One year of Diggers’ Dreams

Dream members Michael Gooding, Jade McTavish, Kathy Skinner, Laura Prendergast, Tanya Harding and John Verdon. (Damjan Janevski) 339349_01

Liam McNally

Diggers Rest advocacy group Dream launched publicly 12 months ago, and member John Verdon said it’s been a “big year” for the group, but also has his eye keenly on future development for the area.

Dream officially began back in September 2022, but in March 2023 launched its public-facing Facebook group with the goal of engaging with the local community to meaningfully express to all levels of government the needs of the growing community and to drive change to meet identified shortfalls.

Mr Verdon said he is proud of the group’s achievements so far, highlighting that the group had advocated for and influenced the allocation of a school crossing supervisor for Vineyard Road, the update of the town sign at the main entrance of Diggers Rest, the Flore Park upgrade, more bins and regular cleaning of the central retail precinct, a review of potable water and landscaping in the suburb, as well as advocating for ongoing issues such as maternal and child health services, public transport and road safety.

“There has been a significant positive change in council’s responsiveness to Dream’s requests for support,” he said.

“Many of the items listed in our achievements above came about due to council and developers being very receptive to the local feedback and where possible taking action.

“The Ssate government via [Sunbury MP] Josh Bull and others have also been very supportive.”

Mr Verdon said moving forward, the group’s advocacy focuses are for the full duplication and safety improvements for Vineyard Road, the delivery of the Diggers Rest Community Centre and encouraging Diggers Rest residents to consider running for council.

“The South Sunbury Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) has Vineyard Road planned as six lane arterial road for the Sunbury side and the Diggers Rest PSP has Vineyard Road planned as a four lane road. Unfortunately only small portions of the road on the Diggers side have been

duplicated,” he said.

“We absolutely must have council deliver our community centre for the suburb as soon as possible. We continue to be perplexed why the delivery of this asset has not been brought forward to meet the population demand…”

A Melton council spokesperson said the delivery of a community centre in Diggers Rest is earmarked for 2028, subject to future decision of council, and duplication of Vineyard Road is identified as part of future planning but is a declared VicRoads corridor and ultimately a decision for the Department of Transport and Planning.

Currently, Dream has 26 core members and almost 250 Facebook followers. Mr Verdon acknowledged the support the group has received from Diggers Rest residents.