Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — In November last year the famous ABC TV studios in Gordon Street, Elsternwick, officially closed. What is to become of the iconic studios where shows such as Countdown, Adventure Island, Bellbird, Kath and Kim, the Late Show, SeaChange, Spicks and Specks, Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell, the Big Gig and In Gordon Street Tonight were filmed has been the subject of much debate for at least the past five years or since the ABC started to move TV production to Southbank. I have had discussions with the ABC, the National Trust of Australia and Glen Eira City Council about the preservation of the building and the surrounding land for community, arts and cultural purposes since that time.
On Tuesday, 24 April, the Caulfield Glen Eira Leader reported that the countdown is on to save the site. Daryl Braithwaite, Brian Nankervis, Joe Stanley, David Hobson and many others are behind the campaign to save the site for the community. Glen Eira city councillor Mary Delahunty has set up an online petition. In June 2003 Cr Delahunty and former Greens councillor and mayor of Glen Eira Neil Pilling moved a motion that a report be prepared on the future of the ABC site. In 1954, 8000 square metres of the Rippon Lea estate next door were sold to the ABC. The National Trust wants that part of the site returned.
The Elsternwick studios were opened 60 years ago, in May 1958. The studios and the iconic transmission tower are not only a local landmark and an integral part of the community but also a precious part of the cultural history of Australia and should be preserved for posterity and not sold off for profit. The ABC site should be returned to the community for community uses.