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The News Headlines

Wednesday September 21, 2016

Letters to the Editor

From The Mirror,
September 11, 1996

Promaccom Fine Accommodation


Another year of achievement

South Gippsland Shire Council’s draft 2015/16 Annual Report recognises the achievements of the organisation over last 12 months. The report will be presented to Council at its meeting on 28 September.
The draft Annual Report captures a number of key accomplishments attained throughout the year that will help realise the outcomes of the Council Plan: a prosperous shire, closely connected communities, integrates services and infrastructure and a leading organisation.
The report opens with a number of undertakings requested by the community that Council delivered:
• Collected more recyclables than landfill waste for the first time in Council’s history.
• Advocated to VicRoads for major repairs to the South Gippsland Highway.
• Invested $6.2M in local road resealing and $15.3M into road maintenance.
• Completed the Black Spur section of the Great Southern Rail Trail with new signage and marketing to be introduced.
• Commenced construction of the Karmai Community Children’s Centre with the official opening planned for early 2017.
• Built a new skate park in Leongatha with involvement from 800 young people.
• Developed a business case for a regional equestrian facility at Stony Creek.
• Increased the number of visits to Council’s pools to an average of more than 3,200 per week.
• Developed an Arts and Tourism Policy in partnership with the arts community.
South Gippsland Shire Mayor, Councillor Bob Newton is proud of the achievements made by Council in the last year of its term.
“Despite perceptions to the contrary, this annual report demonstrates the hard work, service and commitment to provision of excellent facilities that Council provides to the community each and every year.
“The results in the annual report are the outcome of great future planning and the dedication of Council staff who successfully implement these plans and ideas.
“We hope the community can recognise the outstanding work that can be achieved when both Council and the community work together to benefit the whole of South Gippsland,” said the Mayor.
Individuals wishing to view South Gippsland Shire Council’s Draft 2015/16 Annual Report can visit Council’s website








