Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : March 15, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 26 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2017
gets it right
The letter ‘Tip backflip a bad move’
(Sentinel-Times, March 7) appears to
be nothing more than a bitter and wild-
ly inaccurate rant.
Here are some relevant facts that the
author did not include in his letter:
• Rate capping legislation was in-
troduced by the State Government
in 2015 to put an end to the repeated
and continual gouging of ratepayers
by Victorian councils. Minister Natalie
Hutchins was quoted at the time as
saying “Councils need to put a stop to
over-the-top executive pay rises and
• The previous Bass Coast Shire
Council increased residential rates by
an average of four times the inflation
rate in each of its first three years.
• Without the rate cap, the council’s
gouging of ratepayers would have con-
tinued in 2016, as their LTFP sought
to impose average rate increases of 4.7
per cent, almost double the 2016 rate
cap (2.5 per cent).
• Most of the previous councillors
bemoaned the introduction of the rate
cap, and only begrudgingly accepted
it after strong community representa-
tions (Yes, I was in the gallery during
• The first report on the Inverloch
transfer station (June 2016) was ut-
terly devoid of any substantive evidence
demonstrating any factual adverse envi-
• Similarly, the second report on the
Inverloch transfer station (February
2017) remained utterly devoid of any
substantive evidence demonstrating
any factual adverse environmental im-
• It is possible that storm water run-
off from new adjacent housing estates
may pose more of an environmental
hazard to Screw Creek and Little Screw
Creek in future than does the transfer
• The Inverloch transfer station has
well served the local community, safely
and without complaint, for more than
• The 2016-17 operating cost is just
0.36 per cent of budgeted income from
rates and charges.
• Last year only one of the seven pre-
vious councillors demonstrated the in-
tegrity to reject the CEOs flawed recom-
mendation, whereas this year eight of
the nine new councillors demonstrated
that integrity, with most citing a need
for genuine evidence.
There may perhaps be a few people in
the community who hanker for the days
when once again their annual council
rates will be increased by many multi-
ples of the inflation rate and where evi-
dence based decision making is merely
a slogan rather than a practice.
But I am not one of those few.
And I’m confident that the silent ma-
jority share my view.
Kevin Griffin, Inverloch.
When a new proposal is before coun-
cil you expect the council to direct the
CEO to research and assemble all rel-
evant information and report back to a
later council meeting.
The first part of the unanimous mo-
tion at the February Council meeting
concerning the proposed “land swap”
with the RSL covered this.
But in addition the council unani-
mously empowered the CEO to “de-
velop and enter into a Memorandum
of Understanding” with the Victorian
RSL hierarchy and the Leongatha RSL
What are the implications of this?
Several councillors stated that voting
for the three-part motion did not imply
a go-ahead for the proposed “swap”.
But no amendment was put forward
to spell out this proviso.
Other councillors merely sang the
praises of a big shiny new RSL project.
Not one councillor mentioned their
duty to ensure that any eventual agree-
ment should be as advantageous for the
shire as for the RSL.
Actual debate on this important pro-
posal was non-existent.
Why was the ‘Memorandum of Un-
derstanding’ included in the motion?
This language implies much more
than entering into through investigation
of relevant facts, proposed time-frames
etc. The language implies negotiations
and “understandings” (“agreements”?).
I suggest the reason for including the
‘Memorandum of Understanding’ is
that the CEO wants to ensure that any
eventual contract with the RSL is done
by “private treaty” as outlined in the
The normal statutory public process
requires a proposal to sell shire land
to be advertised so that public submis-
sions can be made. Nothing at all was
said about this in the open council “de-
The last time our shire tried to cir-
cumvent statutory public processes
concerned land sales in Venus Bay.
Understandably this created an in-
dignant outcry. That incident starred in
the Victorian Ombudsman’s December
report into transparency and lack of it
in Victorian local government.
Of course the RSL could have
planned their new development on a
green fields site (for example south of
the hospital), selling both their Smith
Street sites on the open market. But
perhaps they felt that offering a land
swap with council would smooth the
way for permits to expand their gam-
ing facilities; or that a land swap would
pose less financial risk; or that they did
not want to contribute to the hollowing
out of central Leongatha by moving to
the edge of town.
Whatever the attitudes of local mem-
bers might be, the Victorian hierarchy
could be expected to be fairly hard-
nosed in their approach to the propos-
al. Time will tell. But too much fancy
footwork in the process could land
council in the sort of controversy they
seem so keen to avoid.
Wilma Western, Leongatha.
Take the code of conduct fiasco.
