ALP, Greens support wishlist

The proposed main pool area at the Dandenong Wellness Centre.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Greater Dandenong Council’s federal election wish-list has secured just one commitment from political parties so far.

That is Federal Labor’s recent pledge for $20 million towards the Dandenong Wellbeing Centre and Noble Park Aquatic Centre upgrade, communications manager Kylie Sprague said on 26 April.

Several election candidates had taken up the offer to meet with mayor Jim Memeti and chief executive John Bennie.

Star Journal surveyed Bruce-electorate candidates on the wish-list.

Only the ALP and Greens responded before deadline.

There was no response from the Liberal, United Australia, One Nation or Liberal Democrats candidates.

Bruce Labor MP Julian Hill said the party was supporting the council’s number-1 priority – the Dandenong Wellbeing Centre, which replaces the Dandenong Oasis pool.

“The Liberal Party has committed nothing of substance to Greater Dandenong over a decade.

“I call on them to stop the corruption and rorting of taxpayer money to Liberal Party marginal seats and match Labor’s commitment to Dandenong.”

The council wish-list also includes the Dandenong Sports and Events Centre stadium, help for asylum seekers, social and affordable housing, climate-change action and major road and bike networks.

Mr Hill said he was a “huge supporter” of the stadium – a “brilliant addition to central Dandenong and nearly 2 million people across South East Melbourne”.

“I am confident that a Federal Labor Government will support the project subject to the business case and appropriate contributions from Melbourne City (Football Club) and the Victorian Government.”

He also nominated affordable housing, permanent protection and swifter processing for “genuine” refugees, and ensuring priority local transport projects were “fairly assessed and funded”.

“Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister for NSW, lied and broke his promise to deliver a South East City Deal, supporting critical local infrastructure.

“Melbourne is now the only Australian capital city without a City Deal.”

Greens candidate Matthew Kirwan also supported the Dandenong Wellness Centre, which was “well planned” to lift the below-average health and wellbeing of Bruce residents.

Mr Kirwan said both Liberal and Labor parties had subjected asylum seekers to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for (the parties’) political benefit”.

“Both major parties support indefinite detention for people who seek safety in Australia.

“Our policy is to introduce a 7 day limit for onshore detention and provide fair support for people seeking asylum.”

Mr Kirwan said the Greens were the “only party to recognise we are in a housing crisis and have policies which respond to it”.

He also supported the council’s wish for making public transport facilities more disability-accessible, and upgrading bicycle networks.

He also highlighted the Greens’ plan to phase out coal and gas by 2030, 100 per cent transition to electric vehicles, and for more walkable and bike-friendly cities.