Author: Keith Platt

HUMAN imposed travel bubbles are the least of problems facing ruddy turnstones in their annual north-south migration from Siberia to the last land mass before Antarctica, Australia. Birdwatchers at Flinders are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the usual frequent flyers they recognise and identify from the coloured bands attached to their legs. There has already been a celebration with the arrival of ruddy turnstone seemingly ingloriously known as WLE. Because, rather than being just any weary returned traveller, WLE is recognised as being the oldest ruddy turnstone in the world. Tagged as a one-year-old, in 2003, WLE has unerringly found…

FIVE candidates in this month’s Mornington Peninsula Shire Council elections have signed a petition calling on the state government to reject changes to planning regulations affecting Tyabb Airfield. The petition claims the changes wanted by the shire will force “unworkable and invalid operating restrictions” at the airfield. “These amendments will cause significant limitations to flying and maintenance operations, leading to closure of businesses and loss of jobs,” the petition states. The president of Peninsula Aero Club (PAC) Jack Vevers is the first of 5470 signatures on the electronic petition, which was tabled in the Victorian Parliament’s Upper House on Wednesday…

THIS year’s Seven Sisters October women’s only “empowerment festival” is going online due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Originally held at Mount Martha in 2012 with 350 attending, the festival this year moved to Shepparton in March, ending one day before the imposition of an Australia-wide ban on events. Mornington Peninsula-based Lauren Woodman, one of the founders of Seven Sisters, said Victorians “are feeling the toll on their mental health”. “Lack of social connection, less time outside and anxiety around health and wealth are all massive contributing factors to worsening mental health,” she said. She hopes taking the next festival online…

THE 43 candidates lining up for the 11 seats on Mornington Peninsula Shire have little opportunity for physical interaction with voters, making this the first election that may be decided in large part by social media. Most candidates have Facebook and other social media accounts and online debate has, in some cases, been fast and furious for weeks. The Victorian Electoral Commission will mail out ballot packs between 6 and 8 October and votes must be either mailed back or delivered to electoral offices by 6pm on Friday 23 October. Ominously for some, results will be announced on Friday 13…

VOTERS will choose 11 of 43 candidates to form the next Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. The state government decided to go ahead with the October elections despite the COVID-19 restrictions which will impact on candidates’ campaigns. Nominations closed Tuesday 22 September and voting, postal only, will close at 6pm on Friday 23 October. Voting is compulsory and the Victorian Electoral Commission will mail out voting packs between 6 and 8 October. Just five of the 11 current councillors are seeking re-election, which means a majority of the new council will be new to the job, although at least one candidate…

AN exhibition to raise awareness of the campaign to stop AGL’s proposed gas import terminal from being built at Crib Point will run 3-25 October. Art is in our Nature includes the work of 54 artists while raising money for community group Save Westernport’s legal challenge to the proposal alongside Environment Victoria and the Victorian National Parks Association. “I reached out to the broader art community and was struck by the incredibly generous response of artists,” curator Penelope Gebhardt said. “Many have personal connections to the Mornington Peninsula and it has been heart-warming to hear their stories. Our community is…

RESTAURATEUR Michelle Loielo hopes to set a legal precedent preventing state premiers from having the powers to declare a curfew like the one Victorians are under during the COVID-19 restrictions. Her decision to challenge the power of the Premier Daniel Andrews in the Supreme Court has led to widespread support, and condemnation. Ms Loielo’s legal team last Monday (14 September) filed a motion in the Supreme Court against Michelle Giles, who is Victoria’s Deputy Public Health Commander, for the curfew to be declared “unlawful and invalid”. A further Directions Hearing was scheduled for Monday (21 September) this week. Ms Loielo,…

