Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : April 25, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 18 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 2017
Get on board
Our group would like to strongly en-
dorse last week’s Sentinel-Times ‘Com-
ment’ about fighting for the return the
rail to Lang Lang and eventually on to
The traffic on the Monash Freeway,
even with the widening, is becoming an
The population of South and West
Gippsland is going to grow from
459,000 people in 2016 to over
704,000 in 2036, an increase of 73 per
cent or around 22,000 people per an-
We already have a foretaste of the
gridlock to come with the works on the
Monash delaying traffic by half an hour
in off peak periods and even longer in
Solving the transport problems for
southeast Melbourne and South and
West Gippsland will require an integrat-
ed transport plan and a rail solution.
The overwhelming evidence is that
freeways alone create more congestion
and don’t work as an overall solution.
Melbourne with its focus on freeways
from 1970s is a classic example.
Creating a rail loop from Cranbourne
around to Pakenham eventually will
provide some of the current 300,000
people and anticipated 700,000 with
ready access to public transport and
take pressure off the Monash.
We will be seeking a policy commit-
ment from political parties in the next
election to conduct an initial feasibil-
ity study of creating a rail loop (SERL
Loop) from Cranbourne around to Pak-
enham and upgrading the study to ex-
tend/reopen the rail line to Leongatha.
Numbers count for politicians. We al-
ready have some 2500 people on our
Facebook sites and intend to build this
up to 5000 people to become a credible
force for action.
Our Facebook site is already being
monitored. If we wish to push for the
eventual return of rail to both Lang
Lang and South Gippsland please
join our Facebook site (South West
Gippsland Transport Group).
There is already considerable pres-
sure to extend the Cranbourne line to
The reality is elections have been won
and lost on public transport and road
Our group will be submitting to
South Gippsland Shire Council’s plan
to maintain the priority for the return of
the rail and to work with other councils
and the State Government to develop
an integrated transport plan for south-
east Melbourne and South and West
South Gippsland Shire Council is
committed in its draft plan for a growth
strategy, but a growth strategy without a
transport plan for this area is nonsen-
Spend five minutes and sign up to
South West Gippsland Facebook site
and become a supporter of our cam-
Cr Andrew McEwen, chair SW
Gippsland Transport Group.
Lest we forget
On Anzac Day we commemorate the
anniversary of Australian and New Zea-
land soldiers landing on the Gallipoli
Peninsula in Turkey, 1915, during the
First World War.
It was the start of an eight-month
campaign where more than 50,000
Australians are estimated to have
fought, some 8700 lost their lives and
almost 18,000 were wounded.
It was the birthplace of the Anzac leg-
end, where Australians forged a repu-
tation for bravery, ingenuity and mate-
ship that has become central to our
These are the traits we respect and
honour in every man and woman who
has served in defence of our nation.
This year we also continue to com-
memorate the role of the Australian
troops on the Western Front with the
centenary of the Battle of Bullecourt in
France and the Battle of Messines in
At Polygon Wood, near Ypres in Bel-
gium, there will be a service commemo-
rating the centenary of Australian in-
volvement in the Third Battle of Ypres.
We must never forget that more Aus-
tralians lost their lives in 1917 due to
war than in any other year of our his-
Later this year we will mark the
100th anniversary of the Battle of Beer-
sheba in Israel.
This year also marks significant an-
niversaries from the Second World War.
We have already commemorated the
75th anniversary of the Fall of Singa-
pore and the Bombing of Darwin, and
later this year we honour the Battle of
the Coral Sea, Battle of Milne Bay, Aus-
tralia’s involvement at El Alamein and
the end of the Kokoda campaign.
On Anzac Day we also pay tribute to
those members of the Australian De-
fence Force currently on active service
overseas, including in Afghanistan and
the Middle East.
So when you see someone wearing
medals on the left-hand side of their
chest, please shake their hand and say,
“thank-you for your service”.
We owe our service personnel an im-
measurable debt of gratitude.
I encourage everyone to participate in
their local Anzac Day commemorations
and to say ‘thank-you’ to those who
have served our country.
Dan Tehan, Minister for Veterans’
Do we want our Korumburra Visitor
Information Centre to close?
At present, that is one of the op-
tions being considered by the South
Gippsland Shire Council.
Korumburra is the gateway to South
Gippsland. It makes good sense to give
visitors as they enter our region from
Melbourne a chance to see what South
Gippsland has to offer.
