Ballarat resident takes her ‘Monster Petition’ to the steps of the Victorian Parliament CONCERNED Ballarat resident Maureen (Min) Myers has created a ‘Monster Petition’ using the signatories of concerned users of the Ballarat Railway Station, which was presented to the Victorian Parliament on Wednesday 9 August by Joshua Morris, MLC, Member for Western Victoria on behalf of the Save Our Station SOS Ballarat Group. The petition is simply asking Premier Andrews to abandon a proposal to build self-contained apartments and a small conference centre with retail in the Station’s historic Goods Shed at the Ballarat Central Railway Station. Min was inspired by the original monster petition of 1853 at Bendigo, the 1854 petitions of the Ballarat Reform League, representing the people of the Goldfields, and the 1891 and 1894 women’s suffrage petitions. “The first petition was presented on a roll of fabric’, said Min. ‘I guess you could say I am channelling that successful formula, which eventually won the reforms being fought for.”
“Residents today in Ballarat and the district are submitting a new monster petition to appeal to the Victorian Government to act in the bests interests of its community. Our hope is that today’s politicians will respond like the politicians of yesteryear and pay heed to the voice of the people,” Min said. The petition is a direct plea to the Victorian Parliament to reject the current plan proposed by the Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford, together with Ballarat MPs Sharon Knight and Geoff Howard, for self-contained apartments and convention centre in the precinct of the historic Ballarat Railway Station. It is proposed that the private developer, the Pellicano Group, will be given freehold title to 15,000m2 of the central Ballarat site, which includes Australia’s largest bluestone goods shed, a heritage building of national significance, that was built in 1862. The Victorian Government is spending around $15 million on refurbishing the goods shed before it hands it and the land over to Pellicano for between $5 million and $6 million.
Save Our Station SOS Ballarat spokesman, John Barnes, a former mayor of Ballarat explains: “This is a bad deal that fails the pub test on every variable you care to consider. It’s dumb financially, it is economically harmful to existing Ballarat businesses, it reduces car parking, it fails to make transport and all-abilities access improvements for current commuters, and it compromises the capacity of the station to meet future demand.” “I heard it over and over when I was collecting signatures,’ said Min. ‘What the Ballarat community wants and needs is a 21st century facility that respects our unique rail heritage, that is a fully integrated, all abilities accessible, transport hub with adequate car parking for the future,” Min has sought support from the SOS Ballarat Group.