ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Transport Infrastructure
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, who just happens to be here at the moment. The action I seek is that she ensure that the Glen Iris Junior Football Club, the Gladiators, continue to have access to their playing facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park. The Glen Iris Gladiators are a junior football club with over 700 young players, boys and girls, playing in the Yarra Junior Football League. They field a remarkable 31 junior football teams and many of these young footballers live in my electorate of Hawthorn. The only way to get to their ground is via Talbot Crescent. Currently one end of Talbot Crescent, the Toorak Road end, is closed due to the removal of the Toorak Road level crossing. The road was to be reopened when the works are complete. Stonnington City Council then decided that they would permanently close the road, which would make access, particularly for many players from my electorate, much harder. The president of the Glen Iris Gladiators has advised that this sporting club, one of the biggest in Stonnington, was not even consulted. Many Gladiator families have written to Stonnington council seeking that they keep the road open, but to no avail. Additionally, the Gladiators are asking if Stonnington would consider undertaking some additional works at the oval when the removal of the crossings is complete. What action is the minister taking to ensure that hundreds of young footballers are not cut off from their football club?
The member for Hawthorn-the fantastic member for Hawthorn-has raised a very important matter.
Mr M O’Brien interjected.
Ms ALLAN: I am grateful for the interjection from the Leader of the Opposition, because you know why the member for Hawthorn was motivated to raise this matter tonight-he was deeply concerned that the local member, the member for Malvern, was failing to represent his community. He was deeply concerned on behalf of his community. I think there is a touch of arrogance from the member for Malvern, who seems to think that the impact of the Toorak Road level crossing only exists around the constellation of the electorate of Malvern. Well, he is wrong. The Toorak Road level crossing and the congestion that that level crossing generates impacts on the neighbouring electorate of the member for Hawthorn, and as we know, for so many people who use the Monash Freeway day in, day out, when those boom gates are down on the Toorak Road level crossing the knock-on effects go through the Monash Freeway and have an impact right across the road network. Now, the member for Malvern might want to ignore that. Again, it is up to him to explain to his local community-
Mr M O’Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, the minister has spent her time responding to the adjournment debate attacking me, but she should be factual in her comments. If she is to be factual, she should note the fact that I raised the very matter of the closure of Talbot Crescent, which was originally supposed to be done temporarily, then permanently and now temporarily again-
The SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order.
Ms ALLAN: As so often is the case with the poor old Leader of the Opposition, he has been a bit premature in getting to his feet and highlighting his deficiencies as a local member of Parliament, because the member for Hawthorn has quite rightfully raised the issues, not only about the congestion that is caused by the Toorak Road level crossing but also how there is further work that needs to be done. Like so much of the work we do on removing level crossings, we do not just focus on removing that level crossing. We look at what other works need to happen in that local area to improve transport connections. That is why, yes, as part of the removal of the level crossing at Toorak Road we have had to temporarily close Talbot Crescent at the Toorak Road end. There is still access for the community at the Glenferrie Road end, but can I also point out that the detailed plans that have been available for quite some time on the Level Crossing Removal Project website clearly outline how we will permanently reopen Talbot Crescent at Toorak Road.
Now, I am also aware that Stonnington council have decided that they would like to see Talbot Crescent permanently closed. As the member for Hawthorn has pointed out quite clearly in his contribution this evening, they did this without consulting the Glen Iris Gladiators football club. The motion that was put forward in the Stonnington council chambers to consider a permanent closure of Talbot Crescent was put forward by a councillor who is a previous member of the Liberal Party. But I appreciate that the member for Hawthorn is a very fair minded fellow and he is prepared to stand up and support the football club-a big club with 700 junior players, and many of them use the Talbot Crescent intersection at Toorak Road to get to and from games for training. They understand, and the member for Hawthorn is prepared to give them a voice. The local member may not; the member for Malvern is choosing not to give them a voice, but the member for Hawthorn is. He understands the impact that this would have on the football club.
What then happened, I am pleased to advise, is that the Glen Iris Gladiators contacted my office, and we were very pleased to assist the club. We wrote to the Glen Iris Gladiators indicating that we will rebuild the Talbot Crescent-Toorak Road intersection. We also had the opportunity to point out that this was always the intent as part of this program. Indeed the plans for this have been available on the website and in community newsletters that have been circulating for over a year. We have not changed our position on this for some time. Look, it is up to the member for Malvern to explain to the club and its 700 players and other members in the community why he chooses to take the side of the Liberal councillors on Stonnington council. That is up to him to explain. I do think it is extraordinary that he is choosing that rather than the local club, but it is great to see the member for Hawthorn standing up for the local community and supporting the football club.
I would suggest that we do need to get in and understand and take the advice of our expert engineers on what is the right outcome in each of these locations. It is good to see the member for Hawthorn is an evidence-driven politician and an evidence-driven advocate for his community, clearly unlike the member for Malvern. The member for Malvern is choosing to play politics on a level crossing that is going to be removed six months ahead of schedule-and that will relieve congestion in a great way in that local area. I thank the member for Hawthorn for raising that matter this evening.
Mr M O’Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, to aid the member for Hawthorn, he also raised a question about the sporting facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park and whether the government would support that. The minister has refused to answer that part of the member for Hawthorn’s adjournment debate matter. I invite her to do so, because I have been advocating for that for the Gladiators. So has the member for Hawthorn. It would be great to get a positive answer from you right now, Minister. Right now.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition can resume his seat. There is no point of order. The minister to continue responding to the issues raised.
Ms ALLAN: Thank you, Speaker. The remaining seven members-
The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the call.
Ms ALLAN: Mission accomplished. How many of your numbers have you got here tonight?