Home' The Great Southern Star : May 24th 2016 Contents PAGE 12 - “THE STAR”, Tuesday, May 24, 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
ALL letters should be kept to 400 words or less.
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(not for publication), must be included.
b. How it can justify a result that
means more is spent on the cost
of services than the value of the
c. Why it considers it appropriate
to spend $32 million to house 86
office based employees at pres-
ent and a maximum of 186 by the
end of the project?
d. Why it did not consider a cheaper
e. Why it continues to fund loss
f. Why so much of the capital bud-
get is being spent on Leongatha?
g .Why it is justified in spending
nearly $500,000 on a propagan-
h. How can it justify an increase of
over 6000 percent in respect of
waste service charge in Venus
i. Why it is selling off land in Venus
Bay and what use is going to be
made of the proceeds?
Vincent Morfuni QC,
REGARDING ‘Retail boost’ (The
Star, April 27, 2016)
As a consumer, ratepayer and
compulsive spender, I was gob-
smacked to read this article.
Where I once shopped regularly
in Leongatha, I now travel from
Foster to Wonthaggi, each fortnight
and I spend $500 plus.
I would prefer to shop in Le-
ongatha, however Leongatha has
nothing to offer (other than Aldi).
It’s got nothing to do with trees and
Leongatha needs a KMart, Big
W, Bunnings, some giant to attract
customers. There are too many va-
cant shops and too much business is
lost to other areas.
The shire says we don’t have
the area to attract large retail. Well
sell off the land the shire would
build their multimillion dollar of-
Leongatha is a 9am to 5.30pm
and 9am to noon, then it’s dead,
and nothing has changed in 50 plus
The only trees that will help ‘re-
tail boost’ would be money trees.
It’s very sad to see all these new
homes in estates and the money that
could be spent on a weekly basis go
outside the area and I am but one.
Maybe Leongatha could discuss
successful trading with Meeniyan
traders, a lively town.
THANK you Dilene Hinton for
your contribution (The Star, May
10) regarding the “barren and
depressing appearance” of Leon-
gatha’s CBD, particularly Bair
But what should be done?
Is our council doing enough?
We have planning and economic
development departments, but as
Dilene says, adjusting the parking
and planting a few trees won’t nec-
essarily attract shoppers.
Also, I’m not sure comments
attributed to council’s planning
manager, that Leongatha cannot
compete with the big format stores
in other towns, stack up, as we
have three supermarkets that al-
ways seem busy, as do the cafes,
hardware and other stores.
An expanded Target, a Kmart
or similar could encourage fami-
lies to do all their shopping locally,
and attract other retailers.
Perhaps the library could be
moved to Bair Street and fill a
couple of vacant shops.
Maybe shop owners could con-
sider leasing premises to suitable
businesses on less than ideal terms
for the good of the district.
Would be good to hear what
property owners, the chamber of
commerce and others with ideas
HOW is it that National MP for
Gippsland South Danny O’Brien
can take credit for the work of the
Andrews Labor Government? He
must be living in a fantasy world
on the opposition benches.
We have an opposition mem-
ber of parliament who cannot
seem to make up his mind whether
to praise the work of the Victorian
Labor Government or not to praise
For example in his letter on
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 Danny
did praise the work of the Victo-
rian Labor government by saying
“Nonetheless, it is good news for
the community that the govern-
ment is funding the projects men-
tioned above”, yet in the same let-
ter he is taking credit for the work
of the Victorian Andrews Labor
government that they have done
for South Gippsland.
Further in other articles such
as on Tuesday, October 20, 2015,
Danny has undermined the Victo-
rian Labor government by stating
that it is rather “Melbourne La-
It is time our elected represen-
tative stop taking the electorate for
mugs and realise that actions speak
louder than words.
The communities are sick of
politicians trying to take credit for
work they have not done. We un-
derstand that at times politics is a
tough business, but surely in this
instance credit should be given
where credit is due.
