Home' The Great Southern Star : May 3rd 2016 Contents PAGE 12 - “THE STAR”, Tuesday, May 3, 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
Wednesday’s council meeting.
Unfortunately this deflected any
proper consideration of the intent of
the motion about coal and coal seam
gas, and no substantive argument was
raised by those against.
This was an opportunity for
our council to request government
for a further layer of protection for
South Gippsland from coal and on-
shore gas exploration and mining.
We are unhappy to be dragged into
the arguments between councillors;
our email communications are sent
out in good faith to inform the com-
munity on coal and CSG issues,
not to be used as a tool to frame
an argument by a councillor with
those putting forward the motion.
The level of animosity shown
between councillors has, in this
instance, prevented council func-
tioning at a level that residents of
this shire, concerned about protect-
ing South Gippsland from mining
developments, have a right ex-
Coal and CSG Free Mirboo
Thumbs up for
I HAVE recently been staying at the
Franklin River Reserve. I have a self-
contained RV van.
I really appreciated not having to
go to a paid caravan park, as being
self-contained I would only need to
do that if I was travelling around a lot,
a least once a week. This is the way
of many ‘grey nomads’.
I targeted coming to cycle the
new extension of the Great Southern
Rail Trail. I loved it and will be back
to cycle many other parts of it, as I
have done in the past.
I spent up at many coffee shops,
art galleries, supermarkets and fash-
ion item shops in Toora, Foster, Ko-
rumburra, Port Welshpool and Leon-
gatha. Literally, I supported various
businesses at these towns.
Many small towns are putting in
grey and black water pump outs for
the RV travellers. I would suggest
that your shire area also do this.
Compost toilets are great also as
they protect from run-off effluent.
This rail trail is bringing a lot of
travellers to your beautiful area. I
will be back also to see the migratory
birds down at your wetlands.
It is marvellous that farmers are
working in with scientists to protect
their significant feeding areas!
Don’t stop bulk billing
AT THE start of July, the Federal
Government plans to end funding for
bulk billing of pathology tests.
This change will impact the wal-
lets and purses of a huge number of
residents of South Gippsland and
It unfairly targets frequent users
of pathology including the elderly,
the seriously ill, pregnant women and
parents of young children.
It will increase costs for those
who can least afford it. Detailed infor-
mation on the impact of this change is
available on the website www.dont-
“Being careful around others
and acting responsibly. You
have to set a good example.”
Last week, students across South Gippsland studied the qualities
of leadership. The Star asked “What makes a good leader?”
“Being nice and respectful to
“Acting responsibly, being re-
spectful and caring for other
“Being helpful, nice and loving
to other people.”
NOBODY likes to see anyone take
a hit and none more so than the
people who feed us: our farmers.
Murray Goulburn (MG) sup-
pliers are now coming to terms
with how they will cope with a
price reduction of up to 15 per
cent, after the dairy giant last week
announced farmgate milk prices
will fall to $4.75 to $5 kg/milk sol-
ids, down from the $5.60 forecast.
From looking at the state of the
broader industry, it seems MG was
paying too much and that sooner
or later farmgate prices would fall
and they did.
Burra Foods CEO Grant
Crothers recently stated on the
company’s website, “It’s been
apparent for sometime that given
market conditions there are two
unsustainable milk prices at the
moment - the NZ one which is
unsustainably low and MGC’s that
is unsustainably high!” MGC is
also issued a
statement saying it had urged its
farmers to budget conservatively.
The question remains why MG
farmers were paid so much, only
to experience financial upheaval
when they are already dealing with
the cost of the drought.
Now they not only face a
lower milk price but also have to
pay some of this back over the next
Was the high price paid to en-
courage new shareholders in the
company by artificially inflating
the company’s financial position?
Is the price drop an example
that MG is unable to serve two
masters, those being suppliers and
MG has made some right
moves in expanding its product
range and venturing overseas to
expand its market and share the
risk, but the question remains if
management misread the market
and now farmers are paying for it,
especially when competitors Burra
Foods and Fonterra have said their
prices will remain firm.
One could also rightly ask if
farmers were given all the infor-
mation they need to make a deci-
sion about listing MG on the stock
The company seems to have
a policy of disclosing as little in-
formation as possible. Even the
chairman, Phil Tracy, who lives at
Yanakie, did not even return a call
to The Star about the price drop,
yet the newspaper is responsible
for informing the community, in-
cluding MG’s suppliers and those
businesses who depend on farm-
ers’ expenditure to stay afloat.
