24 February 2015

Mr Wynne (Minister for Planning) – I am pleased to inform the House of a really important initiative – the renovation of Flinders Street Station.

An honourable member interjected.

Mr Wynne – It is marvellous. I thank the member for his contribution. Flinders Street Station is a major transport hub in Melbourne. At one point, it was the busiest railway station in the world. Flinders Street Station, as we know, is at the┬áheart of the cultural precinct here in the City. It is on one of the busiest intersections – the corner where people have met for decades under the Flinders Street clocks. The station is one of Melbourne’s iconic Victorian era buildings and recently, just weekend, it was a focal point for the fabulous White Night Festival.

However, the station’s decline has seen this important precinct really fall into decay. Over the past 20 years, state governments have considered many proposals to redevelop the station and the surrounding area. These have varied in scope, ambition and cost. Yet despite public concerns about the decline of the station’s buildings and the deterioration of the beautiful ballroom in particular, a project has yet to proceed. In the meantime, one of Melbourne’s most beloved icons was literally falling apart and becoming a danger to the public . It should have been the pride of our city but it was becoming an embarrassment.

Mr Clark – On a point of order, Speaker, we are on new ground with ministers’ statements, but I refer to the guidance that you gave to the House at the commencement of this sitting, in which you indicated that ministers could make passing reference to the context in which they were making their announcement but that the bulk of their announcement needed to relate to the new initiative.

The Minister has had considerable latitude to set the scene for what he might inform the House about in relation to this new initiative. I submit that he is going beyond passing reference in setting the scene and is dwelling unnecessarily extensively on the past, whereas the purpose of these statements, as we understand it, is to inform the House of new government initiatives, projects and achievements. I ask you to bring him back to that.

The Speaker – Order! I accept the point of order, but the Minister was being relevant in referring in passing to the former government’s position. I do, however, remind the Minister of my ruling. He should only refer to the previous government’s management in passing.

Mr Wynne – Labor has a realistic plan for Flinders Street Station. A $100 million project will commence this year. It will create jobs, boost the surrounding cultural district and make the station a pleasant place to be for tourists and commuters alike. We are getting on with the job of refurbishing Flinders Street Station.

The Speaker – Order! The Minister’s time has expired.