I APPLAUD the decision made by the Bass Coast Councillors on Wednesday night to support the application for a new indoor sport stadium for Wonthaggi. The application is to the State Government’s Shared Facilities Fund which supports the building of new facilities on education land, thereby providing improved facilities for students and the general public.
The council staff and CEO worked hard on the back of huge community support to develop a funding proposal that achieved unanimous support at the council meeting after failing at a previous meeting.
This is vision and leadership. Not only at council level but from the hard-working Wonthaggi Basketball Association Committee.
While important in its own right, the indoor stadium is only a piece of the larger puzzle. The big prize is the building of a new education precinct. If a new Wonthaggi Secondary College is not funded then the stadium doesn’t go ahead.
I have strongly supported and called for the funding in the 2017-18 state budget to be delivered on May 2. The education precinct is a cornerstone in the building of the future vision for Wonthaggi. Imagine a precinct that includes a secondary college, TAFE and university where students of all ages, including adults, can develop the skills to gain jobs for today and tomorrow.
Add an upgraded Wonthaggi Hospital into the puzzle and you see how the vision starts to take shape. While small funding announcements are always welcome, the hospital needs a major upgrade to sub-regional status. Then the vision becomes a reality.
We already possess arguably the most beautiful natural assets in the State of Victoria but we lack key infrastructure and constantly see a flow of our youngest and brightest to greener fields up the highway.
Quality education and health facilities help retain and attract people to our area, which in turns creates jobs and supports our local businesses.
Build the airport in the area around Caldermeade with a train line running through Lang Lang and Koo Wee Rup and into the metropolitan network and the vision grows.
Upgrade our water treatment plants, particularly in the Pakenham area, where urban growth is at a record high. Class A water could be piped down to our fertile grounds and create a food bowl where beautiful fresh produce could be grown for our local and overseas markets which could be easily accessed from the airport.
We need to plan for growth and with it the increased demand for employment. Melbourne’s population is set to double by 2031, which is only 14 years away. The government needs to plan for the infrastructure in our regional towns to spread the load.
The approval by Bass Coast councillors to proceed with the application to the Shared Facilities Fund may be seen as a small step but I think it is a very important one.