All councillors were obliged to sign
an existing code of conduct and
within six months a new council is
to review, amend, sign and imple -
ment a new code of conduct.
The council officers obtained le -
gal advice from Melbourne lawyers,
yet when the new Code of Conduct
was presented for adoption on Feb -
ruary15, a number of councillors
raised concern that it may breach
the Local Government Act.
The officers must have amended
and presented a document that
would leave our councillors ex-
posed to pay costs of defending
any action taken by a third party,
regardless of fault. The point being
this contravenes the Local Govern-
It appears that in the special
meeting held on February 22 it was
acknowledged that the concerns of
three councillors were correct and
the document was amended accord-
What happened to the expensive
legal advice? Did the officers not
adhere to the advice that we paid
James Watt, Foster.
It seems to me that Shane Evans
(Sentinel-Times, March 7) is trying to
remain independent and not have to
resort to Centrelink unemployment
I would have thought that this was
what government at all levels should be
encouraging. If Shane is ‘true blue’ then
why can’t we encourage rather than dis-
courage. I have spoken to Shane and
the council has advised him that the
cost to obtain a permit to run his busi-
ness will be $1240.
This is an enormous amount for an
unemployed or small business person
If Shane borrows this amount and
the permit is not granted then how is
he to repay the money?
I understand that there has to be
rules and regulations regarding what
people can do, even on their own land,
but I wonder if the council can use
some discretionary or executive powers
to intervene on compassionate grounds
to assist Shane to hold his head up high
and continue to be independent.
Helen Dand, Inverloch.
New estate would
We would like to add our voice to
those who are objecting to the exten-
sion, to the north, of the village of Cape
We have been at Cape Paterson for
many years and are really enthusiastic
about keeping a ‘village’ atmosphere
and believe that this huge extension is
unnecessary as there are ample vacant
blocks and houses for sale in the vil-
It has been well documented that in-
frastructure at Cape Paterson is having
difficulty coping as it is.
We are of the opinion that such a de-
velopment would be very bad for the ex-
isting community and take away from
the small community atmosphere.
We do not want to become a large
suburb of Wonthaggi – we want to re-
tain our coastal village.
Any development of this size should
be in the vicinity of the larger commu-
nity of Wonthaggi where services and
infrastructure are available.
We understand that the developers
have been lobbying strongly and have
had private meetings with council plan-
ners and councillors.
This is unfair. How do they get to have
meetings/briefings when the residents
of Cape Paterson and the Cape Pater-
son Residents and Ratepayers Associa-
tion do not get the same type of input/
invitation. Is this once again the big end
of town getting the say when the people
who pay the rates and support the local
area get nothing?
Let’s face it – developers are only in
it to make money and have little or no
regard for ‘community’.
Merril and Barry Bolton, Cape Pa-
I have lived in Grantville for 12 years
and have been actively involved with my
community both as a volunteer and as
a community spokesperson. I’m also
co-owner of French View Caravan Park,
home to 70 permanent residents, and
I own several investment properties in
the Bass Coast Shire. I pay more than
my fair share of Council Rates.
In my experience as president of the
Grantville & District Business & Tour-
ism Association, the Residents and
Ratepayers Association and The Grant-
ville & District Memorial Park Com-
mittee of Management, I have had the
opportunity to work closely with a vari-
ety of council departments and council
officers. In my capacity of property in-
vestor and small time developer, I have
also had direct dealings with the Town
The main issue for Bass Coast Shire
Council is not that its employees aren’t
diligent, hard-working and dedicated
individuals, nor that it is bureaucrati-
cally ‘top heavy’, which indeed it might
be, but that it’s officers are very ‘process
focused’ not ‘outcomes focused’.
A great deal of community frustration
arises from this endemic cultural prob-
lem of departments being so completely
focused on ‘process’ that concrete out-
comes seem to become an unnecessary
Consultations, facilitations, bureau-
cratic data chasing, safety auditing,
daily e-mails, record keeping, are all
part of the process of protecting and
justifying one’s position within the bu-
reaucracy. This is real and demanding
work but it doesn’t achieve a lot in the
way of concrete outcomes.
A community should not have to
start a petition, collect signatures, have
meetings, consult with the public, do a
survey, collate the results of the survey,
lobby councillors and present the case
at a council meeting in order to get a
fence around a park which is right next
to a major arterial road.
Ratepayer money should not be wast-
ed on paying exorbitant consultancy
fees for an expensive report that simply
identifies the obvious.
