Paynter cops a serve - Victorian Election Analysis

This article appeared in the South Gippsland Sentinal Times 2/12/14 - Written by Michael Giles visit  http://www.sgst.com.au/paynter-cops-a-serve-over-port/ to read the full story.

THE Liberal Party retained the seat of Bass at last Saturday’s State Election but with a greatly reduced margin.
Where the retiring Liberal MP Ken Smith secured 56.5 per cent of the vote in 2010, newcomer Brian Paynter managed just 45.6 per cent this time around.
It puts the seat back in the marginal category.
Mr Paynter said he was simply “thrilled and honoured” to have been voted in by the people of the electorate (see his comments).
But there’s little doubt that fears about the impact of the Port of Hastings’ expansion was a big factor.
In some Western Port booths, the Liberal Party’s vote was slashed by as much as 50 per cent, impacting Mr Paynter’s result overall.
And while the state-wide swing against the Coalition and the challenge by well-known independent, Claire Le Serve, were other factors, concerns over the Napthine Government’s port plans were the key.
Predictably Mrs Le Serve beat Mr Paynter in her own home-town booth of Corinella, 252 votes to 230, but the Libs also copped a pasting in Cowes as well where issues such as the closure of the hospital, Stand-alone, poor support for the tourism industry and the unpopular port plans didn’t play well.
Mr Smith collected 638 of the 1286 formal votes cast in Cowes last time, almost 50 per cent, but Mr Paynter got only 473 votes this time, or 37 per cent.
Here’s how the Waterline towns voted: Bass Le Serve 123, Paynter 133 (199 in 2010); Corinella Le Serve 252, Paynter 230 (378); Cowes Le Serve 169, Paynter 473 (638), Grantville Le Serve 184, Paynter 346 (485), Newhaven Le Serve 127, Paynter 297 (407), Rhyll Le Serve 70, Paynter 150 (206) and San Remo Le Serve 115, Paynter 308 (392).
Mrs Le Serve was pleased with the support she received.
“Our two aims in running were to make the seat marginal, if not win it, and to oppose turning the port into a mega-container facility,” Mrs Le Serve said.
“There’ll be some changes when the pre-polls are counted but by reducing the Liberals’ vote to 45 per cent, we have made the seat more marginal and perhaps the government will take more notice of us now.
“But it was an interesting process and I congratulate Mr Paynter and look forward to working with him as a councillor, hopefully getting the new government to commit to the redevelopment of the secondary college and expansion of the hospital in Wonthaggi.”

Port was the key
Chairman of the Preserve Western Port Action Group, Jeff Nottle, was in no doubt.
“Their polling before the election would have told them they were in trouble in Bass because of the port which is why they rushed down here in the final few days with promises of $21 million for the secondary college and $25 million for the hospital,” Mr Nottle said.
“And it’s probably why Brian Paynter was able to pull a rabbit out of the hat and get the island review funded when the Minister had initially said ‘no way’.
“There’s no doubt it was a factor. The reports I’m getting are that a lot of people going in to vote in this area were talking about it.”
Mr Nottle said that independent candidate, Clare Le Serve, listed concern about the port expansion as her number one policy issue which is why she got 11.4 per cent of the vote.
“We’ll give our team a break for a few weeks now but it’s not over yet. The ALP has a policy of putting the port ‘at a location to the west of Melbourne’ but they will also be reviewing the assessment of Hastings and we’ll be watching what they do very closely.”

Standing alone
Spokesperson for Phillip Island Stand Alone, now Phillip Island Progress, Steve Fullarton, agreed there was a strong undercurrent of concern about the port expansion plans on the island as well.
“Brian Paynter’s support for Stand Alone would have won him some votes here but everyone is worried about their port plans,” Mr Fullarton said.
He also expressed concern about the Daniel Andrews’ bay west plans, noting that ALP supporters on the Mornington Peninsular wanted the jobs that would flow from a Hastings development.
He said his group wanted to meet with the new Local Government Minister and the Tourism Minister as soon as possible to press its claims for a stand-alone shire and an improvement to infrastructure.
“Phillip Island is enormously important to tourism in this state but we’ve been completely let down by Wonthaggi (the shire council),” Mr Fullarton said.
“Everyone talks about the total demise in the presentation of the island.
“We’d be a lot better off on our own,” he said.

Port Authority Information Shut Down

Port of Hastings Information Shutdown Scuttles Planning Panels Victoria C82 Hearing

The Port of Hasting Development Authority has gone into information shutdown on key information on the planned development of an international container terminal at Hastings.

The Port Authority is publicly not advising the location of the planned container terminal and wharf in the special use zone or declared port area and hence the amount of dredging required or where spoil will be dumped. Further information not being released includes the extent of restrictions on boating in Westernport.

The proposed dredging for the container terminal is critical and will have an adverse impact on Westernport’s coastal erosion and sea water inundation as the tides increase in speed and mud flats are removed. This will have a significant adverse effect on the Westernport coastline particularly to the north of Westernport and French island and the north Shore of Phillip Island.

In preparing the C82 planning amendment Council asked the Port Authority of the extent of proposed dredging and details of their hydrodynamic modeling. The Port Authority advised Council on 2 June 2014 that “At this point in time, we do not have sufficient information to contribute a submission on this matter...”

The issue was highlighted at the C82 Planning Panels Victoria hearing. Jeff Nottle Chairman of the Preserve Western Port Action Group advised the hearing on 9 October 2014 that the lack of response by the Port of Hastings will prevent the Planning Panels or Council setting an appropriate overlay. Jeff stated that the lack of response from the Port Authority will mean that the Panel Report will be obsolete before it is implemented. The Panel indicated that the inquiry and public hearings may need to be held again when the Port of Hastings information is provided.

Jeff Nottle presented to Planning Panels the Victorian University Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics report of 26 August 2014 which states dredging for the Port of Hastings would remove approximately 6 million cubic metres of spoil in the approach channels and 18 million cubic meters for a berthing pocket bringing the total to about 24 million cubic meters excluding the dredging required for the anchorage area off the north shore of Phillip Island.

It is incredible that the dredging and hydrodynamic modeling is not being presented to Planning Panels Victoria despite the amount of hydrodynamic modeling undertaking he stated. The Port of Hastings Annual Report for 2012/13 shows expenditure to 30 June 2013 of $240,432 on consultancy services for hydrodynamics with planned further expenditure of $139,888 from that date.

Residents, ratepayers and Councils whose coastlines will be affected by the proposed dredging should not have these extra costs and uncertainties imposed on them due to the hydrodynamic modeling not being made available by the Port of Hastings to Planning Panels Victoria.

The C82 amendment has been a difficult issue for residents, ratepayers, Council and other stakeholders. The Port of Hastings information shutdown will cause further community concerns.

Further information shutdown is evident with the Port of Hastings responses to their token community information sessions PORTicipate.


Well meaning community members have been working hard to assist the Port of Hastings in their quarterly meetings. The Port Authority responds to community concerns with comments that the Port Authority will provide further details and updates at next meetings.

With the next meeting due in November the community members are not receiving critical information despite their assistance to the Port Authority.

The current Port Authority Information Sessions being held in the region are merely an opportunity to display colorful posters and ariel photographs. The large numbers of Port Authority staff are pleasant yet highly rehearsed in their non disclosure of key information.

The Preserve Western Port Action Group calls on the Port Authority to stop the information shutdown and be transparent with the community. We demand better accountability and transparency on their use of $110 M of taxpayers’ money. Key questions are being asked and the Port Authority should be providing answers.

Media Contact; Jeff Nottle 0419 158 232