Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : December 15 2015 Contents PAGE 22 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2015
No cap on wages
So this is Christmas.
And if ratepayers’ stockings are
looking a little lighter this year,
then Bass Coast Shire Council can
take a good deal of the credit.
This year our high taxing council-
lors increased residential rates by
a whopping 8.2 per cent, almost
six times the current CPI of 1.5 per
By the end of their current term,
these councillors will have in-
creased residential rates by an av-
erage of more than 7 per cent each
year, while inflation will have aver-
aged only 2.3 per cent.
Earlier this year, in attempt to
rein in this constant gouging of
ratepayers, the State Government
introduced the Fair Go Rates sys-
When introducing the system the
Minister stated, “Our Fair Go Rates
Cap will stop the excessive rate
increases of the past, which have
been at double or triple the rate of
Unfortunately, your local council-
lors have developed an unquench-
able thirst for your money.
So at last Wednesday’s council
meeting, they unanimously voted to
accept a council report that recom-
mends giving the Essential Services
Commission notice of intention to
seek a variation to the cap.
That is, they want the ability to
increase rates above the Fair Go
But to have any chance of rais-
ing the cap, they must demonstrate
that they’ve consulted with the
So starting this month you’ll see
messages from council appearing
in newspapers, Twitter, Facebook,
There’ll be interviews in news-
papers, and on TV and radio. And
there will be community forums.
I urge concerned ratepayers to
attend any such forums and make
their displeasure known.
Surely we must stop the rates rip
By their recent history, these
councillors have shown that they
are more than willing to transfer
the household wealth of ratepay-
ers to the coffers of council. Make
no mistake, they will continue to
gouge residential ratepayers for as
long as they can get away with it,
cap or no cap.
But whilst many of us are feeling
the squeeze this Christmas, there
are a few in the community who
will be well and truly singing ‘Ho!
Our council CEO for example. On
top of his eye watering $300,000
salary, the HR committee has be-
stowed upon him another $20,000
of our money. How very generous
of them. And we can only guess at
what gobsmacking sums are be-
ing paid to his executive team, too
many of whom he has welcomed
aboard from Latrobe City for my
Kevin Griffin, Inverloch.
The multiparty Victorian Inquiry
into Unconventional Gas has just
released its report.
This appears to favour further
study, including a review into po-
tential health impacts of coal seam
gas and other types of mining.
If you Google Lakes Oil prospec-
tus on the web it gives an inter-
esting picture as to what is being
communicated to their potential
investors. Quote “Industry operat-
ing risks include the risk of fire,
explosion, blowout, pipe failure,
abnormally pressured formations
and environmental hazards such
as accidental spills and leakage of
petroleum, gas leaks, ruptures or
discharges of toxic gases, the oc-
currence of any of which could re-
sult in substantial losses to Lakes
Oil due to injury or loss of life”.
Experience from interstate and
overseas where the industry is
much more advanced reinforces
these concerns which are being
raised by the mining industry it-
self. We should not risk it!
Burt Blackburne, Kongwak.
Open letter to the Mayor, council-
lors and Mr Daniel ‘VicRoads’ An-
drews; Could you please consider
promptly the installation of ‘No
right hand turn’ signs at the Korum-
burra and McKenzie street intersec-
When turning right from Korum-
burra Road and going north, and
when exiting from Korumburra
Road turning south on to McKenzie
Street, it is a joke at times.
Those who don’t know how bad,
slow and dangerous it can be at
times would benefit from a sign to
let them to know it’s easier to turn
left towards the roundabout, and
then on their merry way.
Also, whilst I am asking a favour:
how about encouraging shoppers to
shop in the main street by putting in
two pedestrian crossings in Graham
Street, one in front of the Commu-
nity Arts Centre would be so logical,
along with one on the west end of
Sure to win you a few more hip
hip hoorahs for this, rather than
what has been done on Surf Parade
in Inverloch in regards to traffic!
Merry Christmas, one and all.
Kate Gannon, Wonthaggi.
of our rates
The South Gippsland Shire
Council was forced to pay an extra
$4.6 million to cover a shortfall in
the Defined Benefits Fund, one of
two superannuation funds in place
by the council, the other being the
much bigger and much more mod-
ern Defined Contribution Fund.
This payment could have been
avoided if the council had simply
transferred from this out-dated
and extremely risky fund to the
much more preferable and risk free
Defined Contribution Fund.
