Production of Documents: The Pride Centre

The Greens will also not oppose the motion put forward by Mr Davis today. The motion starts out by asking that the house: "notes the Andrews government's stated commitment to openness and transparency, in particular its stated commitment to provide for business cases for important government projects."
Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 12:45pm

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — The Greens will also not oppose the motion put forward by Mr Davis today. The motion starts out by asking that the house:

"notes the Andrews government's stated commitment to openness and transparency, in particular its stated commitment to provide for business cases for important government projects."

I agree that the Andrews government has made a point of saying on many occasions that it is and it will continue to be open and transparent, though I do not know that that has necessarily been the case. There are a lot of documents that have been called for that have not been produced — for example, there is secrecy surrounding the West Gate tunnel. I could name a large number of projects for which there has not been full openness and transparency. The Greens always call for openness and transparency in any expenditure of taxpayers money.

Having said that, on this particular issue of the establishment of the Pride Centre, which the Greens fully support, I would say that the government has been reasonably open and transparent. It has engaged in a lot of consultation with LGBTIQ groups with regard to the location and functions of the Pride Centre. It has been open to the public about the fact that it is putting up $15 million to help establish the Pride Centre and that it will then operate into the future without government funding. I think that is all fairly well known.

The second part of Mr Davis's motion expresses disappointment that the Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, refused to provide the Pride Centre business case at a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing. I feel the minister could have provided that business case at the hearing. If he could not provide the business case at the actual time of the hearing, he certainly could have provided it to the committee at a later date.

The motion also calls for a copy of the business case prepared for the Pride Centre and copies of all agendas and minutes of meetings for any advisory committees that were part of the decision-making or discussions concerning the Pride Centre. The Greens will not oppose that. I am not sure that the level of detail that those documents would go into would shed a lot more light on what is already public or what will be in the business case. Nevertheless, we will not oppose the call for that detail.

As I mentioned, the Greens are very supportive of the establishment of a Victorian Pride Centre. This is something that has been called for by LGBTIQ organisations over a number of years, in particular in the lead-up to the last state election when the Greens fully supported calls for the establishment of a facility or centre where different organisations could be co-located and could work together in.

It has been a longstanding Greens policy for such a centre to be established in Victoria or in Melbourne. One of the groups that I understand will be major tenants of the Victorian Pride Centre will be the Victorian AIDS Council. Mr Davis mentioned they will be the major tenant, and I think they are contributing up to $10 million to the establishment of the Pride Centre. The major tenants will also include Switchboard, Joy FM, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Minus18, the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and the Midsumma Festival. There are also 60 smaller organisations that are being consulted with regard to whether they would like to be involved in the Pride Centre to utilise space for such things as hot-desking, musical and arts practices, training, counselling and storage. There is also hope that the Pride Centre will include a cafe, a car park and a function space on the site and that these would be ways of cross-subsidising it, because it will need to be fully self-sustaining.

The Pride Centre will be relocated at 79–81 Fitzroy Street, which is the old Monroes restaurant. I know the site well. I have been to Monroes restaurant many times in the past, and it is a great site for the Pride Centre in the heart of St Kilda. Congratulations to the City of Port Phillip for donating the land. They have done that on the basis that it will be used by the Pride Centre for the next 20 years. It is a great place for the Pride Centre to be. Of course the annual gay and lesbian Pride March is held in St Kilda at the end of January or early February every year as part of the Midsumma Festival. At the moment the City of Port Phillip's council building on the corner of Brighton Road and Carlisle Street, St Kilda, is lit up in rainbow colours in support of the 'Yes' campaign. St Kilda in the City of Port Phillip is the natural home for the Pride Centre, and it is great to see it there.

The Greens will not oppose the motion for the call for documents for the business case, as we say all documents with regard to expenditure of public money should be available to the public.