Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : April 13, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 6 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2016
Advertising is just communication
In relation to your editorial (Advertiser 23.3.16)
about Council advertising in this paper, unless I
have missed it there does not seem to have been
any response from Council which would indicate
what was the process of this decision, who made it
and for what reasons?
My understanding is that Council has histori-
cally placed its notices and other communications
in both the Sentinel and the Advertiser, because
the Advertiser has the predominant circulation on
Phillip Island (more than 4 times the Sentinel ac-
cording to your editorial) and the Sentinel’s major
circulation is through the balance of the shire.
However, some items were placed by Council in
one or other of the papers only, because of their
purely local relevance.
The rather ridiculous effect of Council discontin-
uing advertising in the Advertiser is that some no-
tifications, e.g. of dates and times of activities and
services to be provided in Cowes or elsewhere on
Phillip Island, can only be found in a paper, which
for the most part circulates off the Island and most
Phillip Island people do not see.
Surely when Council puts notices and other
communications in newspapers, the idea is that
people who may be affected should see them.
I believe that the Council spent an amount in
the order of $30,000 on consultants in order to
develop a communications strategy for better com-
munication with ratepayers.
You might say Council’s recent action seems
more consistent with a policy of ex-communication
rather than communication, at least so far as Phil-
lip Island is concerned, which all just increases the
perception that Phillip Island is not getting a fair go
from the Council. It is hard to see a valid reason
for the Council’s decision, and if it is in fact just
retaliatory, that is not a proper basis for Council
Name and address supplied.
Fix Island traffic woes
About our holiday traffic challenges (re Adver-
tiser April 6, 2016), it is not just holiday traffic.
We have a property at Ventnor and last winter –
June, July, August and September - I travelled off
Island to do rehabilitation at Wonthaggi pool, three
mornings a week as Phillip Island has no pool.
Ask the tradesmen coming onto the Island and
off every day, and truck drivers delivering produce.
We need two lanes off Island from the Phillip Is-
land RSL to the bridge, an add-on to the side of
the bridge, down to connect to the Bass double
Phillip Island is a wonderful place, with so many
things to do and see for all ages - a wonderful pen-
guin attraction, surf, beaches, plus more.
Now the contract has been signed for the GP for
another 10 years. Bass Coast Shire Council, do not
ignore this. People won’t come if it takes three to
four hours to get back to Melbourne.
P Bastin, Ventnor.
Good care is a long shot
My wife attended the medical centre last week to
have a flu injection and as we are travelling over-
seas in a few weeks, the doctor strongly suggested
that an appointment be made for me to have the
same as it should be done at least two weeks be-
My wife spoke to reception and was told they
would ring me to make an appointment which they
did for April 7.
I arrived at the Centre early only to be told that
they had run out of serum and none would be
available until sometime next week.
I was told there was strong demand and that
they didn’t ring me as they were working through
the list. I explained we were going away to which it
was suggested I make an appointment to see a doc-
tor for a script to take to the chemist who would
charge me to do the injection on the spot.
Since the appointment was made for the flu in-
jection only I thought that serum would have been
kept aside. As the usual wait for a doctor’s appoint-
ment can be several days I decided to check with
the chemist first to ensure serum was available.
To my pleasant surprise I found no Script was
required and I was booked in immediately for the
injection. I had to pay $19.99 or $9.99 depending
on your choice. I saved the Government a bulk bill
charge and another frustrating visit for myself to
the Medical Centre.
Ian Bell-Towers, Cowes
We need good candidates
Council elections are coming up soon and many
ratepayers will be wondering if it is possible to
improve on our Council representation.
I am a member of a group of concerned citizens
who are interested to identify and support suit-
able candidates for the Local Council Election.
Most ratepayers have concerns with the way
our Council is performing on so many issues.
Making decisions on the hop, changing pri-
orities, and more important not listening to con-
cerned, established groups in our community.
There is a need for candidates who know what
governance is about and are strong and deter-
mined to listen and respond to ratepayers needs
and to develop strategic plans representing these
needs. For this to happen we need more candi-
dates. If you would like to discuss this further,
please contact me by email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Swarbrick, Rhyll.
