Home' The Great Southern Star : October 11th 2016 Contents PAGE 12 - “THE STAR” Tuesday, October 11, 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
has been to achieve the appalling
customer satisfaction scores in the
low forties; entrenching self inter-
est and inequality in the allocation
of new capital works projects as
evidenced by the fact Leongatha
and Foster are receiving 50 percent
of these funds and 20 of the small
towns and district have been allo-
cated nothing in the next 15 years
for new capital works.
Many in the small towns and ru-
ral areas can’t see what they are get-
ting for their rates. However the Old
Guard want to carry on as before.
Change is not only possible but
essential. If we abandon the mu-
nicpal office precinct and build a
$5 million community hub for Le-
ongatha like Korumburra, we can
reduce rates rises below CPI.
The long term capital works
program in the current budget pro-
vides for the building in 2022-24
and we are paying $2 million annu-
ally into a reserve fund to pay part
of its cost.
We have one of the highest rates
in Victoria and we can do some-
thing about it if councillors have
the will. In the past 10 years the Old
Guard increase rates by an average
of seven percent per annum, signifi-
cant higher than the cost of living
rises. Rates have been rising on par
with energy costs.
The policy of the Old Guard has
resulted in the allocation of $2.3
million this year to bituminising
cemeteries, back of shops, and two
recreation reserves, while ignoring
high priority projects like having a
footpath to Korumburra Secondary
College, footpaths in the main street
of Nyora to the primary school and
many gaps in basic services.
Leongatha centricity can be
seen in the fact whilst Leongatha
has been allocated $10 million for
sporting and recreational capital
works, Korumburra has got only
$600,000 while the rest of the shire
has got even less. Equity and fair-
ness demands a more even distribu-
tion of the funds for capital works.
That cannot be achieved whilst the
Old Guard is on council.
For the first time in many years
voters have been provided with real
choice in all the wards.
Independent candidates provide
an opportunity to the electors. They
have a choice that is as stark as it
is compelling.They can continue
to endorse the culture of secrecy
and behind closed doors decision
making that has produced gross
inequality in funding towns or they
can elect people who will get on
with the job of tackling the renewal
of our towns, promoting economic
development, delivering fairness
and equity and developing a strat-
egy to reduce rates in real terms,
whilst protecting services over the
next 10 years.
I and many of the new inde-
pendent candidates stand for real
change and progressive reform. Use
your vote wisely. Make a choice for
real change or be prepared to put up
with more of the same.
Cr Andrew McEwen,
candidate for Strzelecki
Vote for change
A BARRAGE of attacks made
against myself and other Tarwin
Valley Ward candidates deserve
to be thoroughly refuted.
Speaking for myself, I am
absolutely an independent candi-
date. For anyone to suggest I am a
dummy candidate or a stooge is a
disgraceful slur. I have previously
stood for council and spent substan-
tial money campaigning and fight-
ing for a better South Gippsland. I
am spending money and time fight-
ing once again.
There isn’t a nice way to go
about preferencing other candi-
dates. At a previous election most
opposing candidates preferenced
me last. I didn’t sook about it. I just
got on with business.
A how to vote card is done by
candidates to ensure that voters who
support our respective campaign’s
cast formal votes.
With recent changes to the
electoral laws, the likelihood of a
high number of informal votes at
this election is greater than at other
The joint how to vote chart is
a guide for voters. Voters can read
this chart in conjunction with offi-
cial ballot papers. I will be paying
my fair share of the bill for produc-
tion and distribution.
I have sought assurances that
the brochure mailed and delivered
to voters has not been done using
council resources. I believe that any
claims to the contrary are fabricated
I would have thought candi-
dates who can collaborate, work to-
gether, show initiative and produce
a cost saving measure are the sort of
people this council needs.
I applaud the State Government
for removing preferences from the
official ballot paper. I hope for fu-
ture council elections they take
the reform a step further and make
council elections first past the post.
