Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 4, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 16 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2017
Regarding the recent article titled ‘fuel
operator fears incident’.
It is a pity the said operator Evans Pe-
troleum did not show the same concern
for the safety, well-being and amenity of
the residents of McKenzie Street, Won-
thaggi when they foisted their service
station on us, in a residential area of
The objectors in Leongatha can look
forward to headlights shining through
windows at night, loud car radios, car
horns and deliveries at all hours of the
night, and fuel vapours permeating the
air they breathe!
A little hypocritical of Evans Petro-
leum, I think!
Mike Fincher, Wonthaggi.
lead the way
Reading our local papers, and hear-
ing feedback from many community
members, I believe that the early per-
formance of our new Bass Coast Shire
Council augurs well for our commu-
nity in this New Year, and beyond.
Already our councillors have demon-
strated that they are genuinely listen-
ing to the community, and that they
are working in the best interests of the
whole community by leading, rather
than by following, the CEO.
For example, we see the great result
achieved with the successful relocation
of the lifesaving patrol tower at Inver-
loch’s surf beach.
Whereas the previous council ap-
peared to adopt an adversarial ap-
proach to the tower situation, our new
councillors immediately turned that
position on its head.
They swiftly engaged with the surf
club, council officers, and the minister,
to produce a very timely and satisfac-
And only just in the nick of time for
the summer holidays.
Visitors, both local and from around
the world, will enjoy their beach holi-
day in added safety as the great team
of lifesavers and volunteers keep a
watchful eye over the water precinct
from the relocated tower.
For another example, we have the re-
cent decision by councillors to pause
and reconsider the merit and feasibil-
ity of committing almost $1 million of
ratepayers’ money into design draw-
ings for the Cowes Cultural Centre.
Rather than blithely waving through
the recommendations from council’s
senior officers, our new councillors
pointed out significant deficiencies in
the report such as;
• Important information about the
amount of borrowings associated with
the project had not been disclosed to
• Important financial information
about grant funding and other condi-
tions had not been fully disclosed to
• The Federal Government did not
accept the figures claimed in council’s
business case, and thus rejected the
council’s application for funding.
In hitting the pause button on part
of this $18 million combined project,
our councillors have demonstrated
prudent and proper management of
Our community, like all others, has
competing needs and wants.
But just as our individual families
must live within their financial means
and determine appropriate priorities
for spending and borrowing, so to
must our community family.
Our new councillors understand
But it seems to me that the CEO and
perhaps some of the senior officers at
council are not accustomed to these
higher standards of fiscal rigour, and
they have some way to go in order to
step up to the more disciplined ap-
proach being applied by the new coun-
With the CEO on $330,000 and his
senior officers averaging $150,000
let’s hope they can catch up quickly.
Kevin Griffin, Inverloch.
We have greatly enjoyed our first two
years as residents of Phillip Island and
were delighted to have the opportunity
to attend the Bass Coast Shire Council
meeting on December 14 at Cowes –
and we were well-satisfied by the ex-
As with other residents who attend-
ed the meeting, we were eager to see
more positive directions for the Island,
as part of the overall shire.
We were impressed by the conduct
of the meeting and the deliberations.
It was obvious that some other visi-
tors at the meeting were disappointed
that the council decided not to proceed
immediately with some proposals, in-
cluding aspects of the Cultural Centre
and the pool.
From our perspective, these deci-
sions were responsibly taken, as finan-
cial foundations for much of the work
require further clarification.
It would have been easy for the coun-
cil to follow the recent global trends
towards popularist policy design and
decision-making and to accede to the
demands of resident groups.
In these financially volatile times, it
is most important to move forward
within the current financial capabili-
ties of any organisation, which is what
the council appears to have done.
Clearly, the door is still open to pro-
posals but all decisions need to be
We came away from the meeting, un-
derstanding more about the workings
of the council and what the new coun-
cillors appear to offer.