Right now our community
is hurting because of the drop in
milk prices, yet the National Party
is missing in action. It is time for
community leadership, not swoop-
ing like magpies on other people’s
SO the government is offering
funds to provide counselling
services to dairy farmers, who
have had livelihoods threatened
by mismanagement of milk
Since when does counselling
correct injustice? Perhaps Aus-
tralian governments could take
measures to support Australian
produce, in the same way that farm
products from other countries are
Offering counselling services
when the problem is caused by
systems which are not working is
adding insult to injury.
“It’s our life here for so many
reasons. Dairy is everything,
it’s the community. Without
that we would have no Leon-
gatha. Without the farmers,
what do we have?”
Why is the dairy industry important to South Gippsland?
“The drop in prices will af-
fect retail fairly heavily, with
no income for farmers in such
a dairy popular area. A good
part of the town is involved in
dairying so it’s pretty signifi-
cant to the area.”
“It’s so important. People are
finding it hard. You do not
like to see any business doing
it hard and the numbers of our
farmers are quite significant
and it’s been a difficult summer
“South Gippsland is the dairy
capital of Australia. It’s the
backbone of Australia also, I
feel, because we get just the
right amount of rain so the cows
can make milk and it brings a
lot of money into the area.”
THE hard luck story of Stan and Paula Crossley on page five of
today’s edition gives a personal touch to the controversy surround-
ing the issue of South Gippsland Shire Council evicting unfinan-
cial siteholders at the Long Jetty and Yanakie caravan parks.
The Crossleys say they bought a cabin at the Long Jetty Caravan
Park in June 2013 in good faith, unaware the park was on Crown Land
and of the belief they were buying a cabin they would be allowed to
retain at the park.
They said the cabin cost them $30,000 and now face a $20,000
bill to remove it. They feel a lack of clarity over who owns what has
contributed to their plight.
Council has issued eviction notices to siteholders who have not paid
their fees or whose caravans and cabins do not satisfy new guidelines.
Council has a responsibility to ensure structures at its parks abide by
rules to reduce its own risk in the event of a fire or the like.
Removing unsightly vans and other buildings will also improve
the appearance of the parks and no doubt make them more attractive to
But by the same token, there appear to be people like the Crossleys
who bought their cabin in good faith and now face significant expense,
in addition to the upheaval of their lifestyles.
One also wonders about the viability of council’s plan to remove
caravans and cabins held by annual siteholders and in turn make more
money by attracting more casual visitors.
Port Welshpool and Yanakie, as beautiful as they are, are largely
fishing villages and one would believe most casual visitors would stay
one or two nights, treating the parks more so as stopover points rather
than places to enjoy longer term stays.
Council’s own quarterly development report, to be considered by
council at tomorrow’s (Wednesday) meeting, shows income for the
Yanakie park was $84,286 more than budgeted, year to date as at March
31, 2016, mainly due to increased casual accommodation sales.
However income at the Long Jetty park was $87,017 less than
Yet at both parks, expenditure was higher than forecast - $101,276 at
Yanakie and $24,064 at Long Jetty. The report states this was due to legal
costs and “reactionary contracted services”. Some siteholders have asked
the Supreme Court to consider their appeal against council’s actions.
In total, council appears to have made a $15,377 profit at Yanakie so
far this year and a loss of $78,270 at Long Jetty.
Council has mentioned numerous times the parks are a long term
proposition but does that mean ratepayers prop up any losses until the
parks are viable?
The parks may well be successful, self sustaining businesses in years
to come, but how long is the community prepared to wait?
REGARDING the South Gippsland
Shire Council budget submissions
hearing, May 18.
I refer to the council meeting on
the above date and write to express
my dismay at the behaviour of some
councillors at that meeting.
During my oral presentation to
council on the draft budget, Coun-
cillor Fawcett moved a point of or-
der alleging, incorrectly, that I was
not making a submission but insult-
At the time I was addressing my
concern about the way the media
unit was operating and the fact the
CEO had published a press release
criticising councillors for views ex-
pressed at a council meeting, and
my dismay that the mayor had not
disciplined the CEO for a breach of
the normal duties of a CEO whose
job does not include public criti-
cism of councillors.
