On Saturday 17 December the ‘ Holiday Time Campaign’ was formally launched by Councillor Antonella Celi of the Mornington Peninsula Shire, along with the Member for Nepean the Hon. Martin Dixon MP and Mathew McQuinn of the Mornington Peninsula Shire.
Supporting the initiative were the Rosebud CFA, Mornington SES, Surf Live Saving Victoria (Rosebud and McCrae), Local Area Commander, Inspector Nigel McGuirewhite and members from the State Highway Patrol.
The foundation ‘Little Blue Dinosaur’ started the campaign after tragically losing their four year old son, Tom McLaughlin, when he stepped onto the road whilst on holiday at the beach.
The aim of the ‘Holiday Time’ campaign is to prevent this from happening again. This is done by the placement of colourful road safety banners and signs at key tourist hot spots and thoroughfares to appeal to drivers and pedestrians alike to ‘Slow Down, Kids Around’ and to ‘Hold My Hand’.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire will be the first shire within Victoria where the campaign has been used on such a large scale. The campaign is designed to raise awareness with 168 signs and five overpass banners.
The shire will be giving away free wristbands and bumper stickers for children and families, which will be available from the Rosebud Shire Office and the Rosebud Foreshore camping office. The Shire was successful in obtaining a TAC Community Road Safety Grant to implement this project.
Groundline Australia has been awarded a grant to develop a new method for replacing bare-wire powerlines under the Andrews Labor Government’s Powerline Bushfire Safety program.
The project aims to develop a conductor to replace bare-wire powerlines that will reduce the risk of bushfires and potentially enable a safer alternative technology for use across the state’s electricity network.
The work will be done in collaboration between the Bendigo engineering firm, manufacturer Amokabel, Swinburne University and electricity retailer United Energy.
The Labor Government is providing $291,000 to Groundline Australia to kick start the project.
There is approximately 90,000km of mostly bare-wire high voltage electrical lines across Victoria that this innovation could be applied to, significantly reducing the risk of bushfires.
The ability to fit a treated conductor onto existing infrastructure with minimal impact on the current installation methods will improve efficiency, reduce costs and put Victoria at the forefront of innovation.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“We’re putting people first by reducing the risk of bushfires that start from powerlines.”
“This means that our bare-wire powerlines can be replaced sooner to improve safety and reduce overall costs.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards
“I’m thrilled to see local engineering firm Groundline Australia focusing on next-generation innovation to help keep Victorians safe.”
We love our coastal environment and in fact, that is why we love living here on the Mornington Peninsula.
Increasingly however we are seeing challenges related to keeping our public coastal spaces pristine and readily available for visitors.
Early last year I addressed this issue in my submission to the Central Coastal Board and you can view and download my submission at this link.
Further to the following publication of the Central Regional Coastal Plan, there has been much community debate about the future management and funding of our coastal assets.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have also been considering the amalgamation of some coastal foreshore management committees which in principle I support, conditional on commensurate funding streams being made available.
Needless to say, we are in the midst of this discussion as the Government seeks public feedback to proposed amendments to the Coastal Management Act and replacing it with a new Act. It is my understanding that the Government are still accepting submissions.
Earlier this year I requested participation in the Parliamentary Internship program so that we could do some further local research on this topic.
Our intern was Ellen Gray and her detailed report is excellent and in fact was awarded the prize for ‘Most Outstanding Parliamentary Internship Report’ and was awarded to Ellen at Parliament house on 24th August 2016.
You are welcome to view and download Ellen’s report at this link and suffice to say I and my office team are extremely proud of Ellen for such a great job done.
Her report focuses specifically on management and funding, on the basis that if the Coast is not funded, it will not be managed.
You are welcome to contact me at any time should you wish to discuss or share ideas on any aspect of this issue.
The ALP paired with a responsible budget are like oil and water, they never mix and the Victorian ALP continue to raise their own bar of incompetence with the rolling out of Skyrail.
The recent debacle surrounding the expanded Port of Melbourne Lease is a case in point and demonstrates how ALP budget spin collides with the real world to produce these crazy sort of outcomes.
Prior to the last State election there was bipartisan support for leasing the Port of Melbourne and to provide a much needed boost to Government coffers for various road and rail projects.
Estimates of the lease ranged from $6 Billion to $8 Billion with the Liberal plan being to tie the sale into the development of the new Port of Hastings, which was previously Labor policy.
The ALP budget gurus decided however that for $5 Billion – $6 Billion they could remove 50 Level Crossings – a laudable plan, except for one thing – the numbers didn’t add up.
