THE HON MICHAEL DANBY MP
MEMBER FOR MELBOURNE PORTS
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR THE ARTS
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
I have written to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, The Hon. Lisa Neville MP this week, to encourage her to take action for the community of Caulfield in regards to the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust. I have also invited her to tour the Reserve with me to gain a personal appreciation of the potential for open space and the challenges of access.
It has been eight months since the Victorian Auditor General (VAGO) tabled their damning report into the governance standards at the Racecourse Reserve and the Caulfield community has not seen any improvement.
Poor practices are clearly costing the community in lost money and space; this cannot continue any longer.
The VAGO report set out 15 recommendations which seek to rebalance the racing interests and the community interests. Not one of these recommendations have been met.
Of greatest importance is the negotiation of a lease. The VAGO report notes that of the approximate 54 hectares of land at the reserve:
- 20% is under lease to the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC)
- 69% is used by the MRC without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement
- 11% open space for the potential use by the community
People have been calling for greater public access to Caulfield Racecourse for over a hundred years! Click here to read a story about this in the Argus from 1909
The lease negotiations have stalled and the status quo favours the MRC, meaning lost money and space for the community without any recognition of the financial benefit to the club.
I call on the Minister to dissolve the Trust and put a management structure in place that aligns with contemporary public sector standards, particularly in relation to conflicts of interest. The City of Glen Eira has the lowest amount of open space per capita of any metropolitan municipality in the state.
My community is crying out for the attention of the Minister to remedy this egregious situation.