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Letters - 300 words maximum and including full name, address and contact number - can be sent to The News, PO Box 588, Hastings 3915 or emailed to: team@mpnews.com.au

Warning councillors: behave or face voter backlash I received my Mornington Peninsula Shire Council voting papers last Friday. Sitting down over the weekend to ponder on whether to cast a valid vote or not, I thought I would give it one last chance. Over the years I have noticed that people who run for council either want to get in to state or federal politics and use the council as a training ground or have a pet project that they want to get through. In earlier days, the council was made up of people who (in most cases) wanted to improve the shire and looked at the big picture of such things as affordable rates, good quality roads and sporting grounds and rubbish collection. In other words, what should the shire council do to make the life of its residents stressless and make those residents glad to live in such an enjoyable setting. Over the years we seem to have gradually lost the way with outlandish spending on things that are the responsibility of state and federal governments, not the shire. The last straw was the truly outlandish amount wasted in naming the new Rosebud aquatic centre (reportedly $200,000). It’s easy to do when it is someone else’s money. I was taught a good lesson when I was in business: “When spending company (council) money, ask yourself if it was my money would I spend it on whatever the expense was?” Most times I could justify the expense, sometimes not, so did not proceed. I have lived in Mount Martha since the early 1970s and would not want to live anywhere else. The Mornington Peninsula has a lot to offer in the way of countryside, small villages and some larger shopping areas to cover most items that people need in their day to day living. So, be on notice that unless you get back to the basics for all the residents of the peninsula “and stop wasting money” then, from the next election in four years, I will be voting invalid. Barry Kirkpatrick, Mount Martha

Council politics Please welcome the Liberal Party machine to our local council elections. At a meet the candidates Briars Ward town hall session Thursday 15 October, candidates were requested to declare any party membership. It came out there are three Liberal candidates, one Greens and no Labor in Briars. The Greens’ transparently sees them declare endorsement to the Victorian Electoral Commission, however it’s not Liberal Party practice to follow suit. Coincidently, the three Liberal candidates are preferencing each other. Some will call this ward stacking. In our proportional voting system if one of the three gets enough of the primary vote the other two preference flows combine to push him above the quota and so is then elected. It’s not illegal and I don’t imply any wrongdoing, so welcome to the new norm for democracy on the peninsula. Kelvin Stingel, Blairgowrie

Psychological stress I am a clinical psychologist practicing in Rosebud and I am extremely concerned about the impact on residents’ mental health due to restricted times people can walk their dog on McCrae dog beach now that daylight saving has started. Residents’ mental health is very fragile presently due to COVID-19, especially if they live alone. A walk on the beach with their dog is often the one outlet they have. They also have the opportunity to meet others, which is vital to psychological wellbeing. Most don’t go if they can’t take their dog. For elderly people to get to the beach before 9am or after 7pm when they have all day in isolation is far too restrictive. I would suggest all day access, at least while COVID-19 is on and much more flexibility when it is over. Julie Cornwell, Rosebud

Obey dog rules We have a fantastic foreshore reserve in Hastings, with excellent facilities, yet I find it difficult to take my young family there. My children are afraid to go to this park because of

past experiences with dogs knocking them over. Reassuring them that we only go to areas where dogs are required to be on leads seems futile in the face of largescale non-compliance. Are dog owners aware that dogs are expected to be on leads in the southern part of the reserve, or why these rules are in place? It is clearly signposted right along the walking track. Every time I walk past the Pelican Park precinct, I encounter dog owners openly flouting these rules. On any given day, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council could make a fortune in fines should it decide to enforce the penalties that the signs refer to. Many dog owners may be tempted to think, “but I know my dog won’t stray far and attack anyone”. The problem with this way of thinking is that upon seeing your disregard for the rules, other dog owners feel justified in letting their own dogs off-lead, until breaking the rules becomes the accepted norm. I’m sure all would agree that not all dog owners have dogs that know how to behave off-lead. Please, dog owners, think about why the rules are in place and follow them. There is a huge clearly signposted off-leash area at the northern end of the foreshore for you to let your dogs off lead. Let your dogs run there and respect the rights of other park users who wish to enjoy the southern end of the foreshore without concern for errant dogs knocking over their kids and gatecrashing their picnics. Russell Ward, Hastings

