former Liberal federal government minister and MP for Dunkley, a position he held for 20 years.

The committee’s previous executive officer was Briony Hutton, who had worked for the Health Minister and Flinders MP Greg Hunt. Hutton was the Liberal Party’s candidate for the state seat of Hastings in last year’s election which was won by former Mornington Peninsula Shire councillor Paul Mercurio. Hutton is now media advisor and backbench advisor to Liberal senator Sarah Henderson.

Flinders was won last year for the Liberal Party by Zoe McKenzie, a previous director of the committee.

Hunt, who did not seek re-election, had been unsuccessfully challenged at the 2019 election by Sinclair, the Labor Party’s candidate. 

Sinclair said the peninsula needed a “united voice” to advocate directly to government to “deliver significant results for our region”.

“The peninsula has been ignored for so long when it comes to getting government funding, so our focus is to change that and give the peninsula the attention it deserves and the infrastructure it deserves,” he said.

Sinclair said the committee had evolved over the past few months into a more professional and focussed team.

“We want to be the peak advocacy body for the region, modelling on the committees for Geelong and Gippsland,” he said.

“We want to work together as a long-tern advocacy body with businesses and not-for-profits so that we have a united voice and get things done.

“We want to show governments what we think the peninsula can be in 20 years’ time with some investment.”

Sinclair said it was incorrect the label the committee as a business lobby group, and that while its focus was on growth of the peninsula, that should be tempered with environment controls to protect the uniqueness of the region.

“We are an advocacy group, and we advocate for the business, tourism and hospitality industries.”

The Committee for Mornington Peninsula’s next members’ breakfast will be held from 7.30am at Sage’s Cottage on Thursday11 May. Details:

With Keith Platt

First published in the Mornington News – 14 March 2023