Bass Coast hosts Ministerial delegation


Bass Coast Shire Council welcomed six Ministerial delegates to the region last week following an invitation from Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale.

The Ministers were accompanied by Councillors, Council staff and community representatives on visits to areas of interest for their individual portfolios, including the Cape Paterson Eco Village, Bunurong Coastal Park, Wonthaggi Hospital and Rose Lodge Aged Care, Phillip Island Medical Hub, Bass Valley Primary School, Wonthaggi Secondary College McBride Campus and Bimbadeen Phillip Island.

They then took part in separate Ministerial round tables with community representatives leading the discussions and covering a wide range of issues of importance in Bass Coast.

Cr Crugnale said the group visit was a first for the Ministers to any Victorian municipality, and was a rare and valuable opportunity to not only advocate on behalf of the community, but give community members a chance to engage in discussion with the Ministers themselves.

“The best part is bringing the community, private and public sector conversations to the table and strengthening the partnership with State Government,” Cr Crugnale said.

“For Wonthaggi to transition well into a thriving regional centre it needs this collective approach, followed by an integrated plan then the social and capital investment to get it there.

“The whole of Shire then begins to shine.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, The Hon James Merlino MP, said the day had been a great opportunity for all the Ministers to talk to the Bass Coast community.

“Something that’s really struck me about today is the unity of purpose and the optimism, and that’s a great credit to the work of the Shire over the last few years. You get a great sense, whether it’s talking to principals, Council leaders, community leaders, business people, that there’s a real unity of purpose for Bass Coast,” Minister Merlino said.

“We’ve got a number of challenges that we need to meet. The challenge in terms of the growth is public investment; local, state and federal investment in local infrastructure is needed and has been lacking for a variety of reasons over a number of years.

“There are a few big projects the Council is interested in and we’ll take that through in terms of our regional development processes and other budget decisions.”

With education the focus of his portfolio, Minister Merlino also spoke about education in the region, and plans for the Wonthaggi Education Precinct.

“There’s a pretty exciting plan for Wonthaggi Secondary, the idea of the Wonthaggi Education Precinct,” Minister Merlino said.

“I can’t make any pre-budget announcements, but I can assure you from Darren down, that the needs of Wonthaggi Secondary are high in our agenda and are absolutely understood.”

Minister Merlino assured both Council and community representatives who took part in the round tables that their visit wasn’t just a “talk fest”.

“There are a number of actions out of these individual meetings and visits and we’ll be working diligently with the Council to work through all of those issues that were raised on behalf of the Bass Coast community.”

Ministers visiting for the day were:

  • Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, The Hon James Merlino MP
  • Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP
  • Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, The Hon Lisa Neville MP
  • Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, The Hon Jaala Pulford MP
  • Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, The Hon John Eren MP
  • Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, The Hon Jill Hennessy MP