Hands off crabs What is happening with the targeting of our local spider crabs that come into the shallows to moult every year is the equivalent of the roses being removed from the annual flower and garden show (“Spider crab ‘harvest’ threat to festival” The News 5/10/20). Thousands of people look forward to the flower show and come to see and smell the magnificent roses, even though they may be short-lived, and even though there are hundreds of thousands of roses elsewhere in Melbourne. But what if a group of people suddenly decided to come to the flower show to pull all the roses out at the roots and drag the rose bushes by the dozens back into their cars simply because they were so easy to access and there was no law yet that said they couldn’t? Now substitute roses for spider crabs. How devastating for locals and the marine environment that this practice has recently emerged and is now being tolerated and defended by those who suddenly want to reduce the spectacle of the spider crabs to nothing more than low grade fishing stock. What an indefensible assault against a grand, eagerly anticipated annual event promoted by Sir David Attenborough himself that is now being ruined for everyone. Some people are arguing there are millions, even billions of spider crabs in Port Phillip all year round (is there any scientific proof of that?). Let the crab catchers go after those millions of crabs then, but not come to pillage huge numbers of crabs when they come into our local piers each year as the community eagerly await their return. This is not about how many crabs are in the bay, it’s about making sure an important local tradition of celebration isn’t destroyed. Leave the spider crabs alone when they are moulting. Chris Morton, Rosebud

Let pines live I’m trying to understand the current push by some zealous residents and Mornington Peninsula Shire for pine tree removal under the justification that they are non-indigenous environmental weeds. The newer first generation peninsula population in conjunction with the shire is determining an alternate identity of the peninsula landscape with no consideration to planting history and heritage. It seems nonsensical in the extreme to be removing aged trees when we are deep into climate change, bushfires have ravaged the country, wholesale land clearing is occurring, and wildlife is being lost at an alarming rate.

It’s vital that more trees are planted, so why target pines when we are actually the non-indigenous environmental weeds. Peter Avery, Flinders

Final lost to women It was hard to understand why the women’s AFL finals were cancelled. However, the Tigers’ coach has given us the answer with his quote of the week: “It is a big boys’ game.” Geoffrey Lane, Mornington

Takeover intended The president of Peninsula Aero Club, Jack Vevers’ claim that “a pseudo PAC takeover of [Mornington Peninsula] Shire … is a fanciful notion”, which itself appears to be highly dubious given the PAC how-to-vote card that appeared on social media last week allocating a preference number for every candidate in every ward of the shire for the current election (“Proairfield candidates want state to act” The News 5/10/20 and “Deadline close for most unusual poll” 12/10/20). There is apparently nothing “pseudo” about the PAC intention – it seems to want a real takeover of the shire. Let’s trust the voters reject such foolishness without hesitation. Brewis Atkinson, Tyabb

China deals Aussie Sadler describes [China’s] President Xi Jinping as world enemy No 1 and therefore suggests [Victorian Premier] Dan Andrews is betraying Australia by signing the memorandum of understanding for the Belt and Road Initiative (“Chinese colony” Letters 13/10/20). I wonder then how he felt about [federal Treasurer] Josh Frydenberg and the Foreign Investment Review Board giving approval for Mengnui Dairy to pay $1.5 billion for Bellamy’s, an Australian infant formula group in November 2019, or the lease of the Port of Darwin in 2015 to Landbridge, a Chinese Company? Despite the federal government’s anti-Chinese rhetoric, the reality is that we depend on exports to China of our natural resources and agriculture, not to mention the reliance of universities on the custom of Chinese students, to sustain a healthy economy. The concern about the possibility of China to buy our coal is an example of our reliance on that trade. Marg D’Arcy, Rye

