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NEWS DESK

Shire tips are open to all Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au POLICE have given assurances they will take no action against residents legitimately dumping rubbish at Mornington Peninsula Shire’s transfer station in Watt Road after identifying it an “essential service”. Some prospective tippers last week said they were concerned police were waiting to nab them – even though the transfer station appeared to be doing business as usual. A call to the shire’s head office received the same warning: They had heard reports that some domestic tippers had received on-the-spot fines of $1600 as it was “not one of the four legitimate reasons for being out”.

The shire says transfer stations will remain open as waste disposal is considered an essential service. Infrastructure services manager Jessica Wingad said residents could only use the transfer stations if the visit was essential and in line with the level 3 coronavirus rules set by the state government (“Non-essential tip use under fire” The News 5/4/20). John Renowden, of Mount Martha, said he had been told of the fines and that only commercial tippers – not residents clearing up green waste – were allowed there. “That wouldn’t be fair,” he said. “We are locked up at home and it’s good to get out in the garden and clear up our green waste and take it to the tip. “We are no danger to anyone else, we

keep our distance, and we can dump our load and be gone in 10 minutes. “It’s the tip’s responsibility to keep their workers safe with screens, masks, gloves and sanitisers.” Mr Renowden said that if commercial gardeners were allowed at the tip “then we should be, too”. Mornington transfer station was advertised as being open for business and set to close at 4pm last week. No signs stated it was for commercial tippers only. Senior Sergeant Paul Edwards, of Mornington Police, said the tip was not off-limits to residents. “It’s open to the public and we won’t be booking them,” he said. However, he said people should be asking if they really needed to be getting rid of their rubbish now.

Alarm over rising alcohol intake as pandemic blooms were drinking alcohol earlier in the day. ADF CEO Dr Erin Lalor said the poll results were concerning. “[We] acknowledge this is an extremely challenging time. What we don’t want to see on top of current challenges is an increase in alcohol-related harms. “People should be prioritising their health and wellbeing at this time, including taking steps to reduce alcohol-related harms. “There are no health benefits of alcohol. Drinking alcohol can make feelings of stress and anxiety worse, weaken the immune system and heighten the risk of accidents, injuries and illness.”

PEOPLE are taking a tipple more frequently as a result of COVID-19. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is urging restraint as new national data shows 20 per cent of households report buying more alcohol than usual. The YouGov Galaxy poll for the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education shows that in these households 70 per cent said they were drinking more than usual while 34 per cent said they were now drinking every day. A third were “concerned” with how much alcohol they were drinking, or someone else in their household was drinking, and 28 per cent said they were drinking alcohol to cope with anxiety and stress. A fifth said they

Car park health help for Indigenous “As the only Aboriginal testing site in Victoria we still remain unfunded.” Dr Peter Walsh said staff working for First Peoples' Health and Wellbeing in Frankston were using tele health “simply because of staffing and funding shortages - while at Thomastown we are able to offer a swab clinic, flu vax clinic and face to face consultations if absolutely necessary”. “Due to overwhelming demand we are now running outreach clinics at Hastings and in Frankston. We have been inundated with new patients. “As you can imagine, the logistics of this are enormous and prior to COVID-19 we were already stretched beyond capacity. The team running the Hastings clinic will consist entirely of our executive team – simply because we don’t have any other staff. “The majority of the people who attended [the car park clinics] were new patients to us, making the logistics of sign-up and coordination a huge task. “This, combined with our rapid tradition to tele-health at the start of the pandemic and as the only Aboriginal controlled health service in Victoria testing for COVID19, we have been utterly swamped with new patients and requests for outreach clinics by community.” Dr Walsh accused Mr Hunt of having “walked away from the health of the Aboriginal people in his own community during their time of greatest need”. “There is so much money going into funding the pandemic response, I can’t understand why he wouldn’t’t want to fund this great work happening in his own electorate.”

Keith Platt keith@mpnews.com.au HUNDREDS of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders and their families have being vaccinated against the flu and tested for COVID-19 at car park clinics in Frankston and Hastings. Those attending the clinics are met by medical staff wearing masks and, in some cases, gowns bought online from food industry suppliers. The clinics are run by First Peoples' Health and Wellbeing, whose CEO Karinda Taylor says the peninsula needs a health service controlled by the Aboriginal community “if we are ever going to make headway on closing the health gap in the area”. Thomastown-based First Peoples' Health and Wellbeing was earlier this year hoping to obtain federal government finance for a comprehensive health service in Frankston and on the peninsula but the “funding round” was abandoned because of the COVID-19 emergency (“Aboriginal health ‘misses out’ on health ‘boost’’’ The News 10/12/19). Health Minister Greg Hunt, whose Flinders electorate covers the peninsula, said the funding round was delayed after “consultations with key stakeholders” to allow them to “focus on preparations for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic”. Ms Taylor said she was “not sure who the key stakeholders are that Hunt’s office has spoken to, however, as the only Aboriginal community-controlled health service offer-

Car park care: First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing executive Dr Peter Walsh at work in the car park of the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association, Pound Road, Hastings. Picture: Supplied

ing primary and mental health service across Frankston and the peninsula catchment I can assure you we were not consulted”. Ms Taylor said the annual $778,819 that Mr Hunt said would be maintained “has been the same amount for 10 years”. “Our service massively expanded 18 months ago, from chronic disease co-ordination and transportation to delivering complex primary health services to address the significant unmet health needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across

greater Melbourne,” she said. “This is what the community asked for. This is an example of self-determination at a local level. However, the government appears to determine health need, not the community.” “Let’s be really clear, the existing funding that Mr Hunt is referring to covers around one third of our organisation’s total expenditure for the Thomastown clinic alone, and he is aware of this. “He is also well aware the Frankston clinic remains completely unfunded.” Ms Taylor said the Medicare benefits

schedule - which Mr Hunt said was available to First Peoples' Health and Wellbeing - was not “designed to fully support Aboriginal health services”. “MBS suits five-minute medicine which is demonstrated by super clinics on every second corner offering care than will never see our nation close the gap in Aboriginal health,” she said. “Mr Hunt uses the term ‘as per usual practice’. We are in the middle of a pandemic and this is anything but usual. “We have completely transformed our entire model of care to rapidly respond to COVID-19.

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Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

Southern Peninsula News 21 April 2020  

Southern Peninsula News 21 April 2020

Southern Peninsula News 21 April 2020  

Southern Peninsula News 21 April 2020

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