Author: Keith Platt

RED Hill-based artist Michael Leeworthy finds inspiration while bushwalking and, while he has no problems walking alone, has now formed a club to explore the many trails around the Mornington Peninsula. Picture: Gary Sissons RED Hill-based artist Michael Leeworthy regularly abandons his pallette and easel in favour of donning a pair of shorts and hiking boots. Instead of heading off to paint plein air, he’s seeking fresh air and the type of inspiration that only walking through the bush can provide. It’s now 40 years since he joined the Peninsula Bushwalking Club, inspired by his parents-in-law who had just walked…

Signs of discontent: Flinders MP, Greg Hunt, above, at the corner of Loders and Godings roads, Moorooduc, is seeking re-election while the left-wing lobby group GetUp has him in its sights, centre, and independent Julia Banks can see herself up a tree in Purves Road, Arthurs Seat. LOOK at me, look at me. Vote for me. Posters with pictures of would be members of parliament (or those already elected and wanting to keep their jobs) are popping up all over the place. They’re on fences, trees, shop windows, front yards and on trailers pulled through busy shopping centres. There’s nothing…

TWO sitting MPs are among the nine candidates contesting the seat of Flinders in Saturday 18 May federal election. Liberal Greg Hunt, who has held the seat for 18 years, is being opposed by former Liberal colleague now independent Julia Banks, the MP for Chisholm, as well as two other independents and five party-aligned candidates. Two candidates, Susie Beveridge and Reade Smith, are former Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors. Candidates as they appear on the ballot paper: Harry Dreger, independent; James Persson, Animal Justice Party; Greg Hunt, Liberal; Reade Smith, Sustainable Australia; Josh Sinclair, Australian Labor Party; Nathan Lesslie, The Greens;…

MORNINGTON Peninsula mayor David Gill, third from right, out shopping at Mornington’s Wednesday market with a Chinese film crew. Picture: Supplied Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr David Gill wore his gold chain to go shopping at Mornington’s Wednesday street market. But it wasn’t just the gold adornment that made Cr Gill stand out among the crowd, it was also the small party of fellow shoppers he was leading, followed all the time by a film crew. The mayor’s shopper “reward” came later when the market’s fresh produce was used by a three-star Michelin chef to make Chinese meals for a…

CANDIDATES for the federal seat of Flinders will again have their chance to explain their views on power company AGL’s plans to import natural gas through a floating terminal at Crib Point at a public meeting on 1 May. They were grilled on their views about importing the gas and the building of a pipeline to Pakenham at a public meeting in Dromana last Wednesday (17 April), although the May meeting is being held by Save Westernport, which was formed specifically to fight the AGL proposal. Save Westernport spokesperson Julia Stockigt said most of the candidates for Flinders had accepted…

Lining up for votes: Candidates for the federal seat of Flinders at a meeting in Dromana on Wednesday 17 April are, from left, are Julia Banks (independent), Joshua Sinclair (Labor), Greg Hunt (Liberal), Susie Beveridge (independent) and Nathan Lesslie (Australia Greens). Picture: Julia Stockigt FIVE candidates contesting the seat of Flinders in next month’s federal election faced a crowd of about 100 at a meeting last Wednesday (17 April) in Dromana. Organiser Robyn Coughlin said the top five areas of interest in questions to candidates submitted by those at the meeting were the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS); housing affordability;…

The fence along the Esplanade at Mt Martha designed to cut off access to The Pillars cliff-jumping site will be pulled down after Easter. Although not entirely effective, the fence did lead to a large drop in numbers of people gathering on the cliffs, but it also saw police refusing to cross it in pursuit of anyone drinking alcohol in breach of the shire’s local laws. Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors will decide whether the fence is reinstalled in time for next summer after receiving a report from council officers. The 400-metre long fence effectively blocked a walking track along the…

