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Tuesday, 04 December


Health service reports on a busy year "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"

GIPPSLAND Southern Health Service (GSHS) held its 26th annual general meeting in Korumburra, last Thursday.
The GSHS board was proud to announce the on-time and on-budget completion of the $4.1 million Leongatha Integrated Primary Health Care Centre (LIPHCC) and investment in almost $700,000 worth of new equipment.
Since completion of the LIPHCC, Leongatha Healthcare has filled six of 12 consultancy rooms and two of four treatment rooms.
President of the board of management, Alex Aeschlimann, spoke favourably of the significant growth and important improvements seen at GSHS throughout the 2017-18 year.
2017 will go down as the year that marked the open contestability of home care packages and the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Gippsland region, he said.
We entered the home care package market not knowing what level of demand we might expect and now provide services to 50 home care package recipients, helping them to remain living in their own homes.
We also commenced delivery of services to NDIS clients and currently provide services to over 150 people.
In total, we invested approximately $693,000 in the purchase of equipment using government grants, donations and bequests and our reserves.
During the year we purchased a radio frequency ablation device and video-scope for theatre, an infant incubator for the birthing unit, a mannequin birthing simulator and training aides for use in our training facility, beds and mattresses for all units and a bus for the Planned Activity Group, just to name a few of the significant purchases.
He said in December 2017, Koorooman House was surveyed against the Aged Care Accreditation Standards and found to be compliant with all 44 outcome measures, and was so awarded a further three years accreditation.
In March this year the health service was surveyed against the 15 EquipNational standards by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, Mr Aeschlimann said.
We were found to be compliant with all of the standards and awarded a further four years accreditation.
Board vice president Susan Hanson announced a net surplus for the 2017-18 year, before capital and specific items, of $565,000, down on the previous years $1,187,000.
The net result for the year was $873,000 compared to last years $1,160,000.
Budgetary objectives were exceeded due to the achievement of a larger than anticipated surplus. This result was obtained with assistance by the organisations share of the Gippsland Health Alliance surplus of $305,453.
Of the 14 Statements of Priority, all were met but two, those being the feasibility of establishing a Maintenance Care in the Home model of care and the establishment of a formal agreement with Latrobe Regional Hospital to provide clinical, governance specialist services for surgery,...


Holiday hiccup "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council failed to make an impressive return on its investment in caravan parks at Yanakie and Port Welshpool in the past financial year, and will now consider returning the parks to private management.
During 2017-18, council made an operating surplus of $11,742 on the Yanakie park and an operating deficit of $135,621 on the Long Jetty Caravan Park at Port Welshpool.
Council will receive a report at the June 2019 council meeting determining the parks futures, including whether council should manage the parks or offer the parks for lease.
Despite the shortfall at Long Jetty, mayor Cr Don Hill told The Star, Everything in the budget has the ability to end up costing more or less than budgeted for. Overall, the budget is not at risk. We saved money from other areas in the budget in the last 12 months.
Cr Alyson Skinner supported councils decision at last Wednesdays council meeting to rescind a resolution to establish a caravan and camping park committee. She said the committee had met several times, but believed councils private discussions should be open to the public.
A better way forward, I think, is to have these discussions in open council and work towards looking at options for the third party management model or direct management, she said.
During 2017-18, Yanakie Caravan Park earned income of $617,404, above budget of $424,715, due to more overnight and short stay visits.
However expenditure of $605,632 was higher than the budget of $525,393 due to extra costs incurred by having more visitors.
At Long Jetty Caravan Park in 2017-18, income of $285,746 was lower than the $315,674 budgeted. Operational expenditure of $421,367 was lower than the budget of $462,857.
Regarding Yanakie, the council report stated, The loss of annual site holders through attrition of non-compliant vans and making the park compliant with the access provisions of the guidelines was predicted to adversely affect revenue in the short term. The loss of this income is now being substituted by short stay visitation.
Expenditure was higher than budgeted primarily due to operational costs to support the increased patronage at the park. Increased costs included cleaning, administration and water supply.
All major capital works at both parks have been placed on hold until council considers what capital investment should be made at the parks.
Overall the Yanakie Caravan Park is trending in the right direction. It is anticipated that income can be increased in forward years by completing the park improvements, increasing marketing activities and by attracting a small number of compliant annual site holders to increase base recurrent revenues, the report stated.
The report stated the parks were previously mainly occupied by annual site holders and offered limited short stay accommodation.
The major...


