Beverley McArthur MP

Member for Western Victoria Region

Media Statement



The Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur has expressed her sincere regret that the Surf Coast Shire Council is effectively responsible for closing down the Winchelsea Tea Rooms and Café, because of the unsustainable cost increases they’ve applied to the lease with their tenant, Philomenia Carney.

Philomenia’s excellent management of this iconic building, its grand piano and the local historic memorabilia has provided significant value to the local Winchelsea community and passing travellers.

Bev McArthur received numerous letters and messages of concern from distressed constituents who expressed their shared disappointment in the decision by the local council. Residents and visitors of Winchelsea alike, felt that the Winchelsea Tea Rooms provided a facility far more than just a café; it has been a wonderful community hub and meeting place for many individuals and groups.

Bev McArthur said “it is a great shame that the Surf Coast Shire has taken this course of action for dubious commercial reasons.”

She also suggested that “spending $20,000 of ratepayers money on facilitators to engage in ‘community consultation’ was a serious waste of money because it was patently obvious that the Winchelsea community believed Philomenia was providing an excellent service to both the community and Winchelsea visitors, while carefully looking after the building and its artefacts.”

Mrs McArthur said she looked forward to seeing whether the Council could do anything better for the building, its contents, the public toilet maintenance, the community, Winchelsea visitors and the ratepayers than had previously been the case under the lease with Ms Carney.

26 April 2019