Community input missing from ‘closed door’ negotiations
Is it any wonder that ratepayers seek an inquiry into Mornington Peninsula Shire (“Ratepayers want inquiry into shire” The News 11/4/23)?
If we take the recent actions regarding Peninsula Aero Club and the shire there’s plenty to be unveiled. Both organisations have caused much angst, time and expense to the community.
In Freedom of Information documents obtained from the shire, it is evident that decisions are being made that are not in the best interests of all residents. During the latest failed negotiations between PAC and the shire (before the recent PAC vs Shire VCAT hearing and outcome) the CEO John Baker wrote in an email: “A reputational risk to council from the inevitable and very public accusations that we have carved up a ‘preferential’ deal behind closed doors with the airfield. The s173 agreement does not allow for any input other than from the airfield and ourselves. This is fine but we need to brace for this …”.
Actually, no, that’s not fine at all. Where is the community input – the residents the shire is meant to represent?
Worse still, of the three councillors involved with the negotiations it seems to me that at least one was not unbiased.
If all this wasn’t enough, the $350,000 shire payout to the private club also requires investigation.
Louise Page, Tyabb
‘Disgraceful’ costs claim
Has there ever been such a display of anti-community behaviour as the private Peninsula Aero Club (at Tyabb Airfield) taking Mornington Peninsula Shire to VCAT and allowing residents to participate then going after them for costs (“Aero club loses bid for $124,000 legal costs” The News 18/4/23)?
On 14 September 2022, Jack Vevers (then president of the private aero club), wrote on a local Facebook page: “We allowed everyone that wanted to be a party to the VCAT hearing an opportunity to have their say … we felt it was important to give everyone a chance”.
As a result, residents did their best with smaller personal funds to be heard because there was little confidence in the shire to represent locals adequately. How disgraceful then that PAC applies to VCAT asking for the shire and residents to cough up another $124,000. Thankfully, VCAT saw the injustice in PAC’s action and dismissed the claim.
Keith Old, Tyabb
It seems that whatever happens regarding the Tyabb airfield, it is the residents who bear the brunt. The behaviour of the Peninsula Aero Club to go after Mornington Peninsula Shire and local residents for $124,000 in costs for a VCAT case that the aero club instigated is reprehensible (“Aero club loses bid for $124,000 legal costs” The News 18/4/23). Additionally, is it OK that the shire (represented by the CEO John Baker and Crs [Paul] Mercurio, [Despi] O’Connor and [Anthony] Marsh had secret negotiations with PAC during 2021 with no community representation or consultation? Does that pass the pub test?
These are yet more examples of Tyabb and surrounding residents being failed and treated with contempt by the shire and the PAC.
Rohan Burch, Somerville
Our elected leaders need to be more honest and transparent when representing their constituents.
On 4 March Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas attended the first ministerial meeting of the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) in Japan.
He was joined by Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister to sign an agreement to supply hydrogen-from-brown-coal from AGL’s Loy Yang mine to Hastings for shipping to Japan.
However, there are many unanswered questions about this hydrogen project and the lack of consultation with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and engagement with local residents.
What is the proposed hydrogen gas pipeline route from the Latrobe Valley to Hastings?
How much water will the hydrogen liquefaction facility in Hastings require and where will the water be sourced – the Wonthaggi desal plant or Western Port?
Where will the carbon dioxide waste (CO2) be taken? Will Esso/ExxonMobil take the CO2 and pump it into their old oil and gas fields – “out of sight, out of mind”?
Who will be legally liable and pay for any environmental damage due to accident or leakage from the carbon, capture and storage (CCS) of the CO2 – the Victorian taxpayer?
Were our local elected leaders Flinders MP Zoe McKenzie and Hastings MP Paul Mercurio informed of this agreement and are they opposed to this hydrogen export project?
Japan wants hydrogen, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal from Australia but it does not want any CO2 emissions.
There are plans to transport CO2 from Japan to Australia via undersea pipelines and store the CO2 beneath our territorial waters.
Our elected leaders talk about climate change action, but all the action is being taken in secret behind closed doors.
Dale Stohr, Crib Point
The Voice, more details? I keep hearing these words, echoing [Liberal leader] Peter Dutton’s. Which particular details are they searching for?
If they do not know the setup of what [the Prime Minister Anthony] Albanese is proposing I suggest they were not listening.
It is not about the details people, it’s about getting it right, for us (our government) and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
It’s not about politics, prejudice and fear, unless that is what you’re searching for.