In my Letter to the Editor dated
September 23, 2015, I outlined sig-
nificant details and requested full
disclosure by the SGSC and also
requested the urgent termination
of this out-dated and risky fund
which has proved to be seriously
detrimental to the interests of ev-
To date, this council has re-
mained silent, refuses to publicly
acknowledge this whole sordid af-
fair and refuses to consolidate all
superannuation in the one Defined
In the Annual Report 2014-15,
The Notes to the Financial State -
ments, Note 10 (b) Superannuation
is extremely minimalistic and ex-
plains virtually nothing.
This I find totally useless and
very disappointing, in particular
after the constant assurances of
This issue is far too important to
continue to be ignored and I hereby
again request full disclosure and in
particular answers to the following
1. Despite the fact that this De-
fined Benefits Fund presents a
great disadvantage to the ratepay-
er, has already cost the amount of
$4.6 million in the 2013 financial
year and is at grave risk of extreme-
ly high costs in the near future, why
is this fund still in operation?
2. Are all nine councillors and the
24 senior management employees
members of the Defined Benefits
Fund? If not all, how many of them
are. In addition, how many in each
category of staff are members of the
Defined Benefits Fund?
3. If the remuneration in the fi-
nal year of employment is doubled
does that significantly enhanced
the superannuation benefits of the
Defined Benefits Fund upon retire-
ment over and beyond the impact
of the 9.5 per cent superannuation
I think it is outrageous that rate-
payers have been penalised to pay
$4.6 million into this Defined Ben-
efits Fund and as a ratepayer, I am
entitled to a full explanation why
and how my money is spent.
Continuation of this very high
risk Defined Benefits Superan-
nuation Fund is detrimental to the
interest of every taxpayer, is unac-
ceptable and must be rectified im-
I and many very interested rate-
payers look forward to a compre-
hensive response and confirmation
that this bad situation has been
rectified. Waffle and spin are not
Gus Blaauw, Venus Bay.
In the 20 plus years since I com-
pleted my schooling at Korumburra
and left to pursue a science degree
in Melbourne, much has happened
However, one thing has stayed on
my mind. It is the kindness and
friendliness of Korumburra people.
That thought is combined with
memories of the stunning beauty
of the country which surrounds the
I am well and truly a resident of
Melbourne these days but given the
events in the Middle East recently
my usually slow brain has put two
and two together and come up with
The idea I have had could be re-
jected by Korumburra people as
meddling in the town’s affairs by
someone who doesn’t live there.
Fair enough. But I will throw the
idea out there anyway.
12,000 Syrians are being saved
by this country from a life so ter-
rible most of us can’t imagine.
A life where you can’t send your
kids out to play in case a govern-
ment helicopter drops a bomb on
them and their brothers and sis-
A life where the next meal is just
a dream, not a reality.
A life where your next door neigh-
bour might be a terrorist or an
agent for the government secret
What I know of Korumburra peo -
ple is that they would see this situ-
ation as unacceptable.
So even though you may think
it wrong of me to lecture you, it
is possible, among them would be
doctors, teachers, and mechan-
ics who wouldn’t want much more
than a peaceful life and enough to
feed their families.
I’m sure the good people of Ko -
rumburra might be prepared to
take in a small number of Syrians,
or at least investigate it. I ’m sure
these people want to work for a
living. I ’m also sure they wouldn’t
want much in return.
A number of other regional towns
have helped settle refugees and
maybe now it might be the turn of
Korumburra? If so, why not ask
your council’s representatives?
Regards, and thanks for my
Colin McGill, Melbourne, crmc-
In my travels across regional Vic-
toria, I have seen and heard first-
hand from families and communi-
ties affected by the drug ice.
Police, paramedics and hospital
staff confronted with violent be-
haviour by users; families coming
to terms with previously even-tem-
pered loved ones becoming unrec-
ognisable strangers; school stu-
dents experiencing anxiety because
family members are addicts; dys-
functional homes; unemployment;
and crime. It goes on.
Evidence suggests there are well
over 200,000 ice users in Australia.
The Australian government’s Ice
Taskforce has travelled across Aus-
tralia and sadly everyone it spoke
to had an anecdote about how ice
is impacting on their communities.
In response to the Taskforce’s re-
port, the government developed a
comprehensive package of nearly
$300 million to fight the scourge
through improved treatment, after
care, education, prevention, sup-
port, and community engagement.
• $241.5 million for Primary
Health Networks (PHNs) to work
with communities to determine
what form of treatment will be
most effective in their area.
• An additional $13 million to
introduce new MBS (Medicare Ben-
efits Scheme) items for Addiction
Medicine Specialists to increase
the availability of treatment.
• An additional $24.9 million
to help families and communities
with the resources, information
and support they need to respond
to ice. It includes $19.2 million for
up to 220 local community drug ac-
tion teams to help with coordina-
tion of resources and community
forums to support both users and
• An additional $18.8 million to
establish better research, evidence
and guidelines on ice, including a
new Centre for Clinical Excellence
for Emerging Drugs of Concern.
