Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : March 21, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 26 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017
Recently a member of the commu-
nity attempted to present, at a public
council presentation, various views
and issues that were important to
The CEO interrupted this presen-
tation and asked the Mayor to close
it down because the presenter was
engaging in “allegations” and “accu-
I assume this was as a result of
some sort of interpretation under
Section 3.2(g) of Policy C65.
The Mayor agreed and the present-
er was required to stop his presenta-
Dictionaries definitions are:
1. An assertion that someone has
engaged in an unlawful act.
2. An assertion mainly related to
3. A statement saying that someone
has done something wrong or illegal.
1. A statement saying that someone
has done something morally wrong,
illegal or unkind.
2. A charge of wrongdoing.
3. A charge of wrongdoing, Implica-
tion of guilt or blame.
Unfortunately councillors and
members of the community were
prevented from listening to some in-
teresting and important issues con-
cerning the governance of the South
Gippsland Shire Council, and in par-
ticular their bureaucracy.
Policy C65, Section 1.5 states that
all participants in a meeting have the
right to freedom of expression under
the Charter of Human Rights and Re-
sponsibilities Act, 2006.
I am advised that Australia has two
key elements that make up our free-
dom of speech: freedom of opinion
and freedom of expression – without
Our laws state “This right protects
unpopular ideas as well as favour-
able ones, including opinions that
may offend or shock.” “The right to
hold opinions is not subject to any
exception or restriction”.
In my opinion, for the CEO, as an
employee paid for by ratepayers, to
demand that the Mayor rules this
presentation to be terminated on the
basis of “allegations” and “accusa-
tion” is pretty bad, unjustifiable and
His personal opinions do not in-
voke the laws of Australia and as a
council employee interfered while a
member of the public exercised his
right to freedom of speech. This is
totally, unequivocally, absolutely, un-
I suggest there are some serious
matters here that need to be ad-
dressed urgently. Furthermore, I
think this interference by a council
employee is symptomatic of a range
of governance issues in need of seri-
Gus Blaauw, South Gippsland Ac-
tion Group (Incorporated), Venus
Is it really a
While it seems the proposed RSL/
council land swap in Leongatha is
all good for Leongatha and South
Gippsland, Wilma Western is quite
correct to ask questions in ‘RSL deal
too smooth’ in last week’s Sentinel.
As Wilma says, no “councillor men-
tioned their duty to ensure that any
eventual agreement should be advan-
tageous for the shire as well as the
RSL” and many questions arise re-
gards empowering the CEO to enter
into a Memorandum of Understand-
ing with the RSL.
• Will valuations be made available
on the value of the properties to be
“swapped” and payments for valua-
tion differences occur?
• Will a “private treaty” arrange-
ment mean the usual statutory pro-
cess to sell council land be bypassed
and any permits required be waved
• Will the hardnosed RSL head-
quarters ensure an advantageous
deal for the RSL over a council (too)
keen to do a deal?
• Will council make available the
costs of moving, building refurbish-
ment, legal, stamp duty etc to the
• Will the administration be using
the opportunity to increase employee
numbers and further empire build?
I think we would like to the see
the deal proceed provided it can be
demonstrated the deal is in the best
interests of the community.
Steve Finlay, South Gippsland
During the first night of our recent
stay at the Waratah Bay Caravan Park,
our terrier Rex slipped out of the tent
and took himself on a grand adventure.
That began a harrowing day for
us. It was made more bearable by
the kind concern of everyone in the
park who helped us looked for Rex in
places both possible and impossible.
Eventually, 13 hours later, he was
discovered on his way ‘home’. We be-
lieve he had a wonderful day chasing
Heartfelt thanks to everyone, espe -
cially Bernadette and Jim (caravan
park operators) who helped search.
Euan and Kerry Coutts, Korum-
Bigger is not
The reduction of choice in banks
and their services in Korumburra
having been reduced from four to
only two has caused a little disquiet
among some residents.