State of blame What world does this lady live in (“Lockdown necessary” Letters 6/10/20)? She praises Victorian Premier] Dan Andrews for imposing this lockdown for the good of the community, but fails to mention that Victoria has had 90 per cent of all Australian COVID19 deaths and 74 per cent of Australian COVID-19 cases. This is a severe indictment on this state government and its total incompetence in handling hotel quarantine which has forced this severe lockdown. My husband and I have lived on the Mornington Peninsula for 50 years and have many active and healthy friends (seniors) who have not contributed COVID-19 statistics because they have: Obeyed all the strict rules set down by Mr Andrews. No one is able to visit friends or relatives and the five kilometre rule makes life hell. Seniors wear their masks; stay home (apart from time out for exercise) and don’t gather in large groups. No one we know of has increased the numbers of the COVID-19 horror. They have not flocked to the beaches in large groups every time the sun comes out or taken part in mass protests against the lockdown. Most seniors spend money as they see fit. Grey nomads normally go north for a couple of months in winter, many go overseas. It costs money but this year no one can travel even locally, thanks to Dan. Sick people do spend – it costs a lot of money trying to get better. Yes, families with younger children are vulnerable and their care and futures are important. Seniors have been there, they have worked all their lives, put kids through school and deserve a happy retirement. Lynn Ibbotson, Mount Martha

A safe place Australia’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is seen by some people who are not stationed in Victoria as incompetent and disorganised.

How cozy for them, living away from the awful lockdown Victorians have endured for months while watching other Australians enjoying a reasonably free lifestyle and with less fear of contagion or financial hardship. They have no idea how hard it has been or how stoic most Victorian citizens have been. It is ludicrous that the borders in the European Union are open when Australia’s internal borders are shut because the Europeans have thousands and thousands of virus cases every day and this includes the United Kingdom. The US has 220,000 [fatal] cases and still counting, whereas Australia has 900 over six months. I know where I feel safer. Mary Lane, Mornington

Assess facts I see John Cain’s letters becoming more meandering and less logical as the COVID-19 crisis goes on (“Different approaches” Letters 13/10/20). On one thing he is consistent [Victorian Premier] Dan Andrews is the best. Dan Andrews can do no wrong. Let’s deal with some of Mr Andrews’ key achievements: 800 COVID-19 related deaths; the worst run hotel quarantine system; the most ineffective COVID-19 tracing system; a team that has collective amnesia when facing responsibility; setting records for time in lockdown. The list could go on and on. Assessment of Mr Andrews should be based on facts, not just blind bias. Robert Hampson, Sorrento

Travel safe The Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not go to South Australia for a holiday, he went (on 25 September) for the LNP annual general meeting, which he is entitled to attend (“Different approaches” Letters 13/10/20). I believe he took a short family holiday to the outskirts of Sydney in July. It would be a really good idea, in my opinion, if Mr Cain left the PM’s family out his letters. The only “safe” COVID-19 country is New Zealand – a safe travel zone has been established with that country. All other returning travellers have to quarantine for 14 days. Perhaps Mr Cain can do a little research in future. Victoria will not be accepting any international flights for the foreseeable future. Mr Cain displays a playful sense of humour by suggesting that Daniel Andrews should be running the country as he “believes in health before wealth”. This beggars belief. Are more than 100 appearances before journalists a badge of honour? [Sky News commentator and former chief of staff to prime minister Tony Abbott] Peta Credlin certainly doesn’t think so and got some reluctant action from our premier. Our hardworking restaurant owners (and business people in this state generally) are suffering terribly and Mr Cain chooses to belittle their efforts. Prince or pauper indeed. Kevin Kahalane, Mornington

Reject gas plan I just became aware that AGL is asking for a planning change in its proposal for a dirty liquid gas import facility at Crib Point in Western Port. It is asking for Planning Minister Richard Wynne’s approval to grab chunks of the beaches and foreshore adjacent to their proposed liquid gas factory at Woolley’s Beach, an area where people enjoy picnics and launch kayaks and canoes. This is part of AGL’s plan submitted in its EES that has taken two years to cobble together and opens up more questions than it answers about the desirability, sustainability or the need for this travesty. In typical state government fairness, the local community was given a “generous” five weeks to trawl through the more than 10,000 pages of the EES to make strong, informed rebuttals to many of the spurious and sometimes misleading assertions about the oh so environmentally “benign” and socially “desirable” Ramsar wetland “improving” floating time bomb for Western Port. Obviously the company’s socially “caring” attitude shows strongest in the proposed grab of our pristine foreshores for personal and shareholder gain. If ever there was a project that should be killed off as soon as practicable, it is this one. Rupert Steiner, Balnarring

Southern Peninsula News

21 October 2020


Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

Southern Peninsula News 20 October 2020  

Southern Peninsula News 20 October 2020

Southern Peninsula News 20 October 2020  

Southern Peninsula News 20 October 2020