Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : May 9, 2017 Contents PAGE 20 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2017
It’s just not worth it
Reports in their local media state the
new Frankston Council has voted to re-
verse its previous very pro port stance
for the Port of Hastings development.
This is to be commended, if only be-
cause otherwise, they would go down
in history as the biggest bunch of hypo-
crites in Australian Local Government
Along with their hypocrite bedfellows
at Mornington Shire, on grounds of
the “impact on tourism and beaches”,
they are on public record at the Port of
Melbourne Privatisation Enquiry as op-
posed to any further dredging in Port
Phillip, but happy to see 24 million
cubic metres (minimum) pulled out of
Western Port and in the process wreck
one of the most environmentally sensi-
tive waterways in Australia.
Frankston’s submission started off
with a pledge to “do no harm”.
You also have to love the fact that
Mornington Peninsula participated in
three recent Western Port environmen-
tal studies, to wit the Western Port Local
Coastal Hazard Assessment, the Cen-
tral Region Coastal Plan and Western
Port Ramsar Site Management Plan, all
of which basically say “leave it alone”.
Yet on the economic front, they are
quite happy to ignore this for the sake
of a few automated container port jobs.
Don’t their respective staff in these ar-
eas talk to each other at all?
Whatever jobs would come out of the
container port would probably be well
surmounted by those lost in the $300
million a year tourism industry on the
eastern side of Mornington Peninsula
facing Western Port in places such as
Balnarring, Somers and Shoreham
(reference Worley Parsons 2015, men-
tioned in the Ramsar Plan above).
Tourists like wildlife and beaches, not
gigantic container ships.
Plus, how come their Port Phillip
beaches deserve future protection, but
none, including their own at Shoreham
et al, are worthy of same in the far more
tidal Western Port?
And as for dear old Matthew Guy
sounding off about jobs, 5000 or 1/3
of all jobs in Bass Coast depend on the
$600 million tourism industry, plus an-
other $700 million in recreational fish-
ing throughout the bay.
So there’s $1.3 billion pa at risk if he
gets his way and builds the container
The water bores at Tyabb have al-
ready gone salty from the aquifers un-
der Western Port at the container site.
Dredge down far enough and you hit
the ones that supply the whole Bunyip
His previous Liberal Government
knew all about ‘Ramsar’ and funded the
other two studies mentioned above. All
the while they spent $30 million of our
money with their “pet” Port Of Hastings
Development Authority trying to prove
the opposite to the “leave it alone” con-
clusions of all three reports! “Pet mon-
grel” more like!
To murder a metaphor, “you can’t
have your Port and drink it too”!
Plus, to quote the old television series
‘Minder’, Matthew Guy has “form” on our
side of Western Port, ie that land deal he
OK’d as Planning Minister at Ventnor.
So rather than pull esoteric eco-
nomic data out of the ether, let’s all
cool down a bit and face the real facts.
Ross Gittins summed it all up so well
in the Age recently. (Future) “Jobson
Growth is a Liar”.
Kevin Chambers, The Gurdies.
Searching the web for information
about the local water factory, I came
across the following article dated Octo-
ber 12, 2016: https://www.desalination.
Written in consultation with Aqua-
sure’s Matt Brassington it reports as
follows regarding the current order to
supply 50 gigalitres by June 30, 2017.
“Aquasure’s Victorian Desalination
Plant fulfils its first water order...
The Watersure team ramped up pro -
duction in the three months to July
2016... The plant is now producing
water that is being supplied into Mel-
bourne’s water system...”. Really? As
at October 12, 2016?
Hmmm, local media reported March
20, 2017 that water first flowed then
from the desal plant into Cardinia
Reservoir, a far cry from fulfilled five
months earlier! Who’s telling porkies?
So Aquasure, how about correcting
the record? How about publishing on
your website actual water volume de-
livered, updated say weekly, for public
interest given we are the ones paying?
Stephen Cannon, on behalf of
Re: Wonthaggi Education Precinct
Funding (an open letter which has also
been sent to the Premier’s office).
Dear Premier Andrews;
On behalf of the council and the Bass
Coast Shire community, I write to ex-
press our deepest disappointment that
the new senior campus of Wonthaggi
Secondary College (Stage 1 of the Won-
thaggi Education Precinct) was not
funded in the 2017/18 Victorian State
Budget released yesterday.
To provide our context to you:
• In the 2016/17 State Budget, funding
was allocated for the planning and design
of the new campus. This is now complete.
