Members Statement: Precinct Revitalisation
Mr. Hibbins (Prahran): It was great to be back out in the Prahran electorate after lockdown visiting Prahran Market and the shops on Chapel Street and taking the kids to Grattan Gardens and Prahran Square, and I can tell you the streets are as vibrant as ever. Our local shopping strips are the social and economic hearts of our community, and they are such a big part of what makes our community such a great place to live. They also critically support jobs in retail, hospitality and services filled by many young people, who of course have been disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout from COVID.
In Prahran we have got Chapel Street, Hawksburn and Toorak villages and the Domain Road, Toorak Road, South Yarra, St Kilda Road and Prahran East shopping strips. I have been really impressed how locals have supported our local traders during the lockdown, but there is still more to be done, particularly at the state government level, to support our local shopping strips. I again call for the establishment of a unit within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions dedicated to revitalising our local shopping strips across Victoria. Now, we have put forward our ideas that the government should take up—like supporting artist studios and pop-up shops to open in vacant premises, making pop-up outdoor dining permanent and funding further streetscape upgrades and ways to lower rents and reduce vacant shopfronts. These are critical to the livability of our communities and for the jobs of so many people.