All that preferencing seems to
achieve at local elections is a degree
Logically, it’s unlikely any can-
didate getting a high enough quota
on the first ballot. For me, it made
perfect sense to swap preferences
with a high profile candidate in Cr
He has been pilloried by the
press and other councillors. I am
aligned to his thinking that our shire
expenditure needs to be reined in.
There will be other issues I am sure
where we might disagree.
Finally, when you read the many
candidate statements, people talk
about economic development. They
talk about it but evidently have little
idea what to do about it.
I am a businessman with spe-
cific policies on how to improve
our local economy. It’s high time
our local economy is made front
candidate for Tarwin Valley
WHAT do you think of the 13
Tarwin Valley Ward candidate
There is a clear distinction: the
seven independent candidates are
involved heavily in our communi-
ties and promote our region with
There is no resolution of coun-
cil to build a $32 million office; if
there were, I would oppose it.
There is need for upgrading,
for which cost and service deliv-
ery, effective, decentralised models
should be considered.
When first hearing the rumour,
I went back through minutes and
asked the council directly. Then
in July I came across a petition, so
again sought clarification and was
provided with notations on relevant
sections of the budget confirming
the petition was misleading.
There are funds being put aside
for future infrastructure (unallocat-
ed) in the budget which was moved
by Cr Hill and seconded by Cr
McEwen and a study on possibili-
ties for a municipal precinct which,
if a future council resolved to pro-
ceed with, the option modelled
is for $24.72 million, including a
new library (the current building is
leased) and community centre.
We all make mistakes from time
to time. If we aren’t making mistakes
we aren’t doing much, and I believe
a few good people (as people in the
main are good) have been misled.
Rhetoric is easy to believe, but
verify I did, when it came to the
claim of a $32 million decision for a
council office, which Cr Hill’s team
of candidates commonly repeat in
their candidate statements.
Sound governance and decision
making on behalf of a broad commu-
nity, with sometimes differing inter-
ests and perspectives, is no easy task.
The ability of councillors to
seek, be given and verify advice
and data in conjunction with com-
munity consultation and their own
reflection is key to negotiating best
possible outcomes for our region.
How do I feel about being put as
11 on Cr Hill’s support ticket of six
candidates? Delighted! Check out
my facebook page https://www.fa-
Gippsland/and website posts www.
megedwards.com.au for further
None of the candidates support-
ing Cr Hill know me or bothered to
verify my background with myself,
or discuss issues we may actu-
ally agree on, before their ‘random’
preferences were allocated.
In conversation with one of
them during the week, they admit-
ted regret to being part of it and
were ‘led to believe’ falsehoods
They suggested without prefer-
ences, voters wouldn’t be able to
complete their ballot paper and in-
crease the number of invalid votes.
I value independence and be-
lieve in the intelligence of our com-
munity to be able to complete a bal-
lot with every number.
Cathy McGowan MP proved
the alternative argument wrong by
successfully being re-elected as an
independent for the federal seat of
Indi recently without allocating
preferences and with others stacked
Another declined my offer of
introduction to the mayor at a func-
tion we were both at, so that he
could ask Cr Newton about the false
Budget papers and minutes are
publically available online and I
emailed this candidate the notated
budget I was provided, to which
I’ve had no reply (copy of email is
We live in an amazing part of
the world. Life is short and I con-
gratulate each of the candidates in
standing for council. It’s a brave
and learning experience. Regard-
less of who is at the table, if elected,
I commit to independent, informed
and consultative issue based deci-
candidate for Tarwin Valley
Have your say
IN previous elections up to 20
percent of people haven’t voted
in some wards.
The only way to get the council
you deserve is to vote. Don’t leave
it too late.
There is plenty of information
in the newspapers.
Almost all the candidates have
been making themselves available
so that voters know who shares
their views and opinions.
I can add to this discussion
about my intentions, which include
standing up for coastal towns, farm-
ers and rural communities, if you
independent candidate for
Western Port Ward,
Water levels conundrum
THIS is the time to get the facts
out to all. Stop the lies.
Korumburra No. 3 dam is down
12 foot, over three metres, from the
South Gippsland Water has not
done any upkeep to the Korumburra
reservoir as was told at the South
Gippsland Water night in Leon-
gatha six months ago.