Lost opportunities and wasted time
There have been a succession of issues over the
past month which highlight concerns large num-
bers of people have with the Bass Coast Shire
Amazingly, the Council has achieved the remark-
able outcome of having large sections of the com-
munities of Inverloch, Wonthaggi and Phillip Island
off side, all at the same time.
The Council has claimed the recent abandon-
ment of the long proposed retirement village at In-
verloch is a good outcome.
Nothing could be further from the truth. A de-
cade ago, one of Australia’s largest companies pur-
chased land at Inverloch to establish what was to
be a magnificent retirement village with more than
After years of frustration dealing with the Coun-
cil they sold out at a massive loss to another com-
pany experienced in retirement villages.
After a lengthy period of frustration in dealing
with the Council that company also abandoned the
The third owner of the site has recently an-
nounced the retirement village proposal is aban-
doned and the site will become another land sub-
division of which Inverloch already has several.
With our aging population and demographic,
Bass Coast needs high quality retirement villages
and the abandonment of this proposal is a great
loss to our community.
The Council has also announced that the long
awaited and urgently needed footpath along Surf
Parade in Inverloch will finally go ahead with the
Mayor describing it as a fabulous asset.
Last year, at the now Mayor’s request, the Coun-
cil deferred constructing this urgently needed asset
and, as is absolutely typical of their style of opera-
tion, sent the proposal off to highly paid consul-
As absolutely predicted by numerous people
pressing for years to have this path established,
all this achieved was to hold the process up for
another year and at an all up cost approaching
This Council is absolutely driven by consultants.
The next issue was the announcement by the
Council that they are closing the Visitor Informa-
tion Centre at Wonthaggi.
This decision and announcement was made
without any prior consultation with stakeholders
who are now understandably livid with the out-
come. Who looked at the operation of this valued
service in Wonthaggi and recommended its clo-
sure? Yet again, of course, highly paid consultants.
The loss of this service for visitors will reverber-
ate throughout our community in a highly adverse
Business houses will lose trade and without
doubt, Wonthaggi’s fabulous State Coal Mine tour-
ist attraction will lose significant patronage.
Most tourists passing through Wonthaggi have
never heard of the State Mine until advised by vol-
unteers at the Tourist Information Centre.
The large loss of patronage to the State Mine will
have a dramatic impact on its viability.
The Council can run this vital tourist informa-
tion centre on a shoestring with the dedicated
group of volunteers doing most of the work yet they
choose to close it.
Early in their term, current Councillors insisted
on pressing ahead using consultants and spend-
ing $250,000 dollars preparing plans for a private
street scheme which was a proposal clearly op-
posed by the majority of the effected residents at
Cape Paterson. The proposed scheme was finally
abandoned in the face of fierce opposition from
a majority of effected property owners. As a re-
sult, the money was effectively squandered yet the
Councillors are now pressing ahead with a very
similar proposal at the Sunset Strip estate on Phil-
lip Island. Large numbers of effected property own-
ers have made their opposition well known yet the
Council is pressing ahead. I predict this scheme
will ultimately also be rejected by a clear majority
of land owners and if so, hundreds of thousands of
dollars will again have been wasted.
Cr Kimberley Brown will no doubt feel the full
effect of the residents’ anger at the coming Coun-
cil election. A major concern shire-wide is the
continuing use of highly paid consultants when
Council’s own highly paid executives should be un-
dertaking most of this work. In the face of all this,
I was amazed to read the following advertisement
in Victoria’s highest circulating daily newspaper on
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 and I quote: “Council
is seeking to establish a panel of suitably qualified
consultants to deliver organisation development
programs to councillors and council staff. The ten-
der is for a two-year contract, with an extension
option at the discretion of Council of up to one
So there we have it, in print, clear as crystal.
The councillors want not just one consultant,
but a panel of consultants to wet nurse them and
tell them what to do.
This council has wasted millions of dollars on
highly paid consultants throughout their time in of-
fice and regardless of how they will duck for cover,
they plan to do so for the remainder of their term
and beyond if they are re-elected.
