For more than 20 years, the volunteer-run Southbank Residents Association (SRA) has been advocating to achieve better outcomes for their local community, with great success.
Dedicated to preserving and improving the liveability of Southbank, this not-for-profit group representing more than 13,000 resident members, played a vital role in helping establish Boyd Community Hub, the City of Melbourne's first integrated community service space.
More recently, the SRA has worked with the City of Melbourne to ensure a new high-rise development on the site of Boyd Park meets the needs of the local community.
Tony Penna has been President for 10 years now after he saw an ad on a noticeboard seeking committee members, and he encourages all Southbank residents to get involved, and help shape what the neighbourhood looks like into the future.
Tony says the SRA is focused strongly on ensuring there is adequate public open space in Southbank and shared space for the community to connect.
He said the positive outcomes around Boyd Park have been one of the highlights of his presidency.
SRA worked successfully with the City of Melbourne to turn the majority of the space into a park for the community.
Among its other successes, the SRA has been instrumental in gaining a second primary school for Southbank (South Melbourne Primary School) and reducing the building height of Collins Arch to ensure it didn’t overshadow Queens Bridge Square.
Along with their advocacy efforts, the SRA also works to encourage a sense of community in this cosmopolitan area, aiming to connect neighbours and friends.
‘We’d organised a Community Day to celebrate the opening of Boyd Park in March 2020 but unfortunately had to cancel it at the last minute due to lockdown,’ said Tony.
With COVID-19 still uncertain, the SRA have moved the event to March 2023 and hope to make it an annual event. If you would like to volunteer for the Community Day, contact SRA for further details.
For 20 years, the SRA has also held regular ‘meet the candidates’ events to allow locals to get to know political candidates. The next one will be held on 15 and 16 November ahead of the State Government election.
Tony says the SRA is keen to empower the community, and he encourages all locals to join and make a difference to Southbank.
‘It costs only $10 to join, and the more members we have, the more weight our submissions to government have. We’re a very active organisation whose committee represents the interests of Southbank, so membership also gives you peace of mind.’