Port Franklin slipway need not close - O’Brien
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called on the Andrews Labor Government to stop plans for the closure of the Port Franklin Slipway.
Mr O’Brien said the South Gippsland community did not need to lose any more community or government assets and there was considerable support among Port Franklin locals and boating facility users for it to remain open.
Mr O’Brien received assurances from the government in writing last year that “no final decision had been made” and there would be full consultation with the community. He wrote to the Minister for Ports, Melissa Horne in January seeking an explanation of why the government’s view has changed. Two months later he is yet to receive a response.
“When I wrote to the previous Minister last year on this issue, I was assured that the community would be engaged and no decision had been made on the slipway facility.
“In the space of a few short months that apparently had changed, there was no consultation and Gippsland Ports is intending to shut the facility down.
“It’s high time the Andrews Labor Government came clean with the people of Port Franklin and slipway users and explained its thinking on this issue.
“I’ve been aware for some time of local business people and community groups who were keen to take over management of the facility, but for whatever reason the Andrews Labor Government refuses to consider this idea.
“Although there needs to be some work undertaken on the slipway I can’t see why the Government wouldn’t allow either the community or a commercial operator to lease the facility and see if they can make a go of it, even on a trial basis.
“As a starting point, the Minister should at least have the decency to respond to my correspondence and explain her position to the Port Franklin community.”
Mr O’Brien said he would work with the community, including the newly formed Port Franklin Progress Association to address issues such as the slipway and others impacting on the Port Franklin community.