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The News Headlines

Wednesday June 22, 2016

Letters to the Editor

From The Mirror,
June 12, 1996

Promaccom Fine Accommodation


South Gippsland Highway election
funding promise

• South Gippsland Shire Council has long advocated for improvements to the South Gippsland Highway. Mayor Cr Bob Newton was thrilled to hear that a re-elected Coalition Government would provide funding to the tune of $25 million. He is pictured (centre) with (L - R) Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent, MLC Melina Bath and Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien are pictured at the Black Spur section of the South Gippsland Highway.

THE Coalition has announced that a re-elected Coalition Government would allocate $25 million to upgrade the South Gippsland Highway, with funding to be matched dollar for dollar by the Victorian Government.
The announcement was made last Friday at the Black Spur section of the highway by Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester and Liberal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent, The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien and MLC Melina Bath.
The exact sections of the highway which will receive upgrade funding would be determined in partnership with the Victorian Government. The Coalition expects a share of the funding would be used to fix the notorious Black Spur section south of Koonwarra. However, VicRoads’ latest Information Update has costed the realignment at $51 million.
“A significant proportion of the Federal Government’s $25million will be going towards work on the Black Spur,” said Mr Chester, who described the funding allocation as ‘a major breakthrough’ for the South Gippsland region, as the highway has long been in need of a major overhaul.
“While the highway is not on the national road network, Russell Broadbent has been a strong advocate to secure ‘off-network’ federal funding for this road on behalf of his local community,” Mr Chester said.
“The challenge now is for the State Government to match the $25 million to bring it to $50 million to improve road safety and productivity on this road,” he said, adding that this funding will not only change lives of South Gippsland residents and visitors, it can also save lives.
Mr Broadbent said he wanted to see the funding directed to the Black Spur and other sections of the highway further east towards Yarram.
“The 3.4km section of the Black Spur bends is steep and narrow and has been the scene of more than a dozen accidents in the past five years, including serious truck crashes,” Mr Broadbent said.
“The realignment of this road is a high priority and we will consult with VicRoads and the
community to ensure local residents and freight operators get home safely, and provide a safer route for tourists.”
State Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said more than 4200 vehicles drive along the Black Spur section of road each day, including 800 trucks.
Crash rates for this section of the highway are eight times higher than the state average for similar roads. VicRoads has estimated that the realignment would reduce current crash rates on that section by 80 per cent.
“The South Gippsland Highway is a critical freight route for our local farmers, businesses and tourists heading to the Prom and I have spoken to trucking companies and drivers on numerous occasions about the urgent need for upgrades,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I have been advocating strongly in State Parliament for more roads money and for the Black Spur realignment in particular. This announcement today ensures there is Federal Government money on the table ready to be matched by the State Labor Government which now needs to step up to the plate.”
Mr Broadbent said that there are also other sections of the highway further east towards Yarram that require upgrades, and that he will be working with the Minister to ensure these areas are not forgotten.








Money for Men's Shed
mower handed over

• Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent visited the Corner Inlet Men’s Shed Group last Friday to present funding of $5000 for the purchase of a new mower. Mr Broadbent is pictured in the car park of the Men’s Shed with group co-ordinator Graeme Green and a few members of the Corner Inlet Men’s Shed woodworking group.

MEMBER for McMillan Russell Broadbent pulled up outside the Corner Inlet Men’s Shed in his campaign bus (The Russ Bus?!) last Friday and officially presented the Corner Inlet Men’s Shed Group with funding of $5000 for a new ride-on mower.
“The group is responsible for the mowing of 5˝ acres of lawn, located on the northern side of the shed, and the mower will make it much easier to manage,” said Corner Inlet Men’s Shed co-ordinator Graeme Green.
The funding was provided through the Volunteer Grants Program 2015, via the Department of Social Services.
As the program is not widely publicised, Mr Broadbent sends out letters to various not-for-profit organisations each year to raise awareness of the availability of funding to those who fit the criteria.
Over 70 organisations throughout the electorate shared in $242,953 of funding this year via the program, including:
· Foster RSL - $2200;
· Fish Creek Community Garden - $2000;
· Sandy Point Surf Lifesaving Club - $5000
· Venus Bay CERT - $4500;
· Tarwin Lower Men’s Shed - $1400.
The annual grants of between $1000 and $5000 are for the purchase of small equipment items, contributing towards the cost of training courses and background checks, and to help to reimburse volunteers for the cost of their fuel or transport
“Volunteers play a critical role in helping shape Australia and building stronger and more resilient communities,” Mr Broadbent said.
For information on the Volunteer Grants Program, visit