Long-winded processes in order to
establish what is blatantly obvious,
does not make for good relationships
between the electorate and the council.
Nor does it make for an efficient use
of ratepayers’ money.
Too often, tireless volunteers, de-
velopers and entrepreneurs come up
against this type of ‘Bureaucratic Brick
Wall’ which deters and frustrates to
such a point that giving up and walking
away becomes the only option.
The volunteers may simply give up
but the developers and entrepreneurs
find other more accommodating shires
to invest in. Dedicated volunteers rep-
resenting their communities genuinely
want improvement and willingly work
collaboratively with councillors and
Many departments have already es-
tablished excellent ongoing working
relationships with a broad number of
Event managers Frank Angarane and
Jennine Temme work hard, not only on
the many events within the shire, but in
assisting communities to put on their
own events. They are outcomes focused
regardless of the necessary bureaucrat-
ic demands of their jobs and they get
The work done by the Maintenance
Department and Parks and Gardens,
is visible throughout the shire. The
garden displays in Wonthaggi are hor-
ticultural statements to be proud of
and engender great civic pride. These
two departments are also outcomes
focused and the results of their labour
can be clearly identified.
I’ve always had reservations about the
Economic Development department.
As a businesswoman I’ve never un-
derstood how an Economic Develop-
ment department could stimulate or
encourage the development of business
or enterprise. A business or enterprise
can only gauge its success by its profit
margin. If the bottom line isn’t perform-
ing then the business deserves to fail.
No amount of assistance from the
Economic Development department
will save it.
Economic development only happens
when business and enterprise identify
an area as a place worth investing in.
When investors see well maintained
infrastructure, new building activity
and potential growth they invest in that
shire and contribute to the general eco-
nomic development of the place.
If however they keep hitting the bu-
reaucratic brick walls of the Town Plan-
ning Department who are more con-
cerned with process than in assisting
applicants to achieve outcomes, they
will go somewhere else.
I firmly believe that our new mayor
and the new councillors are sincere in
wanting to affect change and progress
in the Bass Coast Shire.
I am optimistic that change can hap-
pen but only if the processes are simpli-
fied, the red tape reduced and there is
a dramatic change of focus, from pro-
ducing elegant data flows to producing
Helen Zervopoulos, acting presi-
dent, GADRRA, Grantville.
Make it happen
I was most intrigued to read in the
Sentinel-Times of March 7 that said “In
lieu of the upcoming 2017/18 budget,
Bass Coast Shire Councillors have re-
quested that a report of the shire’s cur-
rent financial state be released for April
2017. Councillors are leaning heavily
on their commitment to financial con-
Does this imply the council’s distrust
in the monthly financial reporting pack-
age that the council currently receives
prepared by council staff? Does this tell
us that the council can’t determine the
financial position of the shire from the
monthly financial reports?
I would suggest councillors call for a
12 month rolling cash flow forecast that
reveals monthly income and expenses
with forecast monthly closing cash and
cash equivalent balance.
I would suggest councillors call for
the shire’s borrowing capacity on a
monthly basis. I suggest that the Bass
Coast needs to grow and to grow you
need to build infrastructure. If you
don’t grow you wither and die.
I suggest that the councillors need
to learn words like ‘do’, ‘can’ and ‘how’
because it is actions that speak greater
I suggest that the way to grow is
through population growth.
Think the City of Bass Coast and how
are we going to get there.
Frank W Schooneveldt, Wonthaggi.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
South Gippsland Sentinel-Times
8 Radovick Street
PHONE: (03) 5655 1422
(03) 5672 1888
(03) 5655 2658
to write with issues
of interest or concern
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local reference point
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and town location will appear.
Karmai Children’s Centre a triumph
NINE years in the making, the
Karmai Children’s Centre is well
worth the wait.
It’s a magnificent facility that will
serve the Korumburra community
for many decades.
It’s just the tonic the town needs
following the closure of the NAB
branch last month, following on
from the ANZ’s departure a year or
If only the banks’ decision mak-
ers were there on Friday for the
children’s centre’s official opening.
They would have seen how driv-
en this community is to make the
town great again, and the centre
will be the cornerstone of that re-
It’s not just the current and fu-
ture generations of children who’ll
benefit the state-of-the-art early
learning facilities; the impact will
be immediate. Families will now
seriously consider a move to Ko-
rumburra because it’s there.
The parents that drove the proj-
ect did so out of a need to replace
the existing facilities.
But the way they went about it,
drawing in the full support of all
three levels of government, means
that the new centre is much more
than a replacement – it sets the
mark for communities right across
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