Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (1503)
Incorporated pursuant to order of Council of 7 September:
I am directing my adjournment to the Minister for Government Services, Danny Pearson, and it is a matter raised by Russell Huntingdon, president of the University of the Third Age’s Melbourne City campus, and on behalf of the more than 1000 people who participate in dozens of courses.
They have a needless and damaging space problem. We here in this place have evident and sensible solutions—and ones with no losers and multiple winners. Ones that are apolitical.
U3A’s CBD campus is literally all over the place. Pre COVID, it was forced by a tight commercial property rental market to split its classes over as many as 13 sites across the CBD.
The cost of renting these spaces by the hour is unsustainable.
The University of the Third Age is a community gem, a marvellous mix of intellectual, cultural, and social stimulation. It enhances mental and physical health.
These hugely important benefits—which will be increasingly valuable as older age brackets account for an increasingly big chunk of the population—are undermined by the lack of a common space.
Our COVID-ravaged CBD, the economic heart of the state, is suffering an activity deficit and a space surplus. This is of community-wide significance.
The needs of U3A are modest. They are looking for around 250 square metres where they can have an office and rooms that they can use flexibly.
The action I seek is for Minister Pearson to direct his department to review the state government buildings in the Melbourne CBD, and to investigate whether any vacant state government facilities could accommodate the University of the Third Age.