May 16, 2014  |  Adjournment matter

Kangan Institute Site

Mr CARROLL (Niddrie) — I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Planning, who is also responsible for the statutory authority known as Places Victoria. The action I seek is for the minister to release his proposal for the former Kangan Institute site on
Military Road, Avondale Heights, an important and large vacant site in the Avondale Heights community. The community wants answers and clarity on this site. Last month marked the three‑year anniversary of the planning minister’s promise of a new proposal to be submitted to the Moonee Valley City Council on the TAFE site and to engage the local community in consultation. Three years is a long time to be kept waiting, a long time to be ignored and a long time to be kept in the dark.

On 6 April 2011 the minister released a media release stating that the government would work with the Avondale Heights community and that a new development proposal for Avondale Heights would be submitted to the council in the coming months. For three years the community has seen nothing and heard little from the minister except delays
and excuses. There has been no community consultation and no proposal submitted
in the years 2011, 2012 and 2013. In fact it has been left to a line of Places Victoria spokespeople to allay growing community concern about the promised community consultation. To date no community consultation has been undertaken. In June last year I spoke in this place about the former TAFE site and what an opportunity it presented for the local Avondale Heights community.

Rather than offering a time line or any clarity, the minister has admitted that there is no plan for community consultation at this stage. While the local community hoped there
would be a straightforward process of consultation on the new plan for the site, this has turned out to be a merry‑go‑round of delays, excuses and more recently just little bits of information. The community has almost been treated with contempt.

If we fast forward to 2014, three years after the minister’s promised proposal for community consultation, there appears to be some movement behind the scenes on the former Kangan TAFE site. On 19 March the Moonee Valley Leader reported that a proposal for the site was close to being released. In the same article a Places Victoria spokesperson is quoted as saying it had signed a heads of agreement with Australand to develop the land. If Places Victoria has signed an agreement with developer Australand, why not open it up for community consultation?

Make no mistake, this is a once‑in‑a‑generation opportunity for the local community, a chance to energise and enhance the local area with not just a residential development but an important new community hub. Instead the vacant block to date has been left idle and abandoned. Residents have watched in disbelief as this central local asset has become an eyesore, become unkempt and been used as a dumping ground for bags of trash, old tyres, broken bottles and plastic bags. The local Avondale Heights community demands and wants community consultation, not obfuscation.

Just recently I received an email from Maria Loiacono suggesting what should happen at the former site. Like many residents, Maria is concerned about it. She suggested:

… a beautiful piazza with an indoor and outdoor environment surrounded by cafes and food shops promoting the community’s diverse cultures.

She concluded her email by highlighting the need for community consultation, saying it was important to find out what the community wanted and to tailor the outcome to the community’s needs.