All we want for Christmas "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"


SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has promised to deliver Leongatha a $1.15 million Christmas present if the Federal Government backs councils application for a grant to redevelop Bair Street.

Council last Wednesday voted to allocate the extra funding to the project, conditional on the grant being successful, bringing councils total commitment to Bair Street to $2.7 million.

Council had already committed $1.55 million to the project in 2019-20. The project will cost a total of $5.4 million.

Council has applied for $2.7 million for the Bair Street redevelopment project from the Federal Governments Building Better Regions Fund grant program for infrastructure projects.

An outcome is expected before next years federal election, tipped to be in May, and if the grant is awarded, council expects construction to start in late 2019, with completion late in 2020 at the earliest.

The grant requires council to increase its share of the funding.

Mayor Cr Don Hill said councils extra investment was warranted.

I think it is a good use of money. Leongatha is our main town and I believe the development will have an enormous drawcard effect and bring people into town, he said.

It will liven up this side of town and even though it is an expensive project, it is one that this community is looking forward to.

Councils contribution could be reduced if an application for state funding early next year is successful.

The redevelopment will include landscaping, trees, angle parking and traffic reduced to one lane and potential public art.

At last Wednesdays council meeting, Cr Jeremy Rich said the redevelopment of Bair Street was an important project for the whole region, and Cr Alyson Skinner said, This will be a really exciting project for Leongatha and will revitalise our Bair Street precinct.

Cr Hill told The Star he did not believe the project had taken overly long so far, with council required to follow a process that included waiting for VicRoads to complete construction of the heavy vehicle alternate route, thereby giving council responsibility for Bair Street.

We had to have the whole plan worked out, sent out to tender and that then came back and we now have a project that is shovel ready, he said.

In 2017-18, council tried to secure state funding for the Bair Street redevelopment and railway station site stage one, to no avail.

Councils manager infrastructure delivery John Moylan said, An expression of interest was submitted to the State Government for $4.25 million based on a project cost of $5.8 million. The scope of works in this bid was for the Bair Street works...

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Monday, 03 December


Andrews statement about Royal Commission into Informants "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

...the Victorian public has a right to know that every part of the justice system acts fairly and lawfully at all times. Daniel Andrews - Premier Really Dan. Police forces cannot operate without information. That information often comes from informants. If I was providing information to the police right now,...


LPG gas cylinders made this truck into a mobile bomb "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Victoria's coroner has released this video. Makes you think.


Young Australian climate activists interviewed "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

This 29 November 2018 video says about itself:

Thousands of students join climate protest

Australian students have gone on strike from school and have converged on urban and regional centres demanding the government take action on climate change.

From the World Socialist Web Site in Australia:

Australia: Newcastle participants in high school climate strike speak out

By our reporters

3 December 2018

Last Friday, around 2,000 high school students in Newcastle, a New South Wales port city 160 kilometres north of Sydney, took part in a national strike against the refusal of governments to address climate change.

Like rallies on the same day in Sydney, Melbourne and other areas, the Newcastle protest was attended by high school students of varying ages, along with parents and teachers.

In addition to expressing their anger over environmental destruction, students spoke out against war, social inequality and the turn to authoritarianism. Newcastle has been hard hit by decades of job cuts, and the closure of entire industries. As in other regional centres, youth face a future of insecure and casual work, unemployment and associated social problems.

Part of the Newcastle rally

Campaigners from the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at Newcastle University distributed hundreds of statements at the protest, explaining that climate change is the product of a systemic crisis of the global capitalist system and calling for a turn to the working class.

The IYSSE stre...


