Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 12, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 14 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016
In an article written by Alex White
and published in the Herald Sun on
29/12/15 I was accused of “using pri-
vate jets and helicopters” while I was
Deputy Premier. A colourful read but a
There were no jets.
There were no helicopters.
Similarly, the assertion by the face-
less “Spring Street sources” that I “was
using private jets like a taxi service
while in government”. Again, a com-
On 01/01/16 after I had contacted
the author of the article, the Herald
Sun published a “correction” acknowl-
edging that the assertions as to my use
of jets and helicopters were “incorrect-
But the damage had already been
done to my name and reputation.
I was a country based MP in the Vic-
torian Parliament for more than 20
years, the Leader of The Nationals for
15 years and Deputy Premier for my
final four years in office, during which
time I held various Ministerial portfo-
lios including Regional and Rural De-
In the latter four years in particular
I annually travelled tens of thousands
of kilometres by car visiting regional
communities thought Victoria.
Country communities rightly ex-
pect that their elected representatives
will attend local events, meetings and
gatherings and that they will be with
them in times of natural disasters and
I did my best to be there.
Invariably there were occasions
when I was required to be in Mel-
bourne but simultaneously in country
When necessary I took a propeller
driven light plane which could access
country runways - which sometimes
comprised a mown strip in a paddock.
No jets. No helicopters.
Ironically, my use of a light plane was
first endorsed by Premier Steve Bracks
in the year 2000 and was observed by
all governments subsequently. I always
respected the privilege.
I had the honour of representing
the people of Gippsland South in the
Victorian Parliament for more than
two decades. Working together we
achieved much for the betterment of
our communities and I am proud of
those joint outcomes.
Likewise in my representation of
country people across the state.
I left politics almost 12 months ago.
With what is happening around us
on a daily basis I am bemused as to
why a journalist would write an arti-
cle like this anyway, let alone that she
could not even get the facts straight.
The problem is though that the me-
dia in Australia now shapes public
opinion; it no longer simply reports it.
I write to correct the record.
Peter Ryan, Sale
I’m with you Ivan from Inverloch
(‘Please explain’, Sentinel-Times Let-
ters, 30/12/15 p16).
I have been reading Cr Crugnale’s
‘Mayor’s Messages’ since she became
Mayor and I have never read so much
waffle and garbage of unrelated mate-
rial concerning this shire and its rate-
Some of our local representatives
seem to think they are a third level of
government with political ambitions
instead of restraining themselves to
the very real and present issues of
their local areas.
I yearn for the time when our repre-
sentatives take a serious look at them-
selves and restrict their thinking and
concentrate more on the local cause,
if not, we the ratepayers will have to
have a serious look at all candidates
at the next local elections.
Glen Powell, Cape Paterson
Going above the
call to serve
We write to express our concern and
sympathy for the two families who lost
their homes in the house fires at Wim-
bledon Heights on Christmas day.
May we as a caring community get
behind these two families to help them
on their road to recovery.
We also write to give our utmost
gratitude to the fire crews (of which
there were several) from the South
Gippsland CFA region.
We thank you people for the fact that,
thanks to your hard work and sacri-
fice, you stopped the flames from en-
gulfing our house which was right next
door to the two houses that were de-
stroyed by the fire.
Thanks to your hard work and tire-
less effort we sustained only minor
damage from the flames. We pray that
all of you CFA crews will be blessed
with a fantastic year for 2016.
Once again, thank you, thank you,
Terry and Robyn Holman, Wim-
I am an Adelaide based researcher,
currently documenting the history of
sightings of Unidentified Flying Ob-
jects (UFOs) in Victoria.
I would welcome hearing from read-
ers who may have had a personal UFO
sighting, past or current, or know of
such reports from their local area.
I may be contacted by: email at
at PO Box 13, LPO Holden Hill, South
Australia 5088 or on 0422 278 103.
I currently publish my research on a
blog at http://ufos- scientificresearch.
For a list of Australian sightings,
which may contain some from your
local area please take a look at http://
Keith Basterfield, Adelaide
I read with interest and sadness John
O’Brien’s letter in the Phillip Island and
San Remo Advertiser (6/01/16).
Council’s policy of not dust sealing
unsealed roads should be urgently re-
vised and their policy of reverting dust
sealed to unsealed roads if potholes oc-
cur on a dust sealed road is incompre-
One of the few letters I have written
to Bass Coast Shire Council praising
them for doing something worthy of
praise is as follows:
“I am writing to thank council for
the dust suppression measures under-
taken on Reid Street and Beach Road,
The surface treatment has been most
effective and the surface seems to be
lasting well even though there has been
a lot of traffic during the holiday period
and also heavy traffic delivering mate-
rial for house construction on Reid
I understand from the local paper
that this was to be a trial.
I can only conclude that this has been
highly successful and is greatly appreci-
ated by residents.”
This road is still very satisfactory af-
ter 10 years even though in some places
a pothole has required repair.
