The State Government continued its support of Frankston’s health and education sector in May’s Budget. Big-ticket items included an extra $43 million for Frankston Hospital’s expansion and $15.13 million for new Frankston High School classrooms. There is $2 million for “suburban revitalisation” projects in Frankston and a social enterprise hub for at-risk young people to operate from Chisholm Frankston TAFE.
A multi-deck carpark was the major item added to the expanded hospital project, now costing $605 million. An 11-storey twin tower on the old tennis club land will be completed in late 2024 and include 120 beds, operating theatres, and mental health, oncology, maternity and pediatric facilities.
Committee for Greater Frankston CEO Ginevra Hosking said government support for the health and education sector was crucial to economic growth of Frankston, the wider southeast and Mornington Peninsula. “We are already leading research in mental health, social disadvantage and addiction,” Ms Hosking said. “Frankston is where the next generation of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals will be trained. The State Government and (Frankston state Labor) MP Paul Edbrooke are to be congratulated for seeing the light and revising original hospital plans to now include enough carparking to accommodate future demand.
“It is reassuring to finally see Frankston’s transport needs being considered and then designed into a big project before construction. This should be the mantra for how we build in the future – projects must always have adequate affordable carparking. This basic requirement is especially important at a time when the State Government steadfastly refuses to address our region’s inadequate public transport and its main effect – Frankston CBD’s over-dependence on cars.”
Frankston High School was allocated $15.13 million for new classrooms and learning spaces. Ms Hosking said the school had a deserved reputation for high-quality education and the Budget boost followed the recent decision to include Frankston’s CBD as part of the school’s zone.
Revitalisation of Frankston’s CBD will continue with $1.8 million for seven projects. Leading the way is $475,000 from the Government and $75,000 from Frankston City Council to ‘reactivate’ Frankston’s northern gateway – the Nepean Highway. The project includes artistic tree lighting, minor road work, and landscaping to improve the median strip between Davey and Beach streets.
Allied projects are:
• Outdoor dining extended to four new high-profile locations (state contribution $135,000, council co-funding $25,000);
• South East Water headquarters’ Indigenous mural (state $70,000, South East Water $30,000); and,
• Creative lighting of Frankston Pier (state $187,000, Victorian Fisheries Authority $33,000).
Ms Hosking said Frankston Revitalisation Board’s “ongoing urban renewal strategy to improve the city’s public spaces is proving extremely successful and bringing vibrancy to central Frankston”. “Renewal of Nepean Highway is one of our committee’s key objectives. It’s the gateway for people coming down from Melbourne. How it looks defines us.” The funds would “kick-start the creation of a main street of which residents can be proud”.
Community plazas will be created in Frankston’s centre. Stiebel Place will become an ‘open-air gallery’ lane off Shannon Street mall with $275,000 from the Government and $75,000 from the council. Each will also tip in $35,000 to develop a concept for City Park on the disused Young St rail yards. Other revitalisation items include a 1200m ‘green link’ pathway for pedestrians and cyclists between Frankston station and Monash University’s Peninsula campus; and landscaping and lighting for Fletcher Rd underpass.
However, Ms Hosking said one glaring omission in the Budget was money to extend the metropolitan train line beyond Frankston. “The federal Budget on May 11 retained $225 million for the rail extension – and an additional $19 million for Frankston station carparking – but the Victorian Budget was silent on how to address public transport connectivity to and through Frankston, an Infrastructure Australia-listed problem of national significance.” She said the community had been waiting decades for the extension with its new station near Monash Peninsula campus and a purpose-built Langwarrin park and ride for commuters. “The State Government has again failed to acknowledge the dire state of parking congestion on our city streets and act on the rail extension, one of Victoria’s six most overdue infrastructure projects.”