The Age has today published a letter from the Commomwealth Minister for Infrastructure in relation to the multi-level car park funding. It is presented below:

Whatever one may think of the entire car park issue, there have been plenty of ‘wrongs’ committed along the way by council and government.  Consider the following:

  • The first real inkling that residents had of council’s possible intention to built high rise car parks came with the structure planning for Bentleigh & Carnegie. At no stage were residents provided with the opportunity to say ‘yeeah’ or ‘naay’ SPECIFICALLY to these structures. An earlier background report for Bentleigh even suggested that two such car parks be erected and that council owned land could be sold off.
  • Now that there has been plenty of adverse criticism for the funding, a ‘consultation’ is finally taking place. But like most Glen Eira consultations, it is far from acceptable. (See:
  • If council are so fantastic in their strategic planning, then why didn’t they get the proposed locations right the first time around?  Why were residents told that a 6 and 5 storey construction was required, to now have these heights reduced – without of course informing us as to the new proposed heights!
  • As for the Minister’s letter, thinly veiled threats are far from acceptable. Nor do we really know whether council was ‘tapped on the shoulder’ (as claimed) for these grants, or whether there was a formal submission. Perhaps if such a document exists, it could be placed in the public domain?

In our view none of this would have happened if a logical and clear process was followed. Namely:

  1. First the decision is made AFTER community consultation that such multi-level carparks are required.
  2. Consultation provides all the necessary detail – ie costings, design, etc.
  3. Government grants and the rationale for decisions are made public

So we are now really and truly in the proverbial! If for example the community is in favour of only one of these car parks, will council receive half the money, or none? Will council react to this clear intimidation, or meekly cave in? If this letter was sent in September, when were councillors informed as to its receipt? Or did they only find out today?

And when will politics finally keep its grubby little hands out of local affairs? Labor and the Greens are keen to use the ‘tainted’ nomenclature to earn some brownie points against Morrison’s gov , whilst the Libs are also not averse to screaming ‘community benefit’.

It will be very interesting to see which way this council jumps – assuming of course that residents will be informed of everything leading up to the final decision!