• The Ministerial delegation that visited
Bass Coast Shire on April 1, 2016, heard
firsthand from our community leaders
about our challenges in a range of ar-
eas, but most particularly education and
health. The Ministers in attendance saw
the substandard nature of the current se-
nior campus of the secondary college. The
Minister for Education assured our com-
munity that the Andrews Government was
“absolutely listening” to Wonthaggi and
acknowledged that the campus was con-
strained and had substandard facilities.
• Over recent months, council and
community groups have worked ex-
tremely hard, with the encouragement
of the Victorian Government, to prepare
a funding submission for a Wonthaggi
Regional Highball Stadium to be located
at the new Wonthaggi Secondary College.
Council had also allocated $1.5 million
towards this $6 million game changing
facility in its draft 2017/18 budget.
• Wonthaggi Secondary College, in
conjunction with the Department of Ed-
ucation and Training and Bass Coast
Shire Council has ensured that the $25
million project is shovel ready.
The provision of a quality education
precinct in Wonthaggi remains a key pri-
ority of the council and our community.
The school, community and council
have worked relentlessly over a decade
to ensure that no stone remained un-
turned in order to achieve the vision.
Wonthaggi, as a designated regional
centre identified in Plan Melbourne and
the Gippsland Regional Growth Plan,
needs quality education and health fa-
cilities in order to fulfil its true function.
Educational attainment in Bass Coast
is well below the Victorian average.
Council is working tirelessly to en-
sure that our fast growing shire offers
our community the benefits of a true
We are currently planning, with sup-
port of the Victorian Planning Authority,
to facilitate the doubling of our town.
Secondary education facilities today are
woefully inadequate and substandard.
The time is now to start to undo decades
of under investment by government.
Education in Bass Coast has reached
crisis status. Our students literally can-
not fit into the current facilities and lei-
sure facilities are woefully inadequate.
Council and the community demand a
genuine response to our confusion and
dismay, and a real and measurable com-
mitment in relation to how and when the
Victorian Government will deliver our
school and associated shared facilities.
I would value the opportunity to meet
with yourself and the Minster for Education
in order to hear your response firsthand.
I can be contacted on (03) 5951 3393
or 0428 936 025, or via email on pa-
Cr Pamela Rothfield, Mayor, Bass
Coast Shire Council.
I won’t give up
To everyone who is understandably
angry, frustrated and disappointed
by the decision to not fund the new
senior campus of Wonthaggi Second-
ary College in the 2017/18 Victorian
I’m sorry that my advocacy didn’t
pay off in the way I’d hoped in this
year’s budget, for a project that we
really need to bring to Wonthaggi so
that students can learn in modern,
secure and fit-for-purpose facilities
and be stimulated and inspired by
more than the hard work that their
teachers and staff put in.
I will campaign with you and advo-
cate for you and do everything I pos-
sibly can to secure this funding from
The new school needs to be built
and I have redoubled my efforts
from yesterday, when the budget
was handed down, to make sure this
project remains at the forefront of
decision-makers’ minds. I will con-
tinue to work on it, because it needs
to be done.
I’m really determined to get us
there, and I will work with the school
community, the shire council and the
area to do what we need to do for the
funding to be secured and the new
Harriet Shing, member for
Eastern Victoria Region.
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
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and town location will appear.
Andrews Government must back our kids
THERE’S an obscene example of
the problems created by the unco-
ordinated funding of our schools,
by State and Federal governments,
right here in Bass Coast.
Next year, the already excellent
Newhaven College will take its of-
fering to students and parents to a
whole new level when the school
combines all years, Prep to Year 12,
in a brand-spanking new campus,
architecturally designed and attrac-
tively situated on a greenfield site
in the middle of Phillip Island.
With construction well advanced
on the latest stage, the next stage
of development is already being
planned – a two-court indoor stadi-
um with “a huge gymnasium” and
grandstand overlooking the oval.
Funds for these works come from
Kids from right across the region,
Wonthaggi and Inverloch included,
already attend in large numbers, so
local parents can’t help but compare
what’s on offer at Newhaven with the
facilities at the only State secondary
college in the area, at Wonthaggi.
These facilities are provided by
the State Government.
It’s an odious comparison.
Of course we’re not talking about
the staff – there are highly dedicat-
ed, talented staff members at both
schools. But the contrast in condi-
tions could not be more marked, trag-
ically underscored now by the disas-
ter that was last week’s state budget.
