GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (19:20:10): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Creative Industries, the Honourable Martin Foley. The Torquay Theatre Troupe have been lobbying the local council and the state and federal governments alike for their own theatre space to share with the community, but to no avail. This group of passionate actors are an asset to the community, growing from a small play each year to three sellout performances annually, regularly bringing in fresh talent and fostering involvement from young and old. Torquay and the broader Surf Coast have grown in population steadily over the years. However, there is still no dedicated theatre, performance or arts space, and to me and other residents this is simply unbelievable. The Geelong Performing Arts Centre is currently undergoing a $38.5 million redevelopment. While I absolutely welcome the further $128 million allocated in the 2019 state budget to complete the final stage, I do wonder: if this large amount of money can be provided to GPAC, how is there not, at the very least, some funding to build a forever home for this valued community asset in Torquay?
With local councils hesitant to spend money at the moment due to rate capping, Surf Coast shire are understandably averse to splash cash to establish a purpose-built theatre hub. Despite household bills rising, our communities still need investment to prosper. The current Torquay recreation centre, affectionately known as surf world, hopefully will be vacated next year as a result of building Torquay’s new basketball stadium, thanks to state and federal funding. It seem bizarre to me that this cannot be converted to a theatre space, with its high ceilings, a purpose-built foyer space, central location and great car parking. As we say in Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, ‘It’s just common sense’—but apparently not to some. A feasibility study conducted by council affirms the suitability of transforming the space, but again, they would need funding to convert the space to the tune of just under $2 million. I understand the troupe have sent several letters to Mr Foley and other ministers. However, the action that I seek is that the government genuinely consider this project and provide the much-needed funds for a dedicated Torquay theatre hub, as the arts are incredibly important in creating positive communities.