TUROSS HEAD PROGRESS ASSOCIATION INC.
AGENDA FOR 7th JUNE 2018 MEETING
Held at Kyla Hall, Tuross Head
SUMMARY OF CONDUCT OF MEETING
The THPA Meeting was opened at 1.30 pm ahead of the scheduled 2 pm start time due to the attendance of our Federal Member, Ann Sudmalis. The THPA meeting dealt with confirmation of previous Minutes dated 3 May 18 and the tabling of Treasurers Report as at 7 Jun 18. The THPA meeting was closed at 2.00 pm and was handed over to the Guest Speaker Ann Sudmalis, MP upon her arrival and this was followed by a lively & most informative Q&A forum. Several AGENDA items under General Business as outstanding from the 3 May 18 will now be deferred until the 5 Jul 18 meeting.
INVITED GUEST SPEAKER Ann Sudmalis, MP – the Federal Member for GILMORE. COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES IN ATTENDANCE Councillor Rob Pollock; andCouncillor Jeff Thompson. ATTENDANCE FIGURES A total of 43 x THPA members pus other members of the public attended the meeting. Apologies Max Castle (commitment to NSW Government Ministerial meeting in Sydney), David Campbell, Rachel Kennedy, Dr Carlene Winch (Darwin), Dr Gwyn Singleton (overseas), Rob Rixon, Patrick McNeile, Denis Pilkington, Jan Pilkington. Minutes of Previous Meeting Moved by the Secretary, seconded by John Byrne that the draft Minutes of the 3 May 18 meeting be confirmed. CARRIED. Business Arising FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES No issues were raised. Treasurers Report The Treasurer, Joan Buchan, provided the following financial statement of the THPA Accounts as at 6 Jun18. THPA General Account Balance: @ 6 Jun 18 = $5,426.31 Receipts: Lucky Door Raffle donation = $42.60 Progressive Working Account Balance = $5,468.91Expenses:NIL between 3 May & 6 Jun 18 = $00.00THPA General Account Working Balance @ 3 May 18 = $5,468.91 THPA Cycle/Walk Accounts: Cycleway Working Account balance as at 6 Jun 18 = $2,957.52Plus Term Deposit Commonwealth Bank = $20,000.00 = $22,957.52Plus THPA General Account Working Fund = $5,468.91 Total THPA Funds as at 6 Jun 18(i.e. Account Balances of $22,957.52 plus $5,468.91) = $28,426.43 Treasurer asked that the Financial Report be accepted. Moved: John Byrne, Seconded: Chris Jones - CARRIED Membership There are currently 158 financial members, up 130 members from the mere 28 x THPA members in October 2016. RECORD OF INWARDS & OUTWARDS CorrespondenceA summary of all correspondence dealt with since the 3 May 18 meeting until 1 Jun 18 was circulated to all Members ahead of the 7 Jun 18 meeting. The Secretary (John Tilbrook) provided the meeting with a brief overview of inwards & outwards correspondence. It was moved by: Joan Flynn and Seconded by: Steve Ryder that the Report on correspondence by accepted. CARRIED. GENERAL BUSINESS Annual THPA General Meeting & election of Office Bearers The President (Gary Cooper) stated that the 7 Jun 18 THPA meeting was the last general meeting this financial year, and that there were only two further meetings (on 5 Jul 18 & 2 Aug 18) before the THPA Annual General Meeting to be conducted on 6 Sep 18 to elect the new executive Committee. Gary Cooper apprised the meeting that he would not be standing for re-election in any position, and that the current secretary John Tilbrook may not be able to stand for re-election due to ill-health but will continue holding the office bearer position of both the Secretary & the Treasurer of the Council appointed Kyla Hall Management Committee (KHMC). Accordingly, the present 158 members of the THPA should now actively canvass each other in seeking volunteers prepared to be nominated for the positions of President, Senior Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Minutes Secretary, Membership Secretary and the THPA Website & Email Administrative Officer, a total of 7 positions to be filled. John Tilbrook may consider standing for re-election as Secretary THPA, but only if a Minutes Secretary is appointed to compile the minutes of all THPA meetings in order to reduce the current burden on the incumbent holing position as Secretary. 1. RMS Wollongong - Update on Highway “T” Intersection safety upgrade. John Tilbrook provided and update on the release of $1.4 million that was obtained by the Federal Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis MP in her capacity as the Chair of the Regional Roads Black Spot Road Funding Program. The preliminary Geotechnical Survey work was completed by the RMS at the intersection on Wed 2 May 18 ahead of the road reconstruction work to complete the road safety upgrade which will be undertaken by RMS, not contractors, between 1 Jul 18 and Christmas. 