Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : April 11, 2017 Edition Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017 - PAGE 7
A STRONG community partnership between
Connecting Skills Australia Wonthaggi volunteers
and local CFA brigades has been recognised, with
CSA a finalist in the Inspire Awards.
The Funds in Court’s Inspire Awards recognise
people 18 years and older, living in Victoria, who
identify with a disability and are well respected in
their field of work/interest and community.
Connecting Skills volunteers have been helping
maintain the Wonthaggi CFA every Thursday by
cleaning the station and washing trucks for the
last three years.
It’s a partnership that’s extended to other local
brigades, with the volunteers cleaning Inverloch,
Glen Alvie, Cape Paterson, Tarwin Lower and its
substations at Venus Bay and Walkerville, and the
State Coal Mine museum.
Wonthaggi CFA captain Kim O’Connor said the
volunteers save his members a lot of time.
“It’s all about engagement with them, that’s why
Connecting Skills’ Sharon Exton and I instigated
the program in the first place,” he said.
“We look for opportunities that we can get these
guys that normally wouldn’t be able to be involved
in an organisation like CFA. It gives them an op-
portunity to belong to something and contribute
to the community.
“It lightens our workload because of the work
they do; we don’t have to worry about weekly
cleaning of vehicle and the station, they do all that
stuff for us.
“The program’s extended to fire brigades
around us and I’m getting enquires from East
Gippsland and Mornington Peninsula to find out
how the service works so they can perhaps start
the same thing at their stations.
“It’s good because they come here, they’ve got
their CFA overalls, CFA caps and hooks in the
turnout room where they hang their gear up at
end of the job – they’re part of the family here.”
Leigh Phillips is a facilitator of the program and
sees the joy the volunteers experience from help-
ing the CFA.
“My brother was disabled and most people
didn’t know how to treat him; that’s the beauty of
these centres now, you’re getting to know how to
treat people,” he said.
Connecting Skills Australia’s Sharon Exton
said the program helps break down barriers and
“It’s the community connection that a partner-
ship like this provides, and the sense of pride that
every time a truck goes out, these guys know that
they’ve cleaned it and contributed to their CFA,”
RIGHT: Connecting Skills Australia Won-
thaggi is a finalist in the Inspire Awards,
recognising its partnership with local CFA
brigades where volunteers clean and main-
tain stations. At the Wonthaggi CFA station
on Thursday were Connecting Skills volun-
teers Michael Gamaldi and Brent Barrett,
CFA volunteer Bill Barbour, Connecting Skills
volunteer Scott Earley and Connecting Skills
facilitator Leigh Phillips. rg111517
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FOR ALL YOUR
BEST PRICES GUARANTEED
9 Murray Street, Wonthaggi
our already low prices
Friday, April 14
Uncle Bob’s Club, Wonthaggi
John Duscher, Area Appeal Organiser.
The Uncle Bob’s Club of Wonthaggi will
again be conducting the Good Friday Royal
Children’s Hospital Appeal collection from
the Wonthaggi CFA in White Road,
Wonthaggi, beginning at 9am.
Donations to the appeal can also be made
through 0488 026 435
HAVE ARRIVED at
Phone: 5662 2201
TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
Free Fluvax vaccinations are now
available for the following groups:
l Aged 65 and over
l Anyone with a diagnosed Chronic
l Pregnant Women
(at any time during their pregnancy)
l Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander
people aged six months to under
five years and 15 and older
Call now for an appointment
Are you waiting for
No phone line at your house?
We can arrange your telephone civil
works for your connection:
Phone Ian 0418 327 960
5672 4739 ah
CAPE Paterson residents are still picking up
the pieces after a power surge and outage in early
January, with some residents yet to be compen-
sated for the loss of appliances.
Olga Marangio, who lives on Anglers Road, is
one of the unfortunate victims from the outage on
Her home insurance company doesn’t cover
power faults, and it’s up to the energy distributor
Ausnet to compensate affected customers.
Olga has been left with a damage bill of at least
$7500, but with Ausnet’s policy stating it will not
replace products on a ‘new for old’ basis, she has
been offered $3400 compensation.
She was required to have specialists test her ap-
pliances as part of her claim to confirm they had
been damaged by the power surge, at a further
cost of about $80 per visit.
After filling out the Ausnet claim forms months
ago, Olga finally received a compensation letter on
March 30, after a number of frustrating calls to
“What really gets me angry is some people that
are holidaymakers have got the money, and they
don’t live there,” Olga said.
“We who live here permanently, we’re older and
we haven’t got the cash that people who are work-
ing have and they leave us until the end and don’t
give us any preference.
“I’m a widow, I live on a pension and I’ve got a
roller door for security. The motor died, so I had
to get it replaced and that cost me $1200.
“My air conditioner died and I haven’t been able
to replace it because I don’t have money.
“The television, phones, dishwasher and fridge
died. Somebody lent me an old fridge and some-
body lent me an old television, otherwise I’d have
“Ausnet said my air conditioner is 12 years old.
Unfortunately I don’t have the invoice but it’s only
six years old, but if they say its 12 years old it
costs them less money.”
Now Olga has accepted the compensation offer,
she has no idea when she will receive the money.
“The letter doesn’t say how long it will take, but
I’ve heard it take months,” she said.
“Everybody I’ve spoken to around here, they’ve
got a letter but no money.
“Most insurance companies take a month or
so - this one has already taken three months, be-
cause I went really crook at them.”
Ausnet’s manager of Corporate Communica-
tions Emma Tyner explained that assessing com-
pensation claims can be complex and therefore
can take time to process.
“We received Ms Marangio’s claim on January
16 and have been working with her throughout
this process,” she said. After assessing the claim,
we provided an offer to her in early March. The
letter was resent on March 28 following a request
by the customer. The compensation offer was ac-
cepted on March 30.
“When assessing and providing compensation
on voltage variation claims, we follow guidelines
set by the Essential Services Commission.
“The voltage variation compensation guidelines
outline what must be paid for claims, as well as
how long it should take to respond to customers.
“Under the guidelines, we provide compensa-
tion based on the market or depreciated value of
Olga isn’t the only resident frustrated by Aus-
net’s actions. Julia Cook, who also lives on An-
glers Road, received $2600 compensation from
Ausnet despite her damage bill totalling $4000.
She is angered by Ausnet’s lack of care for af-
fected residents and has taken her case to the
“I’ve had no air conditioner all this year. Thank
God it wasn’t 40 this summer,” she said.
“We’re all elderly here and we need it, but they
“Six years ago my air conditioner cost over
$2000, and they offered me $800 for it.”
Cape Paterson’s Olga Marangio has been left with a damage bill of at least $7500 after
a power surge and outage on January 6 destroyed many of her appliances including her
dishwasher, TV, fridge, electric roller door and more. She is angered by energy distributor
Ausnet’s offer of $3400 compensation and is still yet to receive the money three months
for Cape outage victims
Connecting with the CFA
Connecting Skills Australia Wonthaggi volunteers Danny Woods and Luke Geri are more
than happy to lend a hand cleaning the Wonthaggi CFA station every Thursday. rg101517
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