However, the attitude of Ms Gracie
Methven as expressed in last week’s
edition of ‘Voice of the People’ is why
I abandoned one of the big banks in
favour of Ms Methven’s place of em-
I have for some considerable time
enjoyed a level of customer service,
courtesy and friendliness from Ms
Methven and her work colleagues at
this smaller bank that the so called
Big Banks could well take a lesson
Dennis Conn, Whitelaw.
but no fire
Contrary to recent media re-
ports, and various social media
postings, there was no fire at the
desalination plant on the evening
of March 12.
An alarm was triggered due to a
component becoming overheated.
In this instance, the alarm did
exactly what it is designed to do
and brought attention to the issue.
Consistent with our safety first
approach our alarm system is con-
nected to the local CFA, and they
The plant was shut down tem-
porarily as a precaution while an
investigation was undertaken and
the issue resolved.
The plant resumed usual opera-
tions within two hours and water
production is progressing.
Matt Brassington, CEO, Aqua-
Loves sport but
Open Letter to the Wonthaggi
I would like to thank the presi-
dent of the Wonthaggi Basketball
Association for arranging the re-
moval of images and vile com-
ments from its Facebook site in
connection with the Highball issue.
We are using our best endeavours
to raise the level of debate and gen-
uine engagement with our commu-
nity and suggest, perhaps, there is
scope for the association to amend
or introduce a code of conduct for
its committee, members and fol-
lowers in respect of social media to
avoid any re-occurrence of this un-
acceptable behaviour, and particu-
larly the upset and distress caused
to my young family.
I also wish to reassure the com-
mittee that I do value the living, not
just the dead, and that I am a car-
ing father and grandfather, and I,
along with my children, love and
play sport, including netball and
basketball and we all understand
the benefits for young people and
our Community generally.
As an aside, I want you to know
that I was instrumental for intro-
ducing midnight basketball (from
10pm to 2am) Fridays and Satur-
days into Redfern NSW for aborigi-
nal youth and have a strong com-
mitment to young people within
I am also a mentor for young
people through Young Achievement
Australia and CPA Australia, and
have a long history in association
with Guardianship and Adminis-
tration and the Office of the Public
Advocate for supporting people in-
cluding those with an intellectual/
I am also a Certified Practicing
Accountant with an extensive pe -
riod in public practice, and see
the need to understand council fi-
nances to ensure Bass Coast Shire
is sustainable into the future and
make sure we do not leave a legacy
of debt and deficit for our children
That said, I guarantee that I will
attend council meetings with an
open mind on matters concerning
your association, however it will
continue to be in the context of the
council’s financial sustainability,
and from my analysis of publicly
available information, advise that
it has become apparent since the
‘new’ council assumed office, that
council has incurred operating def-
icits, as follows:
• Year ended June 30, 2015:
• Year ended June 30, 2016:
• Year ending June 30, 2017 also
projected to be in deficit
Hopefully, all will become clearer
for the entirety of our community
upon completion of any investiga-
tion by April/May 2017.
Cr Les Larke, Bunurong Ward.
My annual boat ramp ticket ex-
pired the other day and I went to the
Inverloch Information Centre to re-
new it and was, to say the least, not
impressed with the new schedule of
fees for annual tickets.
Last year, the monthly fee was $25.
This year it’s $40. That’s a 62 per
Last’s annual fee was $44. This
year it’s $70 - a 60 per cent rise.
How do you justify fee increases
like this? It’s outrageous!
I’d love to know how many yachts-
man, anglers, skiers, divers, jet ski
riders etc paid an annual fee last year
($44), plus the income from monthly
and daily fees.
If the same amount renew their
annual ramp ticket this year, tak-
ing into account the 60 per cent
increase, I’m sure you could divert
funds to upgrade the Inverloch ramp
and find some method to eliminate
the tidal flow across the ramp which
combined with wind causes all sorts
of havoc to the inexperienced boat
user and even the experienced user,
when launching and retrieving their
Build a decent rock wall on one
side or even both sides of the Inver-
loch Pier to break that strong tidal
current, remembering that both out-
going and incoming tides have strong
If Bass Coast Shire Council is going
to continue increasing ramp fees we
want to see these sorts of improve-
ments for our money.
