THE Committee for Greater Frankston’s third year, 2019, was always going to be shaded by 2018 when federal and state election campaigns saw lavish promises and/or commitments from politicians of both stripes. Nevertheless, it was another year of great gains as airy promises morphed into solid pledges and plans, with the committee again advocating vigorously for our priority infrastructure projects. Here are the year’s highlights:
Carrum Downs Industrial Estate (CDIE)
CDIE was again in the spotlight – not for road projects but because the last blocks of serviced industrial land went on the market, and the committee ramped up its “Land for Livelihoods” advocacy.
Tendering is underway for duplication of Lathams Road, an $80 million plus project that will resolve chronic congestion of Greater Frankston’s economic and jobs powerhouse. Construction is due to start in 2020 with completion by 2023. The Golf Links Road Upgrade project is running in parallel. Planning is also underway to continue the Lathams Road east–west arterial through to City of Casey with the duplication of 5.2km of Halls Road between McCormicks Road and Cranbourne–Frankston Road. The federal government has allocated $30 million to improve intersections on Ballarto Road. These three upgrade projects – combined with EastLink and Peninsula Link – place CDIE at the strategic crossroads of our region’s road freight and transport network.
Land for Livelihoods
The committee devoted resources to research and publish documents supporting expansion of Carrum Downs Industrial Estate during the year, an ongoing project and one of our main advocacy priorities. Our Land for Livelihoods research paper formed the basis of submissions to Frankston Council, newspaper and magazine articles, letters to the editor, and other documents that highlighted the importance of the industrial estate to the region’s economy and the urgent need to rezone land to allow the precinct to keep growing and provide new jobs, especially for young people.
In October, the campaign was set back when four councillors (out of five; four were absent) voted to not investigate expansion of CDIE as part of Frankston City’s draft green wedge management plan. Our advocacy will continue as we look to secure future jobs in our region.
Infrastructure Victoria seminar
Speaking of infrastructure, C4GF hosted a seminar at Frankston RSL in May where guest speaker Dr Jonathan Spear, executive director of Infrastructure Victoria, discussed the Victorian Infrastructure Plan, currently being prepared for the state government, and how Frankston could be included in it. An early draft was provided to the committee. It revealed what is well known in Frankston – the municipality has been suffering from a capital investment drought from both private and public sectors.
However, the tide is turning with present and planned investment in Frankston topping $850 million.
Dr Spear said IV’s task was to ensure Victoria had a steady pipeline of projects to meet the state’s short-, medium- and long-term needs. This is being partly done with the 30-year strategy recommending new projects (such as road links and health facilities) as well as how existing infrastructure can be better utilised (such as improving rail lines to enable faster and more trains).
Frankston health and education precinct
The committee’s advocacy work on Frankston’s health and education precinct received a massive boost in early 2019 when both major federal parties backed the $55 million Monash–Peninsula’s National Centre for Healthy Ageing, a multi-faceted research centre that will investigate how to provide better health care services for elderly people, including keeping them at home and out of aged care and/or hospital. The project will also tackle mental health and addiction.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the hub would be a national centre and “Mornington Peninsula and Frankston communities will see the direct benefit from research that is undertaken in their community, for their community”. He said it would provide “new research and treatment programs for our elderly and those with addiction and mental health issues, backed by new, state-of-the-art physical and data infrastructure at Frankston Hospital and the neighbouring Monash Peninsula campus”.
Our past president, Fred Harrison, was quoted in the media saying: “The hub will be a key part of Frankston’s vibrant healthcare, medical research and education precinct, where the next generation of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals can be trained. It will provide the professional jobs so badly needed in our region.”
The first blooms are starting to appear with Monash University Peninsula campus’s new $35 million, sustainably designed student residence Gillies Hall, which welcomed its first cohort of students in March, and completion of the impressive stage one of Chisholm TAFE’s expansion, which cost $83 million. When all four stages are complete, Frankston’s TAFE will be the biggest in Victoria. Gillies Hall is part of Monash’s commitment to expand Peninsula campus as a major hub of allied health and primary care education over the next five years.
The new and revamped TAFE buildings accommodate courses in nursing; allied health; early childhood education; and hair, beauty and wellness. Building B’s two levels accommodate “real-world trade sites” for students doing courses in plumbing, construction, electrical, and electro-technology from certificate to degree level qualifications. There is also a new library and learning centre.
Louisa Dunkley Women in Politics forum
The committee’s inaugural Women in Politics forum – named after pioneering telegraphy worker and equal pay campaigner Louisa Dunkley (as is our federal electorate) – attracted wide public interest in March. Guest speakers were independent Flinders candidate (and former Liberal) Julia Banks, Victorian Liberal Party deputy leader Cindy McLeish, and Sonya Kilkenny, state Labor MP for Carrum and assistant minister for early childhood education. The speakers covered many topics with all three saying that having a work career before entering politics was an important aspect of success in public life.
