Home' The Great Southern Star : June 7th 2016 Contents “THE STAR”, Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - PAGE 15
By Brad Lester
THE most famous worm in the
world will be protected by South
Gippsland Shire Council.
The Gippsland Giant Earthworm can
grow to two metres and is so unique, world
renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough
filmed the creature for a documentary.
The worm lives in a pocket of the region
spanning from Loch through to Warragul, but
its habitat within that area is restricted to clay
soils on or close to the banks of streams or
soaks, mostly on privately owned dairying or
grazing land. It favours south facing slopes.
The worm lives in a complex system
of permanent burrows extending to around
1.5m deep and lays egg-cocoons in chambers
branching from the adult burrow at an aver-
age depth of 22cm. Only one embryo is found
in each cocoon, which is thought to take more
than 12 months to hatch.
Given the vulnerability of the worm,
council has introduced a planning device to
minimise disruption to its habitat.
Planning Scheme Amendment C107 –
Gippsland Giant Earthworm Environmental
Significance Overlay – will be sent to Vic-
torian Planning Minister Richard Wynne for
The overlay identifies areas likely to con-
tain habitat for the worm and will trigger the
need for an applicant to obtain a planning per-
mit before undertaking work.
Council said this would help landowners
and developers avoid, mitigate or minimise
any impact on worm habitat.
Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks said he had
not seen an earthworm in 13 years on his
“It is important that with something as
iconic as the earthworm we need to have
clearer guidelines than we’ve had before for
its protection,” he said.
Cr Lorraine Brunt did not believe the
overlay would restrict people’s rights to do as
they wished with their property.
“It is just an alert to people buying prop-
erty that we have this overlay,” she said.
Council is unable to seal Poowong North
Road at the moment due to the possible risk
construction poses to the worm population.
Mayor Cr Bob Newton was the only
councillor to oppose the overlay, saying he
was concerned it would restrict farmers’ abil-
ity to work their properties as they chose,
such as by spraying chemicals or applying
He said a significant amount of money
was spent relocating a worm population for
construction of the Loch bypass on the South
Gippsland Highway but the worms died.
The animal is listed as threatened in the
Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act
By Brad Lester
OPPONENTS to the sale of coun-
cil land in Venus Bay were accused
of “huffing and puffing” during re-
cent South Gippsland Shire Coun-
Councillors Kieran Kennedy, Andrew
McEwen and Don Hill felt council had sold
too many council owned lots in Venus Bay
over time, but Cr Jim Fawcett disagreed.
He believed funds raised from the sale
of unused assets could benefit other coun-
cil projects and while some councillors had
been “huffing and puffing” about Venus Bay
losing land with nothing in return, he said
council had a responsibility to spend money
where it was needed.
“If we have not got a long term use for
an asset, then we should get rid of it,” Cr
Council plans to sell eight properties in
2016-17 and just one is in Venus Bay, at 3-5
The other lots are: Lot 7, Smith Street,
Loch; 82A Victoria Street, Toora; Lot 16
and Lot 1, rear of Main Street, Welshpool;
13 Symmons Street, Leongatha; 5 Sloan
Avenue, Leongatha; Reserve 1, Warralong
Court, Leongatha; and 29 River Drive, Tar-
The public is now invited to comment.
Cr Kennedy said the sale of council land
could shape the outcome of council elec-
tions in October.
The staunch objector to the selling of
council land opposed council’s next round
of land sales.
He said council was selling the land to
fund unsustainable and selfish goals, and
council would see the result of this later this
year – a nod to the council election.
“Our forebears had the vision to create
these assets as very important open spaces,”
Cr Andrew McEwen said too many coun-
cil properties had been sold in Venus Bay
over the years, while council was spending
excessively on infrastructure in Leongatha.
“I do not agree with land sales that rein-
force a Leongatha-centric view of the uni-
verse,” he said.
He claimed Meeniyan received $70 of
capital works expenditure per residents while
Leongatha received $3000, without the pos-
sible municipal precinct that will serve the
entire shire but be based in Leongatha.
Cr Don Hill also claimed Venus Bay had
been treated unfairly.
Cr Lorraine Brunt said the land sales
process was not about selling land in Venus
“There was a block of land sold in Poo-
wong and there was no fanfare,” she said.
Cr Mohya Davies agreed.
“There are a number of parcels of land
for sale in Leongatha so it is not as though
Venus Bay has been targeted,” she said.
Cr Davies did however call for council
to improve its consultation in relation to
land sales after public outcry over the pro-
posed sale of 2 Berry Street, Foster in the
last round. That property was later dropped
from council’s list.
Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks supported
the sale of surplus assets and said how pro-
ceeds were spent would be determined by a
“Council has not rushed in to this and has
taken a fair amount of time, and in fact could
be criticised for being too slow,” he said.
projects have re-
ceived federal fund-
ing to honour the
contribution of local
The funding was an-
nounced by McMillan MP
Russell Broadbent recently,
under the Australian Gov-
ernment’s Saluting Their
Service grants program.
The Toora RSL Sub-
Branch has received $2070
toward purchasing a glass
cabinet and mannequins to
display war memorabilia
and the Fish Creek RSL
Sub-Branch has received
$605 towards installing a
plaque on a cross to com-
memorate the Battle of
The cross was expertly
crafted by members of the
Corner Inlet Men’s Shed.
Mr Broadbent thanked
both sub-branches for their
contribution to local veteran
“It’s important we hon-
our the service and sacrifice
of the men and women who
have fought, and died, for
our values and freedoms,”
“Local projects bring
our community together in
a spirit of commemoration
as well as helping to educate
sic, technology and
more were on display
at Chairo Christian
School’s Expo last
Thursday, June 2 at
Pioneers Hall, at the
Teachers and students
were on hand to help with
the interactive displays and
information relating to the
school and what it has to
offer primary and second-
ary school students.
Despite the cool condi-
tions there was a very good
turnout to the event which
also featured live perfor-
mances, prizes and plenty
of displays and games.
Chairo opens its doors
Colour mixing: from left, Charlie, Toby and Luke
took an interest in this science experiment called,
Swirly Milk, at Chairo Christian School’s Expo last
Working model: Anton and Jack check out the ro-
botics display at Chairo Christian School’s Expo
Sounds great: Year 8 student Shekinah tries out one of the percussion instru-
ments at Chairo Christian School’s Expo last Thursday.
Grants commemorate war sacrifice
Vietnam acknowledgement: from left, Fish
Creek RSL ladies’ auxiliary vice president Grace
Howell, Corner Inlet Men’s Shed secretary Graeme
Green, McMillan MP Russell Broadbent and Fish
Creek RSL secretary Ros Bryan with the wooden
cross men’s shed members built for the Long Tan
Memorial at Fish Creek RSL.
On show: McMillan MP Russell Broadbent chats
with Toora RSL pension and welfare officer Ski
Grzegozewski about the sub-branch’s display of
future generations about
Australia’s wartime history.
“Throughout the Anzac
Centenary period from 2014
to 2018, we are also com-
memorating a Century of
Service, which encompasses
all those who have served,
and continue to serve, our
nation in wars, conflicts and
Local community or-
ganisations interested in
applying for funding under
the Saluting Their Service
grants program should visit
the Department of Veterans’
Affairs (DVA) website www.
dva.gov.au/grants or contact
your nearest DVA office on
133 254 or 1800 555 254
from regional Australia.
World acclaim: inter-
national nature docu-
mentary maker Sir
inspects a Gippsland
Giant Earthworm dur-
ing a segment filmed
in South Gippsland.
Council protects giant worm
- yet Venus Bay still stands,
says Cr Fawcett
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