Home' The Great Southern Star : April 27th 2016 Contents PAGE 12 - “THE STAR”, Wednesday, April 27, 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
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more successful as I chose a sub-
ject I had some knowledge of.
The second highlight in-
volved organising children from
local primary schools to attend
the Lord Mayor ’s Holiday Camp
at Portsea and finding a suitable
young adult to supervise them.
I joined the SES in 1977 and
found that due to its increasing
workload I resigned from Apex in
1978. I have often made the point
that Apex has done its greatest
service to the community when it
loses its members to other com-
I certainly was able to use
skills gained in Apex during my
SES career of 35 years.
ON Wednesday night, April 20, I
and 12 other people went to Le-
ongatha to a Water For Victoria
South Gippsland Water was
there and other government con-
sulting group spoke.
What amazed myself about that
night, was that it was spoken about
twice in the two hour meeting about
northern pipelines for Korumburra,
Nyora, Loch and Poowong.
It was stated they were hoping
for an answer by the end of April
or the very start of May, about
whether the State Government
would okay millions of dollars
towards this project.
Yet next morning, at 11.30am,
at Burra Foods, behind locked
doors and fences where the public
was not invited to be there (locked
out), other than just 15 or so peo-
ple with media, they announced
this will go ahead. It’s for the com-
munity, not just Burra Foods.
But how wonderful it is the
pipeline is coming to the northern
towns of South Gippsland.
We will have water security at
Korumburra reservoirs have
not been maintained or made big-
ger, just like Poowong and Nyo-
No thought was put in – or
was it meant to be.
On Wednesday, April 26 the
water workshop told us that Ko-
rumburra reservoir number three
was only able to be at about 80
percent or less due to rules over
the last 10 or 12 years on dam
banks and no repairs meaning it
will become less and less.
So in September 2015 the
water board told the community
Korumburra’s reservoirs were
Wrong. We only had about 80
percent. As at today we are at 50
Pumping from the Tarwin Riv-
er has stopped for over a month,
but after a month of no pumping
our dams are still at 50 percent.
Have we been lied to or just
not told the truth?
It’s just politics, at the com-
Backing Cr Hill
I REFER to The Star’s front page
article, “Uphill battle”, (April 19)
and the news that a Councillor
Conduct Panel Report has found
Councillor Don Hill in breach of
council’s Code of Conduct and that
he has been disrespectful to other
councillors and council staff.
It is a wonder they do not
want him to stand in the corner of
the council chamber like a small
school boy who has been disobe-
dient to the teacher.
Well, what a lot of thin
skinned councillors and staff who
initiated this matter.
Councillor Don Hill was elected
democratically to council by many
ratepayers who would appreciate
his “against the grain” manner and
his informative public comment.
The panel found his breaches
also included comments he made
in relation to the Rating Differen-
tial Strategy on June 3, 2015.
This inequitable rating strat-
egy, especially as applied to va-
cant land, is contrary to the Local
Government Charter, Local Gov-
ernment Act, Sections 3C (1) and
(2) and Councillor Hill has many
ratepayers who would pat him on
I believe, as in many forms
of government, local councils
have cliques who tend to rule the
roost and who have, should I say,
vested interest in their decisions,
to the detriment and exclusion of
Hopefully the coming coun-
cil elections will attract honest,
forthright and gutsy candidates
who will not be afraid to speak
out in the interests of good and
fair local government.
Response to mayor
A RESPONSE to the Mayor’s
Message in today’s Star (page 24).
This is now the third occasion
where the mayor has used his
mayoral column to publicly at-
tack me and my reputation.
It is not the role of the mayor to
use his office to attack councillors
who might hold different views to
him or a particular bloc in council.
He is supposed to represent
council and all councillors. If he
wishes to display his personal
views perhaps he should write a
letter to the editor.
I made no mention of any con-
sultation process in my newslet-
ter. The mayor is incorrect when
he states the building will not be
funded by the ratepayers.
