With the defeat of the Napthine Government on November 29 and thus the (permanent, we hope), demise of the ‘W’astings container terminal project, Bass Coasters and all the good folk around Western Port can now relax and enjoy the rapidly approaching Christmas holidays.
At the outset, I must thank and congratulate my fellow passionate, hard -working and dedicated bunch of fellow Preserve Western Port Action Group members.
The finest band of community minded people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.
Secondly, same as above to Cr Clare Le Serve and her equally hard working and dedicated group of people.
“Mission accomplished”, Bass is no longer a “take for granted” seat for either of the major parties and in the case of the Libs and the ‘W’astings proposal, a huge lesson learned.
“Top down, we know best” stuff never works in any area or walk of life and that’s precisely what happened with the Libs in Bass, with Brian Paynter forced to go to preferences to win the seat.
The December 1 Age editorial summed it up succinctly thus, “The Napthine Government behaved as a patronising benefactor, deeming from high office and with scant consultation with Victorians, which of several multibillion infrastructure projects it would pursue and when”.
Also… “It sounds a warning to the Coalition to never again take Victorians for granted”.
Whilst over the past 18 months we saw far too many Napthine Government/ Port of Hastings Development Authority examples of such breathtaking arrogance in the ‘Battle of ‘W’astings’, perhaps the one that glaringly exemplifies this attitude came from Denis Napthine himself.
About this time last year, whilst leading a trade mission to China, he stood at the gigantic Shanghai container port and said, “This will be Hastings in 20 years”.
Whilst may he enjoy many happy years of retirement at Port Fairy, perhaps as he strolls along that magnificent beach and looks out on the waters of the strait that bears the name of that outstanding maritime explorer Surgeon George Bass, he may care to reflect on such comments and the impact they had on his political career and the absolute necessity to be an inclusive leader.
With seven men in a 28 foot slightly oversize surf boat, living and almost dying over an 11-week voyage on unknown and sometimes wild seas, exploring an unknown coast, Sydney/Western Port/Sydney, Bass surely understood this concept and political and any other future community leaders would do well to learn as much as they can about this history making voyage.
This includes anyone appointed to the ‘Infrastructure Victoria’ body that the ALP proposes to set up to decide between Hastings and a site in Port Phillip Bay.
The people of Bass Coast/Phillip Island have clearly shown their well-founded concerns about siting such an inappropriate facility in Western Port and I feel sure, even at the same cost of sleepless nights and forgone/graying hair, would do it all again if such was required.
For now, I’m trading this computer keyboard for fishing rods/guitar/ billiard cue and wish everyone a happy Christmas and a prosperous 2015.
Special good wishes to my fellow fisho’s…
No more annoying you with anti ‘W’astings flyers as you queue on the ramps. See you on the water and please leave a few snapper and gummys for me.
Kevin Chambers, The Gurdies.