Season goes swimmingly at shire’s outdoor pools

A LONG hot summer resulted in a successful 2015/16 season for South Gippsland’s outdoor swimming pools. So successful that Council has now begun planning for the 2016/17 season without making any major changes.
The YMCA will continue to operate four of the pools, while Carol and Ernie Bennett will continue to manage Toora Pool. The contract and operating arrangements will remain unchanged from the 2015/16 season.
When South Gippsland Shire recreation officer Ian Murphy presented the end of season report for the pools to Council last Wednesday, councillors were pleased to hear that patronage at the pools had generally been among the best seen in the last ten years.
“That’s fabulous news,” said Coastal Promontory Ward Councillor Mohya Davies. “We certainly know how well loved our pools are.”
Patronage at Foster Pool went up about 1000 from last season to this season - from 4087 visitors in the 2014/15 season to 5070 in the 2015/16 season. At Toora, where the pool is heated, covered, wind-protected and open for a much longer season, patronage also rose – from 23,253 in 2014/15 to 23,928 in 2015/16. The other pools also reported improved attendance figures.
As recently as last year, the future of several of the pools, Foster’s in particular, was under a cloud, with Council concerned about the cost of running half a dozen outdoor pools across the shire. Local communities, however, including Foster’s, soon let Council know how much they value their swimming pools, and the pools have been given a reprieve.
Master plans are gradually being prepared for each of the pools, even Foster’s. Plans have been prepared for the pools at Toora and Poowong, work on master plans for Mirboo North and Korumburra pools will begin in the next couple of months, and consultation for the Foster Pool Master Plan – which was shelved at one stage - will start next summer.
The report attributes the improved attendance figures to two main factors: improved weather over summer and an increased number of events and programs run at the pools. The 2015/16 summer season saw longer periods of warmer weather and more days over 35 degrees than the previous season.
Foster Pool, which opens later than the other pools, was open 64 days out of 87, Korumburra and Poowong pools were open 72 days out of 108 and Mirboo North 75 days out of 108.
The president of the Foster Pool committee, Ian Lyon, said one of the factors in the success of the 2015/16 season was the decision to drop the temperature at which the pool could open, from last year’s 26 degrees, regarded by many as unnecessarily high, to the more reasonable daytime forecast temperature of 25 degrees.
“Members of the community, particularly the kids, have really appreciated the change to the opening temperature rule,” said Mr Lyon. “Another improvement has been extending the pool closing time from 6pm to 7pm, and even as late as 8pm on very hot nights.”
The report stated that while the reduction in opening temperature increased the number of days the pools were open to the public, the additional days had not had a significant impact on attendance figures. “On days when the forecast was for 25 degrees, each pool generally received up to 40 visits. This indicates that a further reduction in the opening temperature is not required.”
“Once it was confident that the pool was no longer under threat of closure, Council invested in new solar mats and overhauled the treatment plant,” Mr Lyon said.
“The YMCA did a good job of managing the pool this year. They were more pro-active. That combined with the hot weather we enjoyed for much of the summer made for a great 2015/16 season.”
Foster Pool opened early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for a regular group of lap swimmers. These sessions were well attended. Meanwhile, the YMCA introduced water aerobics on Wednesday mornings and these sessions proved quite popular with a regular group and will possibly be expanded next year.
The pool is particularly popular with the local schools. Both Foster Primary and South Gippsland Secondary College appreciated their students being able to participate in swimming classes and inter-house competitions without needing to be bussed out of town.
In a season which was overall very successful, one of the few lowlights was the lack of a monster inflatable. “Unfortunately, Foster Pool’s monster inflatable is no longer compliant with Australian Standards for a pool the size of Foster,” said Mr Lyon.
Due to the differing depth profiles of the pools, the Foster inflatable could still be used at other venues. It is proposed that Council purchase a new inflatable for the Foster pool prior to the 2016/17 season, and the other inflatable will be used at another pool.
Foster Outdoor Pool is expected to re-open for the 2016/17 season in December. Meetings will be held with the relevant stakeholders from each pool to plan the 2016/17 events calendar and the pre-season pool start-up timelines.



Time running out for 2017 kindergarten enrolment

ENROLMENTS for funded Four-year- old Kindergarten will close at midnight on Thursday June 30.
Late enrolments will still be accepted but will not be eligible to receive a first round offer. Parents and carers who have not yet enrolled their children are encouraged to get in quick to meet the June deadline.
“After the enrolment period has closed, children will be allocated into Kindergarten programs,” said Shelley Fixter, Council’s Community Services Project Officer.
“Allocation will be in accordance with State Government Priority of Access guidelines and in consultation with kindergartens. We will work to ensure the process is as transparent and equitable as possible”, Ms Fixter said.
Parents and carers that submit their enrolment application prior to 30 June can expect to receive a first-round offer sometime during August. Applications received after this date will still be accepted but will not receive an offer until after the initial ‘take-up’ period has ended.
There is still time to meet the June 30 deadline. Simply visit and complete an application online or download a hardcopy registration form.
This year is the first year that the kindergarten enrolments in South Gippsland have been centralised and the response has been very positive. Over 209 applications were received by the start of June with more expected as the end of the month draws closer.


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