This tender closed only last week on Friday, April
8 so there is no way they can truthfully deny that
they are proposing to continue to use highly paid
consultants over the next two years.
The next Council election will be in six months
time and for most people I know, this date can’t
come quickly enough.
Alan Brown, Wattle Bank.
Slow down for animals
On April 8 2016, driving on the Tourist Road
between Surf Beach and Cowes, I counted at least
eight dead possums on the side of, and on the
road. An article in the Age, April 2, 2016, reports
on native species silently slipping away. The rate
of wildlife extinction in this country is significant.
People should slow down particularly at night, as
animals need to get to the vegetation on the oppo-
site side of the busy road. Nearly 85% of all plants
need pollinating, possums are part of the equation.
Jan Fleming, Surf Beach.
Art and Craft group
deserves its space
I cannot believe the Bass Coast Shire Council is
not allowing operational space for the Phillip Is-
land Community Art and Craft Gallery shop in the
plan for the new Cultural Centre in Cowes.
Aleta Groves, Secretary for this community
group of “Art and Craft Hobbyists” (The Advertiser,
6th April 2016), rightly highlights this omission.
I love the Gallery Shop - it solves all my needs for
My family, friends and neighbours have been re-
cipients of original gifts with reasonable prices.
It’s great to chat with whoever is on ‘shop duty’
and learn more about their particular creative pas-
sion. The local community benefits so much from
this shop - the Hobbyists can pursue their interests
knowing they have this enabling outlet to showcase
and hopefully sell their creative products.
Skills are honed and we non-hobbyists also reap
the benefits. In supporting these talented people
we promote wellness in our community.
The gallery shop deserves space in the new Cul-
tural Centre. The Art and Craft Hobbyists have a
proven track record of over 25 years for being a
successful and transparent community group.
And where else will I be able to find such clever,
innovative, original gifts?
Madeleine Pitt, Cape Woolamai.
Lost faith in council
I have lost all confidence in Bass Coast Shire
Council following its decision to withdraw all ad-
vertising from your paper.
If anything smacks in the face of open and trans-
parent government this one does.
There is no logical or economic reason to with-
draw from the widest circulating publication in the
heaviest populated area of the shire.
This newspaper has demonstrated constantly
that it is an honest, energetic and enthusiastic sup-
porter of its community.
As a part time resident I subscribe to the paper
to stay informed.
No longer am I aware of statutory decisions re-
garding fire restrictions, green waste amnesties,
road closures, event details, staff vacancies and
There is less insight into the issues facing our
area and how our representatives are reacting.
Someone has made a major blue here.
If it’s the CEO, councillors should take him to
task. If it’s councillors, then it’s fortunate we have
the chance to replace them this year with people
who play by the rules and are not quite as pre-
cious. The best action to take would be to reverse
Geoff Heyes, Ventnor.
Wrong answer on shire report
In recent news, the mighty name Ernst and
Young (Advertiser 23.3.16) connected to a no name
organisation, has received $40,000 ratepayers
money, to report that this Cowes Cultural Centre
redevelopment project is worth hundreds of jobs
and an economic boost of millions.
When queried, the officer of the shire got away
with saying the report is too complex to explain.
Good read recently is new book Econobabble by
Richard Denniss, a career economist in academia,
government and author.
He deplores that economics gets so much atten-
tion these days, with experts treated by media as
celebrities, with much blind faith and no under-
standing of their increasingly crazy ideas.
He explains there’s nothing particularly com-
plex about economics, so, whenever we hear “it’s
too complex”, we should shout from the rooftops
“bulldust”, loud and clear. Don’t mince words!
If we don’t, we risk finance industry wizards
intoxicating themselves with dangerous moves,
heading for more GFC type crisis.
Macquarie is recently reported as having raised
$33 billion in international markets, based on
government bail-out record, for “non-investment
grade” finance of mortgage backed securities.