No doubt MG management
will be undertaking soul search-
ing and possibly some farmers will
be undertaking a search for a new
supplier or at least contemplating
MG needs to be more open
I AM feeling sad after attending a
South Gippsland Shire meeting on
Wednesday afternoon. The issue un-
der discussion was regarding coal
seam gas mining in South Gippsland.
What saddened me was the antago-
nism amongst councillors, invoking
personal attacks and what can only be
described as bullying.
I came away from the meeting
with a sense of hopelessness; that is-
sues concerning more than 80 percent
of ratepayers were pretty much ig-
nored by those councillors who had
personal grievances and petty insults
to share instead.
I’m not interested. As a councillor
you are there to represent the interests
of your community. What I saw was
a degree of bullying that very few
schools would tolerate. But then it
does get back to the administration.
I kept waiting for ‘someone in
charge’ to say that the name calling
was inappropriate, out of line, un-
acceptable, anything! But no, not a
word from management.
Very sad. There is a bigger pic-
ture, which is the protection of our
Grade A agricultural land. Who will
speak up on our behalf in govern-
ment? I understand some of our
councillors were elected unopposed
because there was no-one else stand-
ing in their Riding. That’s not really
an election – more of a default.
Let’s make sure this doesn’t hap-
pen with council elections in October.
Please can decent people stand up and
represent us on council.
Thank you. I’m feeling more
hopeful the good people already on
council will get the support they need
ON APRIL 27, I attended, as a rate-
payer, the meeting of South Gippsland
Shire Council to witness the voting
on a motion put by councillors An-
drew McEwen, Don Hill, and Kieran
Kennedy that council asks the Vic-
torian Government to exempt South
Gippsland Shire from coal seam gas
mining and fracking.
Bear in mind that, at the most
conservative estimate, all the surveys
conducted in this region, both private
and government sponsored, show
well over 85 percent of people who
live in this region do not want coal
seam gas exploration, CSG mining,
or fracking! So the ‘will of the people’
is quite clear on the matter!
Sadly, at that council meeting,
I did not see a democratic process
where the council showed the will-
ingness to do what the vast major-
ity of the ratepayers wanted. What
I saw was hubris, a complete disre-
gard for the will of the ratepayers,
overt animosity by some council-
lors towards the movers of the mo-
tion, and bullying behaviour by at
least one councillor that I consid-
ered most inappropriate.
I saw one councillor use his time
not to speak against the motion, but
to launch personal attacks against his
fellow councillors. And the mayor let
him do it until Cr Kennedy tried to
stop the process, but was overruled by
the mayor in the face of some quite
vocal comments from the outraged
The bias of the mayor, and indeed
the deputy mayor, was obvious.
Well, the democratic process
failed yet again as what appears to be
a solid block of arrogant councillors
putting their personal antipathy to-
wards their fellow councillors ahead
of doing what we, the ratepayers,
want them to do.
I very strongly urge all of the
shire’s ratepayers to try and attend a
council meeting to see just how some
of these elected councillors actually
conduct themselves. I was appalled. I
think you would be too.
And, perhaps consider that if
these councillors are putting them-
selves above what we want them to
do, then it is high time we vote them
I am a firm believer that politi-
cians are supposed to do want we tell
them, not the other way around.
IT WAS disappointing to wit-
ness the bad feelings between South
Gippsland Shire councillors at last
ANZAC Day is the day
on which we remember
all Australians who served
and died in war and on op-
Although Anzac Day services
are held for the same reason, the way
people commemorate the occasion
is different for every town and I felt
privileged to attend three Anzac Day
The dawn service at Korumburra
was magical as always. It was such
a joy to march to the band playing
Waltzing Matilda at the Meeniyan
morning service and it was an honour
to support the Fish Creek RSL at its
service later in the day.
What a special feeling to witness
the father and daughter combination
of Ian and Emily Duffus playing their
bugles in unison to The Last Post.
This is something I will not forget.
Congratulations to council’s parks
and gardens staff for their magnifi-
cent work in preparing the cenotaph
surroundings for this special day
throughout the shire.