The audience of 50 plus included 10 politically aware young women from four area secondary schools, who were sponsored by past Dunkley federal MP Chris Crewther, Labor’s candidate for Dunkley Peta Murphy, and Frankston councillor Quinn McCormack, all of whom also attended. During a lively question and answer session, Sonya Kilkenny said the most the important thing for anyone entering politics, not just women, was to be passionate about something. More than enough people entered politics for ego alone.
Frankston rail extension
The committee has been urging the Victorian government to release the initial cost-benefit study of this vital project. Finally, more than six months later than promised by then Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan in April 2018, the document was submitted to the federal government in October but has not yet been made public.
While the federal government has promised $225 million towards the project (matched by federal Labor), the Andrews state government has yet to commit to it. The extension cannot go ahead without Victorian government backing.
In early November, Frankston Times reported the business case had been sent to Alan Tudge, the federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, who said the government was “working through a full assessment” but did not provide information about its public release. The initial cost-benefit study was completed with half of the $3 million of funding provided by the federal government for the business case.
Earlier in the year, the committee coordinated a letter from Frankston’s medical and education sectors to Frankston MP Paul Edbrooke emphasising that the rail extension would bring many benefits including connecting to Melbourne’s metro rail network 2800 Peninsula Health doctors, nurses and allied health staff; 4500 Monash students and staff; 6000 TAFE students and staff; 1800 Peninsula Private Hospital staff; 11,000 members of Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre; and 165,000 people who visit McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery at Langwarrin each year.
The need for the Frankston rail extension was emphasised in September when two independent research reports were released. The Rail Futures Institute’s blueprint for the next 30 years of rail development in Melbourne called for the extension to be built by 2026, while a Prosper Australia–Chris Hale Infra Strategy report stated that nine urgently needed rail projects, including the Frankston extension, could be fast-tracked by using more progressive funding models that would include developer contributions.
Frankston rail extension: Infrastructure Australia’s national significant project
Rather than sitting on our hands, the committee made a formal community submission to Infrastructure Australia’s 2020 project audit, a national list of priority projects. Our submission highlighted the lack of public transport across the Greater Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region, and detailed how the rail extension would benefit 400,000 residents, a population comparable to Canberra’s. We received a very positive response and an Infrastructure Australia priority initiative listing which will be formalised early next year.
Faster rail for Frankston?
The committee has asked the newly formed National Faster Rail Agency (NFRA) to include the Frankston to Melbourne line in its National Faster Rail strategy, a step towards rejuvenating the Frankston express service with better timetabling and infrastructure upgrades.
The agency was formed as part of a federal Coalition election commitment to boost major regional and outer suburban centres to take pressure off large cities.
“A key advocacy objective of the Committee for Greater Frankston is creating ‘fast links to work’ by establishing a viable local public transport network to better connect our local job precincts and populations to Melbourne, Dandenong and other economic hubs. This can only be achieved if the Frankston rail line is recognised as part of the National Faster Rail network,” C4GF submitted.
A first NFRA delegation of senior staff visited Frankston in September, to walk through the CBD, review transport infrastructure, and meet representatives of Frankston Council and our committee. We have invited the agency’s expert panel, and the responsible minister, Alan Tudge, to visit Frankston in 2020.
The lack of affordable and accessible car parking in Frankston’s CBD and at railway stations in the area has been an advocacy priority since the committee was formed in February 2017.
In September 2018, the state government said Frankston would get a 500-space multi-deck car park near the station. In April 2019, the federal Coalition allocated $38.5 million for this multi-deck car park as well as 100 short-term spots for shoppers in Frankston’s CBD, and 100 each at Seaford and Kananook stations, adding to the state government’s $17.5 million.
Parking working group
In May, all Frankston councillors agreed to convene and fund a car parking working group to provide independent advice to the council. Members include representatives from the Committee for Greater Frankston, traders, Chisholm TAFE, Monash University, Peninsula Health, Bayside shopping centre, Frankston Council, and Peninsula Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
Impetus for the group’s formation came from a parking forum organised and run by C4GF in September 2018, which was attended by Frankston City staff and councillors, state and federal MPs and candidates, traders, business people, Monash University staff and C4GF members.
C4GF agreed to host the first community car parking forum, held in July at Functions By The Bay, Frankston Park. More than 30 attendees wrestled with a problem that has bedevilled Frankston’s CBD for many years, with Ginevra Hosking telling delegates that creating more CBD parking was not a convenience issue: “It’s not about people having to walk too far. It’s an economic issue.” A range of suggestions was collected and compiled. Phase one of research is underway.
Local Government Parking Summit 2019
In early November, Frankston’s parking woes took centre stage at a national parking summit in Sydney attended by Australian and international parking technology experts.