BUSINESSES are pitching in to help Victorians cope with the stresses and strains of dealing with restrictions imposed in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While regional Victoria is feeling the benefits of restrictions being eased, the Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne remain under stage four restrictions. Charlie Ryan, of Red Hill, who started design agency Five Creative with James Baker in 2009, said they launched their V for Victoria campaign in the hope of “spreading a unifying message of love, hope and solidarity across the country”. The stylised hand forming a peace sign has been reproduced on posters…

FRANKSTON had 71 unintentional overdose deaths between 2014 and 2018, making it the third highest of any Victorian region. The Mornington Peninsula, with 50 recorded deaths, was fifth on the list of 14 regions listed by the Penington Institute. Topping the list of unintentional overdose deaths was Geelong, with 82, followed by Dandenong, 78, Frankston, 71 and Melbourne, 60. The Carlton-based institute’s 2020 Australia’s Overdose Annual Report said more than 2000 people died from overdoses in the previous year. CEO John Ryan says drug-induced death is not confined to either illegal drugs or those taken as medicines. “When used in…

OBLIVIOUS to restrictions onshore, a pod of about six dolphins provided entertainment for morning walkers at Mornington. Alan Dillon watched from the pier as the bottlenose dolphins leaped from the water, possibly as part of a ploy to catch fish. Mr Dillon said the dolphins appeared to be “in a frenzy at times” and thought it may also have been a training lesson for a younger spotted one among the group. While untouched by the restrictions facing those on land (except maybe seeing an increase in fish stocks due to a ban on fishing), the dolphins would be just as…

THINGS seem a little lighter this week, with the reopening of children’s playgrounds, exercise times being extended to two hours and a later curfew (9pm-5am). On the Mornington Peninsula active cases of COVID-19 have dropped from 18 on Monday 7 September to four on Sunday 13 September. In Frankston, the drop has not been so dramatic, falling from 20 to 13 over seven days. Frankston Hospital was on Sunday reporting six active cases from a total 90 positive cases among staff and patients. Mornington Peninsula Shire has issued a reminder to parents that maternal and child health and immunisation services…

IF they were cleared for take-off, it is most likely members of Peninsula Aero Club would be waggling their plane’s wings or doing victory rolls after winning two skirmishes with Mornington Peninsula Shire over planning controls. In February, the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal overruled the shire and allowed a maintenance shed to be moved within the confines of the Tyabb airfield and last week VCAT ordered the shire to remove the so-called Holy Hour restriction on flying on Sunday mornings (“VCAT backs aero club against shire” The News 25/2/20). However, the two wins against the shire are just the lead-up…

MOST of the more than 2000 Mornington Peninsula residents who voted in an online poll are opposed to power company AGL’s plans for a floating gas import terminal at Crib Point. The one-week poll held by Mornington Peninsula Shire showed 1932 (93 per cent) residents were against the plan compared to 131 being in favour. The poll results follow the shire’s own opposition to the plan and the long running anti-gas terminal campaign by community group Save Westernport. “This emphatic response [through the online poll] from our community aligns with council’s position that the project poses an unacceptable risk to…

IN what seems an unlikely scenario, birds, particularly seabirds, have become collateral victims to the coronavirus pandemic. Untold numbers of disposable but not biodegradable face masks are entering the environment, adding to the already overwhelming pollution of beaches and waterways. And people heading to the beach for exercise or just quiet contemplation, are offering birds tidbits and snacks that are not part of their normal diets. Processed foods, such as bread and mincemeat should not be on the menu. The birds may be killed out of kindness. Disposing of the masks, which can take years to break down, has become…

MYSTERY surrounds the reasons for dogs becoming ill after being exercised at two leash-free areas at Rosebud. Mornington Peninsula Shire’s environment protection manager John Rankine said that drinking water at Murrowong Park and Truemans Reserve had been tested and was given the all clear while Agriculture Victoria had not received any reports of notifiable diseases at either reserve. “Unfortunately, the vets who treated the affected pets couldn’t provide any indication as to the source of the illness,” Mr Rankine said. “Council has not received any further complaints over the past fortnight, but will continue to monitor the situation.” Mr Rankine…

