THE Liberal–National Coalition has retained government and the Frankston-based seat of Dunkley has a new MP, but the focus now is on delivery of many pledges made for the electorate, says Committee for Greater Frankston’s Ginevra Hosking.
“As far as Dunkley residents are concerned, we believe most will judge the re-elected Morrison government on its ability to deliver the projects it has promised for our region,” she said. “We have been given a rare opportunity, a once in a generation chance, to create jobs, boost prosperity and turbocharge growth through important transport and health projects that were allocated funds in the past two federal Budgets or were supported during the election campaign.”
Ms Hosking said that after years of neglect by federal governments, the electorate finally “received the attention it deserved” as the two major parties made solid commitments to major projects to attract broad support and election votes. “The level of bipartisan support has been gratifying.”
Ms Hosking congratulated Peta Murphy, who won Dunkley for the ALP from the Liberal Party’s Chris Crewther. With 73 per cent of the vote counted by Tuesday 21 May, Ms Murphy was leading by nearly 5000 votes. She had 53.14 per cent of the two-candidate preferred vote. Mr Crewther was on 46.86 per cent, but had not yet conceded defeat as postal votes remained to be counted.
The ALP win in Dunkley was expected by both major parties as well as election pundits due to boundary changes in 2018 making the electorate a nominal Labor seat, based on voting patterns of the last election. This combined with a Victorian-wide swing of just over 2 per cent to Labor, albeit not enough to unseat the Morrison government.
Ms Hosking paid tribute to Mr Crewther: “He leaves a tangible and lasting legacy for Greater Frankston. In just one term he managed to secure funding, not just promises, for a number of vital projects that had been languishing for decades.”
Ms Hosking said new MP Peta Murphy “will be the first woman to hold the seat of Dunkley, which was created in 1984 when the Parliament was expanded. It is named after Louisa Margaret Dunkley, a trade unionist and campaigner for equal pay for women in the early 1900s”. “Dunkley was fortunate to have two outstanding election candidates who were supported by their parties during their campaigns and were able, over the past 12 months, to offer significant spending commitments.”
On Monday, Peta Murphy told the Frankston Times: “Really, the first priority was always representing Dunkley in Canberra, and that doesn’t change in government or in opposition. I’ll have to be a little bit louder in opposition but luckily I’ve got a very loud voice. “I think I built on my positive work from the last campaign , and, having been a part of the community, people told me it was good that I came to their door, I met people in my community, and I had really positive ideas for Dunkley.”
Chris Crewther told The Times: “There’s been heaps of things done in this term and heaps of budgeted things done for Dunkley by the Coalition government [including] the $225 million for Baxter line electrification and duplication. I hope the state government gets on board, working with the member for Dunkley on that project. There’s $32 million for the Health Futures Hub, funding for the Ballarto Road project [as well as for] a range of different sporting clubs. Significant amounts have already been delivered to these projects, and more will be completed in years to come whether I’m in the seat or not.”
What’s been funded
Three major projects were supported by both major parties: the Frankston rail extension; new free car parks at Frankston, Seaford and Kananook stations; and a Health Futures Hub.
Frankston rail extension: the re-elected Morrison government pledged $225 million to extend the metropolitan electrified train line beyond Frankston to new stations proposed at Frankston East (near Frankston Hospital and Monash University’s Peninsula campus), Langwarrin and Baxter. Federal Labor said it would match the funding if elected. However, the project cannot go ahead without the state government, which would pay half the estimated $450 million.
A federally funded $3 million preliminary cost-benefit study is currently being prepared by the state government.
New car parks at three stations: the re-elected Morrison government pledged $38.5 million towards a $56 million project to build 800 new, free car parks at Frankston, Kananook and Seaford stations as part of its $300 million Melbourne-wide “congestion busting fund”. Frankston will get 600 car parks – 500 for commuters (in a multi-deck building near the station) and 100 short-term spots for shoppers, while Seaford and Kananook will each receive 100 spaces. The balance of the $56 million, $17.5 million, was promised by the state government last year.
Health Futures Hub: in this year’s federal Budget, the government allocated $32 million towards a $55 million project to research better health care services in the categories of aged care, mental health and addiction. Peninsula Health and Monash University will contribute $23 million to the project, which was championed by health minister Greg Hunt. New, state-of-the-art physical and data infrastructure will be built at Frankston Hospital and the neighbouring Monash Peninsula campus.
Additionally, the Coalition promised $30 million to upgrade Ballarto Road intersections, and $10 million towards an emergency department for children at Frankston Hospital, which was proposed by the state government last year. The state government’s South Eastern Roads Upgrade also received a federal funding injection during the election campaign. Among a number of projects under way is duplication of Lathams Road, the main arterial of Carrum Downs Industrial Estate, and the Golf Links Road Upgrade project at Baxter and Langwarrin.
Ms Hosking said the committee was confident that Peta Murphy would “work with the state Labor government and the federal Liberal-National government to bring these transformational rail and road projects to fruition”. “We are looking forward to working with Peta to continue the revitalisation of Greater Frankston and its infrastructure,” Ms Hosking said. “She has committed to working with the state government and our community to extend the train line, which will transform Frankston.”
Ms Hosking said members of the Committee for Greater Frankston, other community groups, and Frankston City Council had been part of a strong, behind-the-scenes movement to “advocate for our region’s big projects”. “Now we all want to work just as hard to see that these projects are delivered.”
She said post-election first steps included the “finalisation of the rail extension business case and state government commitment to advance the project, and Frankston Council setting up a car parking working group to get the best result from the federal and state grants”.
- The neighbouring federal seats of Isaacs (north of Dunkley) and Flinders (south) returned their sitting MPs – Labor’s Mark Dreyfus and the Liberal Greg Hunt respectively. Mr Hunt appears likely to retain his job as health minister in the new Cabinet.