Mornington Peninsula and Frankston councils want to meet with the Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan to discuss extending the electric train service to Hastings. The two councils have written to the state government “clarifying their combined support for the electrification of the existing rail line from the Frankston city centre to Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula”, according to a news release from the municipalities. Frankston mayor Cr Michael O’Reilly said the councils would support “Frankston-Langwarrin as stage one and Langwarrin-Hastings as stage two”. While acknowledging “the complex consideration for the future metropolitan…

Parks Victoria is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) to operate the hop on hop off visitor shuttle service within the 560 hectare Point Nepean National Park. The shuttle is part of the state government’s master plan for the park and the latest chance for a private operator to run the shuttle comes 16 years after the John Howard-led federal government first announced plans for 90 hectares of the former Defence land to be subdivided and sold for housing. The announcement that the prime coastal land near Portsea could pass from public to private hands sparked a wave of protests that…

CAMPAIGNING for the Saturday 18 May federal election has begun in Flinders with a backward look at still unresolved issues. Despite the drip-feed of “good news” from the incumbent, Liberal Greg Hunt, whose health portfolio provides a seemingly endless supply, it’s his time as environment minister that is being targeted by his opponents. The federal government’s approval last week of the massive Adani coal mine in Queensland revived memories, and criticism, of Mr Hunt’s role the first time the Indian company received the all-clear from the government. Mr Hunt approved Adani’s plans for its Carmichael mine one month after he…

Disappearing Banks: Independent candidate for Flinders Julia Banks may not have been invited to hear the Health Minister, Flinders MP Greg Hunt promise taxpayers’ money for The Bays Hospital, Mornington on Friday 29 March, but her picture on a sign outside the venue made her presence felt. However, that reminder of someone wanting to take Mr Hunt’s position in parliament was nowhere to be seen after the announcement was made. Picture: Cameron McCullough The right-wing political lobby group Advance Australia will be trying to influence the outcome of the Flinders electorate in the lead-up to the May federal election. Held…

Candidates for the seat of Flinders at the May federal election are being invited to state their policies and answer questions from the public at a forum in Dromana on 17 April. Robyn Coughlin said she was organising the “meet your candidates” event for residents of the Flinders electorate “to get to know their potential representatives”. Candidates who had agreed to attend by last week were sitting MP Liberal Greg Hunt, Labor’s Joshua Sinclair and independent Julia Banks. Ms Coughlin said she had also invited independent Susie Beveridge, a former Mornington Peninsula councillor. Ms Banks was elected MP for Chisholm…

A NEW business-based lobby group being formed on the Mornington Peninsula automatically includes its $21,000 a year “platinum” members on its strategy and policy committee. The group’s $7000 “corporate gold” and $3000 “corporate” packages can nominate for membership of the key body that will steer the Committee for Mornington Peninsula. A $1000 “small business package” buys the “ability” to join one or more “round tables”, while the $500 “not for profit” membership level comes with the “ability to join one round table”. While the strategy and policy committee is described driving “hands on policy decisions” the round table discussion groups…

Despite their rather precarious positioning under eroding cliffs and washed by waves, owners of these beach boxes at Mt Martha Beach North can still ask high prices if selling, and must pay increased licence fees if approved in Mornington Peninsula Shire’s 2019/20 budget. Owners of those cute, colourful bathing boxes scattered around Mornington Peninsula beaches are facing massive licence fee increases. Visitors take pictures of the beach boxes that also regularly attract the eye of the metropolitan-based media because of their escalating values. Their values are compared to those of family houses elsewhere. But this year Mornington Peninsula Shire is…

Mornington Peninsula Shire has given the all clear for its officers to sign a $120,000 two-year lease for an office in central Melbourne. Called a “satellite office”, a trial of the Collins Street premises was originally proposed to “provide a better customer service and improve efficiency for lost travel time”. That trial, according to Lisa Sturgess, the acting executive manage in the shire’s planning department, has proved so successful that she has recommended entering a new two-year lease. She says a review of the benefits of the city office since July 2017 has shown it is responsible for the planning…