JENNY Angliss-Goodall is developing a special relationship. It is one of co-dependency and is not her first. The last one lasted 12 years and, when it ended, she felt as though she had “lost my right arm”. Heartbroken, but realistic enough to know that nothing lasts forever, Angliss-Goodall set about finding a new partner. The loss more than two and a half years ago of her assistance dog, Dudley, left a huge gap in her life. “We did everything together: from helping me around the home picking up anything and everything that I dropped – hair brush, shampoo bottle and…

A CLEVERLY edited but misleading video disparaging Mornington Peninsula Shire, its staff and Cr David Gill has encouraged one viewer to comment: “That guy needs shooting.” Clearly made in support of Tyabb airfield, a link to the video has been included in the latest edition of Peninsula Aero Club’s newsletter, The Tyabb Flyer. The mayor Cr Sam Hearn issued a statement “to remind everyone” that “misleading or inaccurate information” about candidates in the October municipal elections is against Victorian Electoral Commission regulation. Shire CEO John Baker said: “Council is aware of the video that is clearly misrepresenting the council and…

SURFERS have been cleared for take-off on Mornington Peninsula beaches by the Department of Health and Human Services and Parks Victoria. However, they still may face a wipeout if they are caught by police outside a five kilometre radius of their homes. Confusion last week saw police on the peninsula saying they would book surfers as surfing was a recreation and not exercise. Under COVID-19 restrictions you are allowed to drive within a five kilometre radius of your house to exercise, but within days of the police interpretation of what constitutes, exercise both Parks Victoria and the DHHS confirmed surfing…

NEPEAN MP Chris Brayne has involved himself in the October Mornington Peninsula Shire Council elections by listing several candidates on his Facebook page. In doing so, he has angered several sitting councillors and is in line to be admonished by the shire for using its logo. Amanda Sapolu, the shire’s head of governance and legal, said the shire logo – prominently reproduced on Mr Brayne’s Facebook page – is trademark-protected corporate intellectual property. “It should only be used for council endorsed business and should not be used without permission,” Ms Sapolu told The News. “It should not be used by…

POWER company AGL says “safety mechanisms” and “noise mitigation measures” are included in the design of the floating gas import terminal it wants to moor at Crib Point. “The safety of our people and the communities in which we work and live is AGL’s highest priority,” the company’s project director Ricky McNally said. He said the 10,000-page environmental effects statement (EES) produced by the company “includes in-depth investigations to identify potential hazards during construction and operation”. Mr McNally did not respond when asked to comment on the suggestion by Flinders MP Greg Hunt that there were “much more appropriate gas…

YOUNGSTERS are doing it for themselves following playgrounds and skate and BMX ramps being declared out of bounds because of the stage four coronavirus restrictions. Informal BMX ramps and accompanying bike tracks have sprung up across the Mornington Peninsula, many within protected bushland reserves and parks. But it’s not just enterprising youngsters digging in to build the BMX tracks. Parents have used excavators at Somers and Flinders to help their children build BMX tracks. The track at Flinders between the football oval and cemetery in Stokes Street “started with the kids just using spades … and has progressed through to…

JUST five of Mornington Peninsula Shire’s 11 councillors will stand for re-election in October. The five councillors who will recontest their seats are the deputy mayor Kate Roper (Cerberus Ward), David Gill (Red Hill), Hugh Fraser (Nepean) and Antonella Celi and Simon Brooks (Seawinds). None of the three Briars Ward councillors will seek re-election – the mayor Sam Hearn, Bev Colomb and Rosie Clark. Other councillors retiring in October are Julie Morris (Watson Ward), Bryan Payne (Nepean) and Frank Martin (Seawinds Ward). Although few candidates have declared their intentions to stand, one sitting councillor claims to have compiled “a Melbourne…