I doubt if any other roads in the shire
have not required the occasional pot-
hole to be repaired.
Some dust sealed roads have not
lasted as long as Reid Street and this
must reflect on whether the road base
was properly prepared and compacted.
Reid Street must have saved council
money by not requiring frequent grad-
ing for the past 10 years and the differ-
ence in the amount of dust is definitely
beneficial to ratepayers’ health.
Surely council should be doing every-
thing in their power to reduce dust pol-
lution by dust sealing unsealed roads
Ten years ago we suffered from
the dust problems expressed by
Come on council, use some common
sense, go back to the highly successful
policy of 10 years ago.
John Swarbrick, Rhyll
I would like to pass on a brief thank
you to the CFA and the crews who re-
cently attended fires in Wattle Bank.
Wafts of smoke alerted us to the
start of one fire and it was on the CFA
App almost immediately.
Units started arriving soon after
and it was swiftly contained.
This was a great example of a sys-
tem that works well, run by people
who put themselves at risk while de-
fending our lives and property.
We slept soundly in our homes that
night thanks to the CFA.
Geoff Ellis, Wattle Bank
Birds and dogs
On Tuesday, December 8, I spent the
day with the community volunteers
and local staff of Holcim (formerly
Readymix) at the BirdLife Australia
Threatened Bird Network workshop
at Inverloch where Renee Mead from
the Beach-nesting Birds Program was a
What a place Inverloch is!
Four beach nesting birds, three of
them vulnerable, nest at Point Norman,
right in town.
When the solitary, well out of its natu-
ral range Beach Stone Curlew was here
last year it was a mecca for bird watch-
ers, some spotted were from as far
away as Sweden.
Of course, we have all heard of the
Hooded Plover (eastern) which, this
year, also nests at Screw Creek.
The adult is about 20cm long and
weighs about 100g. How crazy is its re-
productive strategy? For every 100 eggs
laid only two make it through the start
of adulthood. And this is under normal
circumstances! What parent could con-
template a 98 per cent loss?
No wonder in Victoria their popula-
tion is declining. There are now only
550 to 600 birds left.
Last year, following a rigorous scien-
tific assessment of the species’ threat
status, the Hooded Plover was deter-
mined as eligible for listing as threat-
ened under the Vulnerable category of
the Federal EPBC Act. This joins the
other two vulnerable species that nest
at Point Norman namely the Pied Oys-
tercatcher and Little Tern.
And yet life on a beach makes some
sense; the tide, twice daily delivers a
fresh meal and on the beach you can
see the predators coming.
That explains why they nest out in the
If they make it through the 28 days of
egg incubation (23 per cent chance) and
the 35 days from hatching to flying (20
per cent chance), they can expect a long
life in the sun. Who would expect such
a small bird living in such a vulnerable
open location to live to the ripe old age
of up to 16 years?
Recognition of the beach nesters is
a recent phenomenon. No wonder we
didn’t hear about them growing up.
The first pilot study of them was only
Since then Birds Australia has bought
science and martialled the army of ea-
ger citizen volunteers to develop our
This is evidence-based science. The
evidence is gathered directly. Advanc-
es in motion sensor cameras have re-
vealed the predators, the vulnerabili-
ties, the habits and the life stages.
The cameras have shown that if the
king tides, storms and sand don’t wash,
blow or bury the nest and the relentless
sun of summer doesn’t cook the eggs or
dehydrate the tiny little chicks and the
hawks, gulls, maggies, crows and not
to forget the foxes don’t eat them, then
they may survive.
No wonder 98 out of 100 die.
Except everyone loves the beach don’t
they? So then there is us. I swear you
will never see those beautifully, exqui-
sitely fit for purpose camouflaged eggs
and chicks. But your dog very well may.
People and dogs compound survival
pressure on eggs and chicks. The good
news in Victoria is at least we don’t al-
low cars to drive on the beach. The oth-
er good news is the volunteers. It is the
volunteers who put up the signs and
fences. It is the volunteers who monitor
the nests and shift the fences.
They shift the fences because on
hatching the chicks are highly mobile
and head for the waterline where the
Of course the fences can’t survive the
waves of the incoming tide so are never
The single line fences are generally
located around the nest areas. They
provide space enough when people and
their dogs remain outside the roped
area so that adult plovers are not con-
tinually flushed from their nest. The
fences, like the signs, are designed as
indicators for the beach visitors. In the
volatile beach environment, providing
protection for a highly mobile bird spe-
cies with a more robust fence is quiet
Once hatched the tiny chicks feed
themselves, always on the beach. They
are so small they can easily hide in a
heal print. They begin a 35 day mara-
thon until they can fly - their camou-
flage and expert hiding skills are their
only defence. They define the term vul-
nerable. Only one out of five will survive
They need all the help that they can
get. What can we do? We can’t do any-
thing about the weather and tides al-
though school kids make shelters that
are placed by volunteers.
