David Morris MP

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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Mr MORRIS (Mornington) — The matter I raise this afternoon is for the Minister for Planning. The action I seek is that the minister immediately initiate a review of the status of Sunnyside Beach, Mount Eliza, a beach prescribed under the Nudity (Prescribed Areas) Act 1983.

Sunnyside North Beach has a long history as an optional dress beach. Reports in the Age suggest that perhaps its use as an unofficial optional dress beach goes back to the 1930s. It is in fact not a beach at all. It is an area of land in the intertidal zone. If you look at the Government Gazette of 5 November 1986, you will see it is very clear that it in fact extends from the high‑water mark through the low‑water mark and then out into the bay. That is in part because much of that stretch of coast is in fact in private hands right up to the high‑water mark.
As I said, for many years prior to the gazettal the beach was used unofficially as an optional dress beach. It is a very isolated area which lies on the coast between Mount Eliza and Mornington in the interurban protection area and is at the end of a very long road. There are a number of large abutting properties including the Morning Star Estate winery and reception centre, a large racehorse establishment and Camp Manyung, which is the YMCA camp. There is one public toilet in the public car park, which is quite some distance from the prescribed area, but there are no public facilities at all in the prescribed area. In 1987 it was estimated that some $3 million would be needed to bring the area up to scratch.
The council has been seeking a review of this area for a considerable period. In May 2006, the Department of Sustainability and Environment advised that it would initiate a statewide review. In October 2006, the then Minister for Planning indicated that he wanted further information from the council, which was provided on 27 October. Some of the issues the council has identified as being of concern are the lack of facilities, with no waste bins or toilets; very limited and poor‑quality public access — there is only a goat track across to the actual optional dress area; inadequate car parking; its status as the only optional dress beach on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay; litter, including syringes; and considerable environmental degradation. Most importantly, though, according to the council, a real culture of antisocial behaviour has developed in the adjacent car park, including flashings and lewd acts in the public toilets, and there has been a shift from it being an essentially unisex area to a homosexual meeting place, all of these issues make its current use entirely inappropriate.

Legislative Assembly - 13 November 2008

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