Picture: Duade Paton The declining numbers of a bird once frequently seen in Western Port are being used as an example to persuade political parties to do more to protect native birds. BirdLife Australia president, John Barkla says the critically endangered eastern curlew was once a drawcard for visitors to Western Port but its numbers had now dropped to “a handful”. “I’ve been visiting the Ramsar wetlands in Western Port for decades. Once it was the perfect site to see and hear the calls of flocks of hundreds of these glorious birds, but now you are lucky to see more…

The Victorian Trades Hall Council has announced it will specifically target Flinders MP Greg Hunt in the May federal election. Phone callers and door knockers will play on Mr Hunt’s role in the overthrow last year of then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that led to Scott Morrison taking over leadership of the Liberal National government. Health Minister Mr Hunt sought to be deputy leader in the failed leadership bid by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. The union umbrella group THC will also target Mr Hunt’s Liberal colleague, Chris Crewther in neighbouring Dunkley. The involvement of Trades Hall comes weeks after…

Gas delivery: An artist’s impression of the floating gas processing terminal and a tanker used to carry liquified natural gas from overseas to Crib Point. The Save Westernport group has succeeded in getting most candidates for Flinders in the coming federal election to align themselves against plans for a floating gas terminal at Crib Point. Independent Julia Banks – elected as a Liberal to the seat of Chisholm at the 2016 federal election – says she will table a petition next “to stop this development and to protect the Western Port (Crib Point) site”. In a news release, Ms Banks…

Flinders MP Greg Hunt at The bay Hospital, Mornington to announce a $12.6 million budget allocation for a new cancer centre and to redevelop the Alexandra park pavilion for health and wellness services. Picture: Cameron McCullough Cancer patients could be treated in Mornington within two years. The federal government has allocated $10 million in this week’s budget for a cancer treatment centre to be built at The Bays Hospital. The hospital’s CEO Elena Allen on Friday was “fully optimistic” the new centre could up and running in 18 months to two years if the hospital could raise another $10 million.…

The popularity of The Pillars, a cliff jumping spot at Mt Martha, has led to the banning of alcohol, restricted car parking, dire warnings of death or injury and “the wall” – a fence to try and stop entry. Mornington Peninsula Shire, which has used its officers to book errant motorists and drones to count the number of people on the cliffs as well as paying for the hire of the fence, has called a public meeting for Wednesday 10 April to discuss a “permanent solution” to the problematic tourist attraction. The Pillars has also become a political issue with…

Recycled material collected by Mornington Peninsula Shire is set to resume being “processed” instead of being taken to landfill. Bans on the shire’s recycling processor SKM were lifted late last month and infrastructure services executive manager Jessica Wingad was late last week hoping to have “an update and timeframe for when our recycling will start to be processed again in the coming days”. “Once our recycling processing resumes, the shire will be able to confirm the total quantity of recyclable material sent to landfill as a result of the shutdown,” she said. The recycling processor was unable to take waste…

WHILE sometimes it doesn’t always appear to be a place for a leisurely swim, Safetry Beach is in the top 10 beaches on Port Phillip for having good quality water over the past summer. Five of the Mornington Peninsula’s Port Phillip beaches are ranked in the top 10 for water quality by Environment Protection Authority Victoria. Top of the 36-beach list for having the best water quality over summer was Santa Casa, followed closely by Easter, The Dell and Portarlington – all beaches on the Bellarine peninsula. Portsea and Rosebud came in at equal five, up from eight the previous…

There is never a shortage of willing hands to help surfers sitting, lying or trying to stand on surfboards at events organised by the Disabled Surfers Association Mornington Peninsula branch. Hundreds of blue and yellow rash vests were the most eye-catching fashion item for the second time in two months at Point Leo beach on Saturday 16 March. Hundreds of blue and yellow vests were visible along the beach as the Disabled Surfers Association Mornington Peninsula organisation ran a surf day. Groups of people wearing blue vests – supervised by a lesser number of people wearing green or red vests…

