Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 5, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 20 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2016
Saved us from
A huge thank you to the CFA crews
of our local area who were so quick
to attend the house fire in Wheelers
Road, Cape Paterson last Sunday, es-
pecially our Cape fireys.
The quick action and bravery on
their part definitely saved this end of
Cape Paterson from certain catastro-
We owe a huge debt to all these
volunteers who have been keeping us
safe, especially this last year (2015).
Bob and Glen Powell, Cape Paterson
Not good enough
After reading the article ‘Bass Coast
tries to buck rate cap’ (30/12/15 p10),
I urge all Bass Coast ratepayers to
write to the relevant Minister, Ms Na-
talie Hutchins, and ask her to reject
any such application.
By all means take part in local dis-
cussions, but we already know that
this council cannot be trusted to rep-
resent the views of ratepayers when
the results of consultations differ
from the personal views of council-
Those of you who suffer from in-
somnia may benefit from reading all
70 pages of the Long Term Financial
Plan, which appears to have every-
thing in it, except a plan!
For the rest of you, go straight to the
top of page 62; this shows BCSC has
rapidly increased rates over the past
three years to achieve the honour of
being the highest taxing council per
capita out of any included in its own
benchmark, charging approximately
30 per cent more than the average.
Council’s “plan” is to increase this
Council will no doubt point to the
small difference its proposed for a
4.7 per cent rate increase will make
in dollar terms to your 2016/17 rates
bill, conveniently ignoring the fact we
already pay hundreds of dollars more
than the average for equivalent coun-
cils, and the plan is to widen this gap.
Council will threaten loss of amen-
ity, conveniently ignoring internal
wastage such as the $250,000 it
spent trying to force Cape Paterson
residents to pay for a road they did
Council will point to all sorts of
comparisons that are almost certainly
the equivalent of comparing apples to
oranges, but it will not want to talk
about the numbers on page 62.
The simple fact is that BCSC rate-
payers already pay more per person
than ratepayers in all of the regions it
was compared with; don’t let council
make it any worse.
Keith Finney, Inverloch
Time to make
Reading our local paper I see that
Bass Coast Councillors have fired
the opening salvo as they attempt to
punch through the ‘Fair Go Rates Cap’
so that they can continue to slug the
community with excessive rate in-
And to shake the confidence of rate-
payers, they’ve immediately wheeled
out those predictable old ‘frighten-
ers’ namely, cuts to services and job
The CEO is reported as saying “It’s
time for the community to make some
tough decisions” pertaining to where
expenditure is targeted.
Well I reckon that our elected coun-
cillors would do well to start with
some tough decisions in pertaining
to the exorbitant remuneration pack-
ages granted to the CEO and his ex-
And believe me, there is widespread
community opinion that council
CEO’s and executives are too highly
For example, some excerpts from
the Local Government Minister media
“Minister for Local Government,
Natalie Hutchins, has cautioned local
councils against using the Govern-
ment’s Fair Go Rate Cap as an excuse
to cut vital staff and services, while
they continue to waste money on ex-
cessive executive pay and councillor
“Councils need to put a stop to over-
the-top executive pay rises and need-
BCSC wants to raise rates by an av-
erage of 4.7 per cent this year.
Because of the differential rating
system, that will translate to an in-
crease of around 6 per cent or more
for residential ratepayers.
In other words, residential ratepay-
ers are likely to be slugged with in-
creases of more than four times the
current inflation rate.
To get this through, BCSC will need
to have demonstrated extensive con-
sultation with local communities.
The council CEO believes that
Bass Coast has already done that,
and is quoted as saying: “We had a
fairly comprehensive consultation
around the development of our Long
Term Financial Plan during the past
12 months, and we’ve continued to
do additional consultation through
What absolute nonsense!
Having attended many council meet-
ings over the last 12 months, I’ve re-
peatedly attempted to get assurances
from councillors that they would hold
rate increases to the inflation level,
only to be fobbed off with referral to
some future annual review.
In separate communications with
councillors it has become quite ap-
parent that they will strongly resist
the rate cap, regardless of commu-
nity objection to their continuing rate
Well here we are; it’s LTFP review
crunch time for our elected councillors.
The CEO has now served up his list
of frighteners to councillors.
The question is whether they will
meekly follow his lead and once
again inflict excessive increases on
ratepayers, or will they do what they
are charged by the community to do
and lead the CEO so that this council
starts living within ratepayers’ means.
