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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10146

Mr TIM WILSON (Goldstein) (16:53): Goldstein is a community built on responsibility and mutual respect. That's one of the reasons I'm so proud to represent it. It's a community that is founded on exactly the ideals we should want—it aspires to the betterment of community and our country. But respect also goes both ways, and, unfortunately, we're not seeing that at the moment from the Victorian state government in working with the community to deal with some of the social challenges we face within our community.

The proposed Towards Home program being advanced by the Andrews government in Victoria is yet another example of how not to consult, and of a government failing to engage with the community to address challenges around homelessness. In response to a concerning rise in homelessness in inner Melbourne, the Towards Home program intends to deliver 30 modular and relocatable homes to five sites across the great state of Victoria. That's an admirable project and admirable aim, but the challenge is, importantly, around taking the community with you as part of this process and engaging with local communities affected in a respectful way.

Six local residents of Brighton East were recently shocked by the arrival of a letter on 16 August that abruptly told them that some of these six temporary units would be going to vacant land on 226 South Road as part of that project. Considering there were other discussions within the community about how that land could be used to support people with, for instance, disabilities, I was shocked as well. Russell McDonald, who lives opposite and fully supports public housing, has said in the media:

There has been a complete lack of transparency and honesty by the Andrews Government. I can only assume it was to limit backlash or response to the proposal.

Gayle Doyle, who is also a local resident, notes:

We aren't against those who need more refuge, but we've had no communication from the government which makes me wonder what—

it is—

they are trying to hide.

This has been the reflection of many constituents in the Goldstein area.

Bayside does have a challenge around homelessness. We do have to make sure that we chip in and provide support, but it also has to be up-front and straight. That is what the Liberal candidate for Brighton, James Newbury, has been doing in the process of dealing with this issue. James has written directly to the responsible minister, Martin Foley, and requested guarantees that some residents will actually be engaged as part of any concerns to make sure there's a guarantee of amenity and safety as requested by local residents. He's also asked the minister to actually attend the meetings that have been held about this issue to make sure that, instead of hiding away in Spring Street and issuing statements saying that the state government makes no apology for dealing with the issue, he actually respects the residents' concerns and engages with them. I really praise James for his leadership. He's a great candidate who is already doing fantastic things for the Brighton community ahead of the 2018 election. I want to lend my support to his effort to make sure that the whole Brighton community is respected.