VICTORIAN treasurer Tim Pallas was treated to a whirlwind tour of Port Fairy on Friday as part of Moyne Shire’s pitch for state funding for a number of key projects in the town.
Mr Pallas joined Moyne directors and councillors as they visited the old tip site in the East Beach dunes, South Beach, Moyne Health Services, and the town centre.
Each location came with a short presentation and price tag – something Mr Pallas said he welcomed.
“It means I’m more aware of the concerns they’re expressing to me,” the treasurer said.
“(This visit) shows that council has got a number of issues it has to manage and that they’re looking for a partnership with the state, and we’re keen to work with them. (Moyne Shire) have a great advocate in James Purcell, who regularly knocks on my door.”
Moyne councillors key requests to Mr Pallas included:
- roughly $5 million from the state government to help protect East Beach and South Beach from coastal erosion and inundation problems, with the council to put in $2.5 million of its own money,
- $2.1 million for Moyne Health Services’ Active Health Hub,
- $500,000 to complete stage three of its CBD streetscape plan.
But the big-ticket item is the former tip and nightsoil sites in the East Beach dunes, which could cost as much as $34 million to remove the waste from the location and recreate the dunes.
Mr Pallas couldn’t make any promises on Friday, but said he welcomed the opportunity to see first-hand the “number of areas suffering from sand erosion and issues associated with the old tip and how they’re trying to deal with that”.
He said the state government and Moyne Shire were awaiting the outcome of a study due by the end of the year that would potentially detail what remedial action was appropriate for the former tip site.
“Some of these things require long-term effort from government, both in the local and state jurisdictions,” Mr Pallas said.
“Coastal inundation is a problem that’s particularly pronounced in Port Fairy and one we’re going to have to deal with – there’s no doubt about that.”
Mr Pallas also gave positive indications about stage three of the streetscape renewal, which had been earmarked as unlikely to receive funding from Regional Development Victoria for economic reasons.
“We’ll work through the issues associated with the cost and return of the investment,” he said.
“That’s in (the hands of) Regional Development Victoria, but I’ll get my department to make enquiries.”