Home' The Great Southern Star : October 18th 2016 Contents PAGE 8 - “THE STAR” Tuesday, October 18, 2016
A LOCAL fund to support community
energy in southern Victoria is the aim of
the latest initiative from the Energy In-
novation Co-operative (EICo-op).
The Southern CORE (Community Owned Renew-
able Energy) Fund will be launched at the AGM of the
EICo-op on Sunday, November 6, 2016, at the State
Coal Mine, Wonthaggi.
Donations into the fund will be made available to
communities wanting to install renewables, enabling
them to cut power bills and put vital investment back
into their core activities.
Bass Recreation Reserve committee, for example,
is looking to install solar to cut lighting and water
pumping costs so the netball, football and cricket clubs
can spend more money on what’s important to them –
coaching and playing sport.
“We aim to support two community renewable proj-
ects and one conservation project to begin with,” said
chair of the EICo-op, Moragh Mackay.
It is hoped the first conservation project will be at
the State Coal Mine Wonthaggi as part of the Old En-
ergy New Energy project that the EICo-op is working
on with Parks Victoria.
“Once these sites are up and running we will invite
more proposals and fund more projects,” Ms Mackay
The EICo-op is working on this initiative with the
Bass Coast Community Foundation and the Communi-
ties Making Energy Together affiliation of Bass Coast
and South Gippsland shires, Westernport Water, Mirboo
North Energy Hub and several community members.
This partnership brings a broad base of support to
communities for researching, deciding on and funding
fit for purpose renewable energy systems, making this
challenging job a little easier.
“How the Southern CORE Fund will work and how
people and community groups can get involved will be
the substance of a short presentation at the AGM,” Ms
“We will also provide detail on the Old Energy New
Energy project, which involves creation of a renewable
energy hub at the mine.
“After the presentations and lunch, we’ll take a
walk around the site and anyone interested might like
to take a tour down the mine while they are there.”
Community power projects let communities take con-
trol of their energy supply, help clean up Australia’s
energy system, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and
create jobs in regional communities across the country.
“It makes economic sense for our region to back
community energy projects,” Ms Mackay said.
BASS Coast Specialist School princi-
pal Edith Gray said she was incredibly
proud of the students who continued to
stay on camp after a tram collided with
one of the school’s buses in Melbourne
The bus driver was turning to park the bus out-
Bus crash: a tram collided with a bus carrying staff and students from Bass Coast Specialist
School last Wednesday. The bus driver and two students were taken to hospital but did not
sustain serious injuries. Photo courtesy of ABC News.
Students escape tram collision
side the students’ accommodation on the corner
of Collins and King streets in the CBD when the
tram collided with the bus.
Four students and four staff were on the bus.
The driver was taken to the Royal Melbourne
Hospital and two students were taken to the Royal
One of the students returned to camp and the
other was released from hospital on Friday after
Ms Gray said many people stepped in to help at
the scene, and Bass Coast Shire Council provided
another bus to ensure children returned home after
camp on Friday afternoon.
Eighteen students and nine staff attended the
camp. Some students witnessed the accident from
the second bus.
“The best thing was all of our students decided
to stay on camp,” Ms Gray said.
“I was proud to see them keep going and com-
plete all the activities, even after what they had
“We sent counsellors down to speak with the
students who were either involved or witnessed
the accident, and we spoke to all the parents to
reassure them everyone was okay.”
Students and staff explored the sights of Mel-
bourne on foot for the remainder of the camp, and
enjoyed visits to the Queen Victoria Market and
the National Art Gallery.
Community Energy Fund to be launched
Continued from page 1.
The Star asked South Gippsland Hospital,
Foster, chief executive officer Peter Rushen if the
urgent care centre model in place across Victoria
works adequately to ensure patients receive care
when they need it.
He said, “There are increasing demands on
urgent care centres and our capacity to respond
is becoming more difficult. We endeavour to
support our community at all times and this has
not changed. Unfortunately we are finding demand
from other areas is impacting on our service.”
Mr Rushen said there had been recent occasions
where the Foster urgent care centre had needed to
go on ambulance bypass but still assessed patients
“If the hospital is busy there is not enough nurs-
ing staff available. We are not funded for additional
nursing staff to cover the urgent care,” he said.