The service offered by staff and vol-
unteers at Korumburra is outstanding.
These people are passionate about
the area and have a great understand-
ing of all that is happening around the
The information centre is full of infor-
mation and brochures on all attractions
and up to date local events throughout
It is perfectly located at Korum-
burra’s main tourist attraction, Coal
Creek Community Park & Museum,
complementing each other and provid-
ing amble parking for caravans.
We would all agree that the way peo-
ple source their tourist information has
changed over the years with technology
offering many different options.
But technology isn’t for everyone and
tourist information centres still play a
very big role in providing tourists with
information about the local area.
Tourism is important to our region
which attracts over 1 million visitors
each year. We need to be encouraging
and supportive of their visit.
The cost of operating the two infor-
mation centres in our shire requires
a very small proportion of the overall
It would be extremely premature
to close these facilities based on this
review. This is a service that you may
never have used but it is a vital service
to tourists visiting this area.
We need to stand up and be heard
now rather than when the decision has
I urge you complete the online survey
on the shire website. The link is on the
If you would like to hear more about
the options being put forward, the fi-
nal consultation session will be held at
Coal Creek on Thursday night, April 27
Noelene Cosson, president, Korum-
burra Business Association.
Help save our
best kept secret
About six months ago I made a pre-
sentation to the South Gippsland Shire
Once again I was waving the flag for
the environment and the future.
For too long the establishment at all
three levels of government has sat on its
hands enjoying their handsome salary
and conditions of service while contrib-
uting very little to a more valuable and
My demand was for the establish-
ment of the committee which would
include members of the public.
The objective was the protection and
development of the Turtons Creek and
This valley is a valuable regional as-
set that provides a home for native flora
and fauna and a people’s recreational
facility. The latter is so badly needed in
this exploited region.
The shire at last has accepted that
this valley is important and has agreed
to establish the committee; it has al-
ready undertaken preliminary investi-
You, the people, must be involved.
If you believe that life is more than
what the family has for tea then contact
the shire and offer to contribute your
Left alone to plan the future the shire
will produce a minimal result which
will only benefit the exploiters.
This is important, contact Chantal
Lenthall from the council’s planning
department. She is eager to hear from
you. Call me if you need information,
Ron Brown, Turtons Creek.
The high ball saga
Many commentators have applauded
the council’s surprising change of mind
at last week’s Bass Coast Shire Council
Meeting, which saw councillors appar-
ently bow to community pressure and
give the nod to the Wonthaggi High Ball
Courts after rejecting the project two
Looking into the detail, the story may
not be quite as simple as just a change
At the February council meeting, five
councillors voted to reject what was a
rushed motion, authorising council to
apply for a $2 million grant from the
Victorian Government Shared Facilities
Fund, which would mean that council
would have to make a co-contribution
of $2 million for their part of the ar-
Until a couple of hours before the de-
cision was to be made, councillors (nor
apparently the administration) had no
idea of the assumed costs of these extra
two highball courts nor what contribu-
tion was being asked of the council.
Many felt that a dearth of rushed in-
formation was not the preferred or re-
sponsible way in which to make such
a decision, and the result was that the
majority of councillors rejected the mo-
The cost assumptions, which were
presented to council just before the
commencement of the council’s Febru-
ary meeting, were based on $2 million
per court. One of which comes with
the new school funding and two extra
courts at a cost of $4 million.
The officer’s report also mentions
that the scope of the highball facility
was to comprise change rooms; storage
for basketball, netball; administration
areas, small social area and combined
meeting space, kiosk, spectator seating
and first aid room.
Upon the motion being defeated in
February, the council administration
has apparently gone back to the draw-
ing board and when the subject rose its
head last week, the price tag is now $6
What has caused this extra $2 million
increase? Looking at the detail within
the officer’s report at the April coun-
cil meeting, it relates to “community
facilities through inclusion of meeting
facilities, ancillary office spaces and car
Did not the February cost estimates
already include this in the scope of the
Information on the car parking costs
show that the proposed gravel car park
will be negligible (less than $100,000),
which means that there has been an ex-
tra $1.9 million added to the project for
(extra) “meeting facilities and ancillary
I wonder how many smaller commu-
nity associations across the shire, who
have been battling for years to be sup-
ported with new club rooms, meeting
rooms or office space, feel, when they
witness, that in an instant, an extra $2
million can be magically found (how-
ever funded) for such a purpose, as has
happened with this project.