Have your say on
hog deer hunting
at Snake Island

SNAKE Island Cattlemen’s Association continues to take the lead in promoting community discussion regarding the hunting of hog deer on Snake Island.
This two-year State Government trial, which is to commence in February operating under a ballot system, was announced on August 22 by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
Paul Hamlett - a member of the Snake Island Cattlemen’s Association (SICA) is very pleased to have seen some really informative discussions taking place on SICA’s facebook page and encourages people to join in by going straight to the page at snakeislandcattlemen or by following the links from SICA’s website at Mr Hamlett urges those who feel inclined to also sign the online partition.
“We are echoing the sentiments shared by other groups and individuals who regularly visit Snake Island. It may not be well known that Snake Island supports a range of tourist activities, such bushwalking, kayak and camping tours,” said Mr Hamlett.
“A number of education institutions such as Chisholm Institute, Monash and Federation Universities also use the island as part of their training programs and learning activities. All these activities coexist with each other and the SICA. In fact, many of these groups regularly use the huts, particularly if the weather turns bad.
“Of course there are also many individuals who visit the Island for its wildlife, beauty and relative isolation, the exact number of these visitors is difficult to quantify.
“The issue for all the current users of Snake Island is that the proposed hunting will adversely impact on all proposed activities as hunting on the island will make it unsafe for anyone on the island except for the hunters. The local community of Port Welshpool shares this concern,” Mr Hamlett said.
User group comments include that of Bushwalking Victoria, an organisation whose key concerns include: (1) - The lack of consultation with all stakeholders prior to the decision being announced; (2) - Ongoing hunting on Snake Island by recreational shooters, with the island becoming a defacto reserve for shooters; and (3) - The risks and impacts that shooting will have on the safe enjoyment of bushwalking on the island.
Malcolm Cowell, who operates Wilsons Prom Sea Kayaks has bookings to run kayaking and camping for two schools in early March 2017 and still hasn’t been advised that hunting will be occurring that period.
“I’m concerned my business will not be viable if the hunting goes ahead,” Mr Cowell said.
“I’ve been bringing outdoor education groups to Corner Inlet, the Nooramunga Marine Reserve and Snake Island for more than twenty years,” said Dr Brian Wattchow, a senior lecturer at Federation University.
“It is a superb natural environment with an important cultural heritage, making it ideal for sea kayaking, bushwalking and environmental education. It is vitally important that access be maintained to areas like this for both public recreation and educational purposes,” Dr Wattchow said.
Monash University runs leadership courses for pre-service teachers, and have in the past taken international students to Snake Island to conduct research.
“It has been, and continues to be, one of our key programming destinations, given the environmental uniqueness, local community engagement and learning opportunities through use of open and closed coast,” said Lecturer Beau Miles.
“We have conducted anywhere between 200 to 500 fieldwork days each year (per person, per day), on the Nooramunga islands for over 10 years,”  Mr Miles added.  
The International Sea Kayaking Educators Symposium (ISKES), convened by Beau Miles and Monash University, is set to be staged at Nooramunga in 2018, attracting 50 to 100 delegates from 15 to 20 countries.
“Access to Snake Island is an integral part of our teaching program,” said Mr Miles.
“Brian Mattingley, President of the Port Welshpool Working Group and also an avid hunter (as a younger man) and fisherman, is very concerned about the safety of the Port Welshpool residents and fishermen,” said Mr Hamlett.
“He knows accidents can happen with high powered firearms. He also questioned the economic value to local community compared to other tourism activities. Brian along with many of his Group were at the last community meeting and he clearly remembers the almost unanimous local opposition to the application to hunt on Snake Island and he can’t understand why the decision to allow hunting could be made without any community consultation this time.
“Putting safety issues to one side for a moment, it’s the unintended consequences of hunting that are also of concern for SICA and the local community. We’re not suggesting hunters would deliberately target birds or native animals but the reality is that the noise of rifle shots and other animals taking fright will create unintended disturbances.
“Worst case is that other animals may injure themselves as they take flight and certainly their habits will change and they will become shy of all people.
“However, perhaps the most regionally significant unintended consequence will be the damage to the local tourism brand. South Gippsland is known around the world because of Wilsons Promontory National Park and the Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park is an important part of the unique and unspoiled environment.
“Tourism is a very important part of Victoria’s economy and statewide provides over 210,000 jobs and is worth $21.7 billion. Unfortunately, the latest information from Tourism Victoria shows Gippsland’s share of the pie to be shrinking; down around an average of -4.1 per cent over the past five years and a massive -18.1 per cent last year.
“Tourism Victoria, through its ‘Wander Victoria’ campaign hopes to reverse the trend and encourage Melburnians to take short breaks and come and enjoy nature. In fact all the key messages in the campaign highlight nature, outdoor activities, rest and relaxation. Having Snake Island, an important tourist destination in its own right, closed every second week during the peak tourist season due to hunting will further damage the regions tourism potential and the local economy.
“As has been discussed previously, the restoration of Long Jetty at Port Welshpool has the potential to kick-start an eco-tourism boom for the region. But not if operators can only operate every second week through the peak tourist season.
“Recreational shooters are fortunate to have many alternate opportunities to hunt hog deer in this region, with balloted hunting on both Boole Poole and Blonde Bay State Game Reserves, their privately owned game reserve on Sunday Island and an open season for hog deer on private and crown land for the month of April each year.
Mr Hamlett pointed out that, according to the Game Management Authority website (, deer hunters already have access to eight million hectares of Victorian state-owned and controlled land upon which to participate in game hunting and that this equates to 222 hectares per hunter.
“It is difficult to understand why they need to hunt on Snake Island given the adverse impacts on other existing (and future) users and in the face of the community safety concerns.
“These are important issues and all sectors of the community deserve to have their say. I urge Minister D’Ambrosio to meet with the affected groups and listen to our concerns,” Mr Hamlett said.


Local flood information needed

DO you have information about flooding in your area? If so we need your valuable input into the West Gippsland Regional Floodplain Management Strategy.
West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s (WGCMA), Adam Dunn, said the Strategy would help the community, government and emergency services better prepare for future flood events.
“This document will help us understand the likely costs of flooding and the costs and benefits of different options for managing our exposure to flood risk,” explained Mr Dunn.
“The recent rainfall we’ve been experiencing across our region and Victoria shows how important a Strategy like this is.
“The Strategy will include a three year works plan that includes actions for agency and local government.
“We are preparing this document in partnership with the five local councils in the region and VICSES.
“In preparing the strategy we will be able to explore a range of flood mitigation measures and prioritise actions according to the level of flood risks,” continued Mr Dunn.
Input is currently being sought from community members with information about the location of flood hotspots in their area and ideas about how flooding should be managed.
The draft plan will be released for consultation in mid-2017 with the final document complete at the end of 2017.
You can provide input and give feedback by visiting and following the links from our homepage, by visiting the online mapping tool at, call us on 1300 094 262 or email



