MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council is going to keep track of financial pledges made by candidates in the lead up to the November state election, similar to what it did before the May federal election.
The pledge tracker will list the dollar amounts of promises made for specific projects in the shire but not broader issues such as climate change, social welfare, education or integrity.
Missing from the tracker will be election issues that do not attract a financial commitment, such as whether the shire should be classed as regional or metropolitan.
The shire is pressing for a peri-urban classification, Liberal candidates say it should be regional and the government has given no indication it wants any change.
Nepean MP Chris Brayne, who holds his seat with a margin of less than one per cent, said an election tracker “is simply for the things a politician says they’re going to do, not what they actually do”
Brayne says he is willing to work with the council “to ensure the tracker actually meets the needs of informing the community of what we’re doing, not what we’re saying”.
The federal tracker showed pre-election commitments made by Liberal candidates for Flinders and Dunkley ($26.75 million) easily surpassed those by their Labor opponents ($16.5m).
The Liberal Party lost the election and as it is now in opposition the money promised by its candidates may not materialise.
However, the pressure will be on Labor’s Peta Murphy in Dunkley to make good her promise of $15m to upgrade the Emil Madsen Reserve, Mount Eliza and $1.5m for Mount Eliza Secondary College.
The shire’s advocacy, communications and engagement manager Randal Mathieson said Murphy had been asked “about the timing of funding” for her election promises.
Flinders MP, Liberal Zoe McKenzie had been asked to “support” the shire’s advocacy to the federal Labor government for “a range of local projects”, now including a more than $120m-$150m performing arts centre (“Casting for performing arts centre” The News 26/7/22).
Mathieson said both MPs had been “very positive” in their responses.
The shire was criticised over its presentation of the federal election pledge tracker and for posting a photograph of Liberal candidates on Facebook. The picture, which included Cr Susan Bissinger, was quickly taken down after attracting online criticism (“Shire accused of political bias” The News 23/5/22).
Unlike neighbouring Frankston Council, which listed all nine candidates in Dunkley, the shire chose to put up the names of two of the 10 candidates for Flinders, McKenzie and Labor’s Surbhi Snowball.
The pledge tracker being set up on the shire’s website for the state election is described as being “an objective and factual list of financial commitments made by candidates for the shire’s priority projects across the [peninsula], included within our state electorate lists”.
The state Liberal Party leader Matthew Guy has promised $340m to redevelop Rosebud Hospital.
The party’s Nepean candidate, Sam Groth, said the project could only be delivered by a Liberal Nationals government “and I’m proud to be part of the team which will do just that”.
A news release from Guy and Groth said that, if elected, a state Liberals and Nationals government would work with the federal Labor government for a “one-third share of funding”.
Brayne, said it was “noteworthy” that the hospital “only registered [as an issue] with the Liberal Party when, for the first time in 40 years, they didn’t hold this seat”.
Brayne said Peninsula Health and the state government were already “methodically working” on a master plan and business case to redevelop the hospital “not as some cynical election promise, but as a commitment that will actually set up the health of our community for the long term”.
Mathieson said the shire’s pledge tracker for the state election would “essentially be the same” as that run during the federal election.