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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7091


Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (22:25): Today's Financial Review reports that the $1 billion Caulfield Racecourse development will take up to 10 years to complete. Approved by the Victorian state Liberal Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, in June 2011, this development, a crass monstrosity, is in the very heart of my electorate. Caulfield, with its various delis, bakeries, schools, bars, restaurants and parks, will be completely engulfed by a skyline not unfamiliar to those venturing into the canyons of the city of Melbourne. These disruptive planning developments impinge on the nature and identity of the quiet residential streets of Caulfield. Frankly, this $1 billion so-called Caulfield Village is over the top, does not have enough open space and will eventually turn the area into a desolate slum like the overdeveloped parts of the Gold Coast.

During the 2010 election, the Liberal candidate for Caulfield, David Southwick, told a Liberal rally at Caulfield Park Pavilion that the proposed development of Caulfield Racecourse and its surrounding areas—in developers' newspeak, the Caulfield Village with its 20-storey tower—was a 'monstrosity that would destroy Caulfield's amenities and identity'. But, after the election, Mr Southwick changed his tune, lauding the $1 billion Caulfield development. The member for Caulfield in the Baillieu government should be embarrassed by this reversal. Despite the concerns of local residents and the revelation today that the project will be a building site for 10 years, the state Liberals have approved this project. Many locals have spoken out against it, concerned that the ugly Caulfield Village will fundamentally change the nature of the suburb.

This development will be built on a five-hectare car park adjacent to the racecourse and will attract 2,000 residents and burden the area with 35,000 square metres of office and retail space. Presumably, on race days, even more cars will be pushed onto residential streets due to the lack of the spaces they now use in that car park, which was gifted to the Melbourne Racing Club. This represents a huge loss of open space in the area adjacent to the Caulfield Racecourse. With plans by the Victorian government to cut the number of car spaces allocated to new apartment blocks, this development will cause further traffic chaos for an area already overcrowded with cars. Where will the race crowd park when the parking spaces that are already there are converted into a new precinct? This area is already known for traffic congestion due to the Caulfield train station being directly across from the racecourse and Monash University's Caulfield campus, which houses over 1,300 students, being located mainly on the other side of the train track but nonetheless causing lots of traffic congestion in the area.

Caulfield Racecourse is already under construction with a $1.8 million revamp in its infield parking space. The proposed so-called Caulfield Village, far from being like Elwood Village, which by contrast has low-rise residential buildings, will fundamentally change the suburb. Caulfield will be transformed with the active support of conservative state members and councillors aligned to them and approved by the man agitating to replace the comatose Mr Baillieu, Matthew Guy, the state Liberal Minister for Planning. Mr Guy, along with his offsider, Mr Southwick, in conjunction with the mysterious machinations of the Melbourne Racing Club, have greenlit a project that will be characterised by traffic gridlock and prolonged construction et cetera. Why the Victorian government and the Glen Eira council are continuing the privilege and sweetheart deal with the Melbourne Racing Club is beyond me. Do the quiet streets of Caulfield really need to have a virtual half-casino development with all of the traffic, drunkenness and loutish behaviour that will be attendant to such a development?

The Liberal government has had the habit of giving the green light to various planning developments in my electorate, including several in St Kilda and Albert Park. As the state member for Albert Park, Martin Foley, has stated, the Victorian Liberal government is seeking to turn parts of our electorate into their version of the tawdry Surfers Paradise.

The Liberal government has approved a massive 26-storey, 272-apartment building in St Kilda and took the decision away from the City of Port Phillip against the wishes of the local community. As Mr Foley has said, the Baillieu government has paved the way for developers to plan high-rise buildings in the heart of St Kilda's residential areas. Now Mr Guy, the man who would like to replace Mr Baillieu, and his friend Mr Southwick, who probably will be rewarded with a ministry for his support for Mr Guy, are paving the way for skyrises in Caulfield.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! It being 10.30 pm, the debate is interrupted.

House adjourned at 22:30