From The Courier 04 Oct 2018
Sharon Knight (Courier Opinion 29 Sept) tells the public not to worry about the redevelopment of the Ballarat Station.
She assures us it will deliver us economic benefits. She says she is setting the record straight, though fails to mention a few things along the way.
Does Sharon tell us what the economic benefits are? No, the business case is commercial-in-confidence. Does Sharon explain how much the land is being sold for? No. Unlike public land under the control of government departments, which must publish the price when sold, VicTrack are excluded.
Did she mention that VicTrack did no modelling of future transport needs before declaring the land surplus and selling it?
No, it couldn’t possibly just be somebody’s thought-bubble, that Sharon was too lazy to challenge.
Does she explain that to allow for the land sale, the Andrews government has to offset the lost parking and refurbish the Goods Shed before handing over the land. Did she mention that this is costing more than $20m, or nearly four times the proceeds from the land sale?
Sharon has refused to meet members of the public on the station issue for more than two years now. She is aloof, unaccountable and seeing out the end of her unremarkable political career in a bubble.
Her legacy will be the loss of Wendouree for Labor in November -unless they change the plan. There is still time, but like Sharon’s career, it is fast running out.
John Barnes, Brown Hill