PENINSULA Aero Club says the enforcement order being sought by Mornington Peninsula Shire, if granted, will “effectively” shut down the Tyabb airfield. A news release issued by PAC president Jack Vevers following last Friday’s “practice” VCAT hearing said the shire’s intent was to “strangle airport operations to the point where it will become unviable. This will cause many job losses and the demise of the emergency response facility”. “Of course, all of this is predicated on the shire’s assertion that PAC does not have permits to continue to conduct its operations at Tyabb Airport, as it has for several decades,”…

COMMUNITY group Save Westernport says details of power company AGL’s plans for a gas import terminal at Crib Point have “proven correct the fears of Mornington Peninsula residents”. With just one week left to make a submission, members of the community group have been studying the 10,000-page environment effects statement prepared by AGL for the proposed gas import jetty and pipeline project. The group says it is “discovering dozens of shocking new threats and impacts that have been released to the public for the first time”. “The extent of information that appears to have been kept back is alarming, with…

IN a strange twist of fate, Mornington Peninsula Shire’s efforts to combat one known source of death and illness is being hampered by another, totally unexpected threat. However, councillors last week voted against deferring the creation of no-smoking areas, telling CEO John Baker to “ensure that the smoke-free policy is implemented as soon as practical”. In doing so they have rejected a recommendation by one of their own senior officers they delay implementing the Smoke Free Environment policy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While council is taking measures to lessen the effects of COVID-19 under the state government-declared lockdown, delaying…

IN some countries hedges are a thing of wonder. They are regarded as tourist attractions and the life that goes on in and around them is often illustrated in children’s books. But hedges, it seems, are not held in such affectionate regard on the Mornington Peninsula where laws are being considered to prevent them “blocking iconic view lines”. No matter that hedges provide wind breaks to improve crops or shelter for animals and birds, Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors also want their staff to investigate fences that also block views. Shire officers were on Tuesday 23 June instructed to begin the…

A SECTION of Point King Beach, Portsea being claimed by trucking magnate Lindsay Fox is turning into a legal and political quagmire. Not unaccustomed to controversy surrounding his expansive Portsea beachside property, Mr Fox wants to increase its size even more by using what is described as the “archaic English“ law. The Doctrine of Accretion applies when the increased size of a beach has been “gradual and imperceptible” or natural. On Christmas Eve 2013, Mr Fox was granted private title to a slice of the same beach. This latest claim seeks an even larger portion of the beach (“Grainy narrative…

THE federal government has earmarked $25 million to build a “world-class marine and oceanographic research and education centre” in the quarantine station at Point Nepean National Park. Flinders MP Greg Hunt said the universities were undertaking a business case and proposal in partnership with Parks Victoria and “all levels of government that aligns with the state government’s master plan for the … precinct”. Mr Hunt said a four-year grant agreement had been finalised with Melbourne and Monash universities to build the National Centre for Coasts, Environment and Climate on the historic site. Mr Hunt’s office later told The News that…

THE manager of the still to be completed Yawa Aquatic Centre at Rosebud is Dan Andrews. Mornington Peninsula Shire says Mr Andrews has “an extensive background in health and fitness” that will enable him to “bring a great wealth of experience and knowledge to the new centre”. As centre manager of the $50 million aquatic centre taking shape in Boneo Road, Mr Andrews will be responsible for “maintaining a strong relationship with council and leading a high-performance community minded culture where all visitors feel welcome”. “This role is integral to the smooth operation and success of this Shire facility and…

THE search is on for writers and photographers to express their “sense of place” relating to the Mornington Peninsula. Celeste Deliyiannis and Emily Westmoreland are planning to publish their annual PENinsula “literary journal” in October with a focus on nature. Its contents will include photographs “short fiction, nature writing and personal essays to showcase the secretly creative community and stunning wild landscape of the peninsula”. Deliyiannis and Westmoreland say they want their journal to “motivate and sustain” members of the peninsula’s creative community “during a time when they’re cut off from the Melbourne CBD’s artistic culture due to COVID-19”. “[It…