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Friday, 21 September


IA assessments questionable "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association has queried the logic of Infrastructure Australias negative response to the business case for the duplication of the South Geelong-Waurn Ponds rail line.

Branch convener Paul Westcott noted that Infrastructure Australia seems to be saying that the project would stack up if some changes were made.

If they are saying that certain modifications to the business case would lead to them supporting the project, why couldnt they assess the project with the changes they themselves suggest? Mr Westcott said.

Mr Westcott also criticised the State government for not having quantified some obvious benefits of the project in the business case, which has led Infrastructure Australia to require more work to be done on it.

The State government must urgently revise the business case, taking Infrastructure Australias comments into account, ensuring the project can be assessed on its true merits, Mr Westcott said.

However, its good that both sides of politics continue to back the project that will see more trains running to stations South of Geelong, including to Colac and Warrnambool, and help them run more reliably.

Mr Westcott also pointed to apparent inconsistencies in Infrastructure Australias assessment of projects.

They are happy to keep the East-West Link toll road in Melbourne on their priority list, despite the fact that is has a cost-benefit ratio of only 50 cents in the dollar.

Even worse, the duplication of the highway to Colac, also funded by federal money, will only return about eight cents in the dollar.

Mr Westcott said the way Infrastructure Australia assesses projects seems questionable. While economically doubtful road schemes are given the green light, sustainable transport projects seem to be viewed with less sympathy.



Eight refugees, single men previously held on Manus Island, flew from Port Moresby today, Tuesday, 18 September, to be resettled in the US. The eight are single men, one Iranian, two Tamils, two Pakistanis, two Rohingyan and one Afghan. The total number of refugees from Manus accepted by the US so far, is just 130.(...)

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Tuesday, 18 September


The Importance of Now "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

A Stuart Wilde article - Some years ago I wrote out a process I called "minimal movement". It is a time management discipline where you brutally eliminate all actions that serve no purpose, and you allocate the least possible energy and effort to the tick-tock things you have to do.

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Friday, 14 September


eX-detainees day statement : Do not bury eX-detainee voices or undermine over 2 decades of our labour towards dismantling immigration detention centres "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

We, eX-detainees at RISE in Australia, mark the 17th of September 2018 as eX-Detainees Day, for all asylum seekers and refugees who have been forcibly detained whilst seeking protection. This is our 3rd annual eX-detainees day. Crucially, this initiative is entirely managed and controlled by eX-detainees who are asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, as an assertion of our self-determination.

Asylum seeker and refugee detainees who have been detained or are currently detained in detention centres are among the most persecuted and oppressed people in the world. We have endured abuse in our own countries, and upon seeking protection, are disenfranchised and suffer institutional abuse within detention systems. eX-detainees

In this 3rd year of commemorating eX-detainees day we raise the collective voices of asylum seekers and refugees around the world, who are facing discrimination and criminalisation due to detention.  eX-Detainees Day will highlight and oppose all forms of refugee and asylum seeker detention that we are subjected to globally: whether the detention lasts 1 day, 30 days, 1 year, or longer periods of time.

We eX-detainees are thankful for those who have shown meaningful solidarity and allyship. We also like to see more eX-detainee voices put at the forefront in the refugee debate in Australia and across the world. In Australia, eX-detainees have been working towards dismantling immigration detention centres over two decades now. Do not bury eX-detainee voices as has been done continuously by successive Australian governments. Recognition, respect and autonomy should be given to many eX-detainees and detainees who have never compromised on the goal of abolishing detention centres and spoken out against detention centres, risking our freedom and families. Respect our voices and our well being. Here is the link to our demands

Last year we eX-detainees at RISE  established the #SanctionAustalia Campaign and we have received overwhelming support for the campaign in Australia and as well as across the world. Further, in the process of developing our Sanction Australia campaign, eX-detainees have been consulting with national and international wide activists, rights groups and civil society groups to endorse our Sanction Australia campaign.

We offshore and onshore eX-detainees from Australia strongly condemn successive Australian governments and other governments around the world for holding hostage our community members in detention torture camps across the world. We eX-detainees demand that all refugee survivors who are forcibly held in detention centres immediately release and provide them with permanent protection and proper support servic...