The Foster urgent care department provides a 24
hour, seven day a week service supported by doc-
tors from the Foster Medical Centre, including ‘on
call’ after hours.
Mr Rushen said patients are required to pay the
doctor if they attend. Usually nurses review each
patient attending and determine what degree of ur-
gency there is.
“Even with the doctor attending we do not deal
with all cases. In some cases patients can be admit-
ted to the hospital for further treatment and as we
have a CT scanner in some cases we are able to un-
dertake more diagnostic reviews before a decision
is taken or if serious, like a cardiac case, they are
stabilised and immediately shipped out either by
road or helicopter,” he said.
The Star recently reported some patients have
been unable to receive treatment at the Leongatha
Hospital urgent care centre due to the centre being
on bypass or staff being too busy.
Gippsland Southern Health Service may consid-
er improvements to the way the urgent care centre
Chief executive officer Mark Johnson is invit-
ing patients with concerns about their treatment to
contact him or the service’s executive director of
nursing Vicki Farthing.
He urged people requiring emergency care to
telephone 000 instead of presenting at urgent care
“That would be the quickest way of obtaining
an assessment of whether you need an emergency
service and to make sure the patient is transferred to
the best place to receive emergency or urgent care,
dependent on their needs,” he said.
Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien raised
the Yarram urgent care centre issue in parliament
“The problem that Yarram has as a community
is that it has struggled in the last couple of years to
attract new GPs to the town,” he said.
“That has impacted on the hospital services to
the extent that with one private GP no longer offer-
ing visiting medical officer services to the hospital,
there is now only one GP in town who is prepared
to man an on-call roster at the hospital.”
Bass Coast Health chief executive officer Jan
Child said the Wonthaggi Hospital’s emergency de-
partment had received a small increase in extra pre-
Health funding shortfall
THE Star last week asked readers via
Facebook to share their experiences of
Leongatha Hospital’s urgent care cen-
tre on Facebook.
Responses included a cancer patient being re-
fused help and a patient being sent home with a
fractured neck without an x-ray.
However Leongatha resident Neena Allen
praised the staff at the urgent care centre, pleased
with the level of care they offered her late husband
Graham Allen on three occasions as he endured
Motor Neurone Disease.
“We were always heard and the staff were
willing to learn about Motor Neurone Disease and
that made Graham feel safe,” Mrs Allen said.
“We felt emotionally supported, as well as the
medical side of things.”
Mrs Allen said during his last visit to the Le-
ongatha urgent care centre, her husband waited for
a doctor for less than half an hour and said nurses
“The nurses have a professional capacity to as-
sess what is urgent and what is not, and sometimes
you just have to wait. It’s not a perfect world,”
“At least the doctors are willing to cover that
service because if they were not, we would not
have a choice but to travel to other hospitals.”
Mrs Allen said the dedicated staff of the Le-
ongatha urgent care centre often bore the brunt
of people’s frustrations “when the system doesn’t
work perfectly or there are extended waiting
“But let’s remember we are all on the same
side. I’m sure they would love adequate fund-
ing too. We have an invaluable resource with our
small rural hospital and medical clinic providing
so many services so we don’t have to travel,” she
“Let’s support our doctors and nurses who do a
wonderful job despite budgetary constraints.”
Mr Allen died from the disease in February
Praise for doctors, nurses
sentations, but these were “not placing any undue
pressure” on the emergency department.
“Our emergency department (ED) is well placed
to serve the local and the broader sub-regional com-
munity and has the appropriate skillset and staffing
levels, although our clinicians would love a new
ED to do the work from,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Health and
Ambulance Services, Jill Hennessy, said as part of
the development of the State-wide Services and In-
frastructure Plan, the government was looking at
access to urgent care.
“Many smaller regional communities simply
don’t have the population and number of special-
ists available to safely manage major emergencies
in all local communities 24 hours a day, seven days
a week. This is the case at Leongatha,” the spokes-
“Leongatha residents should be assured that in
an emergency they have access to a local ambu-
lance service staffed by highly trained paramed-
ics with branches in Leongatha along with nearby
towns Korumburra, Wonthaggi, Foster and Mirboo
Links Archive October 11th 2016 October 25th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page