Viplus Dairy welcomes global business delegation to Toora factory

AUSTRADE and the Victorian Department of Agriculture facilitated a visitation by a delegation of business leaders from around the world, South-East Asia, China and the Middle East, last week to the Viplus Dairy (Viplus+ nutritional milk powder manufacturing plant at Toora).
The delegation of twenty (20) business leaders, included AGM West Hope Group (Sichuan China), KCG (Thailand) & J B Trading Co (Bangladesh) were able to view first hand state-of-the-art equipment in full operation enabling Viplus+ to transform milk powder into nutritional health formulas for its valued customers.
The delegation was particularly impressed by the modern facilities at Toora, the broad range of products and Viplus+ dedication to supporting individual customer’s unique needs.
These delegates are attending the Australia Agri-Food Innovation Summit 2016 held this week in Melbourne at which Viplus+ announced that it was working with Beijing Sports University to begin clinical trials on a new nutritional milk “Sports” drink.
Viplus+ has developed a new sports product range that is different utilizing dairy based proteins rather than vegetable or soy based proteins used in most sports recovery drinks.
ViPlus chief operating officer Peter Cunningham said about the delegation’s visit: “It was very exciting to host business leaders from our key trading nations interested in Australia’s reputation for producing the highest quality dairy products in the world.”
“We are very proud of our achievements at Viplus+ and it’s a privilege to share our story with key overseas businesses interested in increasing their trade with Australia. We strive to be true innovators at Viplus+ and look forward to working with existing and future customers to enhance the products we offer,” he said.


Wonyip Excelsior Hall to host Big Day of Music

A BIG Day of Music is to be presented by the Wonyip Excelsior Hall committee and friends this Saturday (September 24) from 2pm onwards.
Bands and performers will be predominantly local - including Dean Richards, Wambo, Double Clap, Good Two Shoes, and Luxfords.
Once all performers have done what they came to do…..wowed the crowd and given all they’ve got, they may just dig a little deeper and continue with a jam session ... which makes for a very chilled, relaxed and entertaining afternoon. All this for a gold coin donation? You got it! Proceeds from the day will go towards the upkeep of the iconic Wonyip Excelsior Hall.
“The music festival will be a great chance to showcase a lot of the talent we have in this area. It’s a great little community and a lovely hall and we need to keep it going,” said David Jones, a member of the Wonyip Excelsior Hall committee who was born and bred in Wonyip and attended primary school there as one of 13 students!
The festival will be mainly inside the hall, but may overflow to outside, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy amazing views of Corner Inlet and Wilsons Promontory from this hilltop hamlet.
“All that’s left really of Wonyip is the hall and if you don’t keep it going, identities such as this will be lost,” David said.
The committee members and community feel that it is vital that the history of the Wonyip area is not forgotten and that people must be thankful for the efforts of past committee members who have spent their time and energy to keep this hall alive.
Wonyip has changed over the years and what was a community of hard working subsistence farmers is now a community of largely city-based landholders who bring new talents and ideas to the area and who are just as passionate about this environment.
This promises to be a rare opportunity to enjoy great music, a fantastic atmosphere and a wonderful location for just a gold coin. Bring along food and drink for a barbecue, as well as chairs or cushions - and enjoy!
The Wonyip Excelsior Hall was erected in 1902 by local residents and leased to the Education Department for use by Wonyip State School No. 3410.
In early 1908, Excelsior Hall and Free Library honorary secretary, George Nichols, applied for a share of the government grants to free libraries and country museums. He stated that the library had received a grant in 1907. He continued that the building was on reserved Crown land, and a room in the hall was set aside for a library whose opening hours were Monday to Saturday, 4pm-8pm; the library had 76 books.
The other ante room was rented for teacher quarters. The main hall was used as a school during the week and also rented for performances by travelling companies, concerts, dances and church services.
The building was destroyed in a bushfire in 1906. A new hall was built and re-erected after being blown down in a storm in 1923. It continued to be used for a school up to the mid-1970s, although closed in the late 1920/1930s due to inadequate student numbers. Current uses include private functions, Landcare and hall committee meetings and a New Year’s Party.
References: PROV, VPRS 3992, Unit 1088, File C3917; Flett, LJ. (1973). Vision and Realisation; Traralgon Record, 26 January 1906; Deborah Capon, Secretary, Excelsior Hall Committee. (2014). Correspondence; Jaqui Condelly .(2014).



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