Dear Councillor Jen Bray and Councillor Lesley Hewitt,

The ‘Rethink the Rex’ community group request that as councillors for Birch ward with a responsibility towards your constituents, you jointly convene a Public Meeting at Daylesford Town Hall. This is needed in order to provide the necessary information to enable residents to be adequately informed and thereby able to properly contribute to decision making in relation to the Rex.

To provide time for this meeting to be convened and appropriate time allowed for development and transparent exploration of viable alternatives we further request that you move a motion at the June Council meeting to delay any decision about sale of the Rex.

The necessary information would include:

  • Reasons for Council officers’ recommendation to continue with the Rex project and Council reasons for its decision to sell the Rex.
  • Results of the recent community consultation including options that have been submitted
  • Clarification that the figures that have been provided by Council to date are based on completion of the current plan which is no longer relevant as Council has decided against completing the Hub at the Rex.
  • Estimated costs of completion of cinema in upstairs location
  • Estimated cost of completing the front part of the building excluding the Duke St half of the site.
  • Estimate of rental revenue p.a. based on current rate per sq metre
  • Possible sale processes including public auction, private tender and sale by Public Registration or EOI.
  • Identified community needs and alternative ways of accommodating them e.g. library, cinema, public meeting space, art space, performing art space, local produce and products space

Whilst we see this meeting as primarily an opportunity for residents of Birch ward where the Rex is located and where the above community needs have been identified, it should be open to all interested residents of Hepburn Shire with invitations provided to all councillors and the Council Executive team.

We strongly recommend an independent professional meeting facilitator is engaged to both prepare for and facilitate the meeting and would be happy to suggest persons with the appropriate qualifications and experience.

Council has indicated they may make a decision at the June Council meeting. This suggests a tokenistic consideration of ‘viable options’ and does not provide any transparent process for the community to be informed of and discuss the outcomes of the consultation and options or submissions made.

We strongly urge that you adhere to your commitment to your constituents by moving to defer any decision on sale of the building until after the proposed public meeting with sufficient time allowed for the development and transparent exploration of viable alternatives.

Please see attachment outlining the rational for these requests.

Please note that we will seek to publish this letter or a summary thereof to inform interested community members and to ensure transparency of our representations.


Jules McDonald

Convenor ‘Rethink the Rex’ community group


Editorial Note: Crs Hewitt and Bray have provided the following responses.

Thank you for your email Jules.

At the Council Meeting on 23 November 2021, the Council passed the motion not to proceed with the Hepburn Hub at The Rex project and requested that the Chief Executive Officer undertake a process to sell, through a public process, the Rex building. In accordance with s.114 of the Local Government Act 2020, the process to sell land requires Council to undertake, among other things, a community engagement process in accordance with its community engagement policy. This has been done and officers are currently preparing a report on the community engagement process and results. This will be made available to the public as part of the ongoing process. Council will then be required to make a further decision on whether to proceed with the sale or not. If there is a need for a public meeting to provide further information about the process then this could be considered as part of providing information to the community.

Kind regards
Lesley Hewitt


Cr Bray’s response

Council has just completed the community consultation on the proposed sale of the Rex, however it seems the community still have questions around this issue they would like to see answered before a decision is made.
I am pursing the possibility of an information session for community members to meet with councillors and the Mayor.

Cr Jen Bray, Deputy Mayor, Councillor Birch Ward