Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : February 28, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 20 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2017
I have been thinking for some time
as to how to free up money within our
budgets to pay for upgrades to sporting
facilities in Wonthaggi.
I do want to see upgrades. I would
agree with those who say that current
facilities are tired.
I am not particularly wedded to
whether we go ahead with the Wont-
haggi YMCA or a new high school site.
To date, the YMCA site has had signif-
icant planning and community input.
While many have talked a lot about a
future high school site, a master-plan
has yet to be drawn up. That’s not to
say that it can’t be done, but it needs to
be done properly.
This latest proposal for funding has
come straight out of left field. It has
been thrown up without proper plan-
The first basic outline of the proposal
was received by councillors on Friday,
It is the only council proposal I have
received so far that didn’t say what the
cost to residents was going to be.
There was no figure whatsoever. The
cost was literally “xxxx”.
We didn’t have a figure on the Mon-
day or on Tuesday or even Wednesday
morning of the meeting (February 15).
We received a figure at around
2.45pm, a few hours before starting
our public meeting.
Council staff had been working to get
that detail, but it had taken that long to
get the information from the Fund.
The question is this - would you
commit millions of dollars of residents’
money to a project with just a couple
of hours of consideration of the cost?
I took the view that it would have
been irresponsible of me to do so with
such flimsy planning and detail.
All councils draw up their budgets
for the financial year in April, May and
Every dollar committed before we sit
down and draw up our plan is a dol-
lar we don’t have available for the next
It is the difference between operat-
ing in ad hoc way or operating with a
It is the difference between putting it
on the credit card or paying for it with
money that we actually set aside.
I am committed to finding money to
put aside for upgrades to Wonthaggi’s
But I won’t make promises without
the money and I will not support put-
ting everything on the credit card.
Cr Julian Brown, Bunurong Ward,
Bass Coast Shire Council.
Get in line
I read your front page article with a
picture of four gorgeous kids told to
look sad - a caption stating they have
been denied the chance to play in a
specialty built highball stadium with
looking Phillip Island kids looking sad
because they do not have a public pool
to swim in; or a highball court to play
in for that matter, would you also print
Point is, there are competing de-
mands for sporting facilities across the
shire, and not enough money to pro-
The reaction by their elders remind-
ed me of spoilt children stamping their
foot for not being given what they want-
ed, whether it was affordable or not.
Phillip Island has been raising money
for a pool for 10 years, but have been
knocked back by the council. There’s
no money, council says.
At least the Island is trying to help
How much have the Wonthaggi Bas-
ketball Association raised, or is just a
case of ‘I want, and I want it now, and
I therefore should be able to jump the
queue ahead of every other place’.
Who gets to the $2 million anyway?
Here is a breakdown of where the
shire rate money comes from, printed
in the Phillip Island Advertiser this
Please note. Not a lot comes from
Wonthaggi, when compared to other
areas of the shire.
• Inverloch: $8,426,958 from 4726
assessments (19.4 per cent of the en-
• Wonthaggi: $5,066,333 from 6245
assessments (11 per cent of the entire
• Phillip Island: $19,277,250 from
13,116 assessments (44.5 per cent of
the entire rate)
• San Remo: $1,997,996 from 1232
assessments (2 per cent of the entire
$8,591,726 from 4461 assessments
(22.4 per cent of the entire rate).
I congratulate the council for the de-
cision it made, which would have been
a hard one, and for promising fairness
in the delivery of services across the
shire in future, in the face of some very
If your children stamp their foot and
demand a shiny new bike, and you
don’t have the money to pay for it, do
you buy it simply because they say they
really, really need it, and demand that
Or do you act like a responsible
adult, who has to live within the fam-
ily’s means and provide fairly for every-
The reaction of the Wonthaggi Bas-
ketball Association as reported last
week was a very poor and self-centred
one, in my view,
Eva Conway, Cowes.
We note that the South Gippsland
Shire CEO has tried to deflect from
the woeful business practices his ad-
ministration has practiced in relation
to these parks (Port Welshpool and
Yanakie) by suggesting that tourists
would not stay in the parks and hence
council needed to be the business op-
To most ratepayers this is an affront
by the CEO when he is spending our
money. To me it seems the caravan
parks operated and generated activ-
ity in the shire without the ratepayers
needing to spend a vast sum on their
I have acknowledged that council
may have a role to play in managing
these Crown Land sites.
However I believe these parks can
be suitably controlled by appropriate
mechanisms in a business lease.
