First Peoples' Assembly slam hospital name

·3-min read

Changing the name of Maroondah Hospital to honour Queen Elizabeth II would be "culturally unsafe" for Indigenous people, according to a leading voice in Victoria's treaty negotiations.

On Sunday the Andrews government announced the hospital would be rebuilt and rebranded if it won the upcoming election.

Marcus Stewart from the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria hit out at the decision.

"With just a few words the government has turned the Maroondah Hospital into a culturally unsafe place for our people," he said in a statement.

"This is a stark reminder of why treaty is so critical, it can put an end to the hurtful platitudes of the powerful."

On Twitter, Mr Stewart posted "Gungi guding-bunin durrung djerring (the closest Taungurung has for 'get in the bin')"

Maroondah is an Aboriginal word that means "throwing leaves".

An online petition against the name change had more than 3400 signatures as at 3pm Monday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews admitted on Monday the name was not run past the local Indigenous community prior to the announcement.

"The entire local government area uses the same name and I think it's a fitting tribute to someone in Queen Elizabeth II who was a great supporter of our health system and a great supporter of health care," he said.

"It's a new hospital, a brand new hospital and it needs a new name."

Victorian Greens senator Lidia Thorpe attacked the state government's commitment to treaty.

"This is not what treaty looks like, Dan," she posted to Twitter.

"What an insult to now colonise us, again."

On Monday the government made its second election promise in as many days.

Another eight level crossings will be removed in Melbourne's north if the Labor government wins November's election.

An elevated rail bridge will instead replace the crossings along the Upfield line in Brunswick and Parkville.

Community consultation and further project design will start in the new year, with the crossings expected to be removed by 2027.

The crossings are located in the the state electorate of Brunswick, held by Greens member Tim Reed.

"Getting rid of these level crossings will improve the road network, it'll enable us to run more trains more reliably," Labor frontbencher Jacinta Allan told reporters.

The premier said work would start "immediately", however a media release issued by his office said a "re-elected Andrews Labor government" would implement the project.

Costings have not been released but Mr Andrews said the details would be revealed in a pre-election budget update.

The opposition committed to following through on level crossing removals if it won the election but said it would consider rescheduling the order in which they were built.

"We're very committed to doing the level crossings on the Glen Waverley line. We think that that is a very important line," shadow treasurer David Davis told reporters.

Moreland mayor Mark Riley welcomed the announcement but said the government urgently needed to duplicate rail tracks through his council area in Melbourne's inner north.

"Right now, trains only run every 20 minutes during peak hour, which is amongst the worst in the rail network," Mr Riley said in a statement.