There was something for every-
one at the Poowong Family Fun Day.
Not only does the event give those
from the city an opportunity to get a
taste of country life, but it also gives
locals the chance to get together and
we are reminded of how great life
is in our own backyards. Live mu-
sic was played throughout the day
and there were many free hands-on
activities. Market stalls showcased
the community’s talents and people
feasted on local produce. Congratula-
tions to everyone involved in organis-
ing such a wonderful day, especially
the Strzelecki Lions Club.
A highlight for me was the end-
less smiles on people’s faces. My ride
on the mechanical horse was a close
I attended the official launch of
the Mirboo North and District Com-
munity Bank’s L2P car fundraising
Led by bank staff and supported
by a number of community organisa-
tions, the aim is to raise $15,000 for
the purchase of an L2P vehicle under
the Driver Mentor Program, which
will help local young drivers gain the
skills and experience they need to ob-
tain their probationary licence.
The program targets young
people who may find it hard to find
someone to help them to achieve 120
hours driving experience.
Congratulations to bank staff
for taking the initiative and seeing
what an invaluable asset such a ve-
hicle would be to the development of
Member for Eastern Victoria,
Harriet Shing MP, officially opened
some infrastructure improvements
at Walter J Tuck Recreation Reserve
in Mirboo North on Saturday. Thank
you to Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks
for attending on my behalf.
The event marked the installation
of new lights at the soccer oval and
a new netball court surface, both of
which cater to the growing sporting
needs of the community.
The projects could not have been
possible without full consultation and
support from all recreation reserve
Funding was provided from the
State Government through the Sport
and Recreation Victoria Community
Facility Funding Program - Soccer
Facilities and Country Football Net-
ball Programs and council.
The lights will allow evening
practice and matches as the days get
shorter. Over the last 12 months, soc-
cer has overtaken swimming as the
most popular sporting activity among
With an increased number of girls
playing and this year, Mirboo North
is testament to that, forming a new
Under 15 Girls team. The benefits
will flow on to emergency services
that use the lower oval as a staging
area during emergencies.
The new netball court surface is
a welcome upgrade to the club which
has been making do with an ageing
and uneven surface.
The new asphalt surface will pre-
vent water pooling and is capable of
hosting training and competition in
all weather conditions.
The compulsory six month kerb-
side waste collection service in Ve-
nus Bay has concluded. The service
achieved many of its objectives and
I look forward to the results of an of-
ficial review by council to help plan
for the future.
As the past week shows, it’s
amazing what can be achieved if
we all work together. Working with
a group of people, on a worthwhile
activity, with a common goal, can be
one of the most rewarding and enjoy-
able aspects of work.
Cr Robert Newton
PRIDE in their eyes,
They stood at attention,
Of what was to come?
They had no comprehension.
As they waved a final proud good-
And the sturdy boats took them out
They did not know their awful
And their minds were full of strong
They went to train in Egypt,
Learning how to kill and die,
And how to be strategic,
And how to just get by.
They sailed to Gallipoli,
Eager to join the fight,
But the Turkish force was ready,
And gave them an awful fright
The hail of bullets rained down
From the Turkish forces way up
And giant bombs came down as
Like the gods were mad up in the
They watched their friends and
But their final calls were drowned
By the endless barrage that
As more fell with their final shout.
Finally, the firm command came,
Retreat! Relief was everywhere,
It made them want to jump about,
And wash away the black despair.
To take them from that dreadful
The boats arrived in the dead of
And as they sailed away from the
They remembered their fallen
They stood to attention,
Feeling weary and sore,
Hoping this was the end,
And thinking “no more”.
Their numbers were lessened,
And so was their spirit,
They knew what war truly was,
And that we should fear it.
Tristan Western, 12,
grandson of Leongatha’s
Peter and Wilma Western.
This poem won a competition at
Tristan’s school, Viewbank Second-
ary College, and was read on ABC
Public pressure has recently
stopped similar threats to healthcare.
You can help stop these cuts by sign-
ing the petition at www.dontkillbulk-
bill.com. or in person. This petition is
directed at the federal Senate.
Like so many other important is-
sues, discussion of this fresh impost
has been lost amidst electioneering
and self interest.
The day after these changes will
take effect they will want us to vote
for them. I urge everyone to sign the
petition and think carefully about who
An Anzac Day poem
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