Festival a new chapter for readers and writers A NEW writers’ festival is set to make its debut in Mornington. The Mornington Peninsula Writers Festival will be hosted by the Frankston Writers and Poets Society at the Peninsula Community Theatre on Saturday (10 March). Several established writers including Andrew Rule (co-author of the Underbelly and Chopper books), Paul Kennedy (ABC journalist and author of books including Fifteen Young Men about the tragic 1892 drowning of Mornington Football Club players), Garry Disher (author of several crime novels set on the peninsula), The Age scribe and author Anson Cameron and Nicky Johnson (author and illustrator of several children’s books including Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts!) will give author talks on stage and take part in questions and answers session with festival attendees. Renowned priest, community worker and media personality Father Bob Maguire — himself the subject of a biography called Father Bob: The Larrikin Priest by Sue Williams — is also a speaker at the Mornington festival. Frankston Writers and Poets Society president Beverley Allen said she started the group last July and is looking forward to the first Mornington Peninsula Writers Festival for writers and readers. “I felt there was a need for people with a diverse set of writing skills to come together in a friendly and nonformal type of atmosphere,” she said. The writers group meets regularly at Frankston Library. The now retired professional travel
Writers united: Frankston Writers and Poets Society members Bill Graham, left, Alma Jacovou and Beverley Allen get ready for the Mornington Peninsula Writers Festival in Mornington. Picture: Gary Sissons
features writer joked she has “never worked so hard in all my life” arranging the festival. “I have a passion for it and I want to do it for the emerging writers.” The festival at one stage looked in doubt when Frankston Council declined a funding grant application to host the event in Frankston. Ms Allen said the first festival was saved by donations including a substan-
tial one from writers’ group member Alma Jacovou which kick-started fundraising efforts. “She joined the group and found she had stories inside her. She’d never written anything formally before and so it is great to see her writing emerge,” Ms Allen said. Farrell’s Bookshop in Mornington and Busybird Publishing were also donors. Mornington Peninsula Shire has
Council check-up avoids major projects Neil Walker firstname.lastname@example.org A MONITOR sent to report back to the state government on “governance issues” at Frankston Council will mostly restrict reports to tracking councillors’ behaviour and will not look at several contentious major projects. The design and construction of the mostly vacant $11 million plus Frankston Yacht Club, collapse of negotiations with the Frankston & District Basketball Association over a $12.7 million upgrade of the Frankston Basketball Stadium and delays to the Wells Street $5.2 million redevelopment (originally budgeted at $3.5 million), are just three of the major projects seemingly not on the monitor’s radar while at council. While a list of monitor Prue Digby’s terms of reference while at council is available online at the state government’s Know Your Council website, correspondence seen by The Times gives a clearer picture of her state governmentapproved mandate. Correspondence from Local Government Minister Marlene Kairouz to council reveals the municipal monitor will look at: n Meeting boycotts resulting in an insufficient quorum n The use of notices of motion to approve unbudgeted expenditure n Poor attendance of councillors at briefing sessions n Frequent and unchecked breaches of the councillor code of conduct n Councillors improperly directing council staff in the performance of their duty The publicly available terms of reference merely refer to the monitor looking at council’s meetings procedures and decision making and council’s councillor code of conduct and processes for resolving disputes.
The public terms of reference also refer to the monitor studying “the chief executive officer’s policies and practices that manage the interactions between councillors and council staff, and compliance with these policies and practices”. When asked last week about the monitor’s terms of reference both council CEO Dennis Hovenden and the Minister’s department referred The Times to the publicly available information and not the more detailed list of issues the monitor will consider when making monthly reports to the Local Government Minister. Ms Kairouz said monthly interim reports will not be made public but a final report by the monitor may be available to ratepayers. “The monitor is providing regular updates and will file a comprehensive report at the completion of the monitoring period,” Ms Mairouz said. Frankston ratepayers will ultimately foot the bill for the monitor’s planned 18-month stay at council while she attends both public and private meetings. Ms Digby is paid $1200 a day and will work two days a week on average. The Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate announced late last year a monitor was on the way to Frankston. Mr Hovenden and then mayor Cr Brian Cunial said they had approached the state government with “concerns about the good governance of our city” before the monitor’s appointment. One public council meeting in July last year was cancelled when Cr Kris Bolam, supported by Cr Glenn Aitken, “boycotted” a meeting when then-mayor Cr Cunial refused to defer the meeting after being told some councillors were unable to attend. The meeting was started and abandoned for lack of a quorum. Continued Page 14
shown an interest in supporting the festival in future years. Briars Ward councillor Bev Colomb will officially open the festival and MC for the day will be former Frankston MP Andrea McCall. Acoustic duo Boy Meets Girl will perform songs in the theatre foyer. Families are welcome and there will be face painting and writing activities for children.
n The Mornington Peninsula Writ-
ers Festival will be held at Peninsula Community Theatre, corner of Nepean Highway and Wilson Road, Mornington 10am-6pm Saturday 10 March. Free parking available. Tickets $10 per adult; children under 16 free.See mpwritersfest.org or call 0498 583 152 for further information and times of author talks throughout the day. Neil Walker
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Frankston Times 5 March 2018
Frankston Times 5 March 2018