THE state opposition has told the government to “stop pretending” the Mornington Peninsula is part of metropolitan Melbourne.
Mornington MP David Morris criticised the Premier Daniel Andrews in parliament for avoiding repeated demands to reclassify the peninsula as regional.
“The fact that the premier was not prepared to address the issue directly makes it clear that there is no justification for the current situation,” Mr Morris said. “The response confirms that this is nothing more than a bureaucratic convenience.
“The peninsula is not an extension of the metropolitan area. The standard of government services on the Mornington Peninsula is not up to metropolitan standards. It is not now, and it never has been.
“The interests of the peninsula are complementary to the metropolitan area, but there are significant differences. It is time those differences were recognised, and it is time the government stopped hiding behind the status quo and started addressing the need for change.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire wants the municipality to be classified as peri-regional, giving it a half-way distinction so it can receive the benefits of being regional and metropolitan (“Shire seeks metro breaks with benefits” The News 2/8/21).
Cr Steve Holland said regionalisation had been a longstanding issue on the peninsula “since well before the pandemic”.
He had earlier asked on Facebook: “Should the Mornington Peninsula receive the same regional classification as Greater Geelong? Should lockdowns be more targeted?”
“[The questions] received a huge response,” Cr Holland told The News. “The results, as at the time of writing, are 1418 yes and 77 no. This is quite staggering at almost a 18:1 ratio and climbing every minute.”
Cr Holland said social media was a “crude tool to gain quick feedback but, in this case, there’s no denying the overwhelming view of residents”.
“Regardless of one’s view about our classification or how it corresponds to COVID-19 lockdowns, if the state government continues to classify us as metropolitan then it’s reasonable to expect a level of infrastructure funding commensurate with that classification.
“Unfortunately, Labor MP Chris Brayne [Nepean] has been completely silent. He needs to step up and make sure the peninsula is getting its fair share.”
In response, Mr Brayne said: “Cr Holland has not picked up the phone once to speak to me about these issues. I urge him to put aside his political self-interest and talk to me one-on-one on how we can improve the peninsula.
“I ran for Nepean in 2018 because the peninsula wasn’t getting its fair share … finally, Rosebud Primary, Rosebud Secondary and Dromana Primary are getting rebuilt and our buses are getting improved. There remains so much more to do.”