On Wednesday, October 24, the member for Western Metropolitan Colleen Hartland raised a matter in parliament in relation to the goods shed in Castlemaine – the proposed home of 65 poker machines.
The shed is owned by the state of Victoria.
Colleen is a member of the Greens and has been sitting on the Greens Gambling Committee since December 2010.
Colleen requested production of documents in relation to the lease arrangements between VicTrack and the Maryborough Highland Society.
Her request for these documents was made four weeks prior to October 24. The Member for Western Metro said:
“I will be very brief on this matter. I find it interesting that when I put forward this production of documents motion some four weeks ago it was agreed to. It seemed very straightforward.
“We are talking about an active lease between VicTrack and the Maryborough Highland Society for a pokies venue in Castlemaine. I would have thought it would have been quite easy to find these documents, considering that they are part of a lease agreement, part of a current negotiation, etc.
“I do not understand why the government is not able to produce these documents at this stage. Is there something the government is trying to keep from the people of Castlemaine by saying it is unable to produce these documents? To me, four weeks seems to be an adequate amount of time.”
Terry Mulder, Minister for Transport and Minister in charge of VicTrack, supplied a letter in response to the resolution put by Colleen:
“The government is in the process of responding to this resolution. As part of this process, the government is liaising with affected third parties, including Public Transport Victoria and VicTrack. This process has not yet been finalised.
“Regrettably, the government is not able to respond to the Legislative Council’s resolution within the time period requested by the Council. The government will respond as soon as possible.”
Liberal Member for Northern Metro Craig Ondarchie scuttled debate: “It is interesting that Ms Hartland has put this motion on the notice paper. It is interesting that Ms Hartland is chasing down the needs of the people of Castlemaine when we know that the western suburbs of Victoria require her attention as well. However, she is taking up the time of the Parliament today to talk about a town that is not even in her electorate.”
So then – seems as if the Coalition has something to hide in relation to the lease. Wonder what that could be?
The Mount Alexander Shire’s VCAT appeal over the licence granted for the 65 machines restarts on December 10.
Maybe the government is waiting for the outcome of that process so it will not be embarrassed.