All funding details were shown
in the budget of 2015 when it was
included as expenditure in the capi-
tal works program. I also detailed
the financial arrangements in a let-
ter to the editor dated June 3, 2105
which shows clearly the whole
project is currently proposed to be
funded by the ratepayer; $16 mil-
lion borrowed, $7.3 million interest
charge, and withdrawal of $8.9 mil-
lion from a reserve fund.
Finally, we are paying for it
in our rates bill now. This is all
factual and the press heard coun-
cillors from the majority bloc
clearly indicate this in a recent
The mayor says the project is
to be completed when the munici-
pality has grown to an unspecified
point in an unspecified future.
The facts are that it is listed to
be started in 2022-23 and that is
only six years away.
The budget claims the staff
numbers are still increasing by
around one per year. In six years
that is six more staff.
We do not need the munici-
pal office project because of a
perceived need to house six more
staff. The Carinos building owned
by council and already housing
engineering staff has an enormous
empty area where the wine bar used
to be before that lease ended.
We can use that space rather
than spend $32 million of ratepay-
ers’ money on a dubious project.
The final question that needs
answering is why this council
still has this unrequired object in
this year’s proposed budget.
Cr Don Hill,
Tarwin Valley Ward,
South Gippsland Shire Council.
Editor’s note: The Star did
not supply Cr Hill with a copy
of the Mayor’s Message prior to
WHILE police continue to investigate the cause
of last Wednesday’s significant crash at Ruby, mo-
torists will today speed or break another road rule
somewhere in South Gippsland.
The message that road rules are there for a reason is still not get-
ting through to all drivers.
Roadworks crews at the accident scene said drivers still speed
past them as they work, travelling at speeds greater than the 40km/h
This selfish act risks the safety of the workers, the offending
drivers and their passengers, and other travellers on the road.
Accidents risk killing or maiming mothers, fathers, sons and
daughters, upending lives forever and most collisions can be avoided
by simply obeying road rules, and driving with caution and patience.
Yes, the roadworks at Ruby have been going on for a long time
but as The Star reported on April 19, drivers will have to wait longer
VicRoads eastern regional director Scott Lawrence said the
works that started in February were supposed to be complete at the
end of March.
But additional works were needed to upgrade the Ruby
intersection and these were not in the original scope of the project
and so the project should now be done by early May. That’s not
long to wait.
Authorities have worked hard over the years to inform people
of the need to wipe off five and slow down, the value of seatbelts to
reducing the scale of injury resulting from crashes and the dangers
of drink driving.
Yet the greatest dangers on our roads are drivers with poor attitudes
that lead them to make poor decisions while behind the wheel.
The attitude of “I’m running late and why should this traffic
slow me down” results in risk taking that could cause a crash and
cost far more time and money in the long run than a delay of a few
The attitude “I’m only five kilometres over the speed limit”
increases the chance of a crash and the severity of the aftermath.
The attitude of “I’ve only had a few drinks” results in a greater
risk of that person – or someone else – dying that day.
How about an attitude of “I want to live and everyone else has a
right to as well” instead?
There is no room for selfishness on South Gippsland’s roads.
out the window
THE Proposed 2016-17 Budget
of South Gippsland Shire Council
is much too consolidated and pro-
vides insufficient detail to form
more in-depth opinions as to the
veracity of the operations of the
council, financial and operational.
I have requested this council
several times to provide me with
sufficient details to investigate
items of great concern to me.
Not surprising, council re-
fused citing some obscure regu-
lations and standards I regard
irrelevant and as such unaccept-
able. My second request was all
but ignored. It appears the much
taunted transparency remains the
opacity of thick black mud.
I would have thought this group
I suggest by now well identified
has more important things to do
than waste time, effort and our hard
earned money to pursue a couple
of, in my view, immaterial asser-
tions by a councillor.
Are you lot serious?
As I see it Cr Don Hill receives
much more support, respect and
goodwill than this group combined.
I think the time has come for
candidates wishing to stand for
council to inform the commu-
nity there are people with integ-
rity who care for the welfare and
good governance of the shire and
as such are not interested in end-
less petty squabbles.