We also realised that this council ap-
pears to be well-led and adopts a re-
sponsible decision-making approach,
based upon sound business and finan-
cial management... all of which is es-
sential in managing the multi-million
dollar enterprise that is the Bass Coast
At a time when there is dissatisfac-
tion with governments in many parts
of the world, the Bass Coast Shire
Council has an opportunity to show-
case a style of local government that
reflects an administration that demon-
strates the transparency, communica-
tion, connection with community and
accountability that is both possible
and essential in any vibrant society in
the 21st century.
A good start, so far. We will follow
progress with great anticipation and
Peter and Honey Spence, Ventnor.
Hot in the
I would like to know why there isn’t
any air conditioning inside the Rose
Lodge op shop in Wonthaggi.
It is very hot for all of the volunteers
that work there.
Surely some money should be spent
on an air conditioner to help these vol-
unteers keep cool when working.
D Boyle, Wonthaggi.
Car park chaos
Annual lunacy returns to Inverloch
with the supermarket car park a ‘com-
edy vehicle’ for clay-headed motor-
ists seemingly content to cause idiotic
havoc and gridlock while competing for
that ‘special spot!”
John Hennessy, Inverloch.
Congratulations to the newly elected
Bass Coast Shire Council for its deci-
sion on December 14, not to spend
$800,000 on detailed drawings for the
Cowes Cultural Centre revitalisation.
It was a responsible decision as the
council cannot at this time be spending
on non-essential items.
I, like many others, would like a re-
vitalised Cultural Centre, but unfortu-
nately the council’s weak financial po-
sition did not help our application for
funding for the project.
The Auditor General’s report shows
that despite the previous council stat-
ing what a good job they have done, the
reality is very different.
Our council has been underperform-
Rates for the 2017/2018 budget are
being capped at 2 per cent, thus in-
creasing rate revenue by $867,201
however employee costs, according to
the budget, will increase by $915,000.
Nearly $50,000 more than the extra
Bass Coast Shire Council obviously
cannot afford any additional expendi-
ture until the financial position is im-
John Swarbrick, Rhyll.
get job done
A big thumbs up for Bass Coast Shire
Council and the three new Bunurong
Two council officers and the three
Bunurong councillors recently went out
of their way at a busy time of the year
to meet on the Inverloch off-leash beach
area and observe, first hand, the ugly
dead trees that have obstructed walk-
ers for many, many months.
In a matter of days, the offending
trees were neatly pushed to the back
of the beach in time to ensure that the
area can be fully enjoyed by our many
visitors during the summer holidays.
A job well done by all involved!
Keith Finney, Inverloch.
It is often said that farming is one of
the hardest jobs in the world and over
the past year the resilience of Victorian
farmers has certainly been tested.
While this time last year grain farm-
ers plagued by dry conditions had
packed up the header after a har-
vest spanning just a couple of weeks,
many in the Mallee and Wimmera have
reaped some of the best crops in re-
cent memory this season.
But the year hasn’t been generous to
Dairy farmers endured harsh ret-
rospective cuts to milk prices in the
Murray region, Gippsland and South
West, while in the Western District a
great start to the growing season was
followed by floods.
Farmers are the backbone of the Vic-
torian economy, so in hard times like
these governments need to ensure they
are doing all they can to support this
It was disappointing that farmers’
calls for direct relief on council rates
and water charges were ignored.
The Liberal-Nationals have stood
up for regional Victoria, against a city-
centric Labor Government agenda that
always sees country people come last.
Dairy farmers were forced to wait
as Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford
refused to approve the release of fi-
nancial assistance from the Federal
Government - just to make a political
And country Victorians are still wait-
ing to hear what they might be offered
after the windfall sale of the Port of
Melbourne lease – about $3 billion
more than predicted.
Sustained pressure from the Liber-
al-Nationals secured 10 per cent of the
lease funds for regional transport in-
frastructure – a far cry from the origi-
nal proposal of the Andrews Labor
Country Victoria was initially offered
scraps off the table, just $200 million
of a predicted $6 billion to $7 billion
sale price, while the rest would go to
Labor’s Melbourne level crossing re-
This says a lot about Labor’s priori-
Industries in country Victoria have
been a vital part of building the Port
into the busiest container and cargo
facility in Australia, so country people
deserve a fair share.