At least with a lease the community
has a transparent figure that we can
see the caravan parks contribute to the
Are ratepayers aware that the Coun-
cil Budget has listed the following capi-
tal expenditure for the caravan parks
over the next 10 years as follows:
• Yanakie Caravan Park – total
• Welshpool Caravan Park – to-
tal $636,144 plus a toilet block of
$376,419 making a total of $1,012,563.
Along with capital expenditure on
the Waratah Bay Park a total of over
$3.3 million over the next 10 years or
around $165 per rate assessment is
The above are capital expenditures
and not operating expenditures.
If they are anything like the current
levels of around $1 million per annum
these parks are costing the ratepayers
If we allow the current wage bill to
grow like the growth in the senior of-
ficers at the council of over 5.5 per cent
per annum over the past 10 years then
these caravan parks will cost us a for-
tune into the future.
These figures do not include the costs
on the council bureaucracy to manage
this business venture using our money.
I call on the councillors in this Bud-
get process to cease this business op-
eration and put the caravan parks out
for suitable leasing arrangements.
Lindsay Love, Leongatha.
Lots of land
I really had to check the date to make
sure I hadn’t got into the DeLorean and
“time shifted” to April 1.
Can Trevor Ludeman, with all his in-
side knowledge and expertise, explain
to me why my block of land for sale has
not even had any interest, despite the
price being dropped well below what I
paid for it two years ago?
Can he explain why both real estate
agents I deal with state that there are
300-400 blocks for sale in the Leon-
gatha area at the moment, not 90, and
very few are selling, because few are
Can he explain how adding “his” 140
blocks to an already saturated market
is something that will benefit anyone
apart from himself and the developer?
And with his foresight and “intimate
knowledge of the dynamics of the Le-
ongatha property market”, has he con-
sidered the long term effects of the low-
er milk prices, subsequent restraint on
dependent businesses, downsizing and
even the rumoured closure of the MG
The town area has a glut of vacant
shops (some of which were represent-
ed by Mr Ludeman’s PPD, eg. former
Gleeson Motors site, now a vacant
shell), a number of businesses have
closed, employment is very limited,
there is a glut of housing blocks off
McDonald street, Shingler Street and
Brown Street, and I would doubt that
47 to 65 new houses are built each year
in Leongatha, however I would be hap-
py to be convinced otherwise!
Perhaps the only thing that’s going to
get “very tight” is the free space in Mr
Ludeman’s wallet if his proposal is ac-
cepted by the council, seeing as he is
representing a land developer who de-
sires to make huge profits out of such
Hopefully, collectively, the council-
lors have enough local knowledge and
foresight to see that this presentation is
designed to line the pockets of a devel-
oper, nothing more, nothing less, and
Mr Ludeman’s concern for Leongatha
“running out of home sites” is driven by
a vested interest, and is fantasy at best!
Wayne Beale, Leongatha.
lack of vision
In last week’s Sentinel-Times (Febru-
ary 21), there was a lot of commentary
over the lack of support by the Bass
Coast Shire Council for an Indoor
Highball Basketball facility.
In the Mayor’s Message by Cr Pa-
mela Rothfield she states “The Coun-
cil is vested with the responsibility of
good governance and equity across the
shire” and “Most councillors have com-
mitted to provide their electorate with
strong financial leadership”.
Fair enough comments but actions
are greater than words.
The Bass Coast Shire Balance Sheet
or Statement of Financial Position at
June 30, 2016 reveals a Cash and Cash
Equivalents of $26,342,000 (2015
$24,320,000) (2014 $17,076,000)
and equity of $576,795,000 (2015
$577,881,000) (2014 $530,525,000).
Anybody to suggest that the council
is in financial difficulty is just plain
One thing that appears to be missing
from the council’s monthly financial re-
porting is a Rolling Cash Flow Forecast
for the next 12 months.
It would be useful to see what the
forecast income is coming in and what
the forecast expenses are going out and
thereby revealing the forecast opening
and closing cash and cash equivalents
balance over the next 12 months.
This would tell the council what
funds are available that could be spent
for the benefit of the community that
they are supposed to support.
I would suggest that the council is
in breach of its governance obligations
to the people of the Bass Coast for not
having this report.
The decision to block the much need-
ed indoor highball basketball facility by
the council shows a singular lack of vi-
sion for the future of Bass Coast.
Think the City of Bass Coast and
how are we going to get there.
Frank W Schooneveldt.
