Grave concerns have been raised by the Broadmeadows community over a Government proposal that will see the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) facility on Camp Road, Broadmeadows, include a higher security compound.

Federal and State Members of Parliament, Local Government representatives and community members met at a roundtable discussion this week - facilitated by Maria Vamvakinou MP, Federal Member for Calwell.

At the meeting, community members said no one from the Government had spoken to them prior to making the decision to upgrade MITA as one of the three high risk security facilities in Australia.

The community also said it would like to see more information on the social, economic and historical implications on Broadmeadows if this proposal goes ahead as at this stage it felt left in the dark.

Serious concern was also raised about the future of the current volunteer and visitor programs which many locals participate in – programs that have been running successfully in the facility since the 2004 ‘Links not Locks’ campaign.

The proposal, submitted by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Public Works in November 2016, states the proposed upgrade to MITA will cost the Government $29.067m with work set to begin in March 2017.

The community also expressed strong disappointment and anger that this was the Turnbull Government’s only known investment to the area. Alternative suggestions for Government investments in Broadmeadows were explored on the day. A critical area of need identified was the settlement of refugees from Syria, a large number of which are settling in the local area and which local providers have not been adequately supported and funded.

In attendance at the meeting were Maria Vamvakinou MP, Federal Member for Calwell; Frank McGuire MP, State Member for Broadmeadows; Cr Drew Jessop, Mayor of Hume City Council; Hume City Councillors and committee members of the Broadmeadows Progress Association.

Members of the Broadmeadows community who are concerned by the Turnbull Government’s proposal are encouraged to make a submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Public Works. The submission date has been extended to Friday 10 February.

If you would like to make a submission, and need some assistance, you can contact Maria Vamvakinou’s office on (03) 9367 5216. A public hearing of the Public Works Committee will be held in Broadmeadows on Monday 20 February – venue to be confirmed.

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