Home' The Great Southern Star : October 4th 2016 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - PAGE 5
By Tayla Kershaw
A CALL for change was the resound-
ing message from the majority of the
10 South Gippsland Shire Council
Strzelecki Ward candidates at a public
forum in Korumburra last week.
While current councillors felt they had made
some genuine achievements during their four
year term, candidate David Amor said it was
time for ‘a spring cleanout’ come the October
“To find direction, we need to go in with a
clean slate,” he said.
Dubbing himself the ‘candidate for change’,
fellow candidate Viv Pepper said council must
stop seeing its ratepayers as just residents and
start seeing them as customers.
“You must vote for change if you are dissatis-
fied or if you have genuine concerns about the
current council,” he said.
“Let’s do better and achieve better business
One such issue Mr Pepper had in mind was to
fast track the Korumburra town plan to ensure it
does not become a ghost town.
As the only Generation Y candidate, Aaron
Brown said he could stir change by delivering
fresh ideas and different outcomes.
“We need people who will work harmonious-
ly. We need to build on community engagement.
South Gippsland is in quite a good state finan-
cially and it won’t take a lot to get back on track
but we need the right people,” he said.
Candidate Frank Hirst backed up the need
for the community to choose wisely during the
“I have been to a few meetings and I have
not been impressed with what I have seen. When
it comes to anything controversial, a group of
councillors stick to the status quo,” he said.
“Unfortunately, when you ask people about
their connection with council, you often get a
South Gippsland farmer David Wanless said
the community had had enough of council’s an-
tics for the past four years, and believed the re-
cord number of standing candidates backed up
“The dissatisfaction rating in this shire is real.
There is a lack of leadership and there needs to be
a shift,” he said.
“This is a great place to live and we need
to make it better. Our representatives have not
fought for us. Strzelecki Ward has seen less than
$1 million in capital works and we need an agri-
cultural advisory board to keep the region work-
Current mayor Cr Bob Newton and council-
lors Andrew McEwen and Lorraine Brunt shared
a different view, believing the council had oper-
ated well over its four year term, and positive en-
ergy would return positive outcomes.
“I don’t wish to change much and I don’t wish
to make promises that I can’t deliver. I have seen
potential candidates say they will turn everything
upside down. You are one in a council of nine –
it’s not that easy,” Cr Newton said.
“This council is free of debt, which is not
a bad achievement. I have pride in the Karmai
Children’s Centre and the sewerage schemes.
Capital works have not gone to just one town – it
has serviced the whole shire.”
However, candidate Ian Nicholas said
change was the most important theme coming
out the session, and needed to be considered by
“We really need to change the culture of this
council, which has border lined on bullying,” he
“There needs to be a complete review on
services and the management structure. I think
it’s unbelievable the CEO is paid in excess of
$300,000 and it’s discriminating that farms less
than 400 acres are forced to pay residential rates.
I also want to work against in camera sessions
Candidates clash heads at Korumburra
By Tayla Kershaw
TOWN plans, rates, coal seam gas and
overall community satisfaction were the
pressing issues for the Strzelecki Ward
Residents were given the opportunity to ask
important questions of the Strzelecki candidates
at a forum held in Korumburra last week.
Trish McCraw from Poowong asked the South
Gippsland Shire Council Strzelecki Ward candi-
dates about their strategic plan, which stirred a
debate about growth and streetscapes.
As Korumburra is the first South Gippsland
town that welcomes Melbourne travellers, resi-
dents feel a beautifying scheme needs to
Current councillors united on the fact that
plans were set in motion for the entire shire, and a
queue of priorities is in place.
“We can’t just look at the development of
Strzelecki, we have to look at all three wards. Foster
and Leongatha are priorities now and Korumburra
will be, but not yet,” mayor Cr Bob Newton said.
“Candidates who come in here just to look af-
ter Strzelecki will find it doesn’t work that way
and you can’t jump the queue.
Cr Lorraine Brunt said Korumburra will be
developed in the 2020-2021 and designs are being
looked at in the meantime.
Korumburra’s Chris Amor said it often felt to
Strzelecki residents that Leongatha is always pri-
oritised over Korumburra, and asked if it was true
that Leongatha was getting a United petrol station
and a Hungry Jacks.
Councillors Andrew McEwen and Lorraine
Brunt said nothing had been confirmed, and there
is capacity for a permit to be given to the fran-
chises in either town.
While development was a hot topic, Meeni-
yan’s Clive Hope was concerned for the future of
the shire land after a letter to the editor written by
Cr Andrew McEwen on February 24, which sug-
gested some of the current councillors may be in
favour of coal seam gas.
Mr Hope asked the candidates for their po-
sition on fracking; candidates responded no
Strzelecki speaks up
“Council has a firm stance against coal seam
gas. It was not a case of ‘we didn’t agree with Cr
McEwen, therefore we are for it’. We were never
for it,” Cr Lorraine Brunt said.
Leongatha’s Paul Norton attended the forum
to express his dissatisfaction with the way dis-
ability had been handled in the shire and was
disappointed works were going on that were not
capable of handling disability.
“We are an aging community and the concept
of disability is changing. I will be making an is-
sue of this to the next council,” Mr Norton said.
Cr Newton said all works go before the access
and inclusion committee before going ahead, but
Mr Norton claimed the Heavy Vehicle Route –
which limits footpath access near Long Street –
did not go before the committee.
Candidate Aaron Brown voiced his willing-
ness to consider policies about disabilities before
making decisions if elected.
Leongatha South’s Ron Wangman said the is-
sues in the ward come down to roads, rates and
rubbish, and waste management was a particular
concern for the residents.
Candidate Viv Pepper voiced his concern for
the increased truck movement if a landfill was to
go ahead in Leongatha South, and said he would
look for ways to move heavy vehicles out of the
community as a councillor.
The candidates were also asked why they
were unwilling to develop a $32 million civil hub
in Leongatha, which would be used primarily as
Candidate Jim Forbes said the centre could
incorporate a library and a community space, but
had been slammed by many of the candidates.
Ian Nicholas felt the plans for the building
were inappropriate, and needed to be properly
considered if it were to go ahead.
Candidate for change: Strzelecki Ward
candidate Viv Pepper appealed to residents
about delivering better outcomes and value
Former Shire of Korumburra councillor Jim
Forbes said it was time the council properly re-
flected this area and move forward.
“As a council, we have everything going for
us. We have the most productive land, great rain-
fall, the coast and we are 100 kilometres away
from the most liveable city,” he said.
“We need to work together and achieve finan-
cial stability to move forward.”
Fresh ideas: from left, candidates Aaron Brown, David Wanless and David Amor spoke at the
Strzelecki Ward public forum to inform the community about their stance on important issues.
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