Home' The Great Southern Star : August 2nd 2016 Contents PAGE 6 - “THE STAR” Tuesday, August 2, 2016
I RECENTLY attended the Municipal As-
sociation of Victoria’s (MAV) information
session for prospective councillors.
One of the things that was emphasised was that an
individual councillor has no power – it is only by work-
ing with his or her colleagues that things get done. An-
other thing that was spoken about at the MAV session
was the need for councillors to be able to accept the
majority decision in good grace and to move on.
Disappointingly, within this council it seems that
for some bitterness reigns and accepting a majority
decision in good grace is passed over in favour of
misinforming and wilfully distorting facts to garner
One of the issues being heavily misreported at the
moment is Council’s Municipal Precinct proposal. If
the project does come to fruition – and I say ‘if ’ – it
will not be fully funded by $32 million of ratepayers’
dollars as is being reported. As taken directly from
this year’s publicly available council budget, the to-
tal cost of the proposed Municipal Precinct, which
would include a new library and community centre,
is $24.72 million. Council has modelled borrowing
$13.6 million in 2023/24 to provide a funding source
for the project, with the remainder to come from gov-
ernment grants and Council’s General Reserve. It has
been modelled to draw down two portions from the
General Reserve: $2.5 million and $3.0 million in
2023/24 and 2025/26 respectively.
This last point is most important – that’s a total of
$5.5 million (certainly not $32 million) almost a decade
from now. The decision to plan for a Municipal Precinct
was not taken lightly. It was made following an exten-
sive, unbiased community consultation process with
key stakeholders. Sir Rupert Hamer opened the current
Council building in Smith Street in 1973 – 20 years prior
to Council amalgamations and two generations ago. The
role of local governments has changed markedly in that
time, as have community expectations regarding access
to services and facilities. Sometimes the role of a council
is to imagine a future and to plan for it: that’s what our
forefathers did with the current building, but it is time
for us to again have the foresight to provide this com-
munity with the facilities it deserves.
There seems to be some confusion within the com-
munity who have received rates increases in excess of
the 2.5% they were expecting. The 2.5% rates cap ap-
plies to the total rate revenue collected and does not
apply evenly to individual rates notices. Some rate-
payers will pay less than the 2.5% cap and others will
pay significantly more, but the overall rates collected
by Council won’t exceed the rates cap of 2.5%.
To add to the confusion, this year was a property
revaluation year and rates paid will depend on the
valuation compared with other properties within the
municipality. Revaluation doesn’t impact on the total
amount of rates collected by Council. It does help us
work out everyone’s share of rates, which is based on
a property’s capital value. The aim of the general re-
valuation is not to provide values for property owners
to use for marketing, sales or any other purposes. The
general revaluation helps us set and allocate rates.
We are required to do this every two years, by law. A
change in your property’s capital value as part of the
general revaluation does not automatically mean your
rates will increase or decrease.
Of the 19,384 rates notices issued by Council,
7,137 (36.82%) had a rates decrease, 3,466 (17.88%)
had an increase between zero and 2.5%, and 8,781
(45.30%) had an increase over 2.5%.
Many of you would have received your rates no-
tice by now. Our rates team is on hand to answer any
questions you may have, including information about
payment plans and the Hardship Policy.
By Sarah Vella
A NOTICE of motion claimed Leon-
gatha, Korumburra and Foster received
more than their fair share of capital
works funding over the next 15 years,
while smaller towns missed out.
A claim of disquiet in the community led to a
rift in opinions in the South Gippsland Shire coun-
cil chamber last Wednesday, as the motion regard-
ing community budgeting was brought forward.
Submitted to the meeting by councillors Don
Hill, Kieran Kennedy, Jeanette Harding and An-
drew McEwen, the motion was fiercely debated
before being voted down.
Cr Hill said spending on new capital works
across the shire was not based on an equitable
model and 24 South Gippsland towns were un-
He said the council needs to look at how fu-
ture funding is distributed to ensure money goes
to areas currently underfunded, or not funded at
The motion stated “Foster, Korumburra and
Leongatha account for some 31 per cent of rates
collected, but receive 94 per cent of currently al-
located discretionary capital works over the long
term capital expenditure”.
