McKinnon Road, McKinnon, level crossing

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)—My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who is responsible for the removal of level crossings. A constituent of mine in the Assembly electorate of Bentleigh has a business close to the McKinnon Road level crossing in McKinnon, which is one of the level crossings highlighted for removal by the government. My constituent is a landlord and one of her tenants spoke to her about being approached by government authorities about the public acquisition of the land on which their business stands. As members will imagine, this has caused great concern to both the landlord and the tenant because it was the first time they had heard that that land was going to be targeted. My constituent attended the public meeting held last week in Bentleigh, and the public acquisition of land was also news to some people at that meeting.

The uncertainty has caused great concern amongst a number of businesses around the level crossing that is slated for removal. What has made it even more confusing is that the information given suggests that people should approach the local council for advice and guidance, yet the local council also seems confused. It does not seem to have anyone who knows much about it and so far it has not appointed anyone to undertake that work. As members will appreciate, there is much consternation amongst the community. The action I seek from the minister is that he provide clarification as to where people should go to seek advice or guidance about the future impacts land acquisition may have on business owners and operators, landlords and tenants.

There needs to be a clear direction about the intention of the public land acquisition, and clearly my constituents in Bentleigh need to have their fears and concerns allayed.

Mr PULFORD …..Ms Crozier raised a matter for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, but I suggest that perhaps the Minister for Public Transport is the lead minister on the level crossings project.

Ms Crozier—I was not sure if it was Minister Donnellan or Minister Allan.

Ms PULFORD—The removal of the level crossings and a project of this scale does have intersections with road issues, and Ms Crozier’s issue was particularly around land acquisition, which would naturally sit with another minister. I suggest that if Ms Crozier is happy, I will refer that to the Minister for Public Transport as the lead minister on the level crossings removal project. I will seek a response for her.

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SOUTHWICK & STAIKOS

Level crossings

Mr STAIKOS (Bentleigh)—The Andrews Labor government is getting on with the job of removing level crossings in the Bentleigh electorate. In just eight months we have established the Level Crossing Removal Authority, allocated the funds in the budget, signed the contracts and completed early works. Full construction begins later this year.

Consultation is key to the successful delivery of these projects, and I was pleased that last week 500 local residents packed the McKinnon Secondary College hall to hear from the Level Crossing Removal Authority and give their feedback. After four long, dark, wasted years, the Andrews government is removing level crossings at Centre Road, McKinnon Road and North Road. Local residents are delighted by this and very much appreciated the opportunity to participate in the consultation last week. The only people unhappy about this consultation are those opposite. Several members of the opposition got a bit hot under the collar about this meeting and are highly critical of community consultation. The member for Caulfield, who is in the chamber, has been one of the most vocal opponents of consultation on level crossing removal works. I am not surprised by this, given the strange place the member finds himself in.

The member for Caulfield recently held a meeting in protest against the Matthew Guy residential zones. The flyer for the meeting opened with, ‘Do you have concerns about local overdevelopment, such as Port Phillip or questions about planning laws?’. It might as well have read: ‘Come and tell us how bad we were in government’. We know how bad they were—that’s why they are on that side of the house.

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield)—I call on the Premier to discipline the member for Bentleigh over his disgraceful behaviour in advertising a level crossing removal information session using government funds to promote himself and his cause. I particularly question where the email addresses of constituents in Bentleigh will end up. Will they receive Labor Party information?

These level crossing removal information sessions are meant to be run by the Level Crossing Removal Authority, which is supposedly independent, to gain information. This is a disgrace to the Labor Party, and it is absolutely disgraceful behaviour by the member for Bentleigh. He has utilised this opportunity for his own political gain.

What will happen with the information that was collected? I think all constituents of Bentleigh would be very concerned. They provided their information with the singular intention of ensuring the wellbeing of their area. They want to receive the right information. This is an absolute disgrace to the member for Bentleigh. It is overreaching at very best. One would have to question what this information is going to be used for, and I ask the Premier to investigate this absolutely absurd and ridiculous action of the member for Bentleigh.

Caulfield electorate

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield)—(Question 394) My question is to the Minister for Roads and Road Safety. The North Road, Ormond, level crossing removal is a vital project for my electorate of Caulfield which was announced and fully funded by the former coalition government in 2014. Local residents are concerned about the future of the Dorothy Avenue rail underpass, which may be removed as part of the North Road level grade separation, as it enables commuters to travel east–west through their neighbourhood and to two nearby schools.

I note the sham consultation process run by the member for Bentleigh, which did not allow many to attend the Dorothy Avenue meeting to talk about their concerns. We have certainly had a lack of consultation and transparency, with the only consultation run by the member for Bentleigh, which was an absolute sham. I ask: could the minister provide advice on whether the Dorothy Avenue rail underpass will remain or be removed as part of the North Road, Ormond, level crossing removal?

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