Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : May 9, 2017 Contents PAGE 2 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2017
BEING GREAT AT WHAT YOU DO IS ONLY
A GOOD START IN BUSINESS. THE NEXT
STEP IS CONVINCING CUSTOMERS.
Too many small businesses
lack sales because their
marketing lacks impact.
Don’t miss this 50 minute
Thursday, June 15 and
Friday, June 16
at the Wonthaggi
75 Graham St, Wonthaggi
presented by respected
marketing expert Damian
Attendance is free, but
Call Jim Akers 5672 1888.
to all CFA
From page 1
• Kelly Hamilton: Wonthaggi gets nothing. No
funding for a new high school, no sub-regional
hospital, minimal housing, court house with no
disabled access etc. The list goes on, we miss out!
• Sheryl Spencer: What an absolute disgrace!
The building is falling down, the teachers are, on
the whole, brilliant, trying to educate kids who
want to learn, in the most appalling conditions -
what has to happen to get funding? The building
collapsing on some students? Totally outraged!
• Sharon Miller: Considering it’s the only public
high school for a large area, this is disgusting
Bass Coast Mayor Cr Pam Rothfield, commu-
nity leaders, local Liberal MP Brian Paynter, the
State Treasurer Tim Pallas, the Education Minis-
ter James Merlino, who offered his personal en-
couragement last year, and Eastern Victoria Labor
MP Harriet Shing; they’ve all provided reactions,
explanations and comments (see reports inside).
But the school community has felt the disap-
pointment most, and they’re the ones that have
had to pick up the pieces this week.
Last Friday, some of the members of the school’s
building committee; including Acting Principal
Darren Parker, Acting Campus Principal Marg
O’Donnell, Campus Manager Phil Hughes, Mainte-
nance Manager Darren Martin and Council Presi-
dent Geoff Robertson, met with the Sentinel-Times
and were on the verge of tears as they described
how devastated they felt.
“I haven’t known how to react,” Mr Parker said.
“I offered a measured response to begin with be-
cause I didn’t want to say something I might regret
“But I’ve thought about it now and we don’t just
want to take this decision and roll over.
“Everyone here on our local planning commit-
tee, who’ve been working on this project, we’re all
taking this personally because our kids go here,
or have gone here. But it’s not just our kids who’ll
miss out now. We’re only a snap-shot of the com-
“Wonthaggi Secondary College is really Bass
Coast Secondary College and beyond our profes-
sional lives, we’re part of this community and we
have a right to expect better for our kids.
“We’re gutted and deflated but we’re not just go-
ing to say ‘oh well’ and get on with it. We’re really
hurting over this.”
“Our plans, they’re so exciting,” said Geoff Rob-
“We’d got to the stage where we were saying this
door’s got to go here and the walls should be this
colour,” he said.
“But because it’s not in the Latrobe Valley or
down at Geelong it doesn’t get funded. Take a look
at a map of where school works are needed and
where they’ve been funded and you’ll see what I
“We also thought about asking the kids to dress
up as penguins when they come to school in the
hope they’d get noticed.”
But Geoff says his biggest disappointment of all
is that Wonthaggi has become a political football.
“Both sides have promised and we’ve not been
given a zac. It rips the guts right out of you to get
another no,” he said.
“And, yesterday Marg (O’Donnell) and I had to go
down to a meeting in Melbourne (with the Victo-
rian School Building Authority) to continue plan-
ning for the new school,” Mr Parker said. “We even
signed off on stage two (design) yesterday.
“It was pretty tough but we were encouraged to
stay positive and to keep up the momentum (of
preparations). They also told us that there were
40 schools looking for money and only 20 were
“They said that ours was the biggest project,” he
said, as explanation for why it wasn’t funded.
These sentiments have been echoed by the State
Treasurer, Education Minister and key Eastern
Victoria Labor MP Harriet Shing; all of whom
gave personal explanations about why Wonthaggi
Mr Parker said the building committee would
still finalise the plans to tender stage, to be ready
for funding, but he fears hopes for a $6 million
sports stadium have been dashed.
“We’ll be ‘shovel-ready’ by the end of the year,”
School staff have unloaded on the decision and
the whole process.
