Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : May 2, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 16 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2017
Isn’t GDP (gross domestic prod-
uct) a curious thing? Every econo -
mist has a different understand-
ing. Following cyclone Debbie, big
time taxpayer handouts for recon-
struction and insurance claims ac-
tually add to GDP.
Meanwhile when you undertake
large scale works for mitigation, cost
of such work subtracts from GDP.
How insane is that? Disaster is
good while mitigation is bad - only
in economics, root of all evil! So
much concern is debated today
about cost of works for mitiga-
tion, big levee banks etc. But ma-
jor fix is possible while actually
In good old days, big rainfall ac-
tually got stored, absorbed in the
ground, from furthest reaches of
Trees were of major importance,
along with under-storey, along
with wide variety of flora and fau-
na above and below ground. Six
hundred species, the kind that
burrow, opening up soil for rain-
fall, are endangered because of
Land clearing is about cattle
more than 50 per cent of national
Livestock doesn’t need land
clearing but large scale Collins/Pitt
Street famers think they do.
Cloven hoofed beasties compact
soil surface, baked into hard pan
by the sun, so that heavy rain won’t
penetrate and runs off. Soils are
fine clay. When surface root mat
is penetrated by cloven hoofs, big
steep gullies are eroded away.
Negligible reparation is being
done because you couldn’t possi-
bly ask graziers to fix up so very
many hectares at $30,000 per
hectare and government is too
busy with taxpayer handouts for
reconstruction, a result of them
turning a blind eye to major envi-
Aquatic river life is killed off by
ever more mirk of suspended fine
clay solids, killing life in rivers and
fine enough to stay suspended for
many weeks killing off corals in
So all we need to do is cancel
land clearing, 40 football fields
per day, tripled since 2011. And
ain’t it ironic that Kyoto allowed us
8 per cent increase in emissions,
when rest of the world signed up
for decrease, especially that this 8
per cent was to allow time to wind
back land clearing.
Under ERF (Emission Reduction
Fund) our leaders claim big results
with emission reductions, by tree
planting/carbon farming CO2 se-
questration as well as reduced
Yet land clearing is up by 300
per cent to 300,000 hectares per
year, causing huge damage to the
In comparison, hectares of trees
planted is very small change.
So there are multiple benefits:
stopping land clearing stops tidal
wave floods, improves environ-
ment for graziers, stops damage to
rivers and reef and even stops CO2
When will we let our leaders
know that we’re just a little bit less
than satisfied with their uncertain-
ty? It’s time they need to be seen
to be actually doing something, es -
pecially changing rules of econom-
ics so that such huge cost of doing
nothing is subtracted from GDP.
Bernie McComb, Phillip Island.
Pay up, but
Mr Tamlin and his crew have
had a nice pay rise, services have
been reduced, our garbage collec-
tion is to be reduced, tip fees are
a shocker, no wonder rubbish is
dumped on roadsides, etc.
I have worked in a government
job for many years. I have not had
a pay-rise for five years and most
people I deal with are the same.
Our farmers have had a down
turn in South Gippsland Shire, so
why have shire staff had a pay rise,
when services have been reduced?
Our rates are up, power, phones,
insurances, doctors, vets - name it
and it is up with less services.
Mr Tamlin does not live in our
shire, so has no personal interest
in the community except to milk
Now he and his staff have
thought up another way to harass
and fleece our country people by
snooping around septic toilets
3698 letters gone out at a $1 a
stamp plus staff time processing
them - what a rip off again.
It would be better to clean up our
roadside fire hazards. Farmers are
not allowed to remove a down or
dead tree, there’s no grazing the
roadside so blackberries, ragwort,
ivy etc take over.
Police have to have a search war-
rant, so why can shire staff snoop
anywhere they want? Do they have
a police check? I most certainly do
not want any council staff on my
property unless I am there.
John Stanton, Korumburra.
The shame of
Amazingly after, 100 years, still
nobody knows exact cause of WWI.
It was an era of amazing inno-
vation, entrepreneurship and big
finance proceeds from expanding
After the preceding 100 years
of industrial revolution, transport
was transformed from horse to
steam rail to petrol road, to air-
craft, from sail to steam ships,
coal to oil fired and massive in
size, and electronic communica-
tions replacing semaphore flags.
Everybody had to have the best
technology for their military. Does
this sound familiar?
Just a very few decades before,
weapons were muzzle loaded,
black powder into the open end of
a barrel, rodded down with wad-
ding and shot.
