About thirty Council workers from Moonee Valley Depot attended the Statutory Council meeting on Tuesday. They knew they wouldn’t be able to speak or ask questions. They knew the meeting would be brief and wouldn’t even touch on their concerns, but they showed up in numbers to make a quiet statement.
The message they wanted to convey was concern about Council rushing through an arrangement to move the MV Depot out of the Valley – to Tullamarine Park Road.
ASU representative, Luke Cherry, explained “they originally came to us about the move… we accept we probably have to move” … but it’s part of a 2040 plan.
“All of a sudden we’re getting told, we’ve identified a site, it’s up in Tullamarine and in two weeks we’ll be putting a report to Council that we should be commencing a lease with them for 20-30 years as a lease.”
“It is a giant warehouse … completely different to the Depot.” Mr Cherry said considerable work would need to be done to the site to make it fit for purpose.
The workers have been told the reason for moving is that the current site is designated as an arts and cultural site under MV2040.
“The assurances we’ve been given is that they want to open up the current site to an arts and culture precinct. They want to expand the Incinerator Centre.”
But the workers are asking “what’s the hurry?” when the plan is a 2040 plan.
MV2040 highlights the current area as a place to “create a vibrant events destination” around the Incinerator Gallery/Maribyrnong River precinct. There is no mention of the depot moving.
Image: MVCC, MV2040 Strategy, p.123
In the endorsed Amendment to the Planning Scheme there is no mention of the Depot moving – and Maribyrnong River Master Plan included in MV2040 includes the Depot in its current configuration.
The new site being considered is 1.2 ha, whereas the current site, along the Maribyrnong River, is 1.9 ha.
The workers have been told no suitable sites for a new depot can be found inside the municipality – but the reason for the rush to move is unclear.
“They said someone else is looking at [the new site] … [but] there is no business plan.”
Workers are also concerned about the money that would be required to make the new site fit for purpose.
“If you went out found a house that was worth $500 grand would you spend $200 grand to do it up and then rent it? That’s what they’re doing.”
“Council are going to write a report and then they’re going to vote on it. They are talking about millions and millions of dollars and to make a decision in a couple of weeks is crazy. I don’t understand it.”
“The Transfer Station wouldn’t move to Tullamarine for 12 months … if they close the Transfer Station they have to let the public know.”
Workers are also concerned that after the Transfer Station closes in 12 months, as potentially planned, Council will no longer have a place for residents to take waste, but will implement a pick up service.
“Our view is that’s what’s going to happen and we’ve been given very little reassurance that it won’t,” Mr Cherry said. “We’ve put that to them and they’ve said they will have to look at all options.”
The Union is bringing the concerns of workers to Council management, and will speak to Councillors before they make a decision.
This report will be updated when the Council report is publicly available.