Prahran: Electorate Profile

Prahran is a close race Photo (Photo: Colleen Murrell)

Prahran is an inner metropolitan electorate located approximately one-kilometre south-east of Melbourne’s CBD and is the smallest in Victoria, covering just 11.9 square kilometres.

The electorate includes the suburbs of Prahran, South Yarra, Windsor and parts of St Kilda, St Kilda East and Melbourne.

Prahran contains residential and commercial areas, as well as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Government House, Como Park, Kings Domain, the Shrine of Remembrance, Fawkner Park and the Alfred Hospital.

Prahran was a Liberal seat until the abolition of St Kilda in the 1991 redistributions, and since the 1992 election, Prahran has been a Liberal-leaning but consistently marginal electorate.

In 2014 Greens Candidate Sam Hibbins won the seat by 261 votes, taking over from sitting Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown.

“The Greens had never won, so that was a surprise,” says Newton-Brown. “The Abbott Government budget was very unpopular, and his conservative views turned people off the Liberals in Prahran.”

Sam Hibbins will once again represent the Greens Party when the seat of Prahran is contested during the Victorian State election on November 24th.

Katie Allen, a paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital and medical researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute will represent the Liberal Party.

Neil Pharaoh, former national convenor for Rainbow Labor and the Labor Candidate for Prahran in 2014, will once again represent the Labor party in the electorate.

The electorate runs along the Sandringham rail line from the Yarra River and includes the Prahran and South Yarra stations.

The Andrews Government announced in April 2018 that South Yarra station would get a $12 million upgrade to ease congestion at the station and incorporate closer tram stops.

However, it has not agreed to build an interchange with the Metro Tunnel project and South Yarra Station, something for which both the Greens and the Coalition have lobbied.

This means that new faster and longer trains on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line will not be able to stop at the station.

Prahran station was not included in the Level Crossing Removal Authority’s plans to dispose of 50 of Melbourne’s level crossings to ease congestion and make intersections safer.

According to the Level Crossing Removal Authority, the Prahran intersection doesn’t fit into the top 50, as its position on Greville Street doesn’t cause a burden to Chapel Street traffic.

“Traffic backs up along Greville Street from Chapel Street every morning,” Resident Dorian Sorace says. “Cars are stationary across the tracks throughout peak hour, increasing delays and risk of accidents.”

There has also been a push from the Greens to address dangerous areas for pedestrians and tram users in the vicinity of Prahran Station.

VicRoads has been developing a proposal to “install traffic signals, including pedestrian crossing facilities” around the south entrance of Prahran station on High Street.

The redevelopment of Prahran from a working-class suburb into a popular residential area has introduced planning issues says Marianne Richards, former planner and current president of the Town and Country Planning Association.

Ms Richards is concerned with residents’ health, saying, provision of open space and accessible parks is often “overlooked” in planning.

With: Keegan Smith, Matthew Forrest & Hayley Maron.