Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Bill 2017

On 17 September 2014 a report by the Victorian Auditor‑General found that the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust had failed the community. On 1 September 2015, after a year of inaction on implementing the Victorian Auditor‑General’s Office report’s recommendations, the member for Caulfield raised an adjournment matter which called on the then Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water to undertake an urgent review of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust to kickstart much‑needed change. In March 2016 the then environment minister established a bipartisan working group which made a series of recommendations in its report handed to the minister on 21 August 2016. The report concluded that the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust was unworkable, created potential and real conflicts of interest and was not achieving the best outcome for the use of the reserve. On 22 August 2017 the government introduced this legislation on the governance of the Caulfield Racecourse. However, a new lease has still not been implemented and the Melbourne Racing Club continues to pay a peppercorn rent while there are sporting clubs and other recreation groups that do not have the space to do what they need to do.

The member for Oakleigh said in his contribution that the government had not had the power to do anything about producing the lease that is so badly required to get these things done. But if the member had taken the time to read the Bi‑partisan Working Group Report of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve, particularly the third paragraph of subparagraph 4.3.1, he would have seen that it says:

The department, as interim land manager, has significant advantages. It would enable discussions and negotiations with MRC to settle the lease and licence arrangements. The working group understands that the department has a well‑established lease determination process that involves the valuer‑general Victoria. This matter could be resolved prior to handing the management of the reserve to an appropriate independent organisation.

I wanted to make that particular point. The member for Caulfield has been leading this charge and has been doing a great job, but it is important that this particular aspect of the submissions from the other side is cleared up. Having made that point, I will now conclude so that other members can have their say in the short time that remains.