26 September 2017

Page 7


Lobbying campaign gets facelift Neil Walker neil@baysidenews.com.au AN ALLIANCE of six councils that lobbies state and federal governments for investment in the south east has been rebadged and relaunched but ratepayers are in the dark about how much the renewed lobbying push will cost. The South East Melbourne Group of Councils (SEM) includes Frankston, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Kingston, Casey, Cardinia Shire and Greater Dandenong councils. A new website at southeastmelbourne.org and launch event on Friday 15 September at Greater Dandenong council offices in Dandenong mentioned on the group’s new Facebook page flagged a new look for the group. The site domain name was registered last year by Damian Mannix at The Agenda Group, a public relations and lobbying firm. When contacted, Mr Mannix confirmed the firm registered the website address on behalf of the SEM group of councils. The Agenda Group has offices in Melbourne’s Queen St, Sydney and Canberra according to the firm’s website. Mr Mannix is chairman of the Program Advisory Committee at the RMIT School of Applied Communications. He confirmed he is a Labor Party member when asked and was named as a preselection contender for the seat of Mulgrave won by now Premier Daniel Andrews in 2002 when asked by The News. The Agenda Group’s government relations director is Richard Allsop who is also a research fellow at right-wing think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs. Questions subsequently emailed to The Agenda Group were answered by Mornington Peninsula Shire CEO Carl Cowie. “The Agenda Group is funded equally by the

Blue ribbon tribute: Rosebud Police Officerin-Charge Senior Sergeant Steven Wood and Constable Natalie Duric. Picture: Supplied

Police tribute to the fallen

Mayors meet: Kingston mayor David Eden, left, Cardinia Shire mayor Brett Owen, Frankston mayor Brian Cunial, Premier Daniel Andrews, Greater Dandenong mayor Heang Tak, Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Bev Colomb and Casey deputy mayor Susan Serey. Picture: Facebook

six councils,” he said. “The fees are commercial in confidence.” Mr Cowie confirmed “the South East Melbourne alliance of councils has operated for many years”. “It has been reinvigorated and relaunched as SEM to ensure state and federal governments understand the needs of the south-east region and the opportunities that can generate jobs growth and improve the lives of residents,” he said. “The Agenda Group provides policy, communications and administrative support to SEM”. The SEM group’s site lists the councils’ priorities as a way of “driving growth and prosperity” in the south east. The electrification of the Frankston line to Baxter, the need for a south eastern airport and

the rollout of high-speed internet access to business precincts are listed as priorities on the site. “There are many council alliances already working across Melbourne,” Mr Cowie said. “The south-east region also needs a strong voice to ensure we have the best opportunities for our residents and businesses and compete for funding and investment.” A second major container port for the state at Hastings is also listed as a priority despite a majority of councillors at both Frankston and Kingston councils voting to drop support for the idea in recent months. Infrastructure Victoria has earmarked Bay West near Geelong as the likely location of a second port when the Port of Melbourne reaches capacity in decades to come.

SOUTHERN Metropolitan Police and members of the public will pay tribute to those who have died in the line of duty at a Blue Ribbon Day service at Rosebud RSL, Friday 29 September. The service, which is open to the public, is part of Police Remembrance Day, which recognises the 159 police officers who have lost their lives while protecting the community. Those attending are asked to wear a blue ribbon or attach one to their car’s aerial as a gesture of support. “This service gives the community the opportunity to remember the police officers who have lost their lives protecting the community and to interact with local police,” Rosebud uniform police leading senior constable Ian Huxtable said. The Rosebud RSL is in Eastbourne Rd, Rosebud. The service is the only one in the Southern Metro Area. It has a 10.30am arrival for an 11am start. It will be attended by a local chaplain, members of the public and police from the Southern Peninsula. Donations can be made to the Blue ribbon Foundation at all police stations, at remember. org.au and on the day at the service. McCrae Lions will stage a light show at the McCrae lighthouse Monday 25 September-Sunday 1 October to support the remembrance day.



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Members Code for discount: MEMPRICE Southern Peninsula News 26 September 2017