Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : January 11, 2017 Contents PAGE 6 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017
San Remo District, Cowes and Grantville & District
Going to Uni for the first
time in 2017?
San Remo District, Cowes and Grantville Community Bank®Branches
Applications are invited from eligible students in the local district attending
university for the first time in 2017.
Drop into your nearest branch at San Remo 5678 5833, Cowes
5952 3383 or Grantville 5678 8773 for more information or visit
The San Remo District, Cowes and Grantville & District Community Bank® Branches 2017 Scholarship is a management account of Community Enterprise Charitable Fund
ABN 12 102 649 968 (the Fund), The Bendigo Centre, Bendigo VIC 3550. Sandhurst Trustees Limited ABN 16 004 030 737 AFSL 237906, a subsidiar y of Bendigo and Adelaide
Bank Limited ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL 237879, is the trustee of the Fund. S55250-3 (327200_v2) (19/12/2016)
Peter Paul (PIMHAG president) and PIMHAG committee member Bruce Procter (right) are
pictured manning the PIMHAG consultative table in Coles last week.
Surveys are being distributed over summer seeking information from the community on
health requirements on Phillip Island.
Better health facilities the number one priority
THE need for better health
facilities on Phillip Island has
been overwhelmingly identified
by the local community at PIM-
HAG consultative tables set up
in the street over summer as
the community’s number one
The Phillip Island Medical and
Health Action Group PIMHAG
has distributed many hundreds
of Medical and Health Require-
ment surveys in the street since
Christmas, seeking information
which will be useful in the de-
velopment of the Health Hub in
Church St Cowes.
And has received valuable
feedback from residents in re-
lation to the lack of adequate
health facilities on Phillip Is-
The Cowes Health Hub is
scheduled to open in April 2018
in time to be part of the island’s
The Hub is happening.
The Hub will do more than
re-arrange the services that al-
ready exist, and
PIMHAG is working hard to
ensure that this happens.
It was also made clear from
feedback received from the
community by PIMHAG mem-
bers and volunteers manning
tables in the street in the last
two weeks, that there is a very
strong desire for the develop-
ment of a new hospital at Won-
thaggi with greater sub-regional
capacity, capable of addressing
the district’s current limitations.
Emergency a concern
A new Emergency Depart-
ment is clearly a high priority
for our community.
Medical equipment also needs
to be updated to 2020 stan-
It was also highlighted and
reinforced to PIMHAG by com-
munity members who stopped
by in the street that turning left
to Melbourne at Anderson for
health needs is time consuming,
costly with fuel, parking and
tolls, and on occasions necessi-
tates an overnight or longer stay.
A fifteen minute appointment
can consume the majority of the
Where possible, we want to
see many of these specialist ap-
pointments available locally.
Many members of our com-
munity were very critical of our
politicians at Federal, State and
the local level.
PIMHAG has met with all tiers
of government and everyone
else who can assist in bringing
better services to the island.
And will continue to do so.
We are reaching out to all who
can assist in providing better
medical services here.
Services for the future and
services that area available else-
where in rural Victorian towns
similar to ours.
People are being forced to
leave the Island because of inad-
equate health facilities and sev-
eral with holiday houses com-
mented that they will not settle
permanently on retirement be-
cause the health facilities they
require are not available.
PIMHAG will be active not
only with our politicians, but
will work in co-operation with
Bass Coast Health, to achieve
this community’s goals whilst
not compromising our indepen-
A model to follow
It has been 10 years since the
Cowes Community Bank com-
menced its journey.
It is a most successful story,
and has made a difference in
and to our community.
It is a model to follow, built
from grass roots level.
PIMHAG is also a grass roots
community movement, born
out of frustration and disap-
pointment, knowing that a bet-
ter health service than exists is
a vital requirement.
We have a purpose, we have
the passion, and we will perse-
vere; and in partnership with
the community we look forward
to the challenges that lie ahead.
As the old and true adage tells
us: Nothing ventured, nothing
Thank you to all who have as-
sisted to date, especially those
who distributed surveys and
other information to commu-
Thank-you to the community
for their generous donations to
PIMHAG, and to John Matthews
from Getaway Phillip Island
for sponsoring our signage.
Thanks also to the Newsagent
and Coles for allowing us to dis-
tribute material in their prem-
Additional medical facilities
for the community is clearly the
Number One priority of a ma-
jority of Phillip Islanders.
Join us on facebook or on
www.pimhag.com to complete
our survey or follow our prog-
Please note – if you would
like to volunteer and assist
PIMHAG, please contact secre-
tary Graeme Cock on 0419 043
BASS Coast mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield has
given notice this week that she would like to see
a further reduction in the farm rate levied on
the shire’s rural community.
After years of intransigence, the Bass Coast
Shire Council softened its stance on the vexed
issue of farm rates back in 2014, introducing a
farm differential rate of 80 per cent.
Two years on, new mayor Cr Rothfield be-
lieves there is scope to further reduce the farm
She would like to see the differential taken
down to 60 per cent, and will present this view
at the council table in the months ahead.
“Farmers are doing it tough out there,” Cr
Rothfield commented this week.
“With the Murray Goulburn episode in partic-
ular, there are farmers are having to walk away
from their land.
“On Phillip Island, some farmers still face the
very real prospect of being rated off the land
they have farmed for generations.”
Farmers across the shire have long argued
that the current rating system is inequitable, on
the basis that while they make up 3.5 per cent
of the Bass Coast population, they pay 10 per
cent of the shire’s rate revenue.
And they say the farm rate, which exceeds
$15,000 annually in some cases, has become
a crippling burden for coastal fringe farmers
in particular, because of the rapid increase in
valuations in the past decade, as real estate
prices soared, compared to their ability to earn
an income from the land.
A Victorian Government review of local gov-
ernment differential rating powers, conducted
back in 2014, recommended that councils
provide a lower differential rate for farm land,
in recognition of reduced access to municipal
It also recognised that valuations for rating
purposes do not relate to farming potential,
and the extremely high charges can render
farm operations unviable and unsustainable.
The situation in the Bass Coast Shire’s high
value coastal fringe areas is that the leasing
value attainable for farming in some cases does
not cover shire rates.
The value of the rural vista and landscape is
also very important to the local tourism indus-
try, and this needs to be taken into account, Cr
“The beautiful rural views across the shire
are an asset, and provide visual amenity for
visitors to the area,” she said.
Most rural and regional councils in Victoria
do recognise the equity of providing a differen-
tial rate for farmers.
Bass Coast Shire was one of only six rural
councils in Victoria not to do so, before it ad-
opted the 80 per cent differential in 2014.
Bass Coast councils prior to 2014 had long
resisted the push from the farming sector for
relief, on the basis that a rate reduction for
farmers would impact adversely on other rate-
But Cr Rothfield said that the farm rate com-
prises under 4 per cent of the total shire rate,
and believes a further drop in the differential
rate is achievable.
Prior to amalgamations twenty two years ago,
the Phillip Island Shire struck a farm rate an-
nually, which recognised that inflated property
values due to coastal location did not reflect
But since amalgamation, farmers have been
charged at the same level per valuation as gen-
Current planning laws preclude subdivision
of farm land, but it is rated at the same level as
There are approximately 2,000 farms and
about 30,000 ratepayers in the Bass Coast
Mayor supports differential
farm rate reduction
The overwhelming response from community members in
the street at the PIMHAG consultative tables that have been
set up across the island is that current public health facili-
ties are inadequate, and better health facilities are needed.
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