Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : March 7, 2017 Edition Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017 - PAGE 13
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THE Phillip Island Medical and Health Ac-
tion Group (PIMHAG) believe the health needs
of the Bass Coast Shire Council are being jetti-
soned in favour of making improvements to an
800m stretch of road in Newhaven.
Secretary of PIMHAG Linda Marston said in a
letter to the Sentinel-Times that recent commu-
nity engagement undertaken by the Bass Coast
Shire Council clearly indicates that improved
medical facilities are the number one priority
for the island, and a high priority across the
“VicRoads is planning to spend some $40
million on duplicating an 800m stretch of road
in Newhaven,” Ms Marston said.
“This project also includes two roundabouts
at Cape Woolamai and Surf Beach at a cost of
approximately $12 million which will greatly
improve road safety and will be money well
“But the State Government, in its wisdom,
has decided that our health is less important
than an unwanted 800m road duplication.”
She said the $28 million budgeted for the 800
metres of road could be better spent to benefit
the people of Phillip Island.
“The duplication of this small stretch of road
in Newhaven has virtually no community sup-
“It will not improve the quality of life for resi-
dents one iota. Maybe it will make the journey
to the Penguin Parade a bit easier for tourists,
but at what cost for the character of the town
that is the gateway to the island?”
An overwhelming percentage of Phillip Is-
land’s population is crying out for improve-
ments to the island’s medical facilities, in par-
ticular the reinstatement of a hospital.
But road safety, particularly during peak
summer periods, is also a highly rated issue.
The Bass Coast Shire Council has thoroughly
consulted with the community in regards to
road safety on Phillip Island.
In May 2014 the Phillip Island Integrated
Transport Study was endorsed by the council,
which provided important framework for traf-
fic and transport improvements to the road
network until 2030.
More than 600 Phillip Island community
members contributed to the consultation pro-
In October 2016, Minister for Roads and
Road Safety Luke Donnellan visited Phillip Is-
land to announce $3.2 million for project plan-
ning on Phillip Island’s roads.
Improvements to the roads on Phillip Island
would also improve emergency vehicle access
to all areas of Phillip Island.
But while the roads are being taken care of,
funding for medical facilities is lacking, accord-
ing to PIMHAG.
Ms Marston drew comparisons to other re-
gions of Victoria where substantial funds are
being spent on making improvements to health-
“Bendigo has a newly built and opened hos-
pital,” she said.
“An urgent care centre is being built in Port
Fairy for $2.1 million. Leongatha has a new
hospital (built 2013) which is being expanded
with construction of a $4.1 million Integrated
Primary Care Centre and is part of a new tele-
health project to provide video conferenced
emergency medical advice afterhours to remote
South Gippsland hospitals.
“Shepparton hospital is being redeveloped
at a cost of $168 million. In Warragul, the gov-
ernment has committed funds to the hospital,
whilst the Victorian Liberal Party pledged this
month to build a brand new hospital, with he-
lipad and large aged care facility, to replace the
“It is notable that many of these communities
are much smaller than either Phillip Island or
Bass Coast Shire and already have better facili-
“The residents of Bass Coast would welcome
such investment and commitment to improv-
ing our medical infrastructure and services at
Wonthaggi Hospital and Phillip Island.
“I’m sure I speak for all residents when I say
we welcome government investment in the area
but we want investment that benefits the com-
“To our elected representatives, Victorian
Minister of Health and VicRoads: it’s time to get
your priorities straight, focus spending on what
we (the electorate) want and need.”
Island health must
come before roads
WONTHAGGI’S Rona Black is back again,
calling on the community to donate coats and
warm jackets to deliver to the homeless in
time for winter.
Last year, she was overwhelmed by the re-
sponse to her call for donations, with around
180 coats dropped off for the homeless as
part of the Off Your Back campaign.
With an upcoming holiday at the end of
May, Rona is starting the campaign earlier
this year and hopes to make a substantial
delivery of coats and warm jackets to the Mel-
bourne drop-off point before her holiday.
She said the campaign is her way of helping
the less fortunate.
“After the cold winter we had last year when
it was freezing cold, these people really need
warm clothing,” she said.
“The response last year was much better
than I thought. It was warmth and it was ex-
cellent in every way.”
Donations can be dropped off to Rona’s
house at 30 Hunter Street, Wonthaggi and if
she’s not home, coats can be left on her front
verandah. For more information, call Rona
on 0407 221 267.
Wonthaggi’s Rona Black is calling on the community to donate coats and warm jackets
for the homeless in time for winter. Her local campaign gathered around 180 coats last
year and she is looking to deliver coats to Melbourne at the end of May. rg011017
Donate coats for the homeless
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