For many years now different governments and the Aboriginals themselves have stuffed it up in various ways. By and large the cry among the one in five undecided is for “more details”, almost all of which haven’t a clue as to the meaning of more details, which become evident when I ask, “What particular details?”
Cliff Ellen, Rye
Offering help to us on the Mornington Peninsula is somewhat ironic given Western Australia’s very poor record on their treatment of the Indigenous population (“Need Voice details” Letters 18/4/23). Spouting the bitter negative line of right wing voices and the LNP of “If you don’t understand it-don’t vote for it. Vote No” is the lazy and ignorant response to addressing 250 years of poor treatment.
What the thinking person should do is say to themselves: “If I don’t know I should make every effort to find out about what the Voice means and then I will be able to make an informed decision at the referendum.” The lazy way out serves no one.
Dr Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
Interesting to learn that [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie attended the COP27 last November (“Libs need to follow McKenzie and take climate change more seriously”” Letters 18/04/23). Then to read that her webpage regrets climate change in Australia has “become political”.
Good grief, I just snorted hot coffee onto my lap.
Perhaps I can send an environmentally sensitive dry cleaning bill to the member who, apparently, was born yesterday.
David Martin, Mount Martha
I wanted to highly commend all those involved with the impressive Anzac Day commemorative newsletter I received in my letterbox from [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie.
It is so beautifully put together and so informative. It is something well worth keeping for future reference. Excellent job!
Gloria Kearton, Hastings
Overpassing the buck
Has everyone received their latest propaganda sheet co-signed by [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie and Nepean MP] Sam Groth? The previous LNP government did not commit $75 million for the Jetty Road overpass. [Former Flinders MP] Greg Hunt reached into the pork barrel and plucked that phantom figure out in 2019 to help him to retain his seat of Flinders.
We never saw any action until recently and they are out of government.
I don’t recall any announcement from the state LNP putting a further phantom $100 million into the mix. Who paid the $5 million,(quoted by Zoe) towards the current works on pedestrian safety improvements?
It’s commendable that Zoe and Sam will fight for the much needed upgrade. It’s a pity that in all the years of both state and federal LNP governments they sat on their hands as usual and did nothing towards the overpass.
Just who have Sam and Zoe applied pressure to regarding the overpass and what dates? What has been the result?
On another note, has Sam approached anyone in state government regarding the new Rosebud Hospital that was promised by the Libs at the last state election?
John Cain, McCrae
Thoughts and words that offer accolade’s to the Victorian Labor Party and [Premier] Daniel Andrews might need to be reconsidered given the latest revelations released by IBAC where the Andrews Government’s total involvement in the recent episode in the ‘’jobs for mates rort sagas”, this time involving a $1.2 million grant to the Hospital Workers Union in 2018 without going to tender for the project.
Typically, Dan answers: “I can’t recall, I don’t remember.” With these types of comments, it’s a wonder the man can remember where he works and lives.
I speculate if Dan has the intestinal fortitude and courage to stand aside until all the IBAC inquiries into his government are complete and released to the people.
Bruce White, Safety Beach
The Albanese government’s $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), designed to build 30,000 social and affordable homes in five years, is both too slow and not enough. That number is a guess, by the way, not a promise.
Be assured that the housing industry has a delusional idea of what affordable housing is. When they are done there will be nothing that homeless or women with children can afford.
There are many “affordable” solutions: one-bathroom 3D concrete printed houses can be built in as little as 18 hours for approximately $7000; container homes can cost as little as $1200 a square metre – roughly a 40 per cent drop in construction costs.
Unfortunately, prefab homes are too expensive. Google 3D homes and container homes and have a look at cost and images.
There is a need for a paradigm shift to redefine a home beyond bricks and mortar and we need the government to put the screws to the housing industry in defining what affordable and social housing is and then hold their feet to the fire.
Ït is quite sad that so few have any empathy for the homeless which includes homeless women and women escaping domestic violence.
My effort to try to secure some shelter from the elements as winter comes was only supported by four people (five if I count myself).
I have been able to put forth four sleeping tents from gofund.me/ae46970e which is something, I guess.
So, with my personal donation, it means that people can be sheltered.
I did not expect to collect billions, but this response is dismal.
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
Father Bob Maguire, a saintly rebel priest for God and God’s people. Thank you Bob.
Mary Lane, Mornington
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