Independent candidate for Flinders Susie Beveridge says she has been “working away in the background” to bring the Otama submarine ashore. Picture: Supplied A FIFTH candidate has now entered the race to win the seat of Flinders at the May federal election. Susie Beveridge, a former Mornington Peninsula Shire councillor, announced last week that she would stand as an independent for the seat held for the Liberals by Greg Hunt since 2001. As well as Mr Hunt, Ms Beveridge will be opposing former Liberal Julia Banks (currently MP for Chisholm) who is also standing as an independent, Labor’s Joshua Sinclair…

IT was standing room only at the launch of GetUp!’s campaign targeting Liberal Greg Hunt in the federal seat of Flinders in this year’s May election. Picture: Supplied The left-wing lobby group GetUp! Has selected Flinders Liberal MP Greg Hunt as one of its main “targets” in the May federal election. The group says Mr Hunt’s “repeated attempts to block urgent action on climate change puts him at complete odds with voters in Flinders and it’s time he was turfed out”. Mr Hunt told The News that GetUp! had “only ever campaigned against Liberal members of Parliament and it uses…

Fluid alliance: Calling on politicians to make better use of treated wastewater being pumped into the sea near Gunnamatta are, from left, Main Ridge avocado grower Steve Marshall, Russell Joseph, Chris Brayne and David Gill. Picture: Supplied Politicians are being asked to forget their differences and adopt a bipartisan approach to provide the Mornington Peninsula’s “hinterland” with secure water supplies for agriculture and fire fighting. The authors of the Hinterland Environmental Water Scheme (HEWS), Steve Marshall and Russell Joseph, say political posturing should be replaced with election promises to finance feasibility studies and design of a system to use treated…

Back to the nursery: Charlie Micallef about to release a female gummy shark off Sorrento. The charter fishing boat operator says gummy sharks can be safely returned to the water even after time is taken for them to be photographed. Picture: Supplied Fishing charter boat operator Charlie Micallef, who knows a thing or two about catching gummy sharks, believes their numbers are dropping in Port Phillip. The Victorian Fisheries Authority oversees regulations that set bag limits at two sharks (minimum 48 centimetres long) a person for recreational anglers and total commercial operations at 1700 tonnes a year. The authority rates…

Picture: Yanni Murray Mandel has taken his talents to the road in a bid to raise money for Lifeline. The 65-year-old classical guitarist is two years into a three-year journey on behalf of the national 24-hour crisis support phone service. Lifeline volunteers provide suicide prevention services, mental health support and emotional assistance, either by phone, face-to-face and online. Mendel, pictured, who lives in Sydney, began his travelling troubadour lifestyle from Canberra in March 2016 with hopes of being back there by 9 March 2020. He has a 75-song repertoire of classical pieces, some of which he’ll be playing at Bentons…

Mornington Peninsula Shire is lining up to congratulate a Dromana supermarket for winning several in-house industry awards. Ritchies Supa IGA Dromana was last month named IGA International Retailer of the Year. The award was presented to CEO Fred Harrison and Jarrod Swaine at the international IGA conference in San Diego, US. Not to be outdone by the hype, shire councillors are arranging some publicity around the store’s awards. In a flurry of emails between councillors, the mayor Cr David Gill said he supported “the idea of official shire recognition for IGA”. “Great news indeed for Ritchies Supa IGA Dromana to…

Labor candidate Joshua Sinclair The battle for the seat of Flinders in the May federal election became a three-cornered contest on Friday with Labor announcing Josh Sinclair as its candidate. Mr Sinclair was campaign manager for Chris Brayne, who won the seat of Nepean in last year’s (24 November) state election. He was later appointed as Mr Brayne’s office manager. Mr Sinclair’s official endorsement by Labor follows reports last month that Tracee Hutchison would be the party’s candidate. However, Ms Hutchison, a broadcaster and journalist, later said she would not be a candidate despite giving it serious consideration and being…