2. Upgrading of “Cycle/walk” missing link (dirt section Anderson Ave to Buchan Bridge). Following on from the Warren Sharpe attendance at the 3 May 18 for his informative Q&A forum, which in part addressed issue of the long outstanding “missing link” in the cycle/walk that raised by the Secretary THPA in an email to Council dated 18 Apr 18, the Council has now provided a formal response concerning pathways in Tuross Head. In its Council letter (Matt Cormick – Engineering Admin Officer) dated 17 May 18 titled “Linking the Tuross Head shared pathway” it set out its adopted pathway strategy which is summarised as follows. “Missing link in shared pathway” Council has NO plans to construct a shared pathway along the existing route of the track now in use (sic referred to by THPA as the “Missing Link’). Moreover, when built by the developer, the pathway facility will need to be moved to the future route to service the proposed subdivision, that will lift the pathway to a higher level (sic above the flood plain) which will improve the level of natural surveillance. In the meantime, the Council will continue to maintain the existing gravel pathway until the new shared pathway is constructed by the developer (sic but when given the work on the “missing link” has be halted by Council since July 2004). Council makes the point that should the THPA wish to fully fund this shared pathway on behalf of the developer, on the route designated by Council, then Council is happy to meet to discuss a way forward. Eurobodalla Pathways Strategy – 2017 (which incorporates the THPA cited priority for Pathways) At the 3 May 18 THPA meeting a pedestrian public safety issue was raised with Warren Sharpe, in that there was a desire from some present to accelerate the provision of a 1.5 metre wide footpath along Hector McWilliam Drive (sic on the northern side of Hector McWilliam Drive from Anderson Avenue to the Allenby Road intersection). This section of pathway is identified in the Council’s adopted pathways strategy to be provided on a priority basis, but it has NOT been included in the draft 2018-19 Operational Plan. The Council has highlighted that the adopted Eurobodalla Pathways Strategy includes provision for community groups to contribute to pathways. In these cases, Council will take this into account when determining priorities. More recently two other community associations have offered funding arrangements resulting in their proposed pathways being funded. In response to the THPA stance that the $25k held in the Cycle/walk account was quarantined for the completion of sections of this shared pathway, Council has pointed out to the THPA that a 1.5 m wide footpath can be legally utilised by a child under the age of 12 years riding a bicycle (with an accompanying adult). In summing up, although the THPA membership is bent on expending its accumulated funds on completing the Cycle/walk circling Tuross Head; there may be a case for entering into a cost sharing arrangement with Council to complete one of the sections of priority pathways identified for Tuross Head in the Eurobodalla Pathways Strategy. That is to contribute to the cost of the sorely needed shared pedestrian pathway along northern side of Hector McWilliam Drive between Anderson Avenue and Allenby Road “T” intersection that can be shared with cyclist and mobility scooters? NOTE: This latter option will be put to the next THPA meeting on 5 Jul 18 after due consideration by the wider membership given the impact upon the balance of monies held in the Cycle/walk Account? 3. Replacing ancient un-flued LPG Heaters in Kyla Hall. The Secretary THPA advised the meeting that he has researched and had compiled a submission which will be personally handed to the Federal Member for Gilmore (Ann Sudmalis, MP) as an application for grants funding for $19,440 so as to permit the installation of a three unit inverter air-conditioning system able to heat/cool Kyla Hall (and thus enable the disposal of the dangerous and ancient un-flued LPG fired Vulcan Heaters which are toxic and pose a serious public health hazard to hall users when operating; and for the provision and installation of a 6.6 Kw Solar Power System (24 panels & inverter) to be mounted on the Kyla Park Hall roof to generate sufficient electricity to cover power & lighting usage at Kyla Hall. Prologue. The Grants submission dated 7 Jun 18 (copy attached to these minutes) was enthusiastically received by our Federal Member, noting that the funding application was less than $20k. The Council’s Fire Mitigation Officer – Quentin Prendergast – should be invited to attend the 5 Jul 18 THPA meeting to be available for Q&A during the RFS presentation? 4. Bushfire Emergency Preparedness plan- Tuross Head The THPA has asked the RFS Tuross Head (Danielle Brice) to provide information on tailored BUSHFIRE PROTECTION Plans for dissemination. There will also be a presentation on BUSHFIRE PROTECTION delivered by the Tuross Head Rural Fire Brigade at the 5 Jul 18 meeting. DOOR PRIZE RAFFLE. Door prize raffles drawn by Ann Sudmalis, MPRaffle raised $53.50 in proceeds towards Kyla Hall hire fees for THPA meetings. Closure of MeetingThe 7 Jun 18 THPA Meeting was Closed at 3.15 pm. Next THPA Meeting The next THPA meeting will be convened on 5 Jul 18.Presentations will be provided by the Tuross Head Rural Fire Brigade on Bushfire Preparedness (organised by Danielle Brice) and the future upgrading of fishing facilities in Tuross and the Eurobodalla Shire delivered by Max Castle as member of