The work of the Liberal-Nationals
secured $970 million for regional
transport infrastructure, with an addi-
tional $200 million earmarked for an
Agricultural Jobs and Infrastructure
With the sale exceeding expecta-
tions there is no reason more mon-
ey shouldn’t be put into improving
country roads and the passenger and
freight rail network.
The only barrier is the city-centric
attitude of the Andrews Labor Govern-
After two years of Daniel Andrews it
is clear his promise to “govern for all
Victorians” was just misleading rheto-
Country Victorians see it every day
in crumbling roads that are putting
lives at risk and making it harder to
do business in regional Victoria.
Add to this recent temperature re-
strictions on the VLine freight rail
network that bring trains to a stop at
just 33 degrees - as a bumper harvest
is being sent to port - and it is clear
Daniel Andrews is only interested in
supporting his friends in Melbourne at
the expense of the regions.
There is no project on the scale of
the metro rail tunnel or the North East
link in country Victoria under Daniel
We are now two years out from the
next election and the Liberal-Nationals
are already consulting with the commu-
nity on how we can ensure our state will
grow and prosper into the future.
Our state is adding more than
100,000 people every year, but 92 per
cent of this growth is in Melbourne.
It is putting pressure on services and
infrastructure, meaning people are
spending more time in traffic and less
time with their family, and has left law
and order resources stretched thin.
Over the next two years, the Liberal-
Nationals Population Taskforce will
look at ways to manage this popula-
tion growth to ensure our regional
communities are not left behind while
Melbourne grows out of control.
Country Victoria is vital contribu-
tor to our state’s economy, but under
Daniel Andrews, it doesn’t matter how
much hard work is put in, regional
Victoria will always come last.
Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals,
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We’re taking a positive look at 2017
THE past year certainly pre-
sented its challenges, chief
among them being the downturn
in milk prices and the events as-
sociated with it.
The Federal and Local Govern-
ment elections were a distrac-
The road toll took a worrying
And there were a lot of inci-
dents overseas that dominated
But it’s a new year now and we
should try to look forward with
optimism if we can.
The state of the dairy industry
remains the chief concern local-
ly and while we have seen some
upward movement in the Global
Dairy Trade (GDT) index in the
past few months, it eased back
again in December, indicating we
aren’t out of the woods yet.
At least the season has been
favourable for the dairy farmers,
minimising their feed and other
input costs and we certainly wish
them all the best for improve-
ment as the year progresses.
On the plus side, most of the
other agricultural sectors are far-
ing well locally.
Aside from a lift in dairy prices,
the other things we want to see
locally are many and varied, with
funding for a new senior campus
of the Wonthaggi Secondary Col-
lege at the top of the list.
We have to wait until the May
State Budget to receive confirma-
tion of that but there’s nothing
wrong with some community lob -
bying in the meantime.
Seeing a start to work on the
Black Spur bends at Koonwarra,
as a feature of general road work
improvements, will be good.
The redevelopment of the Pen-
guin Parade and a long-waited
start to work on the Long Jetty
at Port Welshpool book-end the
tourism development projects we
can look forward to in 2017, but
there’s a lot in that space that
can be done and extending the
rail trail to Korumburra and be-
yond should be a priority.
The development of the tour-
ism industry locally is something
that could stand a significant in-
vestment by government, both
in promotion and infrastructure,
and as the Melbourne metro area
continues its sprawl out to fast-
growing areas like Clyde (near
Cranbourne), government is go-
ing to have to look seriously at
investing in this area.
We’d also like to see a better
flow of information from Bass
Coast Health about its plans to
develop capability and services
at the Wonthaggi hospital after a
period of consolidation.
We’ve got the official opening
of the Karmai Community Chil-
dren’s Centre to look forward to
in Korumburra and the work on
the secondary college is also pro-
gressing at a pace.
At Wonthaggi we’re looking
forward to developments at the
Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve.
But we can’t simply wait for
government or local government
to come up with the ideas or to
look favourably on our ideas
with funding. We’ve got to work
through our community organi-
sations to make things happen
And, as usual, your local news-
paper, the Sentinel-Times stands
ready to beat the drum and help
highlight the issues and where
necessary, help break through
the red tape that holds worthy
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