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Wednesday, 12 September


What Would Jesus Say? OMG! "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

I gave it some thought and could only come to the same conclusion Mr Fry came to: the radical, revolutionary Jesus would be appalled and he would fight to have the church disbanded...

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Wednesday, 05 September


The 2018 EJ Craigie Award winner "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Last night Warwick Smith, Senior economist at Per Capita was awarded the EJ Craigie Writing Award for his piece The big spending Victorian state budget is built on Australias worst tax. Warwick quickly laid out the damaging effects of stamp duties and then moved on to show another innovative ACT policy move, with the transition []


Change Your Destiny "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

A Stuart Wilde article. When you see ugliness become every more pretty. When you see racism, love and accept everyone. When people are agitated and violent, be calm and peaceful.

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Sunday, 02 September


What the newspapers said about inequality. It's wrong "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

If you were going to reduce a 150-page Productivity Commission examination of trends in Australian inequality to a few words, it would be nice if they werent ALP inequality claims sunk, or Progressive article of faith blown up or Labor inequality myths busted by commission.

The editorial in the Australian Financial Review of August 30 says questions about whether inequality is increasing are abstract, taught in universities as an article of faith, and a political truncheon.

Here I should disclose that I teach courses covering inequality as well as undertaking research on the topic. Also, I was one of the external referees for this weeks Productivity Commission report.

It adds to a growing pile of high quality research on trends in income distribution in Australia, including a recent Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and University of New South Wales study using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that provides an in-depth analysis of income and wealth inequality in 2015-16 and an analysis of trends since 2000.

Also released at the end of July was the latest HILDA Statistical Report that analyses how things have changed over time for individuals between 2001 and 2016.

The Productivity Commission survey takes the deliberately ambitious approach of assessin...

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Wednesday, 29 August


Tenderness Can Flow From Resilience "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

I ponder the question - how do we develop resilience without toughening up and compromising our innate sensitivity?

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Saturday, 25 August


Literary Pilgrims "IndyWatch Feed Vic"


26 Mercer Street SM




A few weeks ago I was contacted by Brigid Magner, a lecturer at RMIT who described her current project about literary commemorations in Australia. This project includes several houses where Henry Handel Richardson (Ethel, or Ettie as she was called when she was a young girl) once lived.

The two photographs at the start of this post are of 26 Mercer Street Queenscliff where the author lived in the late 1870s. The second is from a short play I wrote for history week 2016, and shows Ettie (played by Laura McMahon) reading on the veranda. The play took place in the garden, where the audience sat, and on the spacious veranda.

Talking to Brigid and thinking about her project got me wondering about literary pilgrimages and why people travel long distances to visit the homes of their favourite authors.

At the start of Flauberts Parrot, author Julian Barnes has his narrator ask, Why does the writing make us chase the writer? Why cant we leave well alone? Why arent the books enough?

I sometimes fantasise about visiting Shrewsbury in England, where Ellis Peters set her Cadfael series. Cadfael is a Benedictine monk who lived at the Abbey of St Peter and St Paul in the 12th century. I imagine the cobbled streets and tiny, close-packed houses. And there would be some corners of the city where my imagination wouldnt feel let down. But mostly I would have to go about in blinkers. And this is one problem, isnt it, for literary pilgrims, that places where well-loved authors and charact...

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Wednesday, 22 August


Singing the Camino: A tale of two trailblazers, walking and songs "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

You never know where life as a Singing Leader will take you next. Several years ago now, The Lucky Wonders, an indie folk pop band from Byron Bay, toured Germany. In need of a break after a few gruelling years in the music industry, Jessie Vintila and her partner Emma Royle took off for a drive through Spain and France, and found themselves in St Jean Pied de Port, a small French town at the foot of the Pyrenees.

Turns out, St Jean Pied de Port is a common starting place for people walking a spectacular stretch of the Camino Francs, the most famous of all the Pilgrimage routes across the mountains, and on this particular day the atmosphere of the town captivated them both in a powerful and life changing way.

