The redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market loomed as a central and symbolic issue when six of the 14 candidates in the Melbourne Lord Mayoral contest met at a Press Club forum on 26 April.
As far as social media was concerned, pollster Gary Morgan stole the show with the announcement he would excavate the remaining 6000 bodies from Melbourne’s first cemetery in order to build an underground carpark for the market, which would be otherwise preserved in its current state.
Self-described “true independent” Sally Warhaft claimed the council’s plans for the site were symbolic of it “losing touch with its civic duty” and said the new mayor would set the tone of development and culture of Town Hall for years to come.
Other candidates addressed rampant development in the city, with council veteran Ken Ong promising to review planning schemes and Greens councillor Rohan Leppert vowing to refocus the development culture on long-term liveability.
Other issues canvassed by the panel were homelessness, public transport and an alleged - and disputed - “toxic culture” at Town Hall, which former Manningham Mayor Jennifer Yang said she would tackle by introducing an alcohol ban and strengthening sexual harassment laws.
Participating in the Melbourne Press Club forum on Thursday 26 April 2018 were candidates Sally Capp, Rohan Leppert, Gary Morgan, Ken Ong, Jennifer Yang and Sally Warhaft. It was moderated by MPC Vice President and ABC News Breakfast presenter Michael Rowland.
Read all candidates' statements on the Victorian Electoral Commission website.