Ginevra Hosking presented an “outer suburban” case study at a roundtable on the first day – the story of Frankston parking. She told delegates that adequate access to affordable car parking was a key element in a healthy outer suburban economy, and that until outer metropolitan centres had adequate public transport, they “would need more parking to remain economically viable, not less”.
Challenging modern planning philosophy of reducing parking raised many eyebrows but her talk was met with acclaim by delegates from Penrith, Gosford and Gold Coast, which share similar outer suburban conditions to Frankston.
She challenged perceptions that $13 for all-day parking was cheap. “This is almost 10 per cent of a minimum wage earner’s daily income. Unaffordable parking is a barrier to work.”
Mt Eliza parking
Mornington Peninsula Shire is also taking seriously emerging car parking pain in Mt Eliza. The committee successfully advocated for $50,000 to be included in the shire’s 2019 budget for preparation of a comprehensive car parking strategy that will cover the needs of shoppers, residents, traders and staff and, in the future, bus commuters.
New federal Dunkley MP Peta Murphy
The federal election in May saw the Frankston-based federal seat of Dunkley change hands when Liberal Chris Crewther was replaced by Labor’s Peta Murphy.
The committee had formed a good relationship with both politicians, with Ms Murphy also standing in the previous election, 2016, when Mr Crewther replaced retiring MP Bruce Billson. This year’s poll was again close with the result not declared until 4 June, 17 days after the 18 May election.
In July, Ms Murphy was guest speaker at the committee’s “meet the MP” event at McClelland Gallery’s education pavilion. She covered many topics including her role of bringing together a wide range of people to make Greater Frankston a creative, collaborative and empathetic place. Other subjects included the proposed rail extension, station car parking, social inequity and how to improve it, climate change, leadership, positive politics, and equal pay for women.
New federal Liberal ‘patron’
In August, Victorian Senator David Van was the committee’s keynote speaker at a second “meet the MP” event, this one held at Frankston RSL. Decision-makers at the lunch included Frankston City’s new CEO Phil Cantillon and the mayor Cr Michael O’Reilly as well as C4GF’s new president, Kim-Maree Jackson, and new vice-presidents, Pippa Harrison and Rod Evenden (more details at end of review).
After the May election, Senator Van was appointed by the Liberal Party as patron of six lower house electorates in the southeast not held by the party, including Dunkley.
Senator Van said he would champion the Frankston rail extension. “The project was first proposed to the state government in 1929. It was rejected 90 years ago and it could take up to 10 years to build so I look forward to attending the opening on the 100th anniversary of that particular mistake.”
His other topics included the federal government’s role in driving economic foundation projects (like the rail extension), “which critically underpin local jobs growth”; how to revitalise Frankston (“don’t be afraid to call out the problems loudly”); and the federal government’s City Deals project, “which aims to build highly productive and liveable local cities through partnerships between the three levels of government and the community”.
Improving Frankston’s image
Our events schedule for 2019 kicked off not with a politician or bureaucrat but with a man who started his working life in Frankston as a young hospitality worker, became a key marketer at Chadstone shopping centre, and is now an internationally recognised “placemaker” – helping town planners, governments and developers create a people-centred approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces.
Gilbert Rochecouste is best known for helping revive Melbourne’s inner-city laneways in the 1990s as well as recent work on Dark Mofo food and arts festival in Hobart, and Queen Vic Market’s night markets. He energised a roomful of C4GF members and guests at Functions by the Bay with an inspirational talk about how to transform Frankston’s poor public image.
Late December saw Frankston celebrate two exciting milestones which tap into much of Gilbert’s wisdom on people-centre spaces.
The revitalised Station Street Mall was officially opened. A renewal partnership project between Frankston Council, State Government, Vicinity and the local traders to bring life back into Frankston CBD streets.
Followed closely by ISPT group’s announcement that the $160 million redevelopment of Karingal Hub shopping centre will proceed. The reinvigorated Karingal Hub will feature exciting leisure, dining and shopping experiences within an architecturally designed expanded and refurbished retail spaces, 550 additional free carparking spaces and seamless centre connectivity.
A strong focus for 2020 will be continuing our work on improving the municipality’s negative image, much of which can be attributed to Frankston’s CBD. A workshop for committee members and others is planned for 30 January with others to follow during the year.
In September, our inaugural president chair Fred Harrison stood down and was succeeded by Kim-Maree Jackson, executive manager of The Village Baxter.
Kim-Maree is a founding board member of the committee, as are new vice-presidents Pippa Harrison (founder and MD of The Sports Injury Clinic) and Rod Evenden (a senior partner of Frankston’s oldest legal firm White Cleland), who both succeeded Chris Richards. Fred and Chris remain on the board with Chris continuing to chair our transport committee.
Note: more detailed information on many of the events and topics covered in this review is on C4GF’s website, C4GF.com.au
The board wishes everybody a happy and safe holiday season, and a prosperous 2020.