Desal spin does
not ‘hold water’
Bass MP Brian Paynter’s complaint
in last week’s local media about the
upcoming, “Daniel Andrews putting
politics before people” desal plant wa-
ter order, would be laughable if only he
was not so serious about it all.
How can he with even a hint of
straight face, make such a claim when
it’s still his Liberal Coalition’s State
Opposition policy to build a gigantic
container port at Hastings and in the
process, run the extreme risk of put-
ting the jobs of one in three “people”
in the highly tourism dependant Bass
Coast economy in jeopardy?
This statistic is so commonplace as
to be mentioned in a letter to me from
Mr Paynter dated August 26, 2015. The
letter goes on to include his now im-
mortal words, quote, “no government
would put this valuable contribution in
To this we must add the extra 1.4 bil-
lion PA total for:
a/. Western Port recreational fishing
b/. Tourism on the eastern side of the
Mornington Peninsula , and
c/. Circa $400 million risk to the
crops in the Bunyip Food Bowl from
salt water penetration of the aquifers
that supply the vegetable industry in
that area, which incidentally, forms a
large part of the northern end of the
Mr Paynter’s Lib’s would have West-
ern Port dredged to the extent that this
would be almost certain to occur.
As recently as this week, word has
reached me that a Liberal MP with
close ties to this region has stated that
if they are re-elected, “Hastings is back
on the table”.
The same “people”, at least in Mr
Paynter’s Bass electorate, have at the
last two State and Federal elections,
cast votes in very large numbers for
candidates taking an anti-Hastings
Furthermore, all candidates in last
year’s Bass Coast Shire Council elec-
tions stood on an anti-Hastings Port
platform and this is also reflected in of-
ficial Bass Coast Council policy.
Makes you wonder what part of the
simple two letter phrase, “No Port”,
don’t these pollies understand?!
So with the $2 billion in existing eco-
nomic input and the many thousands
of Western Port jobs dependant on
this massive figure, plus the fact that
the Hastings plan with a $12 billion all
up price tag has been described as the
“desal on steroids”, surely it is time for
Mr Paynter and Co to “come clean” and
tell the Bass electorate where he and
his party stand on this vital local issue.
Via all manner of local media ads we
Bass electors are encouraged to “talk
Oh, last but not least:
1/. Let it be known I am equally op-
posed to the desal monster as I am to
the Hastings Port Project, and
2/. Please spare us the “there are no
current plans” spin on whether or not
Hastings will be built. We already know
that, it’s the future that bothers us so.
Kevin Chambers, The Gurdies.
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.
Please explain, councillors!
IT has been going on for years.
People coming on to council, af-
ter making big statements to the
voters about their intentions, and
then ushering through their own
applications or personal issues
Last week at the South
Gippsland Shire Council meet-
ing, we saw two councillors leave
the meeting room due to pecuni-
ary interests, Cr Don Hill and Cr
Jeremy Rich, both without any
In Cr Hill’s case, he was the ap-
plicant requesting the opening
of 211 metres of unused and un-
made government road at Mirboo
North, to provide access to a farm-
ing property (size unspecified)
“recently” purchased by him, ac-
cording to a shire report.
The matter has been before
council since January 2016.
Cr Rich also left the council
chamber last Wednesday, when
a report of actions taken by the
CEO needed to be approved by
These actions included varia-
tions to a water agreement be-
tween the shire and Ansevata
Nominees Pty Ltd, a firm owned
by the Rich family, and approval
of the terms of a settlement be-
tween the shire and the Rich fam-
ily company, following a dispute
over water in a holding dam at
The settlement is believed to
have include a significant payment.
It is understood that the shire
may also be liable for remedial
works at the dam.
There is nothing wrong with
councillors making a living.
And if their everyday lives inter-
sect with the shire’s rules and reg-
ulations, there is nothing wrong
with those councillors as individ-
uals getting the same treatment as
any other ratepayer, land owner or
No problem whatsoever.
But, in the interests of full dis-
closure, those councillors should
be required to make a public state-
ment to the community about
their interactions with council.
And any current arrangements
between sitting councillors and
the shire, whether it be rental
payments, planning applications,
prosecutions or penalties; these
should be placed on a public reg-
ister during their term of office.
But it’s interesting to note, that
while approving a last-minute
change to the Councillor Code of
Conduct, at the same meeting as
these issues of pecuniary interest
came up, there was no attempt
made to protect the interests of
the ratepayers where councillors
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