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Meet the Candidates - Q&A

26 Oct 2010

On October 21, the Docklands News hosted a “meet the candidates” night and heard what each candidate in this month’s state election would do for Docklands, if elected.

Below, we present a summary of an hour-long question and answer session.

Planning in Docklands?

Luke Martin – Liberal spokesman Matthew Guy will help.

Bronwyn Pike – While there are some challenges, there are also some marvellous things down here and I think we are creating a fabulous community. There are some terrific things and, quite frankly, you wouldn’t be living here if you didn’t like it a little bit!

Brian Walters – Planning means having a plan with goals that are identified and agreed.  We don’t have that in planning in Victoria today.  It’s determined by whoever’s got the most influence at the time. Here in Docklands, we’ve had VicUrban doing I don’t know what, but there hasn’t been community involvement.

Serviced apartments?

Bronwyn Pike – These are tough issues for government.  In the end, do we want a government to be able to tell people who own property what they can do with it? In working through the planning issues it is striking the balance between an individual’s rights and what is best for the broader community.

Brian Walters – When people are coming and going in short-term rental in apartment buildings where others are living and creating a community, you have no sense of commitment to the building or to the community. It’s actually not hard to create rules that say “no” to short-term renting. It undermines community to have people coming and going with no commitment to the place.

Private transport access?

Bronwyn Pike – I know that there are traffic issues, and the Government is working with the City of Melbourne to look at ways in which we can address the movement of traffic around this area.  There are no specific proposals that I am aware of at this point in time.  Trams are the most efficient solution.

Brian Walters – We will not remove gridlock by building more freeways.  We have a public transport system which is not working and is under-utilised. If people at ANZ could feel confident that the public transport system could get them comfortably, safely and reliably to where they want to go, that would be the most efficient solution.

Luke Martin – The people who live in Docklands have every right to private transport.  The people of Docklands have been let down by poor planning and poor co-ordination by VicUrban, the City of Melbourne and the State Government.  Docklands needs a better transport plan.

Any support for e-gate land to be made parkland?

Luke Martin – Can’t commit but would appreciate it from a personal perspective.

Bronwyn Pike – No commitment specifically on e-gate, but made reference to some temporary parkland in an area currently occupied by car parking and also mentioned some potential parkland behind the Docklands film studios.

Brian Walters – Doesn’t know the specific proposals for e-gate but agrees that Docklands is short on parklands and that parks are essential infrastructure.

Any preference arrangements in place yet?

Luke Martin – No.

Bronwyn Pike – Second preference will be going to the Greens.

Brian Walters – No.

What about water transport?

Luke Martin – It would be a wonderful addition to this city to utilise the river more. It’s a great idea.

Bronwyn Pike – The Government has looked at the feasibility but the population has not yet reached the point where it would be economically viable.  It’s on the agenda and everyone is looking forward to a time when the numbers stack up.  The Government’s budget is not a magic pudding.

Brian Walters – We’ve had private operators forced out by the high cost of mooring fees.  It would be fairly simple to make this work.

Can you rule out the low rail bridge?

Luke Martin – Yes.

Bronwyn Pike  – I am not in a position to say publicly what the view is of the relevant minister is. On a personal level I am deeply concerned about it and will continue to advocate.

Brian Walters – Yes.

Should Docklands planning be undertaken by a non-political committee of experts?

Luke Martin – More consultation between elected representatives and the Docklands community is required.

Bronwyn Pike – In my personal view, planning power needs to be returned to the City of Melbourne.  There are some things in the agreements with the developers which will take time to work through.

Brian Walters – The community needs to have a voice in planning.  It is unfortunate that the Minister has the final say in planning decisions.  The Docklands community needs to be included in determining both individual decisions and in the overall plan.

Views on private parking on public land at the end of Central Pier?

Bronwyn Pike – Not aware of the issue.

Luke Martin – Also not aware.

Brian Walters – Also not aware, but parking is the worst way to use land.

Do you support height limitations on high rise?

Luke Martin – Not sure, but it needs to be discussed.

Bronwyn Pike – Yes.

Brian Walters – Yes.

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