Councillor expenses should be approved before being spent
Judging by last Tuesday’s Mornington Peninsula Shire Council meeting (7 February), there is confusion among councillors and the shire regarding expense reimbursement. The discussion centred around Cr Anthony Marsh’s trip (as mayor) to Roper Gulf Regional Council with CEO John Baker last year. The claim is for $3750.48. Cr Marsh declared a conflict of interest and left the room prior to debate.
Some councillors said they didn’t understand why Marsh was seeking reimbursement because prior to the trip he had said he wouldn’t be submitting a claim. Other councillors stated he should be paid because they had all been supportive of the trip and pleased with the outcome.
Then there was some concern about why the claim wasn’t submitted earlier. Then the question of subsequent credit card interest charges was thrown into the mix.
It beggars belief. It is irrelevant if the trip was a success or not. It is irrelevant if nobody argued against the original proposal of visiting a remote council to share experiences.
What is critical is how is it possible that this is even an issue? One of the most basic aspects of running a business is expense reimbursements. What, when and how claims are processed should be written in stone.
Certainly, before anything is undertaken, you’d expect that the cost of travel would be determined and, more importantly, formally approved.
Surely the financial aspect is an integral part of any decision-making process to be able to weigh up the pros and cons of committing to any venture.
Louise Page, Tyabb
Tourism is a double edged sword. Too much of it turns small communities into unsustainable expensive part time dormitories for the rich at the expense of those who live and work here.
Take Rye for example. Currently no house rentals available under $450 a week on realestate.com.au but there are more than 1000 Airbnbs to rent for a night or so (January 2023 data from Airdna.com). Many of these 1000 plus homes used to be full time residential homes and or rentals for locals, now gobbled up by Airbnb and out-of-town investors.
Meanwhile, local businesses struggle for staff and homeless workers are living in cars or camping on the foreshore.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council should have acted years ago to advocate and strengthen its planning and zoning laws to prevent this from happening.
We need to get the balance right for locals yet still have a robust tourism industry. Not too much to ask, is it?
Name and address supplied, Rye
A jump too far
A bike and jump park has been proposed, through Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and the Somers Residents Association, as an installation to be located in the dog off leash area in R W Stone Reserve, Somers.
The area being proposed is a natural peaceful place to walk, meet and have conversations, sit and read books and walk dogs. The present area size is important to give space for people with multiple dogs or large or problematic dogs, the room to locate themselves away from other dogs and their owners.
The population of dogs in Somers has increased exponentially
during COVID, increasing the demand for the present size of this medium size facility. The proposed bike and jump park, with viewing seating, will effectively fence off and halve the present off leash area.
The Somers demographic is not children heavy. The bulk of the children come to the Somers school from outside suburbs.
The original council signs placed in the park entry area had a QR code which led to a “Default 4” web location. No information was available.
Progress on this project has taken place without local residents having a fair and informed opportunity to voice their position.
Council has since offered us the opportunity in a survey to voice our opinion, but I have the distinct impression that the project, which now has its primary funding established and drawings in place, has progressed unhindered by local input at the genesis
Overwhelmingly, the opinion of the Somers residents that I and other concerned residents have spoken to, is a resounding no to this proposal, for all the reasons mentioned.
Michelle Gregory, Somers
Sack the council
Our Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors have at last met and discussed the outcome of the Ryman Healthcare appeal to VCAT which has been approved. Shock horror.
Ryman will now proceed with the “large-scale development” in Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza which is within the green wedge.
The council meeting is too little, too late because councillors could not be bothered to convene a meeting within the timeframe to lodge a Supreme Court appeal on behalf of their employers, that is us the ratepayers.
The Andrews government should sack the council and appoint an administrator which would save the councillors having to be bothered to represent ratepayers in the future.
Councillors have neglected their duty to Mornington Peninsula Shire ratepayers and, more particularly, the residents of Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza and the students of Kunyung Primary School and their parents.
David James, Mornington
The voters of the Briars Ward deserve better representation than being currently served up by Crs Steve Holland, Despi O’Connor and Anthony Marsh.
The fact that these three didn’t support Cr David Gill’s motions for Mornington Peninsula Shire to appeal to the Supreme Court over the second VCAT decision to allow Ryman Healthcare to build a retirement village in the green wedge (anywhere beyond the urban zone) at 60-70 Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza, indicates a complete disregard for majority opinion.
Re-read that slick bombardment of multiple pamphlets during their campaigns for election and you will see that these three proposed following the wishes of their voters.
Absolute baldadash, piffle and double dealing by these three councillors. They should be sacked for not following the wishes of their electors and made to pay back their outrageous election costs.
The salient fact that these three have all enjoyed huge mayoral remuneration over the last three years yet can’t show a decent face and respect for the voters that obviously want positive protective action against such threats to the peninsula and the green wedge policies that this council supposedly proposes.
For the record, I placed all three at the end of my voting card and take no responsibility for them shafting the voters by standing in the way of Cr Gill’s admirable intentions for a Briars Ward issue.
We have got better service and personal interest from the other ward councillors, Crs Gill, Debra Mar and Antonella Celli, than these three. Absolute disgrace.
Ian Morrison, Mount Eliza
Voice in parliament
A constitutional push for the voice is already available – under the constitution we can already aim for a voice, as all the various parties and groups do, such as the Greens and the Labor Party putting up candidates at an election with the aim to get candidates in parliament to legally express their opinions and vote – so why not have an Aboriginal party to put up candidates who can express their rights and reasons as the various parties do now and seek enough votes to get seats in parliament.
