A FEDERAL government department could be on its way to Frankston if talks about relocation public service jobs to the area come to fruition.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Mornington and Frankston last Monday (19 February) and met Frankston Council representatives including council CEO Dennis Hovenden and the mayor Cr Colin Hampton at a Quest Apartment Hotels room being leased by federal Liberal Dunkley MP Chris Crewther after his central Frankston office was damaged by fire in April last year. Mr Crewther told The Times council and the Prime Minister mostly discussed the electrification of the Frankston line to Baxter but also revealed the relocation of a federal government department was also mentioned.
“We also talked about the relocation of federal departments and agencies to Frankston or somewhere in the electorate,” Mr Crewther said.
“The point was made about Geelong almost being equidistant from Melbourne CBD and we’re essentially a hub as well. They’ve got the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme] headquartered in Geelong so it’d be good for a health agency or a department from somewhere else to be headquartered here as well.”
The Dunkley MP said a safe boat refuge at Olivers Hill was also discussed.
Frankston Council took credit for its “advocacy” for federal and state funding for the area luring politicians to the region.
“The Prime Minister and council discussed a number of our advocacy priorities such as the electrification of the rail line to Baxter and the decentralisation and relocation of a government department to complement the soon to be redeveloped Frankston station precinct,” the mayor Cr Colin Hampton said in a statement.
“The potential safe boat harbour at Olivers Hill was also discussed, with the Prime Minister remarking he was amazed there was no infrastructure already available at a bayside city such as Frankston.
“Council highlighted that a safe boat harbour would cut emergency response times down from 45 minutes to six minutes, a crucial difference when it comes to saving lives.”
Environmental studies will begin soon to look at the feasibility of building a safe boat harbour for vessels during heavy weather at Olivers Hill.
It is hoped that construction of the mini-harbour, to protect boats from stormy weather, can start by May 2019, Mr Crewther previously said (“Safe harbour gets the green light”, The Times 19/2/18).