FLEMINGTON COMMUNITY CENTRE

Mr PEARSON (Essendon) – The Flemington Community Centre is nearing the end of its useful life. Moonee Valley City Council had allocated $42.5 million in its own budget to rebuild this facility to meet the needs of not just public housing tenants living on the estate but people throughout Flemington and Travancore. There has been an enormous amount of excitement and enthusiasm generated about this project and the benefits the community will derive from this investment. There is a fantastic opportunity to ensure that people living on the estate have modern facilities that support families and engage with young people, particularly those young people who are at risk of disengaging from school, from sport and from their families. Council suggested to me throughout the process that building a new community centre in Flemington was a top priority. Yet before the consultation had even concluded, the six councillors from the two neighbouring wards conspired to slash the funding by $20 million, which went against their own officers’ recommendation. Think about this for a moment. This project is a key feature of council’s advocacy strategy. It is a project that will deliver a huge amount of benefit for some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community. The consultation is not even finished, yet these councillors have determined to remove $20 million and will not fess up as to where this funding will go. Moonee Valley councillors are not planning on saving this $20 million; they have not ruled out redeploying this funding to other projects in other communities. If there is one good thing to come out of this appalling act, it is that young people from the estate are fighting back. The Facebook group Stand With Flemington has been formed and I am so pleased that so many young people are standing up and making their voices heard. I stand with Flemington. Moonee Valley council, it is time you stood with us.