Moreover, the question is, is this ex-
tra money allocated to this project, re-
ally covering ‘meeting facilities and an-
cillary office space’, or is this perhaps
a way to surreptitiously correct a gross
under estimation for the project cost,
which was produced in such a rushed
environment in February?
If the council had carried the motion
in February – and the costs subsequent-
ly increased to this $6 million figure –
who would have carried the extra bur-
den of $2 million? I think we all know
the answer to that one.
Perhaps the decision made in Febru-
ary was in hindsight the right decision.
John Swarbrick, Rhyll.
Over the Easter break a friend had
been asked to help at the Royal Chil-
dren’s Hospital Appeal.
She then planned to join her hus-
band and young family who were com-
ing to stay in this area.
To save driving a second car down
and knowing the roads would be busy
on the return, she looked up the public
transport options to get to Inverloch on
Her shift was to finish at 6.30pm in
the city and she was astounded to dis-
cover there was no way to get here other
than drive. She ended up having to pull
out of the shift.
It’s time the State Government
stopped ignoring the needs of a ma-
jor tourism region and its visitors and
residents and started treating us to the
transport system the region needs.
On one of the busiest weekends of the
year - it is appalling that we don’t have
services to help ease the congestion on
Later night options for people leav-
ing Melbourne on weekends and public
holidays are long overdue.
Donna Lancaster, Inverloch.
Current unseasonal weather pat-
terns are having a detrimental effect on
all manner of plant life cycles as evi-
denced in our domestic garden patch-
es through to larger scale agricultural
Honey bee populations are struggling
to survive let alone create sustainable
commercial quantities of honey.
Scientists have emerged from their
laboratories to beg the world and
those that govern us to take heed of
their research facts.
Yet Bass Coast Shire Council permits
the destruction and removal of healthy
street trees in Corinella. In February,
four mature Eucalyptus Ficifolias, on
the verge of flowering and sustain-
ing all manner of small creatures in-
cluding native bees and native wasps,
honey bees, birds and mammals, were
This is contrary to the “think global,
act local” mantra and all done for the
convenience of human housing.
There is no sign of a considered
street tree planting program in Cori-
nella which would serve to balance
“the paving of paradise”.
Ingrid Galitis, Corinella.
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.
Mr Premier, it’s Wonthaggi’s turn!
THANKS to the eleventh hour
decision by the Bass Coast Shire
Council, to commit $1.5 million
to the $6 million cost of a shared
sports stadium in Wonthaggi, all
our ducks are now in-a-row.
It’s time, Mr Premier, to make a
definitive commitment to replac-
ing the deplorably inadequate
senior campus of the Wont-
haggi Secondary College in next
Wednesday’s May Budget.
We can’t withstand further de-
Certainly there are some fine
education facilities in the South
Gippsland and Bass Coast areas.
We can be pleased about that at
The impressive developments
at Newhaven College on the Is-
land, at Mary MacKillop in Leon-
gatha and also at the state sec-
ondary colleges in Leongatha and
now Korumburra are all welcome.
But they have only served to
underscore just how terrible the
conditions are at Wonthaggi’s se -
That’s not to say that our kids
at Wonthaggi Secondary haven’t
been able to excel in those facili-
ties, they have, and it’s a tribute
to the staff who have to put up
with the conditions year after
year, that they’ve been able to
look beyond the cold, cramped
rooms, the crumbling walls and
leaky roofs to see a bright future.
But good facilities have to make
a difference where retention rates
and aspiration levels are con-
cerned and for too long we’ve
lagged behind in these and other
measures due to our substandard
Certainly some families have
taken the decision to remove
their kids from the situation
but not everyone can afford the
alternative of a private educa-
tion. Most have got to finish their
schooling at Wonthaggi Second-
And it’s simply not good enough
for a growing community to have
to put up with such a poorly re-
sourced state school.
Visits by the Deputy Premier
and Minister for Education, the
Hon James Merlino, in the past
year and his genuine words of
support have raised hopes that
2017 will be our year.
We’re not prepared to pop the
champagne corks just yet but
surely, they can’t let us down now.
And as late as it was, the de-
cision by the Bass Coast Shire
Council to support the develop-
ment of a three-court stadium
with the proposed secondary col-
lege development demonstrates
total community support for the
Wonthaggi Secondary College re-
At long last, Mr Premier, it’s
Wonthaggi’s turn to shine.
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