The cost for removing 50 Level crossings was always going to be closer to $8 Billion, or even $10 Billion.
This left a massive shortfall in the ALP Budget, and to fix it they then concocted their plan to extend the lease to 50 years + 20 years to try and squeak more bucks out of the deal by locking out any other port development.
So, what is the link to Skyrail and the ALP’s inability to manage the State’s budget?
Simple, once the opposition threatened to block the ALP’s ridiculous lease and 70 year lock out proposal, effectively denying the Government of a few billion dollars, we immediately see rolled out an alternative (cheaper) level crossing removal program, otherwise known as Skyrail.
Skyrail is a cheaper, nastier, noisier, uglier and unwanted solution to another underfunded budget problem that the ALP created all by themselves.
This ‘alternative’ was kept secret until a farcical public consultation process was rolled out as soon as Labor realised their 70 year lock out lease proposal would never get through the Parliament.
The ALP again, (remember Desal, Myki etc) have under-budgeted the real cost of Level Crossing removals and in a desperate panic to keep the project on track, foisted Skyrail upon an unsuspecting community to try and fix their own budget bungle.
This is ALP economic incompetence on a grand scale, with Melbourne now stuck with this ugly, noisy 19th Century monstrosity for decades to come.
Over recent years we have had an increasing number of complaints in relation to noise from the Mornington Peninsula Freeway.
The escalation in complaints seems to have coincided with the increase in traffic numbers since the opening of Peninsula Link.
Consequently there has also been a couple of new community groups formed to help put pressure on the Government to fund some long term noise attenuation measures along the length of the freeway.
Over recent weeks we have also launched a major local campaign to ensure we make some noise on this matter, and it is brought to the attention of the Minister.
Our Freeway Noise Petition
Correspondence recently received from Minister Donnellan is encouraging as we have now been informed that noise attenuation work on the Mornington Peninsula freeway has been prioritised.
You can download a copy of Minister Donnellans letter at this link where he says, “VicRoads has undertaken a traffic noise modelling exercise along the Mornington
Peninsula Freeway} and the results confirm that there are sections that meet the above
criteria . Accordingly, it will be prioritised for future funding along with other eligible
metropolitan freeway sites.”
Moving forward, we need the help of the community to ensure that letters and emails are sent to Mr Donnellan to impress on him the urgency to get something done and to elevate these sections on the priority list.
You may contact Mr Donnellan as per the contact details below:
As a second step it would be helpful if you could write to Minister Donnellan, either via email;
Or by regular mail to ensure that he understands the scope and scale of this problem, and in both cases I encourage you to CC me into any correspondence.
Hon Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Level 22, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Last year I conducted a petition in the local areas to ask for the Jetty Road overpass to be completed, connecting the Mornington Peninsula Freeway to the Arterial Road by crossing over the Jetty Road Intersection.
This intersection has become increasingly dangerous since the completion of Peninsula Link and the subsequent increase in traffic flows.
The petition gathered over 1200 signatures in a few weeks and I have since raised the issue in Parliament and with the Roads Minister Luke Donnellan.
In the most recent correspondence from the Minister dated 30th May 2016 (download here), Mr Donnellan suggests that funding is not a priority due to the ‘historical safety record’ at this intersection however I am sure like me, you would prefer to see a solution before there was any such serious or tragic incident.
As you can see, if we are to ever get this overpass constructed then I will need your help and the best thing you can do is to write or email direct to the Minister and ask him, before there is a serious accident, to:
- Undertake an immediate full costing of the overpass/grade separation at the Jetty Rd end of the freeway
- Commit funds to the design of this overpass from within the current budget
- Commit funds to the construction of this overpass in next year’s budget
The Ministers contact details are as follows, and you are welcome to CC me into any correspondence you send.
Mail: Hon Luke Donnellan, Minister for roads and Road Safety, Level 22, 1 Spring St Melbourne Vic 3000
HANSARD – ADJOURNMENT – Wednesday, 22 June 2016
Mr DIXON (Nepean) — The matter I wish to raise is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.
The action I seek is for the minister to make the Mornington Peninsula Freeway sound walls in the section between Safety Beach and Rosebud a funding priority.
This is probably the only urban freeway in Victoria that has no sound walls — it has houses right up to it on both sides in just about all of the places, but it has no sound walls at all.
As members can imagine, like any part of Victoria, the population is increasing, but in our area it has increased incredibly.
Peninsula Link has added to the freeway traffic, not only in terms of people commuting but also in terms of people visiting the area.
More people are living there, so there are more people in the houses that used to be holiday houses, they are living there permanently close to the freeway.
