We heard it from both our Mayor, Mr Don Hill and CEO, Mr Tim Tamlin – Council will continue to “function as normal” whilst the troubles are worked through.
Given that is the case, I am left wondering why the South Gippsland Shire (SGS) “Priority One” project (at this time last year) is no longer even mentioned by our chief advocates named above.
I last drew attention to the matter in a letter published in the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, p 27 (published in other local papers the previous week), there has been nothing forthcoming from either of our representatives regarding the advocacy progress.
A harsh judge might consider it to be a dereliction of duty; however; considering both are tied up with more pressing matters right now I am not suggesting that is so. The questions are: Where is this project at? Do they know? Do they not want us to know?
Surely there has to be a dawning, sooner or later, that the population of the Shire is going to grow far more rapidly than previously forecast, given Melbourne is bursting at the seams.
The 1.4% per annum population growth currently forecast for SGS (until 2036) is about to get blown out of the water. So it should, if we are to get some semblance of control over our ever increasing rates burden.
It just so happens, the State Government took out full page adds this week, in three of the four local papers, headlined: “Building Our Future – Investing in Victorian Rail as part of the $100 billion infrastructure plan”. Why did they do that? Could it possibly mean all balls are in the air? The point is we ought to be pushing hard for the return of the trains to Leongatha.
It’s time the Council and administration lifted their game on this Priority Project: “Return of the trains from Leongatha to Melbourne passenger trains on the South Gippsland corridor”.
What it there to lose? If it is not still number one; or if it is been dropped altogether; we should not be left in the dark and be given a full explanation as to when the change was made and why.
There is no project on the table that is more important to the development of the Shire than this one!
Not sure if MP Danny O’Brien ever got an answer, when he asked, last year, if the Return of the Train was priority one, or if it was the Great Southern Rail Trail Extension to the west of Leongatha. I expect he did not.
When I posed a similar question at a council meeting I left with a ‘Sir Humphrey Appleby’ answer and nothing meaningful has emerged for around the last four months.
Maybe the ‘Return of the Trains’ project got de-railed by the shaky mirage of the Great Southern Rail Trail Extension project, but you can’t get a straight answer.
What happened to the oft touted commitment to openness and transparency?
Some clarity would be nice!
John McCombe, Leongatha.