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‘We get whacked if we don’t’: Robert Doyle defends Melbourne’s $4m Christmas festival

Melbourne will be decked out in multi-million dollar Christmas decorations this year, but there’s an idea to help the homeless at the same time.

The council has budgeted nearly $4 million to promote and fund the Christmas festival.

But Salvation Army Major Brendan Nottle told Neil Mitchell it was a lot of money when homeless agencies were crying out for help.

There’s also an idea for the leggo Christmas tree to feature stars with a donation from companies and philanthropists for homeless services.

Cr Doyle promised the council would look into whether it was feasible.

‘It might be something we look at.’

LISTEN: Melbourne mayor Robert Doyle on 3AW Mornings

Speaking on 3AW Mornings yesterday, Major Nottle said while the Christmas decorations were fantastic, the money might be better spent.

‘Just under $4 million is a lot of money, agencies such as ours are really struggling.’

But Cr Doyle said the council got ‘whacked’ when they didn’t do enough to celebrate Christmas in town.

‘We are not the only agency responsible for the homeless,’ he said.

‘There’s state and federal governments, but we are we are the only people who pay for the decorations to go up.

‘It’s to try to help retail, if retailers can’t make a go of it over Christmas, then it’s an awful year for them.

‘It’s a way of us saying we know we have to support that industry in the city.’