• 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.
• 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
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
“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 www.dss.gov.au/grants/grants/funding.
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
“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
“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
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