Home' The Great Southern Star : February 2nd 2016 Contents PAGE 12 - “THE STAR”, Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Post: PO Box 84 Leongatha 3953
Fax: 03 5662 4350
Post: PO Box 84 Leongatha 3953
Fax: 03 5662 4350
OPINIONS Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
sign the Secrecy Act.
However, the offer of commu-
nity management, even if five years
late, is what the community has
Mr Parker kept working with
the Gippsland community to restore
the Long Jetty after 2010, continu-
ing even when he was gravely ill.
With him the community devel-
oped a plan for the staged opening
of the Long Jetty; first to the slipway
shed, as had been done when the
jetty was first built in 1938.
Then, into the future, the plan
was to generate funds from jetty en-
try fees and sponsorship for its on-
going restoration and maintenance.
Mr Parker’s shared vision was
for apprenticeships and ongoing
work funded by jetty entry fees and
A council business plan esti-
mated 80,000 people would use
the jetty annually. Small entry fees
would easily raise sufficient funds
for its maintenance.
Its wooden restoration for pe-
destrians and an ambulance was
quoted by the principle engineer of
Marine and Civil in 2011 as $3.3
Peter Ryan, who became Dep-
uty Premier, went to the 2010 elec-
tion with this quote and promise of
restoration and was resoundingly
However, Gippsland Ports has
used money designated to restore
the jetty to ‘build the case’ through
consultants reports to make it con-
crete and act like ‘two legged ter-
mites’, forever spending restoration
funds pulling bits of it.
This is despite heritage listing
by the National Trust. In 2011 Peter
Ryan raised another $2 million.
We now have $5 million set
aside which is easily enough to get
started with the first stage which
could be completed and insured in
This funding can then be built
on with sponsorship and jetty fees,
and underwater cameras and large
screens could provide a budget un-
Toilets and shelter would attract
more visitors and more income for
the Long Jetty’s restoration and
maintenance, while generating tour-
ism for local businesses.
One mention on ABC’s Austra-
lia All Over generated more than a
thousand responses nationally on
its Facebook site, proving the na-
tional value Australia’s third largest
The National Trust and the
Gippsland Trades and Labor Coun-
cil can support community manage-
ment for the ‘John Parker Plan’
and have the project management
capacity and experience to better
use $5 million restore and manage
the jetty to maximise it value to em-
ployment, training and tourism.
KEEP a lid on it Hawks fans.
With on field success and mem-
bership increases, Hawthorn risks
becoming the Collingwood of the
LAST Thursday our community
told Bass Coast councillors, in very
clear language, that we are opposed
to any attempt by them to increase
rates by more than the declared Fair
Go rate cap of 2.5 per cent.
Around 60 community members
attended the workshops held in Won-
thaggi, and the overwhelming mes-
sage to council is that it needs to start
living within ratepayers’ means.
Attempting to encourage at-
tendance at the workshops, Bass
Coast mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale
has been reported as saying, “We
need creative, lateral minds in our
shire to think about alternative rev-
enue streams we can enthusiastically
So it appears that, despite this
council having a CEO and handful
of executives that cost us well over
$2 million a year, and despite all the
money expended by this council on
consultants, other than slugging rate-
payers with excessive rate increases
this council is devoid of ideas for
other revenue streams!
Perhaps councilors didn’t get the
message from their expensive con-
sultant managed “You Talk, Council
Listens” sessions last April.
Well surely they must have got
it now, from no less than their own
general manager of governance,
organisation development and com-
munications, Mark Brady.
After facilitating the two gruel-
ling workshops, a weary Mr Brady
told those present he gets it, that
the community expects council
to restrict itself to the 2.5 per cent
cap and to not seek any variation,
and that he will report this back to
This week’s Cowes workshops
are sure to repeat this message to
Councillors, do you get it yet?
I WOULD like to add my views
as customer who spends time and
money with my family in South
Gippsland at Yanakie Caravan Park.
We shop in Leongatha and
Foster regularly. Since May 30,
2015, another 55 customers have
vacated the Yanakie Caravan Park.