People who are willing to
understand that to spend $4.7
million on an avoidable defined
superannuation benefits scheme,
borrow $4 million to facilitate
this and then also pay another $1
million in interest payments is
I am told this bizarre inquiry
(inquisition?) into what to me looks
more like a never ending exercise in
futility may well cost the ratepayers
some $100,000 and possibly more.
A classic sign of incompe-
tence is the obsessive pursuit of
petty and unimportant items that
just do not matter and are totally
irrelevant to good governance.
Another sign of incompetence
is the obsessive pursuit of secrecy
and hidden agendas. All the while
the items of importance to the
ratepayer are left unattended.
The Proposed 2016-2017
Budget includes an unprecedent-
ed $20 million capital expendi-
ture. To pay for this, the amount
of $19.6 million is sourced from
I suggest to the ‘Gang of Six’
that you may explain to ratepay-
ers why we had to endure the
grandstanding, self congratulat-
ing and back slapping to accom-
modate this “feat”.
Of course the ever increas-
ing and unsustainable employee
costs component is listed as $25
For a small municipal shire
council I shall continue to regard
Looking back: Loch Legatees Sue and Tom Loughridge (seated far right) listen to neigh-
bour, close friend and Loch historian Grieg Barry read their graphic and detailed account
of Tom’s service in Vietnam as a crowd of more than 150 people watched on in front of
the former Loch Post Office on Anzac Day. Ann Larkin is sitting to Sue’s right. Photog-
rapher: Robert Hicks.
this as obscene.
The Geelong Greater City
Council was dismissed for sev-
eral reasons of which ‘dysfunc-
tional’ was high on the agenda.
And do I have a South Gippsland
Shire Council agenda ready for
It is substantial, includes ‘dys-
functional’ and ‘secretive’, and the
time is ripe to make a presentation
to the minister of ratepayers’ dis-
satisfaction with and rejection of
the operations of this council. To
this extent please stand by for fur-
Over the top
THE very thing South Gippsland
Shire Councillor Don Hill has been
campaigning against - reigning in
expenditure and stopping waste -
has again reared its ugly head.
His fellow councillors have
decided they needed to ‘waste’
(conservatively by their estimates)
upwards of $30,000 to what
amounts to a reprimand for mak-
ing derogatory remarks to them.
Perhaps they should listen to
parliamentary debates before be-
ing so precious. If Cr Hill vented
his frustration at plans to rebuild
council offices and rating strate-
gy, good on him, he has my vote.
The Independent Councillor
Conduct Panel that council brought
in notes he even “made an apology
in a letter to the presses” but his fel-
low councillors wanted blood.
Laws existed to varying de-
grees in all known ancient civili-
sations. Many of them became
the basis of the laws and human
rights we have today.
For society to function there
must be agreed permissible pa-
rameters; codes of conduct need
be enshrined in law.
Who in this case decides po-
litical correctness. How far to
take this delegated legislation and
how much we want to become
part of a nanny state?
Should Cr Hill win his appeal
and then sue for defamation of
character, what then?
ON Sunday, April 10, I attended
the final meeting of the Leon-
gatha Apex Club at the grand-
stand complex at the recreation
reserve in Leongatha.
It was an excellent and very
nostalgic day where I saw many
people I had not seen for perhaps
I joined the Leongatha Apex
Club in 1960, a shy 18 year old,
greatly lacking in self confidence.
At that stage the club had
a good mix of young men, in a
range of occupations; some mar-
ried, others single.
The social aspect was very re-
warding as was the opportunity to
do service work.
I assisted in setting up the car-
avan park on the army drill hall
site in Turner Street.
We collected waste paper,
manned the gates for the football
club, organised trade fairs, and
held working bees in our commu-
nity, often to assist elderly people
and at the Lord Mayor ’s Holiday
Camp for children at Portsea.
We ran races between Wont-
haggi and Inverloch to raise funds
for local hospitals with long recu-
peration sessions at Dr Beaton’s
premises in Inverloch.
Two highlights come to mind
of my time in Apex. The first, over-
coming the barrier of public speak-
ing. My first attempt was a disaster,
I got on my feet, my mind went
blank, I said sorry and sat down.
My second attempt was much
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