Home' The Great Southern Star : August 2nd 2016 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - PAGE 5
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By Sarah Vella
HIRE charges for the use of Leon-
gatha’s Memorial Hall will be reduced
by up to 51 percent for non-commercial
community groups, possibly saving the
A new schedule of fees and charges for pri-
vate functions has also been adopted by the
South Gippsland Shire Council at last Wednes-
day’s meeting, while commercial booking rates
have not changed.
President of the Leongatha Horticultural So-
ciety Sue Thompson said the Daffodil Festival
was looking for an alternative venue in 2017,
due to the high cost of hiring the Memorial
She said following lengthy talks with the
council it is great to see something has been
done about the issue.
“It is a community hall and so it should be
used by the community,” she said.
“We always run the show to cover costs, we
don’t charge for the bus or the gardens, entry
is free for children and we keep entry fees as
reasonable as we can as well.”
The Daffodil Festival is one of the town’s
longest running annual events, this year cele-
brating its 60th
year. It has been held in the Me-
morial Hall for the past 30 years at least.
“The hall is a wonderful space, it really
shows up the flowers. To hold the festival in the
main hall in the centre of town is important to
us,” Ms Thompson said.
Bruce Grainger from the Rotary Club of Le-
ongatha said while the club supports the reduc-
tion in fees for hire of the hall, the cost is still
He called on the council to increase the dis-
count to 80 percent.
By Sarah Vella
TENSIONS are still high within the
South Gippsland Shire Council cham-
ber, following allegations of bullying
and misconduct by councillors.
In June, a panel hearing found councillor Jim
Fawcett was in breach of the councillor code
of conduct, for one of five allegations brought
against him by Cr Don Hill.
Cr Hill has since referred the matters which
earlier went against him to VCAT, which will be
heard on August 18 and 19.
The panel hearing report was noted unani-
mously at last Wednesday’s council meeting, but
not before more back and forth between those
“Four of the allegations relating to my behav-
iour have been dismissed. I could have appealed
the matter, but I have not,” Cr Fawcett said.
The allegation Cr Fawcett did not “support Cr
Jeanette Harding in respect to matters affecting
her ward with the intent to...change her vote” was
substantiated by the panel.
Cr Fawcett released a public statement apolo-
gising to Cr Harding, who has also publically ex-
pressed her views on the matter.
“I am sorry it has come to this. Jim and I lost
our cool, we were both to blame,” she said.
Cr Harding said both she and Cr Fawcett now
aimed to “get on with the job”.
Not quite ready to let it go, Cr Andrew McE-
wen joined in the discussion and said a council
should be functional and respectful.
“We need independent councillors who don’t
resort to abuse, you can differ in views and do it
in a respectful manner,” he said.
“Council needs to be more open and more
transparent. We have to start to work together for
the betterment of our community, which is sup-
posed to be our fundamental role.”
Cr Hill said the report provided by the panel
hearing should not be kept confidential and when
the VCAT appeal is complete, he would like to
see the full report tabled at council.
“We need nine independent councillors who
don’t just speak, but do. Everyone in this cham-
ber needs to be accountable for their voting pat-
terns,” he said.
Cr Mohya Davies said much of the disunity
within the council was caused by motions put for-
ward by councillors Hill and McEwen.
Pleased: Leongatha Horticultural Society president Sue Thompson, right, and Daffodil Fes-
tival committee member Margaret Fox are thrilled the festival will continue on in Memorial
Hall, after the South Gippsland Shire Council agreed to reduce fees for community groups.
Festival saved by falling fees
The Rotary club primarily hires the hall for
its annual art show, however this year will be
using Mesley Hall which is free to hire.
“The problem we face, even with the reduced
fees is that we are forced to hire the hall for a
week, which costs $1710,” Mr Grainger said.
“To recover that cost, we require 342 full
fee paying visitors. For the art show, we need
the hall for a full week, but it is only open to
the public for two days.”
Mr Grainger said to get 342 visitors through
the doors in two days was not feasible.
“The art show is not really viable, but it
provides an opportunity for weekend artists to
display their work. We do get some funds, but
are returned to the community,” he said.
Councillor Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks said
every community needs a hall where it can hold
meetings and events.
“Not for profit community groups need
some relief so they can go on using the hall,”
Councillors-it’s time to move on
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