So every time you hear it’s full,
it isn’t. Everyone should under-
stand, the top quarter of the res-
ervoir is equal to the bottom three
quarters of it, so in summer our res-
ervoirs are only at 75 percent at its
best, as told to us by the gentlemen
in charge of the night.
SOUTH Gippsland has had enough of personal politics get-
ting in the way of constructive council business.
For four years the community has been subject to clashes
between South Gippsland Shire councillors, consuming council
meetings and wasting the time of council officers.
The personal blues are now continuing into the election, with
a mock form guide advising the community which way to vote,
and councillors Andrew McEwen and Don Hill being accused
of arranging dummy candidates.
A good council requires many perspectives to ensure all op-
tions are considered but at the end of the day, the decision of
council must be accepted. This has not occurred in the past and
now the split between councillors McEwen and Hill and the
other councillors restanding continues.
The personality conflict has detracted from some candidates
actually stating what they will offer ratepayers if elected.
Will they be able to work with their new council colleagues?
Will old grudges forged during the past council and new grudg-
es formed during the campaign stick throughout the next four
The fact 32 candidates are standing for this election shows
the community has had enough of the divisiveness of the past
council, but the outcome of this election risks serving South
Gippsland more of the same.
Few people like bitter tastes and that’s what South Gippsland
diners have largely been served so far, when instead they de-
serve more of the sweet stuff.
Voters are urged to choose their preferred candidates with
thought, as we will be eating what they serve for four years.
Serve us something palatable
Offices are in budget
SEVERAL candidates (majority
block councillors and those sup-
portive of their views) are saying
the $32 million municipal office
project is not in the budget.
What an outrageous untruthful
assertion. It is detailed in the budget
document approved in June 2016 on
page 8 where it is written “$24.72m
funding for a municipal precinct”.
The extra $7 million is interest
charges and is detailed in the previ-
ous year’s budget. That is $32 mil-
lion in anyone’s calculations.
The link to the document is here
so all can verify the accuracy of the
statement. The $32 million munici-
pal office project is in this year’s
budget document and it is destined
to be constructed during 2022-23.
Ratepayers started paying towards
this building last year and will con-
tinue to do so until the year 2039,
so either get used to it or vote for
The majority block councillor
group all wish to retain it since it
has consistently refused amend-
ments to the budget to have it re-
moved. If elected I will move a mo-
tion in November this year to have
this project completely removed
from the budget.
To ensure this is possible, voters
need to choose candidates other than
the majority block councillors or
those who appear to support them.
The second untruth is the state-
ment from Ed Hanley (letter to edi-
tor), of last week’s papers in which
he claimed that Cr Hill and Cr An-
drew McEwen have used ratepayer
funds to promote ourselves as can-
didates during this election. This is
totally untrue. Neither of us have
claimed any costs for producing
electoral material or travel related to
distributing any such material.
We paid for the flyers to be
produced from Officeworks and
used Australia Post to deliver them.
Nothing has been claimed or will be
claimed from the shire.
The facts are that I have claimed
approximately $4000 less for travel
expenses compared to all the coun-
cillors who have been using council
cars over the last three years.
My average claim has been
around $6000 per year whereas all
the other councillors using a coun-
cil car have been around $7500 to
Tarwin Valley Ward,
Wild Dog Valley.
A policy free zone
AN analysis of the candidate’s
policy statements reveals a
chasm between the new candi-
dates and the majority group in
The former give people fresh
choices, whilst the latter are running
on their record, oblivious to the deep
community concerns and mood for
change. More of the same is their
Rather than acknowledging the
concern that has driven so many to
choose, as is their democratic right,
to offer themselves for election, they
see conspiracies in the large number
There has been a 6.9 percent
increase in candidates in Victoria
standing for election, but for many
councils where they are ‘on the
nose’ there has been a rise of up to
300 percent (in South Gippsland,
246 percent). This is local democ-
racy at work, not flat earth fictitious
The current crop of councillors
have had an average of 11 years on
council. Their great ‘achievement’
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