SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

A COUPLE of initiatives in the past week, around increasing the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to the community, were great news.

First up, the Bass Coast Shire Council should be congratulated for the way it has supported the rollout locally, initially by offering the Wonthaggi Town Hall as a vaccination venue so that this area could be one of the first in the state to open a public vaccination centre.

Now the shire is promoting the benefits of everyone getting the jab by partnering with the community to provide incentives including sausage sizzles, tickets and vouchers, in the hope of being the leading municipality in the state.

As announced by the Premier yesterday, there 865 appointments available at the town hall this week.

The other terrific development is the expansion of vaccinations beyond your local GP and public vaccination centres to local pharmacies in Leongatha and Wonthaggi – so get out there and get vaccinated in case we experience what NSW is going through now.

On the other side of the coin, if last week’s South Gippsland Shire Council meeting is anything to go by, the state government appointed administrators appear to have finally outlived their usefulness to the community.

Although they’re still doing a better job than the rabble which was sacked by the government in 2019, it’s time we returned to a council of local people prepared to call out waste, spin and secrecy when they see it.

And two cases in point are the way the administrators dealt with the issues of the shire’s six sports stadiums and the Community Transport Service.

Instead of telling us like it is, the administrators spoke in platitudes, obfuscation and spin.

How has it taken so long, for example, to acknowledge the monumental waste of money that the Community Transport Service has cost ratepayers “approximately $271,280 in ongoing operational costs including staffing and an initial $293,947 in capital investment” to provide a service to three people without any state or federal funding?

As ratepayers, we would like to know how much this service has cost the community since 2013, to provide how many transport trips.

There can also be no reason why the “confidential” report should not be made public.

On the issue of the future development of the shire’s sports stadium, the new Community Stadiums Plan 2021 should be scrapped and a new, open-and-transparent report should be the first order of business for the new council.