Council’s funding of Docklands Farmers Market takes money from the communities in need

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The City of Melbourne and Docklands Chamber of Commerce are planning to bring a monthly Farmers Market to Docklands by the end of this year. With the ongoing Senate inquiry into the major supermarkets’ behaviour, the more choices consumers get the better the outcomes for everyone.

However, the Docklands Farmers Market project is receiving around $40K out of the $100K of the council’s funds that were promised to the Docklands community after it decided not to fund the Docklands Neighbourhood House from July 2024.

The decision to grant such a significant amount of the council’s money to a non-Docklands entity that operates farmers markets in Victoria from the funds allocated for the Docklands community raises many questions.

Being a member of the Docklands Stakeholder Group I voiced my concerns about the council’s decision and whether the benefits that the market could bring to the Docklands community. Was this worth spending public funds while the suburb experiences a desperate lack of basic services?

Docklands is a 20-minute walk from Melbourne’s two greatest markets: Queen Victoria Market (QVM) and South Melbourne Market. The QVM traders also have online delivery.

These are the local businesses that invest in local community. Monthly farmers markets bring traders from other municipalities. I am asking the council whether its budget is the appropriate avenue to enhance businesses from other regions.

The council invests in non-Docklands businesses and puts local Docklands businesses at a disadvantage by benefiting non-local traders. Docklands cafes and coffee shops will lose a portion of their weekend trade. A new local fruit shop opened recently in NewQuay and we hope that the shop will do well, but the farmers market is in direct competition.

Another issue is financially supporting a business that is known for its high-end grocery prices and whether it’s reasonable to do so amid the current cost-of-living crisis. Residents spend less and look for cheaper options. Every second Docklands family talks to me about how they struggle to make ends meet and are trying to save.

Fish Pier, The Butchers Club, and other smallgoods shops have all closed in NewQuay in the past two years. What are the signs that the expensive grocery traders will find enough customers in Docklands to bring good quality produce to the suburb in the current economic climate, and that the new market will be sustainable?

At the same time Docklands Homework Club (previously run by the Docklands Neighbourhood House) that operates from the Library at the Dock only received $2K funding from the City of Melbourne in 2024 and is on the verge of closing as it needs $10K a year to run. Parents now have to fundraise to keep it going.

From the local government strategic perspective, it is also not clear how the funding of a farmers market meets any of the three Docklands priorities, which are the current focus of the Docklands Stakeholder Group:

  • Community connection
  • Safer neighbourhood
  • Docklands as a distinct water precinct.

This is not the first City of Melbourne decision that is so profoundly detached from the real Docklands community’s needs and that further disadvantages vulnerable community members, including our children. Among others are the decision not to fund the Docklands Neighbourhood House and closure of independent toy libraries. It is also disappointing to see that our elected representatives are silent when it comes to advocating for the issues vital for the community.

Katy Send

Local resident, local small business owner, parent of a Docklands Primary School student, Docklands Stakeholder Group member, leader of the Docklands Road Safety and Docklands Emergency Management projects.

 

No freight bridge

Fortunately, some years ago the then head of the Port of Melbourne Authority Stephen Bradford gave the residents of Docklands the absolute commitment that a low rail bridge would not be constructed adjacent the Bolte Bridge.

Premier Steve Bracks facilitated the meeting where this undertaking was given. We have no reason to believe there has been any change to this “meeting of minds.”

Michael Lindell - Docklands resident 

 

 

Rare phenomena in Docklands

Greetings from Docklands,

I am sending two pics; one is titled, Lady Aurora spotted in Docklands, of the Aurora Australis spotted on May 11, 2024, and the other titled, Rare Fogbow visits the harbour waters in Docklands.

Victorians were very eager to get a glimpse of the Aurora Australis phenomenon which was going to be a “once in a lifetime” type scenario for most Victorians and it came right to our doorstep in Docklands, even among the city lights!

 

 

A part of a Fogbow was captured as it was happening on May 12 at around 9.30am. Fogbows are usually a rare occurrence, especially for a city, as they usually are seen in a remote countryside locations.

This one was happening right under my nose and forming into an arch which was a delight to see.

Kind Regards, Amruta Wazalwar

Meet Peta Brehaut

Meet Peta Brehaut

May 29th, 2024 - Docklands News
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