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Monday, 23 November 1998
Page: 466

Mr BILLSON (10:55 PM) —On 14 November I had the good fortune of joining with many people from the Frankston community in a project that was sponsored and arranged by the Frankston City Council. The project did not have a very imaginative name. It was called the Frankston Project. But it was actually a bringing together of people with a very deep love for our community and a vested interest in seeing that it goes forward into the future.

The idea behind the project was to bring together those opinion leaders and other such people with a contribution to make, for a day-long convention to tease out some of the opportunities that our city could take advantage of into the future. Those in this House or those listening who have not been to the `Dunkley by the Bay' electorate have probably not quite grasped the splendour of the community. But, like many communities, one thing that the Frankston community shares is that there is no place reserved for it into the future, and that to make sure that we get more than our fair share of the prosperity and benefits of living in this country we need to map out a plan to secure those benefits in the longer term.

The idea behind the convention was to bring together those community people and people such as the senior executives and mayor from the council, to work with facilitators—Hassell Consulting's Mr Alun Chapman, Jan Bruce and Associates, and others such as Dr Peter Steidl from Emery Vincent Design—to draw out ideas about the future of the city and to try and agree on a vision that we could all work towards collectively into the longer term. Some of the great ideas that came forward largely centred on the bay. Frankston is in the unique situation of being a fairly significant regional centre that is on the waterfront of Port Phillip Bay.

One of the things that we learned as we discussed visions for the city is that we really need to reorientate the city towards the waterfront, because it is one of its unique features that we should be taking greater advantage of. The city has turned its back on the waterfront, and many of the themes and ideas that were coming through at this convention were about rebuilding that connection with the Port Phillip coastline in a way that recognises its environmental values but also recognises that it is something special that sets us apart from any other communities.

We were talking about ideas; we were hearing about what Bilboa in Spain and Middlesbrough in the UK have done to reinvigorate their cities and not just carve out a reputation in the greater urban area or region that they are part of but also to develop a name and a standing nationally and, in some cases, internationally—because Frankston has all that opportunity ahead of it, but we need to work together to secure it.

The day-long seminar drew out many good ideas from many people; but it was also a stretch, because it is all very easy at times to talk about the here and now, but it is quite difficult to imagine what the city could be in 20 years time and then talk about how you actually deliver on that vision. What came out, though, were eight or nine different themes and ideas about how to position the city and then some action plans beneath them to implement that. There is obviously work ahead for the council and the people involved in the Frankston Project, to tease out those ideas and see if we can bring together a shared vision that everybody with a stake in the city can work towards.

I particularly enjoyed the opportunity since, during the election campaign, I put out a bit of a vision and a local action plan for the electorate and I called it `Our Dunkley Destiny'. It embraced ideas such as Frankston being what Oakland is to San Francisco: an educational precinct, an area where people come, a place of learning—but a place that has carved out a future for itself. There are other opportunities there about showcasing all the wonderful experiences that are available on the Mornington Peninsula; and my colleague mentioned the Blue Mountains earlier in the day. Well, if you want a really special holiday, come to the Mornington Peninsula and enjoy the wines, the food, the golf courses, the leisure experience.

And that led some of us to talking about the city carving out a future as a place of wellbeing, where people can go to renew themselves in 20 years time, when they are working harder and when the minister at the table, the Minister for Financial Services and Regulation, may well have something in front of him in his role; but that is a future that we are working towards.

The interesting thing was that, 2½ years ago when I was elected, I thought I would do my bit to remind people that Dunkley is on the bay by referring to it as `Dunkley by the Bay'. When the convention facilitator wrapped up and tried to summarise the thinking, he came up with a very imaginative slogan for the city, and that was `Frankston by the Bay'. I am pleased that some of my work as a local member is starting to rub off on others within the community. I hope a number of the ideas that the community embraced from `Our Dunkley Destiny' also appear prominently in this plan and that we can work towards implementing it in the better interests of our city.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! It being 11 p.m., the debate is interrupted.