by Michael Giles

LAST Friday it was the Dalyston Football Netball Club which called a community meeting, in part over the lack of numbers coming forward for several of their teams.
They’re not the only football club to be struggling for numbers, especially in the junior ranks.
On the other hand though, footy is attracting strong numbers of girls and women wanting to play, on the back of the success of the AFLW initiative.
And we’re seeing evidence of that locally.
So we asked AFL Gippsland what they are seeing regionally and the response was that it’s an on-going issue challenging organisers of all sports, not just footy.
So are kids playing less community-based sport? And if so, what’s the reason for it?
A general discussion locally on this subject highlighted the excessive use of social media, fewer volunteers, pressures on working parents, cost pressures at home, competing sport opportunities and the lack of transport etc.
So is it becoming a crisis? And are we still settling into the ‘new normal’ dominated by social media?
Whatever the situation, the change is potentially affecting our children’s health and the health of the community generally and deserves to be studied by government and a strategy adopted which encourages local clubs and parents to get their kids to engage in sport.

The council
THERE’S a temptation this week to focus attention on Cr Jeremy Rich and the claim by his family’s company, Ansevata Nominees Pty Ltd, that the South Gippsland Shire Council, and ultimately us the ratepayers, owe them $200,000.
You’ve got to agree it’s highly unusual for a councillor to have to acknowledge such a significant conflict of interest, to the point where, if it continues to be an issue, it makes his position on council virtually untenable.
It might be better for all concerned, if Ansevata needs to pursue the claim and possibly other issues associated with the Walkerville Retarding Basin and their plans for a residential development in the area, that Cr Rich consider resigning his position as a councillor.
It would have the impact of putting the dispute back in the private domain where it belongs and where it would be less of a distraction to the main business before the council.
It was always going to be a risk for Cr Rich to join the council with such a significant issue hanging over its head and so it has proved to be.