Nepean’s redistribution


Nepean’s Green Wedge under threat

Following the coast of the Mornington Peninsula and crossing through the lush bush of Red Hill to the bay of Somers, the Nepean district currently covers about 429.91 square kilometres of the Mornington Peninsula.

But Nepean will be redistributed by  the November election.

Members of the Somers and Balnarring townships, which together have a population of about 4,000 people according to the 2021 census, will now be redistributed to the Hastings District.

Labor MP Chris Brayne currently holds Nepean, which he won in the 2018 State Election, breaking a historic pattern of Liberal victory.

Labor had held Nepean only once in  the last 100 years – from 1982 to 1986.

The Nepean district falls under one of Victoria’s 12 green wedge zones, a protection placed on non-urban land which restricts the kind of development that can take place in the area.

Currently this green wedge status is being disputed. Mr Brayne says the push to make the Mornington Peninsula part of Regional Victoria will override its green wedge status.

“The push for the Mornington Peninsula to become regional is coming from business lobby groups,” Mr Brayne says. “We cannot allow for this to happen in order  to retain the green wedge.”

In a press release earlier this year, former Flinders MP and Health Minister Greg Hunt and eight Liberal members issued a joint statement saying:

“The Mornington Peninsula’s sacred green wedge classification has come under threat.”

The release said the Victorian Government had “openly threatened” to “rescind” the Mornington Peninsula green wedge if the decision to classify the area as regional was approved.

The release said classifying the Peninsula as regional would only “secure regional funding for regional problems”.

Liberal Member Sam Groth who is running to contest the seat of Nepean had his name on this media release.

In a facebook post earlier this year, Mr Groth said: “I am a strong supporter of the Mornington Peninsula being designated as regional whilst maintaining protections for the green wedge.”

Currently the Mornington Peninsula has the second lowest provision of public transport per person in metropolitan Melbourne and 82 percent of the community has no access to public transport, says a study conducted by the Shire Council.

Mr Brayne says public transport has no “easy solution”.

“The best public transport we can have is buses,” he says.

Mr Brayne says the frequency of buses is the issue, which is why the FlexiRide on demand bus service was implemented in February of this year to the 787 route which services Sorrento to Rosebud.

If re-elected Mr Brayne says his next step would be to introduce a cross peninsula bus service.

“It’s the next piece of the puzzle,” he says.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 13 770 families had children under the age of 15 or dependent students enrolled in education facilities on the Mornington Peninsula.

Mr Brayne says he feels “obligated” to ensure local schools are rebuilt with “new modern facilities” that are “fit for purpose”.

The upgrades of Rosebud Primary School, Dromana Primary School and Rosebud Secondary are already underway.