Clive Palmer does, as does Simon Holmes a’Court with the Teals, and alternative energy installations interests.
Keith Murley, Blairgowrie
Time for the voice
The hysteria by the opposition and right wing media is truly sad. They are choosing to willfully misunderstand what the voice is about. The Aboriginal people were Australia’s original peoples and since 1788 have been dispossessed and marginalised.
It is important to correct a misconception many make about the voice. The voice is not “a second vote”, it is an advisory body to help the government frame policy and take into consideration any potential impact on Aboriginal people.
In a sense, no different to any community group making representations to parliament about decisions that may impact them. It is a great feature of all democracies.
Surely after a quarter of a millennium of shabby treatment, the voice is a small step in redressing some of the damage done to our Indigenous peoples. It is not a big ask.
Dr Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong has just invoked her woke credentials on the international stage and exposed her belief in the deluded historical perspective we call critical race theory (everything white western governments have done in the past is despicable).
I guess Penny Wong may drive a motor car or fly in a plane or has been vaccinated against coronavirus; all legacies of the triumph of western civilisation.
In her visit to the UK as foreign minister she invoked the hard and exploited life of her parents in North Borneo. In her account, her father’s Hakka and Cantonese Chinese ancestors were victims of imperial oppression. Her message to senior British government leaders was condescending at the very least.
Wong ignores (conveniently) the legacy of Sir William Hood Treacher, Borneo’s first governor (1881 – 1887). His opposition to slavery was incorporated into the founding charter of the North Borneo Chartered Company, to which our foreign minister referred. Borneo had a brutal history of slavery, intertribal head-hunting and piracy. The establishment of the North Borneo Company in 1881 paved the way for the ultimate extinction of slavery in Borneo and dealt the final blow to the piracy and kidnapping. It substituted a strong, liberal and just government for numerous weak, cruel and unjust ones. It introduced the rule of law and a justice system which did not distinguish between races and creeds, between rich and poor, or master and slave. It put a stop to the custom of head-hunting and brought law and order to outlying districts, opening the way for free trade and the investment of European and Chinese capital.
I though this may interest readers on the Mornington Peninsula whose woke credentials usually demand the rewriting of history, and diminished common sense, to suit their politics.
Ken Anderson, Mount Martha
Save The Ducks
My children and I recently had the pleasure of watching a family of native ducks pottering about in the safe wetlands of The Briars Wildlife Sanctuary.
It shocks me to think that in about six weeks time these graceful creatures will likely be under fire from duck shooters.
Western Australia called an end to this unnecessary cruelty in 1990, New South Wales in 1995, and Queensland in 2005.
Victoria must follow suit.
With our changing climate no doubt causing habitat and breeding disruption, our beautiful native waterbirds deserve every opportunity to survive and thrive.
Amy Hiller, Kew
End duck shooting
Will technology save Victoria’s native ducks? From afar, modern cameras can now capture the cruelty of duck shooting.
A graphic two-minute video has recently been emailed to the Premier Daniel Andrews and key ministers by concerned voters. It shows shocking images of wounded ducks – hit with a rod or surviving blasts at close range; shoved into shooters’ belts; being used to “blood” shooters’ dogs; being twirled by the neck; stumbling pitifully as they struggle to walk because they can no longer fly. Clearly this so-called “sport” exposes the worst side of humanity.
Other major jurisdictions (WA, NSW, Qld and the ACT) banned this cruelty long before sustainability became an issue.
The premier has no good reason to fear the shooters’ lobby. He has two landslide wins in his pocket and most Victorians are opposed to duck shooting. It’s time he stopped it. The video can be viewed at youtu.be/aSQae7heehg
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills
I would like to draw your attention to an error in the article in today’s Gazette on the above topic. [The writer is referring to “Memorial remembers Montevideo Maru, The News 6/2/23.]
The article states, incorrectly, that the ship was sunk by allied bombing. That is wrong.
It is a well-known fact that the ship was torpedoed by the US submarine Sturgeon.
This is recorded on the AWM and many other websites and is testimony from the few Japanese sailors who survived. The ship sank in 11 minutes after the torpedoes struck and the Japanese sailors did not release the prisoners from the holds.
Barry Rumpf, McCrae
Editor: The Mornington Peninsula News Group, publisher of The News, does not have a publication called the Gazette, although one did once exist on the Mornington Peninsula. A correct version of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru was included in “Place of rest to reflect on lasting war losses”, The News 17/1/23.
It has been many years since China stopped taking our garbage.
The state has been collecting waste tip fees for years.
Where is our state of the art tourist attraction recycling center?
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
Car death traps
The horrific story of the toddler who died in a hot car on 2 February is a stark reminder of the dangers of leaving anyone in a hot car. As temperatures soar all over the country, please remember that dogs and children should never be left in parked vehicles, which can rapidly become death traps.
Even on a mild, 22-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 47 degrees in minutes. Leaving windows open will not keep animals or children comfortable or safe.
With only hot air to breathe, they can succumb to heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes, resulting in brain damage or death. Symptoms include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, diarrhoea and vomiting, and even seizures.
Please, when it’s warm outside, leave children and animals at home, or take them out of the car with you.
If you see children or dogs left in a car, have the car’s owner paged at nearby shops or call 000 immediately — their life depends on it.
If the authorities are unresponsive or too slow and their life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back up your assessment, take steps to remove them from the car, and then wait for authorities to arrive.
Mimi Bekhechi, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Sydney
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