Disagreement over Jacksons Hill

Hume council (Damjan Janevski). 336543_02

Zoe Moffatt

A motion to inquire why Jacksons Hill has seen no improvement lapsed at a Hume council meeting on February 12, lacking support in the chamber.

Councillor Trevor Dance raised the notion of motion that council write to Sunbury MP Josh Bull asking why Jacksons Hill has seen no improvement or works done to open the site, since the master plan was approved and Gazetted in 2018.

The plan was approved by the minister for planning in 2018, with the intent to guide the development and revitalisation of the site, ensuring its protection and enhancement for future generations.

Cr Dance said it was extremely disappointing his fellow Jacksons Creek Ward councillors did not second his motion.

“It showed very clearly that the councillors at this meeting… must be happy with no progress occurring on [the] Jacksons Hill site and seeing it rotting away since the approvals were made,” he said.

The notice of motion detailed multiple options for the letter, including expressing concern regarding the lack of visible progress, highlighting the positive collaboration and direct communication with the government and community, requesting an update or seeking support.

“As we all know the Jackson Hill Asylum is one of the most historic sites in Sunbury and Hume,” Cr Dance said.

“So here we are some 5 and a half years down the track, and nothing has been done. Even the online submissions and what the community wanted as part of this master plan were basically ignored at the time.

“Our local member made this such a campaign issue but has done nothing that we can see to get this site opened up and functioning.

“The longer it goes on the greater the restoration costs or worse. This government is just sitting back and watching it rot away.

“Hence it is time our local member is held responsible as our representative in the government to get this matter sorted with action.”

Sunbury MP Josh Bull said he would welcome an opportunity to talk about Jacksons Hill, which has seen significant progress and investment including building restoration, school upgrades and an arts and cultural precinct.

“We have engaged heavily with the community and worked collaboratively with a number of stakeholders [and] this work continues,” he said.

“Some may wish to play politics over this issue, but I have always been determined to achieve real and tangible outcomes and that remains my focus.”

Councillor Jack Medcraft said he didn’t second the motion because he didn’t agree with it.

“We are talking to the government but I think Cr Dance thinks it can all be done in five minutes,” he said.

Fellow Jacksons Creek Ward councillor Jarrod Bell said he was intending on moving some amendments to the motion and so seconding it would not be appropriate.

“I was looking forward to having a fulsome discussion on the important work that has already happened and is continuing to happen,” he said.

“[This is] in terms of protecting, preserving and reopening Jacksons Hill to the community and I am confident this will happen in the very near future.”