That would be a massive loss of
income around $176,000 at the old
rate or around $209,000 at the new
rate for 12 month permit customers.
Why then have the Surf Coast
Shire Council run caravan parks lost
no annual customers?
It could just be they didn’t ap-
ply the new government guidelines
when the minister has stated these
are just guidelines and do not have
to be applied to existing customers.
The Surf Coast council run
caravan parks have lost no annual
customers and two of the South
Gippsland Shire Council run
caravan parks are bleeding cash.
Because Surf Coast’s old on-site
customers are exempt from new
crazy compliance measures like
suddenly needing an A-bar fitted to
an old van that has been on site over
“I am looking forward to be-
ing a leader within the school.
I have two buddies in Prep and
I like the responsibility.”
Year 6, Tarwin Valley
What are you most looking forward to this year at school?
“I look forward to making
stuff like boxes and pictures
with my friends.”
Prep, Leongatha Primary
“I cannot wait to learn how to
read. My favourite books are
Prep, Chairo Christian
“I’m looking forward to my
classes, especially biology. I also
get to catch up with friends.”
Year 12, Leongatha
WHEN the State Government announced council rates
would be capped at lower levels before it won the last
election, the news pleased ratepayers who no doubt
took that pledge on board at the polling booths.
But now ratepayers in Bass Coast Shire face the prospect of miss-
ing out on the benefits, with council still considering applying for an
exemption from rate capping.
So far, it appears council will struggle to gain community support,
particularly in the wake of community consultation sessions last week
at which ratepayers urged council to reduce expenditure and comply
with the cap.
The cap of 2.5 percent will apply from July 1, 2016 and given the
government has championed its ambition to lower council rates, no
doubt the government will be keen to see as fewer councils as possible
dodge the cap.
Councils can argue the cap is unrealistic and will result in fewer
council services, but no council can ignore the political ramifications of
trying to avoid the cap given council elections are being held in October
and rates are always a dominant issue on the minds of ratepayers.
The Phillip Island community in particular already feels overlooked
by council, with perceptions the Island is just a cash cow for council
with too few services in return.
The feeling in Inverloch is similar, especially on the back of the dog
beach debacle, the delay in the construction of the footpath to the surf
beach and the Surf Parade chicanes controversy.
To allow rates to remain at existing levels would be political mad-
ness and also unfair on ratepayers who were given a promise by the
State Government and yet face it being broken by local government.
At the same time, the community should prepare for going without ser-
vices if the financial reality of rate capping means some services will
no longer be affordable.
But that could be a good thing, with the onus then on council to get
back to basics. Who knows, but the introduction of rate capping could
benefit councils too as they will have a stronger case to argue for funds
to match the extra responsibilities State and Federal governments so
often ask them to do, without providing the dollars needed.
Rate cap must be accepted
IT was an honour to attend
a number of Australia Day
celebrations where our
strong community spirit
was in full swing.
It’s the perfect occasion to take
a moment to stop, ponder and be
grateful for what we have and to
those who got us here.
Every year I am overwhelmed
by the commitment of volunteer
committees who organise these
events to ensure their respective
communities are involved and cel-
We welcomed 13 new Austra-
lian citizens on this special day in-
cluding four from Leongatha, three
from Foster and two each from
Mirboo North, Sandy Point and
What a buzz for them to be offi-
cially naturalised on Australia Day
itself. I am sure it will be a memory
that will stick with them forever.
The unveiling of the Leongatha
RSL’s Place of Reflection was
timed perfectly to coincide with
what seems like a proud, patriotic
month. Opened on Sunday, the
new Anzac memorial is situated at
the Leongatha Recreation Reserve
at the entrance to the Anzac Avenue
Over the past few years, the Le-
ongatha RSL has been researching
names of service men and women
who enlisted in the Leongatha area
during the Great War 1914-1918.
One of those was my own father
and it was a true privilege to be
there for the unveiling.
