Councillor Antonella Celi
|Posted by antonellaceli on October 10, 2020 at 8:10 AM|
This question requires a two-fold answer:
1. Short term under Covid-19 Restrictions and Directions:
The impact by Covid-19 restrictions with the Shire classified as metro-Melbourne "Stage 2 restriction type zone" has meant that we have had to endure delays in business reopening and sustained economic loss over the many months since March.
The State had no problem in switching Mitchell Shire from metro-Melbourne "restriction type zone" into Regional "restriction type zone" under the current Directions and there is no reason why the same could not be done in classifying the Mornington Peninsula Shire into "Stage 3 restriction type zone" along with Regional municipalities under the current State of Emergency Directions.
The State has refused to make the concession for an interim solution to minimize the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions and to help curtail the suddent influx of tourism to the region; keep cases down; allow our businesses to start trading.
Advocacy has been an ongoing priority for the Shire under the context of Covid-19 restrictions.
I intend to continue the support for the Shire to advocate for the Mornington Peninsula to be placed into "Stage 2 restriction type zone" along with Regional municipalities while Covid-19 restrictions and directions continue to impact our livelihoods.
2. Long term investigation into reforms for classification of the Mornington Peninsula from Metro Melbourne to Regional:
In regards to instigating reform to classification from metro-Melbourne to Regional. I support a more detailed investigation and research in what it means for the Mornington Peninsula to be reclassified and the process that is involved to achieve it.
This is an important piece of work that the Shire will need to undertake in consultation with stakeholders and more imprortantly, the broader community to understand the complexity and impacts, both positive and negative, of such a reform to the Region., in particular for business, education, arts & culdture, industry and the community.
Impacts also need to be measured for any Planning Scheme changes that may affect our Green Wedges status, which are classfied as such because we are in Metropolitan Melbourne.
To change classification to regional would mean to forego Green Wedge Classification and reforming the planning scheme to reflect rural or farming planning zones. This would need extensive investigation and community consultation to be undertaken before making a significant decisions such as this.
I understand how not being classified as metro-Melbourne primarily impacts the business sector on the Mornington Peninsula, as well as funding grants and streams for various other sectors because we are not Regional. But zoning out of Metropolitan Melbourne could also compromise exisitng grant streams that we are eligible to receive. An assessment and reserach into grant sream structure and funding would also need to be undertaken so that we are working in the best interests of the community.
With the impact on business who do not receive the same benefits as Geelong and other Regional areas, perhaps another approach in the short term could be to advocate for business and payroll tax reforms at the State and Federal level.
One of the many questions to explore when looking at large reforms such as this one.
We need to make sure that while we are looking at significant reforms we do not create other unintended consequences that would compromise the well established position of the Mornington Peninsula.