These councillors need to get their
house in order, and to stop behaving
like spoiled children who think that
can summon our money at will, as if
it grows on trees.
Council hasn’t yet announced any
community forum, but I hope to see
you there when it happens.
Kevin Griffin, Inverloch
on ’burra’s water
I wish to make comment on re-
cent press articles on Korumburra’s
water supply appearing in the Senti-
nel-Times and in particular ‘Korum-
burra’s low water a dry argument’
(Sentinel-Times, 22/12/15 p13).
Firstly I would like to qualify my
statements by advising readers that
I held the position of secretary/man-
ager of the Korumburra Water Board
for 20 years from 1975 until the un-
fortunate amalgamations forced upon
us in 1995.
The voluntary Water Board Com-
missioners prior to 1995 were dedi-
cated to the wellbeing of the water
ratepayers at Korumburra and of
Poowong, Loch and Nyora.
They were fully aware of the need
to augment the supply and had taken
steps to set up a fund to carry out the
necessary upgrades to the existing
reservoirs which overflow to waste al-
most every year.
This fund had accumulated $1m.
Rates were at a low level so that
borrowings could be undertaken to
secure the supply by a number of op-
tions which included the removal of
sludge from the existing reservoirs,
and the raising of the walls to provide
The board were also in discus-
sions with the Leongatha Water Board
to investigate the real possibility of
constructing a new reservoir north
of Leongatha with a huge catchment
which could supply water for both
towns for the next 50 years or more.
At the time of amalgamation all
these plans were scrapped by the new
government appointed Board Mem-
bers of the South Gippsland Water
Korumburra’s funds of over $1m
plus another $2m of Leongatha’s re-
serve funds were transferred to the
new central location of Foster, who ur-
gently needed a new storage reservoir
for that town.
Since that time the paid board
members have taken little interest in
Korumburra and have virtually done
nothing to augment the supply despite
being aware of the increasing needs
for water by the growing number of
residential allotments and for the vi-
tal water requirements for our main
industry - Burra Foods.
Much has been said about the
“Northern Towns Connection Project”
but no funds have been set aside to
achieve this pipe dream.
If the South Gippsland Water Au-
thority was serious about this project,
land surveys would be done, pipe
lines designed, contracts drawn up
ready to go.
The approval process alone could
take several years.
Forget about water from the desali-
nation plant – the government is not
going to start this up to supply water
The high cost of electricity to op-
erate and pump water from Lance
Creek to Korumburra could not be
met by the ratepayers of this area.
Water does run downhill and a new
reservoir in the Strzelecki ranges high
above Leongatha could be achieved at
Back in 1975 we could have com-
menced building such a reservoir
for a total cost of far less than the
$30m now estimated for the Northern
I am pleased that the South Gipps-
land Shire Council has now taken up
the issue with the government.
It is clear that the Water Board
Commissioners have not acted with
enough enthusiasm over the past 20
As they are government appoint-
ments they have been more worried
about their positions rather than the
water requirements of the northern
In the past council has been reluc-
tant to interfere or make comment on
the failure to act by the Water Board
who is the responsible body for the
supply of water.
South Gippsland Water must now
co -operate with the elected council to
have the government take action on
this serious issue.
If the South Gippsland Water Board
is serious about fixing the water
shortages in Korumburra, Poowong
and Nyora let it show it by starting the
Northern Towns Connections Project
now and seek urgent government
money to complete the project.
This will still take more than three
years to complete.
If this is not possible then the pre-
vious options to augment the water
supply must be revisited urgently.
Clyde Paterson, Korumburra
The Friends of Mirboo North Pool
would like to say thank you to all
those at the South Gippsland Shire
and associated contractors who made
such an outstanding effort to get the
pool back up and running after a fault
was discovered with one of the return
In particular the efforts of Alistair
Fixter, Allan Smith, Ian Murphy, the
Shire’s depot staff, MPS and Rob Evi-
son Concreting were all noted and in-
As the fault to the pipe line was dis-
covered four days before Christmas
it had the potential to close the pool
down for a significant period of time,
as it was only four ‘open days’ were
This is a reflection on the efforts
that were made in the council to iden-
tify the problem, commit the resourc-
es required and, with the support of
their contractors, get the job done - all
achieved at a challenging time of the
year for such a task to be presented.
With the pool back open and avail-
able to all in what seems likely to be a
record hot summer, it is a good time
for all of us to be reminded of how
much this beautiful asset means to
our community, and what it would
mean if this particular fault had
closed the pool for the season which
it had the potential to do.