It was a missed opportunity of
epic proportions which might yet
be put right. Of course, not every-
one can afford the $8000-plus per
year it costs to send a child to Ne-
whaven, even if the school had the
Ultimately the majority still have
to attend their local secondary col-
lege and it makes you sick to the
stomach to think that Newhaven
kids are getting a much better start
in life than Wonthaggi Secondary
College kids purely because of the
facilities and the state versus fed-
eral funding divide.
Sure, kids can and still do reach
their potential at WSC, whether
that’s being made work-ready or
ready for tertiary studies.
But the reality is that learning
and working in a modern environ-
ment raises aspiration and reten-
tion levels, better preparing stu-
dents to survive, feel comfortable
and thrive in similar facilities at
university or in the workplace.
On a whole lot of levels the new
senior campus should have been
funded this year.
• Student numbers in Year 12 at
WSC jump up from 140 this year
to 220-230 next year and for every
year beyond that.
• The opportunity to add a $6
million, three-court sports stadium
to the project via a genuine partner-
ship between community and gov-
ernment was an enormous bonus.
• Bass Coast is already seeing
some of the backwash from restruc-
ture in the Latrobe Valley and de-
• The area is growing strongly,
partly as an overflow from the rapid
expansion of Casey shire (popula-
tion 300,000), and school facilities
• And there’s the inevitable com-
parisons with the new-look New-
The knock we heard on the Won-
thaggi project was that it was too
big; at $22.7 million to $25 million
it was the biggest on the Education
Department’s priority list and easier
for government to fund several small
projects than one big one, we’re told.
But we don’t buy that.
It’s clear the decision was grossly
political in nature.
And the State Government could
easily have taken a leaf out of the
Commonwealth Government’s book
and funded it in stages... it still
could. Here’s a workable solution.
The Andrews Government should
immediately approve the application
by the Bass Coast Shire Council and
WSC to the Victorian School Building
Authority’s 2017 Shared Facilities
Fund, for the three-court stadium and
promise funding to start the new se-
nior campus next year.The sports sta-
dium could be built in the meantime.
Wonthaggi Secondary College is
determined to have their project
ready to go out for tender later
this year, so another way to fund
it would be to activate this ‘shov-
el-ready’ project when, inevitably,
other state-funded projects don’t go
ahead as planned.
Either way, the Andrews Gov-
ernment’s failure to fund the WSC
senior campus in this year’s bud-
get needs to be reviewed, and it’s
up to the only local Labor MPs in
Gippsland, Harriet Shing and Dan-
iel Mulino, to see that it happens.
THE Bass Coast Specialist School has been
overwhelmed by the support shown by the local
community to purchase a lift for its new bus to
enable wheelchair accessibility.
The school needs a replacement bus after one
of its buses was involved in an accident with a
tram in Melbourne’s CBD in October.
With $20,000 needed to purchase a wheel-
chair lift for a new bus, Bass MP Brian Paynter
and Wonthaggi Holden and Toyota’s Tony Cuz-
zupi joined forces to host a golf fundraiser day
at the Wonthaggi Golf Club recently, which saw
the required total raised.
The school now eagerly awaits the arrival of a
new 12-seater bus, which is expected to be com-
pleted in June and ready in time for term three.
The school’s captains Luke Chetcuti and
Natalie Campbell visited local businesses and
organisations during the week to thank them
for their donations.
Principal Edith Gray said the school was in-
credibly grateful for the support shown.
“We’ve got a list of all the people that helped
us on the day and we’ve asked the school com-
munity to support the people that supported
us, which I think is a nice way to build a com-
munity feel,” she said.
“Bringing the school captains to say thank
you to everyone personally has been a really
good exercise for the school captains and the
community to see our students.
“At present time we don’t have enough wheelchair
access on the buses. The one that was smashed
was one of our access buses. We do have another
bus but it doesn’t have wheelchair access on it.
“We’ve got a number of students who can’t
travel to the same places together unless we
have the wheelchair lift.
“It’s good timing because a couple of our old-
er students are in wheelchairs and they need to
start visiting places that they’ll be going to once
they leave school.”
Bass Coast Shire Council’s Russell Jacgung
is presented with a certificate of appreciation
by Bass Coast Specialist School captains Luke
Chetcuti and Natalie Campbell, in recognition of
the council’s support towards a golf fundraising
event for the school’s new bus. Russell played in
one of two council teams on the day. rg051917
Specialist school says thanks
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