I live permanently at Inverloch, am
retired, pay rates etc, have to pay to
take my rubbish to the tip because
we live north of Bass Highway, two
minutes from the centre of Inverloch,
surrounded by dairy farms, and en-
joy fishing, but maybe not for much
longer with these ever-increasing
Martyn Eriksen, Inverloch.
Congratulations to those Victo-
rian politicians who supported the
Resources Legislation Amendment
(Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 in entirety.
Those passing the bill recognised
the financial, strategic and social im-
portance of agriculture in Victoria.
In the ‘Why Australia’ Benchmark
Report (2017) the productivity of the
agricultural sector is ranked highest
of any industry sector in Australia.
Yet despite this some sectors of the
fossil fuel industry are arguing the
case for more gas exploration on ag-
They state there is a gas shortage
and threaten higher gas and electric-
There is no shortage of gas, but
most of it is exported leaving insuf-
ficient for domestic use.
It is time that all politicians recog-
nised the status of agriculture in the
They should be ashamed to repeat
the rhetoric of the miners. People
want regulation to ensure the secu-
rity of domestic gas supplies from
existing gas resources.
Deborah O’Connor, Berrys Creek.
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
but letters that have a
local reference point
will be given priority. Writers are also urged
to be brief where possible. Letters may be
edited 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.
Better budgets about real consultation
THE most important thing, af-
fecting this area at the moment,
is the downturn in the dairy in-
And following some significant
falls on the Global Dairy Trade in-
dex, by 3.2% on February 21 and
6.3% on March 7, there’s concern
about where milk companies will
start the price for the new season
So that’s the main game.
Other issues of concern are
law and order, water shortages at
Korumburra and then the more
mundane things affecting the fam-
ily such as power bills, the qual-
ity of our schools, cost of housing
and the like.
But it’s also budget time for
our local shire councils, at South
Gippsland and Bass Coast, al-
though in Bass Coast’s case,
they’re dragging the chain again
and don’t look like having a draft
budget for us to look at until next
month at the earliest.
The fact is though, most people
simply couldn’t give a toss what
the two local shires have in their
budgets. Even if they had the time
or the inclination to take an inter-
est, they’ve seen that these bud-
gets are generally done and dust-
ed by the time they’re presented
for ‘public consultation’.
Coming out a month later than
South Gippsland, Bass Coast is
leaving even less time for the
council or the community to
But what the community will be
interested to see is whether or not
the Bass Coast Shire’s financial
position is as bad as it has been
made out, as the reason for refus-
ing to go after a government grant
for the shared highball stadium at
the proposed new secondary col-
The community will be look-
ing for the council to state fairly,
openly and in layman’s terms what
the shire’s finances are really like
and what steps it needs to take so
that applications for grants can be
made in the future, knowing that
the grants can be matched by the
This year it seems that the new
South Gippsland Shire Council
has been able to bring about sig-
nificant changes to its budget,
not only eliminating the big ticket
item of a new civic centre, library,
and office complex for the shire
but also by allocating funds to the
RSL land exchange project, to the
expansion of the rail trail west of
Leongatha and also funds for the
proposed Stony Creek equestrian
and expo centre projects.
The shire has been petitioned
to fast-track the redevelopment of
Korumburra’s CBD and the rail-
way station area. And there’s ev-
ery reason, after the momentum
created by the opening of the Kar-
mai Community Children Centre,
that the shire should look seri-
ously at bringing forward several
of these Korumburra projects.
Initiatives of this type can really
give the area a lift while we work
through the dairy difficulties.
But the fact is that the budget
process should be a real process
of public consultation with our
councils being full and frank
about the funds available, leaving
uncommitted funds to accommo-
date good community initiatives
and offering genuine savings on
the cost of the shire’s admin.
South Gippsland is ticking some
of those boxes, all except saving
money on salaries and wages.
With Bass Coast, we don’t know
what the hell is going on and even
after last week’s botched attempt
at addressing the highball sta-
dium mess, we’re none the wiser.
Hopefully the new council is
taking the time to better under-
stand the financial position and
will bring forward some genuine
savings so that such projects as
the aquatic centre on Phillip Is-
land and the redevelopment of
sports and aquatic facilities in
Wonthaggi can go ahead.
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