The good news is that the faulty line
has done no damage to the pool shell
and it remains structurally sound to
take the redevelopment that is being
proposed for the pool, however it is a
very timely reminder for why this re-
development is so important.
Fred Couper, on behalf of the
Friends of Mirboo North Pool
I drove into the Wonthaggi Plaza
carpark off Biggs Drive on December
23 and 24 and observed that the car-
park was virtually full with vehicles;
luckily I got a park when someone
I stopped and thought with all
those vehicles (100 or 200), what
would happen if a car caught on fire
or if a fire or an explosion occurred
in the centre?
With only one main exit into Biggs
Drive and one single lane exit adja-
cent to the bike track, how would the
CFA or SES get to the fire or explo-
sion with vehicles, pedestrians or
wheelie carts trying to exit or block-
ing the roadway.
There is no exit at the rear of the
centre so absolute chaos would occur.
Of course if an exit had been con-
structed at the north- east side of the
carpark behind Big W, that would
certainly help but only Bass Coast
Shire can explain why that didn’t
happen during construction.
I don’t like to dramatize too much
but no-one thought a fire would
happen on Tank Hill Road recently,
should be consulted and investigate
LM Black, Wonthaggi
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.
THE truth is that both the State
and Federal government don’t know
this part of Victoria even exists.
They know where the Great Ocean
Road is on the Surf Coast because
that’s where most of the Victorian
MPs have their holiday houses.
And they seem to know about
the Gippsland Lakes and the pop -
ular spots along the Murray.
But this part of the state, featur-
ing the second most-popular tour-
ist attraction in Australia, barely
rates a mention in state planning
documents and precious few of
the crumbs that fall from Mel-
bourne’s table ever find their way
here for much needed infrastruc-
And we saw what that will mean
increasingly in the future as bum-
per crowds over the Christmas-New
Year period flocked to the area, no
doubt boosted by access problems
along the Great Ocean Road.
Regularly over the past few days,
traffic was at a standstill right
back to the Bass overpass and be-
yond, and it was taking up to an
hour to get from Cowes, across the
island, to San Remo.
Certainly there’s the issue of the
single lane bridge at San Remo
and, sooner or later, the govern-
ment is going to have to bite the
bullet there, but the road network
on the island generally isn’t han-
dling the crowds either.
It’s an inconvenience, certainly,
and thanks to the efforts of those
operating the ‘Phillip Island Traf-
fic Check’ Facebook page, com-
muters have been able to spread
their arrival and departure times.
But, more importantly, it’s a
community safety and health is-
sue as well.
There seem to be two solutions;
better infrastructure is needed for
those wishing to access the island
(and while they are there) but
also we need a more wide-ranging
strategy plan that looks at spread-
ing the load around the Bass Coast
so that other coastal areas like In-
verloch, Cape Paterson, Kilcunda
and the Waterline towns can han-
dle more visitors.
This could extend further along
the coast, in the area between Phil-
lip Island and the Prom, although
looming septic issues at places
like Venus Bay, Sandy Point and
Walkerville are major drawbacks.
This too will have to be tackled
and people with existing homes in
these areas can’t be expected to pay
$50,000 to replace their leaky septics.
Any plan that looks at visitor
impact, overall population growth
and the role this area could play
in the growth of the state must
get serious about public transport
and ultimately this has to include
the return of rail services.
But local councils too need to
get serious about infrastructure
that caters to visitors and growth,
and the argy-bargy over the pedes-
trian pathway along Surf Parade in
Inverloch has now been fully ex-
posed for the disgraceful episode
it has been by the summer influx.
Councillors can’t keep playing
their petty politics with these
much needed improvements. They
should either get on with them in
a timely manner or get out of the
way... but more of that later.
The challenge for our State and
Federal MPs is to raise the profile
of this area at the highest levels
and if they had a sub-regional
development plan to work with,
they’d be much better equipped to
do just that.
It’s time for everyone who cares
about the coast to get their heads
together and make it happen.
Failing to plan only part of the problem
Former secretary/manager of the Korumburra Water Board, and South Gipps-
land Shire Councillor, Clyde Paterson says this photo, taken at No 1 Reservoir
at Korumburra in 1978 shows the extent of sludge build-up “which has no
doubt increased in the past 38 years”.
Links Archive December 30th 2015 January 12, 2016 Edition Navigation Previous Page Next Page