MPs jump into pool fight

MAKING A SPLASH: Sarah Henderson meets with Surf Coast constituents to launch her pool petition.

By Luke Voogt

Two political opponents have engaged in a Torquay pool fight as the battle for the marginal seat of Corangamite intensifies.

Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson on Tuesday launched a petition for a 50m pool at Torquay, while slamming Labor opponent Libby Coker’s plans for a 25m version.

“The Labor candidate’s commitment to a 25m pool only is inadequate and shows once again she is not listening to the community,” Ms Henderson said.

The petition comes after Ms Coker last December announced Labor would commit $15 million to a $25 million, eight-lane, 25m, indoor swimming pool.

State Government had earlier contributed $10 million to the pool complex, which will include a gymnasium, creche facilities and a cafe.

“The widespread feedback I have received makes it clear that the Surf Coast needs a proper 50m pool suitable for high-level competitions and training,” Ms Henderson said.

Ms Henderson also took aim at Ms Coker’s “hypocrisy” as a councillor.

“In 2015, Surf Coast Shire councillors including Labor’s Corangamite candidate passed a motion blocking any development of a pool for Torquay,” she said.

“Labor councillors have done everything to stymie the development of a pool for Torquay including coming up with a pool tax designed to divide the community.”

But Ms Coker hit back, challenging Ms Henderson to commit Commonwealth funding.

“Sarah Henderson has had countless opportunities in government, including five federal budgets, to fund a public pool in Torquay,” she said.

“Sarah is all talk and no action. She had to end her last pool campaign in embarrassment after she was unable to secure any funding from her government for the project.

“Sarah Henderson should make a bipartisan commitment to fund a public pool in Torquay, or stop wasting people’s time.”

Ms Henderson also launched a petition for a new pool on the Bellarine Peninsula.

“With the pool at Ocean Grove at full capacity and the pool at Portarlington closed, north Bellarine needs a new pool,” she said.

Her petitions come as speculation continues over the timing of the next Federal Election.

Ms Henderson won the marginal seat of Corangamite by a margin of three per cent over Ms Coker in the 2016 election.


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