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Time to recognise the Peninsula is Regional

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (14:12): In each of the past two sitting weeks I have tabled petitions supporting the separation of Mornington Peninsula from the metropolitan area. More than 3000 signatures appear on those petitions, and I anticipate tabling another later this week.

Certainly the recent crisis has highlighted the ridiculous situation whereby the Geelong district is considered part of regional Victoria but the Mornington Peninsula is not.

The reality is, despite the inclusion of the peninsula in the metropolitan area, its status has always been considered a bureaucratic convenience but not a reflection of reality.

The peninsula is not an extension of the metropolitan area, and, with the exception of Mount Eliza, the urban areas are not even contiguous with the metropolitan area.

Seventy per cent of the municipality is green wedge and will remain green wedge. The standard of government services on the peninsula is not up to metropolitan standards and never has been.

Whether we are talking about health or education or public transport, the public sector workers deliver these services exceptionally well—they do a great job—but given the dispersed nature of our communities, they are not funded to provide metropolitan-standard services.

The interests of the peninsula can be complementary to the metropolitan area, and in many cases they are, but equally there are differences, and those differences must be recognised and addressed.

So I call on the government to recognise that those differences do exist and to finally determine once and for all that the peninsula is part of regional Victoria and must be classified as such.