These are the things which caused GFC, bundles
of mortgages, with folks who could never pay, gift
wrapped with reputation of merchant bankers in
The only thing complex was trying to understand
how such people could chuck ethics and moral-
ity out of the window to be able to grab so much
money, especially from institutional investors like
pension funds. So much blind faith.
Since GFC, obviously some of them faded into
the lap of luxury. But none have been charged
or convicted of anything. Investor Warren Buffet,
asked about GFC, commented “it was too many
clever people, finance is too important to be trust-
ed to clever people, so bankers should never hire
anybody with IQ higher than 115”.
So it’s up to us to shout it loud and clear when
our Shire wastes $40,000 of our money on a finan-
cial report that’s “too complex to explain”.
Surely the invoice should not be paid; or the
shire officer should resign?
Bernie McComb, Cowes.
How to improve island transport
Having recently moved from Melbourne to Bass
Coast (and having spent some time on the iconic
Phillip Island including being affected by long traf-
fic jams getting to and from the island), I would
like to put forward some observations to your
readers regarding public transport to and around
the island and Bass Coast.
To put things in context, the attractions on Phil-
lip Island are mostly grouped together and are
easily accessible by road. Furthermore the nearby
towns of Inverloch, Wonthaggi and San Remo, the
waterline settlements and other towns such as
Kilcunda are relatively close to one another with a
considerable amount of inter-town traffic between
them. Phillip Island is served well by a good two
lane highway from Melbourne with the exception
of the bottleneck at San Remo and the single lane
road to Cowes.
In terms of vehicles South Coast Bus and Clee-
land’s have an excellent and modern fleet of low
floor buses and coaches which would be an attrac-
tive proposition to the intending passenger.
Finally there is the inter-island ferry which cur-
rently in my opinion has a completely inadequate
timetable for the potential patronage on offer and
cannot operate in all conditions.
The scenario outlined above can pave the way for
a complete rethink on developing a viable public
transport network not only for tourists, but local
commuters and students.
The Island Explorer initiative operated in collab-
oration with South Coast Bus, Bass Coast Shire,
Destination Phillip Island Regional Tourism Board
and other key stakeholders is to be commended
as a first step to get people out of their cars and
onto a bus to access the sights and attractions of
However I would like to propose that the cur-
rent timetable should be boosted to offer at best
an hourly service on a memory timetable including
additional trips during weekend peaks.
As has been demonstrated in Melbourne with
the SmartBus service and increases in off-peak
rail frequencies more people will travel on public
transport if they don’t have to wait more than 10 or
so minutes for a journey that might take 20 min-
As I mentioned earlier the coastal towns in Bass
Coast are quite close together and there appears
to be a considerable amount of inter-town traffic
An hourly bus (with extras during peak times)
service running from Inverloch to Cowes via Won-
thaggi, Kilcunda and so on with connections to a
waterline bus servicing Corinella and the commu-
nities would, I believe, see a marked reduction of
cars off the roads.
This Bass Coast ‘Inter-town link’ for want of
a better word could connect with the Island Ex-
plorer at San Remo or Newhaven. Finally a bet-
ter coordinated V/Line express coach service from
Melbourne (with all services terminating at South-
ern Cross rather than Dandenong) would be wel-
Then there is the issue of the ferry service to
French Island and Stony Point. I have often mused
to myself ‘so near but so far’ when standing on the
jetty at Cowes.
The current timetable is completely inadequate
for half-day trips to and from the island or the
mainland. Ideally the ferry should at best connect
with every Stony Point train from Frankston and
be able to operate in all weather conditions. The
ferry should be able to carry bikes (as should the
buses with external bike racks fitted) with ease to
encourage more cyclists to visit the island.
In summary an effective public transport net-
work with high frequency services connecting with
services to Melbourne and elsewhere should I feel
address some of the issues relating to traffic par-
ticularly during peak times.
I have spoken to some people who simply will
not visit the island during summer due to the traf-
fic jams. Yes an expansion of the bridge at San
Remo is probably a good idea but let’s also con-
sider what benefits can be obtained with a great
public transport network that Bass Coast and the
Island can be proud of.
Steven Grant Haby, Wonthaggi.
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