THE battle for the future of the Ballarat Station precinct is over following Labor’s decisive state election win.
On Sunday, Save Our Station campaign organisers acknowledged the returned State Government’s “legitimate mandate” in an email to members.
That means SOS will no longer be taking part in a political process, but president Gerald Jenzen said the group was still keen to be involved in consultation.
“Despite the election we’d still like to talk to them about the changes we suggested,” he said.
“There are things that can still be done to improve what’s been planned for the site and we would certainly like to see a lot more consultation occur with the public so that the public really understands and knows what is happening on site.”
As for how the group was going to engage with government, Mr Jenzen said he’d reach out to the newly elected local members and new Minister for Regional Development, Jaclyn Symes.
SOS tried to make issues like changes to the good sheds, a hotel – now serviced apartments, restoration of the station building, and disability access an election an issue during the campaign.
They were joined in their efforts by the Coalition who also pushed heavily on aspects of the project, including a pledge to attempt to renegotiate the redevelopment contracts if elected.
Yet is all seemed to count for little as both Wendouree and Buninyong swung at about or above the statewide average and many of the Ballarat based Ripon booths were won by Labor.
Despite that, Mr Jenzen said the SOS campaign still made a difference.
“Lots of money was spent in Ballarat as a by-product of the station, while the station itself wasn’t particularly mentioned,” he said. “Clearly they were concerned about keeping the seats.”
In the email sent to members SOS organisers said they couldn’t keep up with the amount of money spent by Labor during election campaign.
“[T]he impetus of the extensive and relentless advertising Labor did in the local media, which together with their promises, more than over-compensated for any damage our campaign could cause them,” the email read.
“Our message about the inappropriateness of the Station Redevelopment was swamped by Labor’s millions.”
The letter also thanked SOS members and supporters for their involvement in the campaign’s letter-boxing, letter writing and social media efforts.