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NEWS DESK

Input invited into shire budget

Mental health support for young people

ROSEBUD Aquatic Centre construction work costing $11.2 million is the single biggest item in Mornington Peninsula Shire’s proposed 2020-21 budget. Other big expenses are $4 million for road resealing and rehabilitation works, $1.5 million for construction works at Somerville Active Recreation Hub and $1.9 million for the Merricks Station grounds master plan. The proposed budget is on display and is open for public comment until 21 May. This comes as the council takes advantage of a time extension offered by the state government due to changed circumstances under COVID-19

THE mental health support organisation headspace has opened a satellite service in Rosebud. While offering three of the four core headspace streams the Rosebud service will also provide outreach support to young people and their families on the Mornington Peninsula. “Right now, Australians are facing a once in a century challenge,” federal Health Minister and Flinders MP Greg Hunt said. “It is not only important during the coronavirus to focus on our physical wellbeing, but also our mental wellbeing”. Financed by the federal government through the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN), the new service will be delivered by Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS). Elizabeth Deveny, the health care network’s CEO, said Rosebud was the “perfect location to open a headspace service, especially during this time” of social isolation. Jason Trethowan, headspace CEO, said the Rosebud satellite service was important to increase access to mental health support for young people in the area, particularly as young people experience drastic life changes as a result of COVID-19. The Rosebud service will offer help over the phone or video conferencing, while in-person appointments will be provided “on a needs basis and where able to be provided safely supported by physical distancing guidelines.” The headspace service will operate 9am– 5pm, Tuesday to Thursday at 825 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud. Details: headspace. org.au/headspace-centres/rosebud/

(“Extra time to strike balance with budget” The News 14/4/20). The mayor Cr Sam Hearn said due to the coronavirus pandemic, council decided to extend the public exhibition time of the proposed budget “to both give the community more time to review and provide comment, and to give council officers more time to assess the economic impacts we are seeing from COVID-19”. “During this timeframe, we know further changes will be required as a result of COVID-19. We’ve already been assessing the challenges our community is facing and we’ll continue to explore every impact and make necessary changes - in accord-

ance the Local Government Act - when the budget is brought before council for adoption on 14 July”. “As a council, we are proactively addressing challenges locally and will continue to invest in our community to reduce the impact on essential services,” Cr Hearn said. The rate cap has been set at 2 per cent. Changes have been made to some elements of the rating strategy, recognition of properties under Trust For Nature, reduction in rates for rural living rate properties and increases to the waste service charge. The proposed 2020-21 capital works budget is $52.5 million. Stephen Taylor

Picture: Yanni

Increase in solar output and costs THE estimated cost of installing solar panels on the yet to be named Rosebud aquatic centre, above, has more than doubled. The original design called for a 231kW system of solar panels for the centre now being built in Boneo Road, but council last year called for “the maximum number of solar panels possible … whilst maintaining safe roof access and symmetry for aesthetic purposes”. A 375kW system has now been incorporated into the design, adding $321,450 to the $303,000 cost of solar panels. A quotation of $624,400 has now been accepted for the expansion of the rooftop solar panels in accordance. The aquatic centre’s project leader, David Hampton, said the independent contract superintendent, Coffey Project and quantity surveyor Turner and Townsend, recommended council accept the quote from Buxton Constructions to install the expanded solar panel system. “This is the maximum expansion possible allowing for safe roof access and includes power optimisers and folding safety barriers for future maintenance purposes,” Mr Hampton stated in a report to council’s Tuesday 21 April meeting. He said the extra cost was “outside of the existing construction budget [but] inclusive of construction contingency allowance”. Keith Platt

Councils call to cancel elections Keith Platt keith@mpnews.com.au MOST of Victoria’s 79 councils want to cancel the elections scheduled to be held in October. Mornington Peninsula Shire, while not having a specific point of view, says “primary considerations” should be the community’s health and safety as well as “upholding the core principles of local democracy”. The Municipal Association of Victoria has told the state government that the council’s favour deferring the elections until next year. The government is expected to decide in the next few weeks to go ahead or abandon the council elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “A delay should be considered if over the coming months it’s clear that holding the elections in October is in any way detrimental to the fight against COVID–19, or that the restrictions we need to have in place because of COVID-19 impact candidates’ ability to campaign within their local communi-

ties prior to the election and that this would unfairly disadvantage some candidates, for example new candidates,” the mayor Cr Sam Hearn said. As the elections are decided by a postal vote social distancing does not become a problem on voting day, but it would be problematic for candidates, and incumbent councillors, if they wanted to hold meetings or campaign by door knocking. Cr Hugh Fraser said vote counting “and tallying with proper scrutiny” would be difficult although he was “sure systems can be devised by the Victorian Electoral Commission to safely deal with that issue”. “More importantly, if the current emergency arrangements continue, attracting the best possible candidates to stand for election and challenge existing councillors, might be problematic and prejudice organised campaigns with popular canvassing,” he said. “This perhaps presents the strongest argument for delay in the elections later this year. “The current legislative requirements and the right of residents and to vote every four

years, ought not be lightly displaced - even in this emergency.” Cr David Gill said he “couldn’t choose” between holding or deferring the elections “because there are good arguments on both sides”. He said the four-yearly elections cost the shire about $1 million and, it they were cancelled this year, councillors elected in 2021 would serve a three-year term “so as not to break the cycle”. Cr Gill said the shire’s income was “going to be down by millions” of dollars and some thought “might need to be given” to reducing councillors’ stipends and allowances. The MAV said that 50 to 10 per cent of councils wanted the elections to go ahead. Council CEOs, who had made “very insightful” responses, had highlighted the administrative difficulties of elections. The MAV councillor responses had been “very altruistic as the view was expressed that sitting councillors would be advantaged by holding the elections”.

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29 April 2020

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Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

Southern Peninsula News 28 April 2020  

Southern Peninsula News 28 April 2020

Southern Peninsula News 28 April 2020  

Southern Peninsula News 28 April 2020

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