The beach provides such rich pick-
ings that increasingly the smart birds -
ravens and magpies have taken to feed-
ing there including on chicks and eggs,
and control of town foxes are rightfully
constrained to prevent poisoning of
pets. Of the things we can control, it is
ourselves and our dogs.
Our own dog is a beautiful border
collie. At two and half she lives for pats.
Not a malicious bone in her body.
But a chick; an egg are but collater-
al damage to a bounding leaping dog.
Their loss would go unnoticed by us or
I couldn’t tell you if we have killed any.
Knowing what I now know and which
I am attempting to share with you my
fellow dog owners is that Point Norman
and Screw Creek will be off the dog
It’s just too hard to enjoy yourself
while looking for a chick that is so
small it can hide in a heal print. Simply
not worth it.
Simply put, dogs and plovers don’t
and can’t mix. Dogs win. Plovers lose.
That simple! It is an unfortunate fact,
dog walkers, that there is an unequivo-
cal difference between what you may
prefer to be reality and what is factual
For the declining population of Hood-
ed Plover and the three other beach
nesting birds, please take your dog any-
where else but Point Norman, Screw
Creek and well away from fenced off
Is your dog’s recreation more impor-
tant than the extinction of a species?
Really, there is no argument. Dogs can
run on a park or an oval on many other
sections of beach. The birds simply
have no options.
This is not just the bleating of another
superannuated beach lover with noth-
ing better to do.
Threatened species recovery is seri-
ous business, and serious for big busi-
The staff from the Leongatha Quarry
of Holcim (Readymix) were at the work-
shop in force. Holcim is a major spon-
sor of the BirdLife Australia Threat-
ened Bird Network.
The beach-nesting birds are an asset
for the town of Inverloch. Point Norman
is unique in Victoria.
I would be more than glad to have you
join us to see what all the fuss is about.
We have high powered specialist tripod
mounted bird spotting scopes which
really bring the beauty of that distance
spec to life.
Ed Thexton, Inverloch.
Sour grapes at
Does anyone really feel sorry for
Jeremy Rich, carrying on like a spoilt
brat, only because he didn’t get his
own way on his Walkerville develop-
ment (‘Water ‘thieves’, 30/12/15 p1
and p8, and ‘Fury over $52M paradise
lost’, 5/01/16 p10)?
I was at a meeting at Walkerville
Hall, when the majority of ratepay-
ers, who knew of the meeting, were
against his development.
He tried to coerce the council by
getting them onside by suggesting
it would be in their interest, to have
Prom Views Estate, connected to his
sewerage plant, which ratepayers
He also had council onto his farm
filling their bellies with wine and fine
dining, to try and get them onside.
At Walkerville Hall a councillor
present, said no decision will be
made on his development, till there
was consultation with all ratepayers
Why was a vote taken by council
without this consultation?
Goes to show you cannot trust the
South Gippsland Shire councillors at
As for Jeremy Rich, go back to
Brighton, you’re not wanted in
Noel Gurney, Walkerville
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 people of Korumburra have
been incredibly patient when it
comes to the state of the town’s
Maybe a little too patient.
Not since the Bellview Creek Res-
ervoir was opened on September
18, 1958, has there been a signifi-
cant investment in the town’s water
capacity which sits at a woefully in-
adequate 575ML, when we need up
to 2.5ML a day at peak times.
Everyone, from the Premier Dan-
iel Andrews to the Water Minister
Lisa Neville, the local MPs includ-
ing Danny O’Brien (Nationals) and
Harriet Shing (Labor); the officials
of South Gippsland Water and the
shire; they all know what the situa-
tion is and what’s required.
Not only do we have a growing
town here, one that is getting in-
creasing numbers of new residents
coming out from Melbourne’s
growth corridor, but we also have a
significant, export-earning compa-
ny in Burra Foods which is provid-
ing much-needed jobs and income
to the local economy.
Burra Foods needs water security
and so do the people of the town.
We pay our taxes and surely it
isn’t too much to ask!
It’s our drinking water for God’s
We’re not asking for a heated,
indoor swimming pool or a decent
public transport system. Although
these are expected as basic services
in the city, we understand they’re
luxuries out here in the sticks.
And it’s not as if we don’t get up
off our seats and help ourselves.
Where would we be in the country
without the volunteers in the CFA,
CERT ambulance services, surf life-
saving clubs, hospitals, schools,
sporting clubs and service clubs?
But what we can’t do on our own
is provide adequate water supplies
for a growing town.
That’s your job, Mr Premier.
Certainly your ability to fund
much-needed infrastructure has
been cruelled by the disgraceful
East-West link episode and we can
blame the Napthine/Abbott govern-
ments for trying to lock us into that
so close to the last State election.
But it’s now time to get on with
the job and you’ve got to start look-
ing beyond suburban railway cross-
ings for priority projects.
Korumburra’s crying out for
water investment, Mr Premier
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