“It’s an issue of equity. We’re offering a qual-
ity education here but these decisions are highly
symbolic: they say you’re not valued, that Bass
Coast kids aren’t valued; especially after the way
expectations were built up. It was an opportunity
to change the notion of teaching and everyone was
ready for it,” said Acting Campus Principal Marg
“I’m also appalled at the process of informing
schools. There was no phone call, nothing. We had
to quickly try and decipher the budget papers to
see if we got anything. To be put under that emo-
tional pressure while trying to run a school... They
don’t appreciate what it’s like to try and run a
school while that’s happening.
“And it’s a highly sensitive time at the moment
(with Newhaven developing new facilities),” she
They’re gutted. We’re all gutted.
(*Note: Cr Rothfield is saying all the right things
now but back on February 15, 2017 she was one
of five councillors who voted 5:4 against complet-
ing the Shared Facilities Fund submission and
allocating up to $2 million to the project).
l Wonthaggi’s 2017 State Budget shock l
Minister for Education
I understand that the Wonthaggi
community is frustrated about this
decision. Harriet Shing has advocated
strongly on behalf of the local commu-
nity and she will continue to do so.
Labor was left with a huge backlog
of school investment following the for-
mer Liberal Government’s harsh cuts
Over 1000 building projects are
being rolled out across the state and
we will continue to upgrade as many
schools as possible.
We know there are many more
schools that need upgrades in coming
years, including Wonthaggi Secondary
Campus Manager Phil Hughes
The planning process was opened
up to the whole staff and they could
visualise where we were going, they
had a lot of input so it’s very deflating,
especially after the building committee
saw what is available at other schools.
It says Bass Coast kids are disposable.
Now we’ve got to go back as a staff and
do the best we can but they’re still going
to be disadvantage due to our facilities.
I’m involved in outdoor education so
it’s particularly disappointing that the
opportunity for a three-court stadium
could be lost due to the process being
elongated. This was a great opportuni-
ty for a real community partnership, a
new level of community involvement in
our school that has been lost.
College Council President
When you see what other schools
have; at Korumburra, Foster, Leon-
gatha and Mirboo North and these
schools have falling numbers. Why?
The Education Department told us
what we needed. Why did they say
‘no’? We want to get out of the politi-
cal process and on with the job. We’ve
got a meeting tonight (Monday). The
school council will be more proactive.
We’ve used the polite approach and
been burnt so many times, we’re not
going to be resigned to it.
Fire captain, ex-teacher
I was flabbergasted to hear Won-
thaggi had missed out yet again. I
taught at the high-tech school in 1966
and the buildings are just the same
as they were then. I don’t know how
the kids fit. I really feel for the staff.
It must be a battle to keep the kids
motivated. When I grandson started
in Year 7 we thought the new senior
school might be ready by the time he
got there but he’s in Year 11 now so
he’ll miss out.
Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball As-
sociation President, Cath Garnham
“It’s hugely disappointing for bas-
ketball but more so for the school
I can’t believe the school hasn’t got
up. How can you have six ministers
down? If it’s not important now with
six of them down, then when’s it go -
ing to be important? It’s crazy the
conditions they’ve got to study in and
teach in - it’s embarrassing.”
IT’S back to the drawing board for the Won-
thaggi Secondary College building committee,
finalising the plans and making them ready for
a tender process, even though the school wasn’t
funded in last Tuesday’s State Budget.
“We signed off on stage two yesterday. Now
we’re working on detailed designs. We’re still
endorsed to finish the plans and pre-tender
documents and we’ll have it shovel-ready by
the end of the year. We’ll make sure we’ve
done all the work so we can go out for tender
as soon as we get the funding.” said Acting
WSC Principal Darren Parker.
He said they would continue to meet with all
the appropriate people.
President of the College Council, Geoff Rob-
ertson, said the school council would decide a
way forward, but he predicted they would be
“A lot has changed in the workplace in the
past 20 years and we need to reflect those
changes so our kids are ready.”
President of the Wonthaggi Business and
Tourism Association, Dee Connell, has
thrown her group’s support behind Wonthag-
“It’s so disappointing. I know everyone is so
disappointed about it. We need to have a sit-
down with everyone to see what we can do to
make it happen. This is beyond politics.
Where to from here for WSC?
Links Archive May 2, 2017 Edition May 16, 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page