Cr Hill said the motion was “calling for a re-
port” for the new council and did not affect the
Cr Moyha Davies blamed the notice of motion
for creating disquiet in the community.
“As councillors we are supposed to be leaders
not agents of creating division between towns, we
should not be doing that,” she said.
“This notice of motion misrepresents the truth
and has created a lot of concern. The numbers are
being manipulated and disjointed.
“I could just say it was rubbish. That is what I
would like to say.”
Cr Davies said the council works hard to pro-
vide funding for all of South Gippsland’s com-
munities and was outraged misinformation had
been made public.
Cr Harding supported the motion, as she be-
lieved the council has a responsibility to support
its small towns.
“I am quite surprised there has been such a
strong push against the motion. It was wise of the
two councillors to bring it up,” she said.
“I would like the new council to be aware we
don’t just support the big towns.”
Cr Jim Fawcett said if a small town requires a
facility, it would be built regardless of the popula-
tion or rates revenue from that town and branded
the motion “codswallop”.
ANOTHER sleepy winter
Sunday on Phillip Island?
Add some excitement and
value to your Sundays with a
heap of Sunday Fun Day Specials
at the Nobbies Centre, including
half price entry to the brand new
Discover the wonders of
Antarctica with the hands-on ac-
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at the breathtaking footage on the
giant screens before embarking
on the world-leading augmented
Step on to the ice shelf and let
your imagination run wild as you
interact with seals, have killer
whales breach right in front of
you and dodge penguins skidding
across your feet.
Purchase your tickets on ar-
rival at the Antarctic Journey on
any Sunday in August to receive
your half price ticket!
Adult: $9, Children: $4.50,
Families: $22.50 and Conces-
Aahh! Sundays are wonder-
ful and we believe that a special
Sunday breakfast should never be
missed, so our delicious breakfast
menu will be served all day! With
a selection of classics for you to
choose from you can enjoy your
warm brekkie, freshly brewed
coffee and “money can’t buy”
coastal views from 9am – 4pm.
For the coffee lovers who are
out adventuring, visit any of our
other attractions and receive a buy
one get one free coffee voucher
for the Nobbies Centre Café.
Sundays have never been
more fun, so what are you waiting
for? Only four Sundays in August
so make sure you check out the
great Sunday Fun Day specials!
When: August Sundays: 7th
Where: The Nobbies Centre -
Open hours: 9am – 4pm
What: Half Price entry to the
All Day Breakfast available at
the Nobbies Café
Fun activity sheets for kids.
Cr Robert Newton
Antarctic experience: marvel at the breathtaking footage on the giant screens before em-
barking on the world-leading augmented reality experience.
The Nobbies host
Sunday fun days
Rift flares over town funding
AT LAST Wednesday’s community
presentation session, two community
members spoke for the motion put for-
ward by Don Hill, Kieran Kennedy,
Jeanette Harding and Andrew McE-
The motion called for the council to prepare
a report for the new council on the “potential
benefits, costs and design of a new small town
discretional capex community budgeting pro-
Matt Sherry from Port Franklin and Teven
Reinisch from Hallston were concerned about
the figures presented in the motion.
Mr Reinisch said the figures represented a
funding bias by council.
“Without this motion, I would have been
unaware. I shouldn’t need to be unaware. This
is the sort of thing I like my elected councillors
to deal with on my behalf,” he said.
“The council needs to represent everyone
and deal with the inequity this motion is trying
Mr Sherry also felt the apparent disparity
needed to be investigated by council.
“Do not be seduced by the figures in this re-
port. I find the figures upsetting,” he said.
Cr Fawcett said the intention of the motion
was to “create envy” and that it achieved very
Cr Lorraine Brunt said the motion misrepre-
sented the facts and formed a shallow and narrow
“It was meant to cause angst, to upset people,”
Cr McEwen said the motion simply suggested a
report goes to the next council dealing with equity.
“The most common comment that comes back
to me in small towns is that they are the rear-end
of the shire, they don’t get much,” he said.
“What we are saying is that in the next 15
years, around 20 towns and districts get noth-
Cr McEwen said the aim of the motion was to
address the “significant disquiet”, not create it.
“It had nothing to do with envy, it was about
equity,” he said.
Community speaks up
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