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PAGE 14 - “THE STAR”, Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MHR in fine form By Jane Ross RUSSELL Broadbent, McMillan MHR, was in fine diplomatic form when he came to Leongatha on Thursday to present a cheque.

Grant: McMillan MHR Russell Broadbent (right) presents a cheque for over $48,000 to Ros Bryan, chairperson of the Leongatha Veterans and Dependants Welfare Centre. With them is Leongatha RSL vice president Peter Carruthers.

“Who made these? This is the best asparagus roll I’ve had today!” he declared, seating himself at a table spread with typical country hospitality – sandwiches, party pies and sausage rolls, butterfly cakes, sultana cake and said white bread wrapped expertly around tasty vegetable spears. He fielded friendly barbs from Dumbalk’s Ed Hanley, who is National Party through and through. Mr Broadbent, of course, is a Liberal. He holds McMillan on a margin of just over three per cent and says he expects the election result to be “50/50”. Another hung parliament? “Yes,” he replied, “we could have. I’m expecting it to be very tight.” Mr Hanley wanted to know what the Liberals would do about mobile phone coverage – or lack of it – in South Gippsland. Mr Broadbent said the Coalition had pledged $50 million

Bus plea By Brad Lester PEOPLE need to use a public bus in Venus Bay if the service is to continue.

Serving still: McMillan MHR Russell Broadbent (centre) with RSL veteran Harry Prosser and his wife Marje.

Good company By Jane Ross MCMILLAN MHR Russell Broadbent was in special company when he visited the Leongatha Veterans and Dependants Welfare Centre last Thursday. There to help welcome him were Harry and Marje Prosser of Koonwarra. Harry, pushing 92, is an RSL luminary, although he’d never describe himself in such terms. With Marje’s support, he devoted de-

cades of his life to the RSL including 39 years as secretary of the Meeniyan sub branch. In 2007, he was presented with the RSL’s highest honour, the Meritorious Medal. He’s a life member of the Meeniyan sub branch and the district 41 board of which he’s a past secretary and president. Born in Glen Alvie, Harry joined the air force in July 1941. Three months after returning from World War Two in 1946, he married Marje. They moved to Koonwarra in 1964.

A trial service is now underwritten by the Venus Bay Community Centre, and links Venus Bay with Leongatha and Wonthaggi on alternate Thursdays. The bus is owned by South Gippsland Shire Council and hired by the community centre. Volunteer drivers are members of the Venus Bay, Tarwin Lower and District Men’s Shed. The trial service was to operate for July only but will now continue until the end of August. Centre coordinator Alyson Skinner will supply usage figures to council in a bid to prove the need for an ongoing service and obtain grants to do so. “The people who have been on it have loved it,” she said. Council has supported the service by waiving the distance charge for conveying the bus from Leongatha to Venus Bay. “There are only 10 seats on the bus and it costs $10 per person and that is just covering the cost of hiring it,” Ms Skinner said. “We are seeing if we can get some momentum going to continue the service until we get our own vehicle. People have to use it. We can’t afford to lose $50 every week.” The service resulted from a public survey and now passengers are collected from, and delivered to, their homes. Unless people qualified for council’s home and community care service bus, they were unable to access public transport in the town. “We are completely isolated, have young and old people here, and people who can’t afford a car and people who do not drive,” Ms Skinner said. “For them, there was no real way of getting in or out of town.” Council and the Department of Transport operated a hail and ride service three years ago, linking the town with the V/Line service at Leongatha. “The service ran for 18 months but was not well supported,” Ms Skinner said. The bus – at 52 seats – was too big and ran to an inconvenient timetable, she said. The bus can be booked by phoning the centre on 5663 7499.

to ameliorate mobile phone black spots. “And what about the jetty at Port Welshpool?” Mr Hanley added. “After the campaign that will be one of our first priorities,” Mr Broadbent promised – that’s if his side wins. He presented Ros Bryan, chairperson of the Leongatha Veterans and Dependants Welfare Centre, with a cheque for $48,737 to help with advocacy and welfare services. Staff and volunteers at the centre had provided the magnificent spread and Mr Broadbent and his adviser left with a plate each of various edible spoils. Keeping check of his waistline as he attends a giddy round of appointments is one of his major election challenges.

Petrol price squeeze By Sarah Vella PETROL prices reached new heights in some areas of Melbourne, with the cost of unleaded reaching around $1.65 per litre, while Leongatha’s petrol prices remained steady at around $1.56. Stuart Evans from Evans Petroleum said they have no plans to move their price up at the moment, unless cost prices increase. “The dollar has dropped and crude prices have crept up and I think the metropolitan discount cycle has gone away a bit,” he said. “The dollar falling has the biggest impact on the fuel prices going up, and certainly farmers are happy to see it fall, but the big disadvantage is fuel prices.” Mr Evans said unrest in the Middle East has an impact on crude prices, causing them to increase which, combined with the dollar, turns it into a double hit. “If the crude prices had stayed the same it may not have caused as much of an increase,” he said. Mr Evans said in different places around the state there are pockets where petrol was fairly cheap. “I know we get a fair bit of criticism about being the dearest in the state, which I think is untrue,” he said. “More often than not when metropolitan prices go up they go above our price, then it comes back down below it. It depends on the cycle.” RACV Fuel spokesperson Michael Case said the declining Australian dollar and increasing oil prices had combined to cause an increase in the terminal gate price of fuel. “This flows through to prices at the bowser. We have been seeing that for a couple of weeks now,” he said. “There are some early signs the terminal gate price may be starting to decline, but it is too early to tell and no one can predict the future of fuel prices.” Mr Case said transport costs contribute to higher prices in regional areas, but the main influence was local competition. “When comparing regional prices with city prices, it is made difficult by the metro fuel price cycle, on which the price changes almost daily,” he said. “Fuel price cycles in Melbourne can be anything from 10 days to three weeks long, during which time the price goes up to a new high, then progressively reduces to a minimum point when it goes up again. “This makes comparing regional fuel prices to city prices confusing. “Our message to motorists is to be aware of the variation between regional centres and be aware of the fuel price cycle in Melbourne.” The RACV website has a list of current metropolitan fuel prices and average regional prices for around 30 regional centres.

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The Great Southern Star - August 20, 2013  

August 20 edition of South Gippsland's weekly newspaper.

The Great Southern Star - August 20, 2013  

August 20 edition of South Gippsland's weekly newspaper.