Mr DIMOPOULOS (Oakleigh)—The matter I raise is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek from the minister is that she produce any documentation she may have that will clarify the position of Glen Eira Council in relation to consultation on the Andrews Labor government’s proposed design to remove all nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong. There have been recent pieces of misinformation being spread by one particular Liberal Party member of the Glen Eira Council. As I said in this place yesterday removing level crossings is the no. 1 priority for the residents in my community. It took the Andrews government and a very active Minister for Public Transport to get on and do this—and the government will be doing it all by 2018.

I take this time to refer the minister to comments that I have been reported and that have been provided to me from media outlets in my community about a meeting held at the City of Glen Eira between councillors and the Level Crossing Removal Authority. They are sourced from a councillor at the City of Glen Eira, who has suggested amongst other things that rail lines on the ground will stay there for years, councils will have to pay to develop the new parkland and—here is a cracker—councils will get into the business of shopping centre development and the government will be gifting them a whole lot of land to do it. What absolute scaremongering nonsense. Yet more nonsense being peddled and organised directly by those opposite.

I have it on good authority that these comments are from the Liberal Party member of the Glen Eira City Council, Karina Okotel. We may remember Cr Okotel from when she campaigned for my opponent at the last election. We may also remember her as a prospective Liberal Senate candidate for the next federal election, which was mentioned in the media recently. If this is conduct that she thinks is appropriate, God forbid that she gets elected to the national Parliament. You might also know her from the protests in my community recently, despite the fact that we keep hearing that these protests are not political. Not political? The last protest had no less than five Liberal members of Parliament, including the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

I recognise that there are people in my community who have genuine concerns and from day one the Premier made it clear that each affected resident would have their own dedicated case manager. I understand there will be a range of things provided for each resident, but this will be done in a calm and considered way by a caring government, one by one with all residents. What I do not recognise is the scaremongering, misinformation and out-and-out lies spread by those opposite. I have even heard that staff members of those opposite have been out doorknocking my community and staff members of the Leader of the Opposition have been canvassing shoppers in Koornang Road, Carnegie, about their views on sky rail without identifying who they are. I have also heard that members of the Leader of the Opposition’s staff have been doing other activities to coordinate this anti-campaign. I look forward to welcoming the minister to my community again through the duration of this project and I look forward to her clarification on these matters.


MS ALLEN (Minister)…..Finally, the member for Oakleigh has raised a matter with me. It is quite a concerning matter because it does go to some misinformation that has been produced in his local community for purely political purposes. I know the member for Brighton is shocked. She is shocked at what is going on in the Oakleigh community. The member asked for me to produce documentation that would clarify the position of Glen Eira council.

I am looking to read into the record comments that I have in a letter. I am prepared to make the letter available to the house this evening. I received this morning a letter from the office of the mayor, Cr Neil Pilling, in response to an issue that was raised in the Herald Sun today about some claims about a meeting that was held with the Glen Eira council and the level crossing removal project team on Tuesday evening. Sorry, it was not to me. I should be clear. It was to Kevin Devlin, the CEO of the Level Crossing Removal Authority. I would just like to make that correction: it was to Kevin Devlin. He indicated that the discussion was, and I quote:

robust but productive, and it was helpful to gain a greater insight into not only your plans for further consultation with the community

He goes on to say, and I quote:

It has come to our attention that one of our councillors has distributed her personal interpretation of matters discussed at the meeting to a wider audience … I would like to emphasise that this communication is neither an official record nor an accurate record of the discussion, nor does it represent the views of the collective council group.

I apologise that this has occurred as it is inconsistent with both the intent of the briefing and the courtesy that council seeks to afford to guest presenters.

As I have said, I appreciate the mayor taking immediate steps to correct the record from his council’s perspective following the reports in the media today. Is it not such a shame that the mayor has had to write a letter apologising on behalf of his council for the actions of a renegade councillor who is choosing to put her own party political interests above the good of the council and the good of the local community? It is incredibly disappointing. I hope for the member that that clarifies the position of the Glen Eira council. I appreciated the opportunity to briefly meet with the CEO and the mayor this afternoon as they were meeting with members in Parliament.

I also just want to mention too that we really look forward to working with the Glen Eira council on both the project and the opportunities that come from removing nine level crossings in the way that it is going to be done, creating those 11 MCGs worth of open space. The Glen Eira council has the least open space of any municipality in Melbourne, so this presents a unique, one-off opportunity not only to get rid of level crossings but to run more train services, to reduce road local community. It is going to be an opportunity. The Andrews Labor government has already said that we look forward to funding new facilities—they will be municipal facilities but new facilities along this corridor—and then providing funding to the councils in the longer term for them to maintain the upkeep of these facilities. That is why we want to work constructively and proactively with councils like Glen Eira and others along this rail corridor as we deliver an incredibly exciting infrastructure project for this community.