Cash Cowes bolts


THOUSANDS of people have backed Phillip Island Stand Alone group’s push to break away from the Bass Coast Shire by signing the de-amalgamation petition circulated around the Island during Easter.

The Stand Alone group met at Pino’s Trattoria in Cowes last Wednesday to formalise plans for the campaign to secede from the Bass Coast and an executive was elected, including chair Stephen Fullarton, treasurer Gwen McRae and secretary Anne Oswin.

Mr Fullarton has been flat stick over Easter dealing with national media hopping onto one of the biggest stories set to rock the foundations of the Bass Coast Shire and councils across South Gippsland.

Phillip Island provides just under 50 per cent of rates for the whole of Bass Coast Shire. Inverloch too tips in a huge chunk and both communities are not happy at all with how the shire is being run.

Mr Fullarton said he even had disgruntled Wonthaggi residents showing their support for the Stand Alone campaign over Easter.

More than 4000 signatures were received in only a few days over Easter.

The Island was chockers for Easter and the Stand Alone supporters were out in force, with de-amalgamation petition stations set up at supermarkets, the newsagents and retail outlets.

“People were rushing to sign the petition. We had people queuing six and eight deep at some of the stations in Cowes,” Mr Fullarton said.

“I have never been involved in getting a petition up before and those keen to sign were all very well informed about the issues and happy to support our campaign.

“The message coming through loud and clear from locals, holiday home owners and regular visitors was that people are fed up with the Bass Coast Shire and ‘its failure to provide basic local government services’.

“Hundreds have the same story to tell of the shire’s neglect, many of the visitors saying they have been coming here for decades and have noticed the Island looking much worse and a lot more shabby.”

Mr Fullarton said leading into Christmas, the grass along the roadside leading into Cowes was a metre high and that was a disgrace.

“The Island is one of Australia’s major tourism destinations and generates 85 per cent of the tourism revenue for the shire and what do we get for that: nothing!” he said.

Fundraising has been going on for years to see a heated indoor pool established on the Island and for the hospital to be reopened.

Mr Fullarton said over Easter people were venting their anger about how they donated money for the pool and were incensed by council’s decision to spend $17 million on the redevelopment of the Wonthaggi pool, saying it will consider Phillip Island in 15 years.

Visitors to the Island were greeted with a sign that read: ”Drivers beware. No hospital on the island. Drive carefully.”

Other complaints were no swimming pool, dirty streets, no drainage maintenance, the shabby state of Cowes, the ugly green wheelie bins lining the main drag, lack of made roads and gardens in many of the estates, the toilet dumped in the centre of town, the closure of the tip and lack of attention to protecting the foreshore from high tide damage.

“Bass Coast mayor Cr Neville Rankine made a big call on ABC News that the shire would be happy to go through the numbers and the costs,” Mr Fullarton said.

“We would be happy with this also but by an independent auditor who would undertake a full financial assessment.”

Mr Fullarton said many locals were dismayed with comments made by resident councillor Kimberley Brown who stated she was elected to represent the views of the Bass Coast Shire as opposed to the residents and ratepayers.

“She was elected to serve us, the ratepayers and she doesn’t seem to understand that,” Mr Fullarton said.

He said support is growing by the day, with nearly 2000 people joining the Phillip Island Stand Alone Facebook page.

Some high profile people in Noosa have offered their support after successfully de-amalgamating last year from the Sunshine Coast Shire.

The petition can be signed at the Phillip Island Advertiser office in Cowes or check out The Star Facebook site for details on how to get a copy. The petition will close April 30 and will be presented to retiring Bass MLA Ken Smith.


Easter revolt: more than 4000 people rushed to sign the petition at Cowes over Easter in support of the Phillip Island Stand Alone groups push to secede from the Bass Coast Shire.

Easter revolt: more than 4000 people rushed to sign the petition at Cowes over Easter in support of the Phillip Island Stand Alone groups push to secede from the Bass Coast Shire.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=10677

Posted by on Apr 23 2014. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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