The third age had arrived, with au-
tomatic manufacturing machinery.
Full metal jacket cartridge am-
munition was a huge advance.
Portable battlefield machine
guns, by Hiram Maxim, fired 600
rounds per minute.
Brits were given first refusal for
an exclusive deal but declined.
So Hiram sold licences to manu-
facture to all and sundry. Brits ac-
quired a few samples, while early
in WWI, Germany already punched
out 450 per month.
Movies don’t show that machine
guns are most effective when
fired across the path of advancing
troops, mowing them down with a
wall of lead.
Field guns are obviously much
faster to fire and more mobile than
cannons, easily shifted as troops
moved into towns off the battle-
field, leading to collateral damage,
way back when.
Scores for casualties were enor-
mous, as many as 60,000 in a
single day, on the Western Front.
Surely this scale of hi-tech indus-
trialised mutilation and death
should be remembered as a day of
shame for our species?
Instead, we get so much pomp
and ceremony, baubles and ban-
gles, latest, fastest, noisiest kill-
ing machines in the sky, myths
of honourable deeds and the only
certainty in next month’s budget
is unquestionable $200 billion for
even more big military weapons.
Defence White Paper identifies
main threats as terrorism and cy-
The only real and credible threat
is climate change, which amounts
to our species self-righteous
enough to destroy all species and
the whole planet.
Will homo ever be sapiens?
Bernie McComb, Phillip Island.
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 con-
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given priority. Writers are also urged
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reasons, and must be submitted
with the author’s name and contact
details of which only the name and
town location will appear.
Can’t see the budget for the statistics
SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT Michael Giles
IT doesn’t surprise me that
one of the founding fathers of
the United States, Benjamin
Franklin, was also a success-
ful newspaper publisher in
In this business, as he also
discovered, it pays to maintain
healthy scepticism towards
government and politicians
and you can include local gov-
ernment in that space.
One of his most famous say-
ings was: “Believe only half of
what you see and nothing of
what you hear.”
That adage could easily be
applied to the new Bass Coast
Shire budget, and, in fact, to
any budget produced by gov-
Because the reality is, as the
Mayor Cr Pam Rothfield ad-
mitted last week, it’s almost
impossible for the lay person
to understand what’s really go-
ing on below the surface of the
headline claims about ‘Budget
It’s good news, for example,
that the shire is finally find-
ing money, not only to develop
much-needed new facilities,
like Wonthaggi’s new sports sta-
dium, but also to renew woeful-
ly neglected assets such as the
Wonthaggi Arts Centre, while
agreeing that it can fund the
Inverloch Transfer Station and
Surf Parade pathway after all.
In fact, after the shire bor-
rows an additional $4.3 million
this year to match some of the
government grants it hopes to
secure, and our total borrow-
ings balloon out to $16.8 mil-
lion by June 30, 2018, we’re
already in good shape to pay
off $6.6 million of that debt the
It’ll drop back down to $11
million by June 30, 2019,
And according to the shire
CEO, Paul Buckley, we already
have almost $6 million of that
money in reserve ready to go.
So why borrow the funds
at all? Because, according to
Mr Buckley, they’ve done the
sums and it’s better to retain
that money in reserve until the
loans fall due in the 2018-19
Of course, you’re unlikely to
see information about our re-
serves, or the financial viabil-
ity of the shire, clearly laid out
in the ‘Draft Annual Budget
2017-18’ just released by the
council for public comment.
One of the council’s own
members, Cr Les Larke, for
example, claims the shire is
in line to record a $31 mil-
lion operating loss for the five
years to June 30, 2017, while
Mr Buckley says the financial
statements for the four years
to June 30, 2016 show a “cu-
mulative operating surplus of
Who do you believe?
With a forecast operating
surplus of $1.416 million this
financial year, the operating
surplus for the five years will
actually be $15.95 million, Mr
That’s a $46 million differ-
ence of opinion between CPA Cr
Larke and the CEO, but it comes
down to the way you calculate
it, we’re told, so good luck with
trying to make meaningful com-
ment about the budget.
But good on Les Larke for at
least trying to hold the shire to
That aside, the shire council
has produced a budget with a lot
more positives than we are used
to seeing at this time of year,
which according to Mr Buckley
is the result of three years of
hard work on service reviews,
cost cutting and efficiencies.
$300,000 a year on the closure
of the Wonthaggi Information
Centre (now run by the com-
munity), is a case in point.
