The formal designation of the Mornington Peninsula as a ‘regional’ rather than a metropolitan community was a priority initiative presented to the Victorian shadow cabinet by leading local advocacy group, Committee for Mornington Peninsula.
The C4MP group urged the Liberal National Party Shadow Ministers to recognise that the Peninsula was not Melbourne and that successive State Government’s had failed to distinguish the region from the metropolitan area.
C4MP President, the Hon Bruce Billson, said that the Committee believed the designation of the Peninsula as ‘regional’ would open up many opportunities currently denied to this community.
“We keep hearing time and time again that local employment, access to education and services and the opportunity for local businesses to compete, is being hindered by the Mornington Peninsula being lumped in with Melbourne”, Mr Billson said.
“Local businesses pay twice the rate of payroll tax and more stamp duty on property purchased for business investment than the same business would pay on the Bellarine Peninsula and other regions outside the metropolitan area. Why? Those communities are said to be ‘regional’ and we are not.
“Our committee put it to the Opposition Shadow Cabinet that this is unfair and unjustified, and that an early examination should look to change this.
“Not being designated ‘regional’ is harming our capacity to provide meaningful jobs, ensure reasonable access to post-secondary education opportunities and to secure Government support for key services, project funding and government program eligibility.
“When we are all trying to increase quality employment and sustainable economic opportunities, we run into the fact that it costs more to employ people and invest in new business projects here than in competitor locations.
“There is no sensible justification or reason to make it harder for our local businesses to succeed and am employ local people, and going by the response C4MP is receiving, lots of people agree with us.
“Any up-side from the current arrangements is far from obvious, but we will do the work to find out if there is compared to being designated a ‘regional’ community”, Mr Billson said.
Mr Billson said C4MP would be allocating some research funds into examining the ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’ the Mornington Peninsula being re-classified ‘regional’, compared to pursuing the levels of services and support expected by a ‘metropolitan’ community and what can realistically be achieved.
During the first month of operation, C4MP has attracted more than 50 members and some of the funds from membership fees have been allocated to the ‘regional’ designation project.
Unlike other committees of its kind, C4MP has not received any Council financial support but hoped the Mornington Peninsula Shire might make a contribution to the ‘regional’ designation research project C4MP will be undertaking.