Plaques of the 337 names are
displayed within a rotunda near the
Pioneer Gates and I encourage ev-
eryone to visit this inspiring monu-
The restored and refurbished
Anzac Room at Coal Creek, Koru-
mburra, was also officially opened
during Australia Day celebrations
and is a feature of the park’s Anzac
Tour. The room is now dedicated to
the 1914-1918 conflict and the im-
pact it had on this area. It’s a credit
to the park’s staff and volunteers,
and shows council’s commitment
to forever being thankful and proud
of our service men and women.
A warm welcome to Tasma-
nians Glenn and Kerry Smith, who
are the new corps officers at Leon-
gatha Salvation Army. The couple
took over from Martyn and Heath-
er Scrimshaw who proudly served
our region for 12 years. Glenn and
Kerry are in charge of the church
and will serve as chaplains for Sal-
vo Care Eastern.
Cr Robert Newton
Families to face ice problem
LEONGATHA will host
seminars aimed at assisting
local families affected by
ice on Monday, February 8
and Tuesday, February 9.
The seminars, presented by
Family Drug Help, will give fami-
lies strategies and resources to over-
come addiction in the household.
“We are a government funded
organisation dedicated to running
educational programs across the
state for families affected by ice,”
Family Drug Help project leader
Angela Ireland said.
“Because of the nature of the
drug, ice impacts on the whole com-
The BreakThrough seminars
approach drug addiction and the im-
pact it has on the entire household,
with family support seminars fo-
cused on assisting not just the user,
but the parents, siblings and other
family members also.
“Often families feel shame, guilt
or worry when drugs impact on the
household,” Ms Ireland said.
“One thing that keeps drug ad-
diction going is that people do not
do anything to stop it.”
Leongatha will be the first re-
gional town to host a BreakThrough
seminar after the Family Drug Help
service identified a need for family
support in the region.
“Siblings are often the worst
impacted in many scenarios. They
feel they cannot talk to their parents
about problems due to the stress and
strain of having a drug addict in the
house,” Ms Ireland said.
“Some siblings take up drug use
too so as to get attention.”
BreakThrough seminars explore
different aspects of the household
and acknowledge the need for fam-
“We work to arm people with
strategies to manage drug addic-
tion in a realistic and fundamentally
natural way rather than responding
with alarm bells,” Ms Ireland said.
“Sometimes family members
try to help people with addiction
however particular behaviours can
calm a situation while others can
make it worse.”
Family Drug Help offers online
sibling support programs, a family
drug helpline and referral to drug
and alcohol resources.
Divided into four modules, the
seminars will help audiences to
identify the consequences of drug
use, understand the impacts of drug
use on mental health, recognise and
respond to challenging behaviours
and identify professional and sup-
port services available.
The BreakThrough seminars
will be held at Leongatha Council
Chambers from 6-8pm. Booking
is essential. To reserve a place call
1300 660 068.
Long Jetty plan
AT the Port Welshpool Long Jetty
Meeting on January 15, there was
almost universal support for com-
This offer was read by South
Gippsland Shire Councillor Nigel
Ports would, with government ap-
proval, willingly relinquish respon-
sibility for management, operation
and maintenance to any party pre-
pared to accept and which is de-
monstrably capable of exercising
these functions in their entirety on
an enduring basis...”
This change in management is
fundamental to restoring the Long
Jetty as envisioned by the late John
Parker, past secretary of Gippsland
Trades and Labour Council.
Gippsland Ports can’t charge
universally supported jetty entry
fees or take up any offers of spon-
To it there is no source of rev-
enue for maintenance and the jetty
can only be concrete - to stand for
40 years without maintenance.
To the community the wooden
jetty is far cheaper to restore and
creates local ongoing employment
in its restoration and maintenance
all ‘costs’ Gippsland Ports wants
The oil industry, exempt from
paying jetty fees and charges, is the
most likely to use a concrete jetty,
if constructed, and due to security
the public would then be banned
from the jetty, forever.
Gippsland Ports and council
shut down a successful local com-
mittee that had generated an offer
to build an underwater observatory
worth $5 million, create income for
jetty maintenance and more than 20
fulltime jobs, insurance sponsor-
ship, etc in 2010.
Gippsland Ports and council
then created another committee
where all those appointed had to
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