We saw all these people in hiking gear with walking poles and there was a kind of magical hush over the town. There and then we got the bug for the Camino. Emma has been a keen hiker all her life and she was determined we would walk this track as soon as possible.

But with return flights booked and paid for it was time to head home to Australia leaving the two women unclear about how they could justify an imminent trip back to Europe. Being musicians its not that easy to travel across the world, Jessie laughs. Their quest was something to ponder, something requiring time and creative thinking but the vision and the place persisted to play in their thoughts.

On a walk out one evening, an idea and a solution to the situation popped clearly into Jessies headand after all that thinking it turned out, rather ironically, to be a bit of a no-brainer.

Jessie was fortunate to be born into a singing family. As a multi-instrumentalist for most of her life she has also been a passionate choir leader since she was 18: I cant get enough of it, Im an absolute harmony addict, I love having people all around me singing harmonies all the time. Emma, who is also a musician, is an ardent fan of walking.

The freshly hatched plan combined all these skills and, most importantly at that point in time, gave Jessie and Emma a legitimate reason to head back to the Camino together to explore the idea of setting up their potential new venture: A Singing tour of the Camino for other people to do.

If we could go over there and set up this project, we could do it!

Within a few months of their original visit, Jessie and Emma went back to Spain and walked all 800 blister-busting kilometres of the Camino. They decided to focus on the final 200km stretch which they decided would be the ideal distance for singing walkers to cover on a twelve day tour. A significant amo...


Trevor Ravenscroft and the Spirit World "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

This will allow us to begin to see a whole spiritual depth and significance behind every single manifestation of the physical world...

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Sunday, 19 August


Madge Digest #152 August 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Vic"


Madge Digest #152 August 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Vic"


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Wednesday, 15 August


The Doorway To Resilience "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Ditch striving for positivity and happiness. The positive thinking/happiness craze of more recent decades has morphed into something much better...

Wednesday, 08 August


Transgender Refugees living in the community in Australia and Access to Primoteston "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Recently, in the last few weeks, RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees transgender members who were coercively assigned female at birth and are living in the community, raised concerns about the removal of Primoteston Depot (a form of testosterone injection) from the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).  Primoteston has been removed from PBS by the manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceuticals for commercial reasons. This forces our members to purchase the medication at the full price of about $40 every 4-6 weeks. Generic brand testosterone is also not available through the system. For this reason, a meeting was organised last weekend by affected RISE transgender members to discuss this issue.  Clearly it has had a particularly devastating impact on our community members as they are also struggling with Australias precarious and abusive refugee visa process, with limited access to health and welfare services. Furthermore, it became clear in the discussion that even service providers that explicitly claim to support transgender people have failed to address the barriers transgender refugees face when it comes to accessing hormone replacement therapy.

In order for an unemployed RISE member living in the community on a bridging visa with Medicare, to purchase prescribed medication at a concession price they have to be approved for Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.  If their SRSS application is approved, in addition to SRSS payments which is 89% of the standard Centrelink welfare payments they are assigned to a private subcontractor such as AMES or Life Without Barriers for settlement support. They do not have access to a healthcare card and have to depend on a letter from the SRSS provider to allow access to specific pharmacies to purchase PBS medication at a concession price.  Currently, AMES provides a letter that is usually valid for only 1 or 3 months which has to be renewed each time it expires. For RISE members (all of whom are ex-detainees) on 5 year temporary visas, the government will only allow them to receive Centrelink payments for up to 18 months in total. We also need to keep in mind RISE members who are undocumented or on bridging visas, who dont have access to Medicare, the right to work or any welfare support payments and have to pay full price for all medication. The recent cuts to SRSS by the Department of Home Affairs places more of our members in this latter category.  

When a person changes from  Primoteston to a testosterone injection available on PBS such as Reandron (also manufactured by Bayer), they may have to continue to use Primoteston during a temporary overlapping period with Reandron.  So even RISE members eligible for PBS medication at a concession rate who decide to change from Primoteston to Reandron, will initially have to pay for Primoteston at the full pri......


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