My comments were all based on
facts that had been published on the
The mayor did not rule on the
point of order but some time was
wasted by my responding to Cr Faw-
cett denying his incorrect assertion.
That conduct confirmed to me
there are some councillors who do
not want to hear any view that op-
poses theirs and are prepared to go
to any lengths to stifle the airing of
such opposite views.
More significantly, after I re-
sponded to the assertions by Cr
Fawcett, I was told my time had
expired. Despite other councillors
suggesting to the mayor that time be
extended to enable me to complete
my submission, the mayor refused
to do so.
In my view such conduct expos-
es how easy it is for council to stifle
Before time expired, I was sub-
mitting on the lack of fairness and
equity in the manner in which the
rates levied are expended and how
some wards benefit at the expense
What I was prevented from stat-
ing is the following:
The rates levied on Venus Bay
are $2.8 million per annum or sev-
en percent of rates paid across the
Over the past 13 years and the
future 15 years, ratepayers in Venus
Bay will have paid some $77 mil-
lion in rates but will receive only
$900,000 in net discretionary capi-
tal expenditure or only one percent
of its rates paid.
By contrast in the same period,
Leongatha will pay $155 million in
rates or 15 percent of the rates paid
across the shire but will receive
$102 million of discretionary capi-
tal expenditure that equates to 64
percent of the rates it pays. (Edi-
tor’s note: this includes $32 million
for new council offices for the shire
How such discrepancy can
equate to fairness and equity de-
Accordingly I ask council to
a. Why it tolerates the massive ex-
penditure on administration?
By Sarah Vella
MURRAY Goulburn prepares to fight
legal action, Fonterra has done a back-
flip on price reductions and a super-
market giant has started a fund for
Victoria’s dairy farmers, all in the past
All of this action is heartening, but what about
those struggling to come to terms with being paid
less for their milk than it costs to produce?
The Salvation Army Leongatha is committed
to the people of the town and the wider South
Gippsland region, and has offered support to
those affected by the recent price reductions.
“In light of current events within our dairy in-
dustry we want to offer farmers and anyone else
affected by the current situation our support,”
Leongatha corps officer Glenn Smith said.
“Here at our centre we can offer practical
support such as assistance with food and bills,
material needs, financial counselling, housing
“Even if all you need is someone external to
talk to we want to make ourselves available to
those in need.”
Greens candidate for McMillan Donna
Lancaster expressed concern that federal cuts
to health funding were leading to reductions to
the delivery of health services.
“At a time when the region is in a crisis,
there is still long wait lists to seek mental health
support. There is an urgent need for funding to
support our farmers, their families and their com-
munity at a time like this,” she said.
Fonterra announced it would increase milk
payments for those hit hardest by its recent price
Australia’s second largest dairy processor will
provide its autumn calving suppliers an additional
$2.50 per kilogram of milk solids in July and Au-
gust payments based on the kilograms of milk sol-
ids farmers supply in May and June 2016.
The change followed a flow of negative feed-
back from dairy farmers after the company an-
nounced a reduction in its farmgate milk price
earlier this month.
“Although the reduction in the farmgate milk
price affects all farmers, we recognise that it has
a greater impact on suppliers with autumn calv-
ing herds,” Fonterra Oceania managing director
Judith Swales said.
“We have worked with Bonlac Supply Com-
pany to better target autumn calving suppliers,
by providing an additional autumn offset to
Coles Supermarkets announced it will pay
20 cents a litre to an independent fund, aimed at
supporting the Murray Goulburn dairy farmers
affected by last month’s price cut.
Independent Senator for Victoria John Ma-
digan said supermarkets have realised there is a
“But the reality is the government isn’t there
at the other end to play ball,” he said.
Dairy crisis deepens
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