He says we have saved $6
million in the past three years
and he’s determined to deliver
another $4 million in savings
over the next three and a half
years... while retaining the
same staffing levels.
It makes you wonder what the
hell was going on in the years
before that when the shire
council and administration was
leaving us disgracefully exposed
on capital replacement, with
a renewal gap that was consis-
tently the worst in its group of
19 large rural councils.
If it looked like the shire was
doing nothing new then, you
And you can bet your life the
councils and executives that
ruled the roost in those years
also told us how good their
The present council and its
CEO Paul Buckley are talk-
ing a big game with their new
budget, and if the government
grants they have applied for
come off, we may well see some
Increases in rates and charg-
es have also been kept to a
But if you take the advice of
old Ben Franklin, you’ll wait
and see before giving council
your official seal of approval.
drinking fruit punch
A TOORA woman who drove her blue Mer-
cedes through Leongatha on her way home from
Pakenham in December last year, blew 0.129
when stopped by police for a routine check.
According to information before the court,
Susan Foster 60, had consumed three glasses
of punch at a family occasion before driving the
75km to Leongatha where she was stopped and
breath-tested by police.
“I thought it would be absorbed by then,” Ms
Foster told police, but she was required to be a
‘double zero’ driver following previous offending.
Magistrate Charles Tan said that because the
latest offence came within the first six months
after previous offending, the penalty should re-
flect that and he fined the woman $1000 and
disqualified her from driving for 24 months.
At $30 a month, it will take almost three and
a half years for the woman to finish paying off
One offence led to another
A WONTHAGGI man who had his car im-
pounded over a fisheries offence was picked up
by police in Grantville last April driving another
car without an interlock device fitted.
Alex Grivas, 25, told the Korumburra Magis-
trates’ Court last week that he was only driving
the car to get it ready as a replacement for the
forfeited vehicle by fixing the windscreen and
effecting other repairs.
But he was also charged with driving a man-
ual car on an auto licence and with not display-
ing P2 plates and fined a total of $1000 with
$119.90 in statutory costs.
Blew 0.181 driving at San Remo
A 79 year old Cape Woolamai man who was
seen by police driving erratically on Phillip Is-
land Road, San Remo, in July last year, subse-
quently blew more than three times the legal
limit when stopped for a breath test.
Police alleged in court that the man had
crossed double lines in his Ford sedan at
around 9.05pm, while weaving back and forth,
and after blowing 0.181 at the police station at
10.23pm, they also impounded his car.
Lawyer for Massimo Capovilla, Anne Wise-
man, said her client had since joined Alcoholics
Anonymous and was arranging to do a positive
lifestyle program with the Salvation Army fol-
lowing the incident.
He was travelling home at the time after visit-
ing his girlfriend, she said.
The Magistrate Charles Tan fined Capovilla
$1000 with $119.90 costs warning him that his
behaviour on the road was incredibly danger-
ous and he wanted to apply a penalty that re-
flected the seriousness of the offending.
Couldn’t remove interlocker
KORUMBURRA Magistrate Charles Tan told a
Koo Wee Rup man applying for the removal of an
interlock condition from his licence in court last
week that he no longer had the discretion to re-
move the condition if there was even one breach.
The applicant apparently had a positive read-
ing on the device after drinking and then at-
tempting to drive following a 50th birthday party.
“As of October 2015, I can’t grant your appli-
cation,” he said noting the applicant would have
to show at least six months clear of alcohol on
his driving report.
Case off after house burnt
A MAN appearing in Korumburra Court last
week on charges of persistent family violence
breaches had a reasonable excuse for wanting
Not only had he lost all his possessions in a
house fire but his car broke down when he was
supposed to be seeing his lawyer.
Nonetheless the Magistrate Charles Tan
didn’t accept the request initially and asked if
the matter couldn’t be resolved on the day.
As it turned out, there were other matters pend-
ing and the case was adjourned for a few weeks.
Assaulted at sporting event
A DOMESTIC dispute which escalated into a
nasty fight at the Nyora Speedway in June last
year had its sequel in the Korumburra Magis-
trates’ Court last week when two men were fac-
ing ‘recklessly causing injury’ charges.
Friends Ben Campbell and Josh Vella both
became embroiled in a fight with another man
at the sporting event until bystanders broke it
up and they were escorted from the venue by
The victim was left with bruising and sore-
ness to the left eye.
In answer to questions from the Magistrate
Charles Tan, the men claimed there had been
They were nonetheless both fined $1200 but
without conviction with respect to their other-
wise clean record.
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