Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : March 21, 2017 Edition Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017 - PAGE 13
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$5m in budget for new
shire office project
DESPITE the fact that the State Govern-
ment has again legislated to cap the rate rise
at 2 per cent this coming financial year, the
South Gippsland Shire Council plans to collect
$973,000 more in rates in 2017-18.
But much of that increase will be soaked up
in shire salaries, up by $531,000 to $24.4 mil-
lion in the next financial year.
These details will be contained in the shire’s
new budget documents, to be unveiled at this
Wednesday’s council meeting.
But in recent changes to the budget, the shire
council is considering putting aside $5 million,
to be spent in 2020-21 on the Leongatha com-
munity hub/library project if the land swap
with the RSL becomes a reality.
More than $6 million might also be commit-
ted to extending the rail trail to Korumburra
and beyond, now that the tourist rail has
ceased to operate.
In an overall budget of $66.9 million, down
from $70 million last year when the shire re-
ceived $3.5m more in capital grants, the coun-
cil expects to spend $61m next financial year.
To fund this it plans to collect a total of
$40.94m in rates next financial year, up
$973,000 of which $302,000 is the result of
rates from new homes and other supplemen-
User fees will also be up by $121,000 or 3%
overall. For example dog and cat registrations
will cost $51.40 (up from $50.40) for desexed
and microchipped pets, raising $92,520 alone
for the shire’s coffers. Dogs or cats that don’t
qualify for the discount will cost $152 to regis-
ter, up from $149.05.
And don’t make an application for secondary
consent for a planning project if you can help it.
These fees have gone up by as much as 429.61
per cent to levels including $1600 for some ap-
As a result of the rate capping, Council claims
it will have $27m less in rates and charges rev-
enue at its disposal over the next 14 years but
it’s an argument which has two sides, as former
mayor David Lewis pointed out recently, when
he claimed the shire was awash with money.
The capital expenditure program for the
2017/18 year is $20.14m which is $2.83m less
than for 2016/17. This includes $1.73m expen-
diture for projects that were budgeted for, but
not completed in 2016/17. The projected capi-
tal expenditure for the previous financial year
The shire’s borrowings are set to stay at
$3.35 million until a loan it took out to repay
its unfunded superannuation guarantee is due
to be paid out.
The shire has the equivalent of 364.53 staff
What’s in the budget
Budget initiatives include:
• $90,000 detailed design brief for Stony
Creek equestrian/expo centre (possible $1.8m
expenditure in 2019-20.
• $2.1 million Bena-Kongwak Bridge replace-
ment ($650,000 shire, $1.45m government)
• Scoping a Korumburra Revitalisation Proj-
ect that considers the Town Centre Framework
Plan, Streetscape Master Plan, future Commu-
nity Hub/Library, railway land and station uses
• Investigating the proposed land swap with
the Returned Services League Sub Branch Le-
• $100,000 to commence implementation of
the Arts and Culture Strategy
• $120.000 to fund a shire planning initiative
called ‘Vision 2040’.
• The shire will advocate for funding for its
priority project, the redevelopment of Bair
Street, Leongatha for which part of the funding
has already been set aside by the shire ($1.53m
shire, seeking $3.06m government)
• Investigate feasibility of further extensions
and upgrades to the Rail Trails, particularly be-
tween Leongatha and Korumburra
• Council will investigate protection of the Ny-
ora sand resources
• $50,000 to commence the review of resi-
dential, commercial and industrial land supply
in the shire
• The Leongatha Railway Station Precinct
Master Plan is to be finalised and presented to
council during the 2017-18 year.
• $142,000 caravan park toilet block Wara-
• $184,000 Franklin River toilet block re-
• $278,000 Mirboo North Hall toilets
• $108,000 Yanakie Caravan Park camp
kitchen communal areas
• $1.04m shire fleet purchases
• $1.6m shire computers and telecommuni-
• $317,000 Toora Pool toilet and kiosk re-
placement stage one
• Splash expansion project delayed.
The council also listed the $1.6m in ‘Com-
munity Capital Works’ being undertaken in
Mirboo North, Foster, Venus Bay and Korum-
burra as follows: Couper Street Mirboo North
footpath $100,000, Foster recycled water proj-
ect $400,000, Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club
$150,000 (allocated to an Internal Reserve),
Baromi Park Masterplan and associated works
$300,000, Venus Bay Skate Park $125,000,
Korumburra Recreation Centre $175,000, Ko-
rumburra Recreation Reserve $175,000, Ko-
rumburra Skate Park $50,000.
Who was honoured in Berrys Creek avenue?
IT’S almost 100 years since the Avenue of
Honour was planted at Berrys Creek but in that
time much of the history and some of the trees
have been lost.
However, like several other local restorative
projects, prompted by the 100th anniversary of
the First World War, there’s a move on to “re-
store the avenue to its former glory” in time for
the avenue’s own centenary next year.
Behind the push is a volunteer member of the
Mirboo North District Historical Society, San-
dra Rickards who was inspired by her daugh-
ter, who moved to the area but found no one
knew much about the story behind the avenue,
who the soldiers were and what their story was.
“There’s nothing there to even recognise that
it is an avenue of honour,” Ms Rickards said.
She wants to record the story of the 37 men
behind the original 37 trees and, where pos-
sible, replace those trees that have been lost
to progress (the placement of electricity poles
and the like) and hold a celebration when the
avenue turns 100 in June 2018.
Cr Maxine Kiel acknowledged how much
work had already gone into researching the
project and she commended it to council for
Around $2000 is required for signs to erect-
Sandra Rickards of Berrys Creek is deter-
mined that the soldiers honoured in the town’s
neglected Avenue of Honour get the recogni-
tion they deserve. After making a presentation
to the shire, she chats with South Gippsland
Shire grants officer Penni Ellicott. m041217
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