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Make the Peninsula Regional Now

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (19:20): (5909) I am pleased to raise a matter for the Acting Premier this evening, and the action I seek from the Acting Premier is that he take all actions necessary to reclassify the Mornington Peninsula as a regional area and to do so as a matter of urgency.

As many will know, I have been talking about this issue for a very long time, initially from a planning perspective. I have long had concerns about including the peninsula in the metropolitan area for planning purposes. I think it was the Bracks government in the early 2000s that moved it from Western Port to the metropolitan area.

The Mornington Peninsula Localised Planning Statement was an effort to rectify the issue from a planning perspective, but the pandemic has really made the issue front and centre as far as the community is concerned more broadly. Until that, the reality was that most people who live on the peninsula thought we were regional in any case.

I have written directly to the Premier twice on this issue and not had an acknowledgement. I have also raised it four times in Parliament—this will be the fifth time. I had one response from the Premier the last time I raised it, and it was a bit like question time: he circled all around the issue but did not actually go to the nub of the question. I got lots of words about COVID but not much about the actual regional status of the Mornington Peninsula.

There are a range of practical issues which time really does not permit me to go into, but the fact is we have got water on three sides. In fact the peninsula only became a part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ metropolitan borders for Melbourne as a bureaucratic convenience.

If you think it is not country, try getting something delivered—you certainly pay for the privilege. When you say it is metropolitan, they just laugh at you and say, ‘We’ll have your money anyway, thank you very much’.

It is an issue that has been going on for quite some time. Seventy per cent of the peninsula landmass is outside of the urban growth boundary, and we all hope that is the way it stays. If the Minister for Planning at the table does not proceed with the transitional provisions for the green wedge, then I think we will be delighted with that too.

I did want to just comment on a point that has been peddled certainly by the member for Nepean, but I have heard it from others as well, that suggests that should we cease to be part of the metropolitan area, the green wedge is up for grabs and could all be subdivided. That is complete and utter nonsense—I am sure the minister at the table agrees with me—but that is the story that has been peddled.

I ask the Acting Premier to act to resolve this historic injustice with all dispatch.