• An extra $4.6 million for the
Good Sports program to promote
the dangers of ice to young people
in sporting clubs.
• The successful Life Education
Van will start educating school chil-
dren about the dangers of ice.
• A new Positive Choices website
as a one-stop shop for parents,
teachers and students to access
information about the impacts of
alcohol and drugs at https://posi-
This package is focused on lo-
cal level responses, acknowledg-
ing that people living locally know
what’s best to promote prevention
and tackle ice in their community.
Australian authorities have also
developed strong partnerships
with international counterparts to
gather and exchange intelligence,
information and assistance to tar-
get illicit drugs like ice.
More details on the government’s
response are at www.health.gov.au/
Senator Bridget McKenzie, Na-
tionals Senator for Victoria.
Seemingly unable to provide the
most basic of services necessary for
good public health, such as provi-
sion of soap in public toilets, Bass
Coast Shire Council, through the
Mayor’s message (Sentinel-Times,
December 8), somehow feels quali-
fied to lecture us all about climate
On balance we must accept the
majority scientific view that there
is evidence of man-made climate
change, however the hypocrisy of
some of those who feel entitled to
tell the rest of us how to run our
lives is mind blowing.
I wonder how many of the esti-
mated 40,000 people travelling to
Paris for the recent Climate Change
Conference did so using business
class flights at someone else’s ex-
The estimated carbon generated
by someone traveling from this re-
gion is up to 19 tonnes, close to the
amount produced by the average
Australian over an entire year.
Closer to home our own council
has done its level best to force the
40 per cent of the population with
a dog in the family to increase their
carbon footprint by getting into
a car to drive to the nearest dog
park, or at least away from the pry-
ing eyes of rangers.
This, apparently, is far better for
the environment and public health
than encouraging people to walk to
the mostly underutilised beaches
on their doorsteps.
Perhaps councillors who want to
show leadership should consider
doing so through balanced and co-
herent policy, not meaningless and
Keith Finney, Inverloch.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
South Gippsland Sentinel-Times
8 Radovick Street
PHONE: (03) 5655 1422
(03) 5672 1888
(03) 5662 3893
(03) 5655 2658
to write with issues of
interest or concern but
letters that have a lo-
cal reference point will
be given priority. Writers are also urged to
be brief where possible. Letters may be ed-
ited for space and legal reasons, and must
be submitted with the author’s name and
contact details of which only the name and
town location will appear.
I REALLY like the idea of walk-
ing up and down the main street
at this time of year.
Maybe meeting someone you
haven’t seen for a while and hav-
ing a chat, stopping for a coffee
or lunch with friends, and call-
ing into one shop or another
to see if there’s something in
there you can add to a Christmas
The way people go shopping
these days has changed for ever.
I get that.
A bigger percentage of what
people buy for themselves, for
their family and friends through-
out the year, never mind just at
Christmas, is being purchased
online where the variety is end-
less, the service good and the de -
But hopefully that is mostly
coming off what people would
normally have bought when they
visited the likes of Fountain Gate
If we want to continue to have
the convenience and the social
enjoyment of going shopping
in our own towns, we’ve got to
make it our business at Christ-
mas, and at other times of the
year, to use our local retailers.
They need your patronage to
And the towns need that sup-
port to remain vibrant.
Make it a point to target cer-
tain items on your gift register
and food shopping list to be pur-
And select some of those stores
and shop owners you like or ones
that have served you well over
the years, and make it a point
of buying something there in the
run-up to Christmas.
We don’t have everything you
can get on the Internet in our lo-
cal shopping centres but there’s
more than enough of a selection
for you to get the bulk of your
In turn, our shopkeepers have
to make every effort to serve
their clients well and that in-
cludes creating the fun and at-
mosphere the customers like to
see at Christmas.
one town that has
really led the way
this year in deco-
rating their town
in the Christmas theme, featur-
ing the centrally located Christ-
mas tree, and staging a Christ-
mas carnival last weekend.
Others have done likewise,
with Korumburra’s street carni-
val coming up this Friday and
there’s the popular carols night
in Wonthaggi next Sunday but
it’s an area that business associ-
ations and business owners need
to turn their attention to in the
lead-up to the festive season.
What comes around goes
You support local business,
they support their local cham-
ber of commerce and the organ-
isers of the chamber make sure
there’s a real sense of occasion
around shopping and enjoying
the festive season in their town.
Clearly there’s room for im-
provement at all levels and it
starts with you.
Spreading the Christmas cheer locally
Links Archive December 22 Edition Navigation Previous Page Next Page