On the hours that traffic runs, residents tell me that it is quite busy up until midnight and that the traffic starts again at 5 or 5.30 in the morning.
Recently the section at Safety Beach was resurfaced, and some bright spark in VicRoads decided to put the roughest possible surface on it. The noise levels have gone through the roof on that section. Even though it is the newest surface it is incredibly noisy.
In relation to the Dromana to Rosebud section, after work by me and the community over the last number of years, we have already had VicRoads come out and test it. Most of the sections of that part of the freeway are above the acceptable noise level and should have sound walls. Instead of putting the walls up, VicRoads decided to trial, in a number of sections, different road surfaces which were quieter.
That has cut the noise down, but VicRoads engineers have told me off the record that that really only makes a 5 per cent to, at best, 20 per cent difference in terms of a reduction in sound. For some reason the monitoring of it is over three years, which I think is just a stalling tactic. I would have thought one year would be the most — you are looking at a whole year’s traffic.
The section from Safety Beach to Dromana, as I said, has just been resurfaced. I recognise the fact that VicRoads is going to rectify that mistake later this year. I also recognise the fact that VicRoads is going to work with the community and do the sound monitoring in that section. But obviously those two sections of freeway adjoin each other, therefore the decibel levels in one area are going to be the same in the other.
It is very, very important that VicRoads get on with that testing, because the case, I think, is already established and this matter is making life hell for those residents.
They think they are being treated differently from all other residents in Victoria who live anywhere near a freeway.
I think this is an urgent matter, a very important matter for the amenity and peaceful life of those people who live near the freeway — a growing number of them — and I ask the minister to make the testing and then the funding of the sound walls a priority.
The Fair Work Commission has defended its decision to sideline a commissioner who usually hears cases involving firefighters and allocate the dispute between Victoria’s Country Fire Authority and the firefighters union to a former left-wing unionist, who is accused of bias.
The handling of the case by Julius Roe, former national president of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, infuriated the CFA’s now-disbanded board and chief executive Lucinda Nolan, who quit after refusing to accept his recommendations.
CFA volunteers fear the recommendations give the United Firefighters Union of Australia an effective veto over operational decisions.
Responding to questions from The Australian to commission president Iain Ross, an FWC spokeswoman confirmed Nick Wilson, an industrial centrist who since being appointed commissioner in 2013 has issued dozens of decisions and orders relating to disputes involving the UFUA, was not allocated the case, in preference for Mr Roe.
Industrial cases are allocated by a “panel system’’ in which commissioners are attached to industry-specific panels. When the CFA application was lodged last October, Mr Wilson was the only Melbourne-based member of the government services panel that covers firefighting services with extensive experience in firefighter cases, the FWC confirmed.
The CFA, having failed to reach agreement with the union following protracted negotiations, applied for the FWC to appoint a commissioner to oversee a conciliated resolution to the dispute. Instead of calling on Mr Wilson, the head of the government services panel, FWC vice-president Joseph Catanzariti went outside his own panel and referred the dispute to Mr Roe.
Mr Roe is a member of the services and mining panel that looks after disputes across a wide range of industries, but not firefighting. He has extensive previous experience in firefighters’ cases between July 2010 — shortly after he was appointed by then workplace relations minister Julia Gillard — until late 2013.
Pressed to explain its case allocation, the FWC said: “In contentious matters it is generally appropriate to have conciliation and arbitration proceedings conducted by different members. The CFA matters were referred to Commissioner Roe for conciliation as he had extensive experience in dealing with Victorian fire services matters and the allocation of the matters to Commissioner Roe would leave Commissioner Wilson available to deal with any arbitral applications made in relation to the dispute. No party objected to Commissioner Roe dealing with the … application.’’
Despite CFA anger at the outcome of the conciliation overseen by Mr Roe, there appears no prospect of an arbitral application.
UFU Victoria secretary Peter Marshall and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have backed the recommendations and the government dumped the CFA board after it made its opposition clear.
Mr Andrews’s insistence that the CFA accept Mr Roe’s recommendations prompted former emergency services minister Jane Garrett to resign from cabinet.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy publicly accused Mr Roe of bias and said his recommendations could have been written by the UFU. Mr Roe had defended his fairness and independence.
Within industrial relations circles, there is growing consternation about perceived political interference in the workings of the FWC and the decision to sideline Mr Wilson, a Harvard-educated former Fair Work ombudsman. Malcolm Turnbull has promised to legislate to protect volunteer organisations if his government is re-elected. Within the CFA, there is a push to establish an independent inquiry into how the entire case was handled.