RFNSW, THFC & THPA. John Tilbrook Secretary THPA 9 June 2018 -------------------------------------------oOo--------------------------------------------- SUMMARY OF THE ADDRESS TO THPA MEMBERS BY THE FEDERAL MEMBER FOR GILMORE, ANN SUDMALIS MP Ann Sudmalis began the Q&A forum by providing a brief biography of herself started working life as a teacher, then in a fudge making business prior to entering her present career in politics. “T” intersection project funding. Ann Sudmalis outlined her successful efforts in lobbying the then Minister for Infrastructure (Darren Chesser) in obtaining regional roads funding for the Eurobodalla, which included the Tomakin roundabout, the Perry Lane upgrade in Batemans Bay and the Tuross Head intersection with the Princes Highway. The monies diverted to the Tuross turn-off was originally earmarked for the Hanging Rock roundabout, but at the time that the funding was announced on 8 May 18 the ESC had already commenced the roundabout road works, so therefore Hanging Rock location was no longer eligible for the $1.4 million in funding. The Council attempted to divert this latter funding to another planned roundabout elsewhere in the Batemans Bay to the exclusion of the Tuross Head intersection; but Council was over-ruled by Ann Sudmalis who insisted the road safety upgrade of “T” intersection was a high priority and would go ahead as she had already promised this to the Tuross residents, and she had even presented a Petition on this urgent need to the then Minister (Darren Chesser). Ann Sudmalis then tabled two laminated diagrams of the work to be carried out by RMS between now and Christmas. At this juncture a vote of thanks was presented by Fitzroy Boulting. “Missing Link” Cycle/walk funding Dee Meek raised with Ann Sudmalis the possible prospect of obtaining Federal funding through community infrastructure grants to complete the “Missing Link” on the Cycle/walk to join up the east and western sides of Tuross. Ann Sudmalis did not have any background on this, but the Secretary THPA will follow this up with her Office and provide a copy of these Minutes to her which addresses this topic. It was noted from the floor of the meeting that the Council is busy constructing shared pathways across the Shire, but more recently in Moruya township, and recognising that our State Member for Bega (Minister Andrew Constance) has just secured a further grant of $750k to enable the Council to complete the cycle/way along South Head Road from the end of the current pathway at Congo turnoff, all the way to South Head. The Council has not spent any ratepayer’s money on pathways in Tuross. NBN trouble shooting. Ann Sudmalis went to great pains to deliver a most informative talk addressing the reality of the NBN roll-out and the public perceptions and expectations of what the NBN will deliver. In summing up there will be hiccups with the connection of the NBN to households. Fibre to the node and then copper to the residence is not ideal and will lead to technical issues in the out years will have to be replaced due in the main to corrosion issues. Households can expect to encounter difficulties in dealing with NBN technicians if past and present history is the precedent. What will happen is NBN will confirm appointments for technicians to visit the home at a time and date, but often they are a no show, with no notification. This is frustrating when people take time off work to be present, and it is not uncommon for this situation to be repeated frequently. The advice of Ann Sudmalis is to contact the NBN Hotline to report such issues, but if this approach does not remedy the situation, and there are two episodes of a “no show” as promised, then please contact her Office she will take up such complaints directly with the Minister for Communications. The person should not go to the Communications Ombudsman as once they have been notified, the Minister for Communications cannot interfere with the complaint investigation process which could take months? There have been so many problems with the NBN roll-out that the Government has established a NBN Call Centre in Melbourne with 500 operators. Persons who have a copper phone line connected to a MEDALERT or VITALCALL alarm system MUST contact their provider before NBN installation and to get confirmation in writing that their systems are compatible with the NBN when it is connected to the residence. This is imperative. Government policy on the proposed ADANI Coalmine Lei Parker raised the question about the Governments position on ADANI Coalmine. In short ADANI is supported by the Federal Government and the Queensland Governments as this proposed mine is 300 km from the coast and in an area of high unemployment, and apart from clean coal export opportunities, all of Queensland’s power plants are coal fired. Refugee policy and regional deployment Lei Parker raised the issue of refugee policy and given the “White Flight” from certain suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne because of the expanding ethnic clusters, so why not dictate a condition of residential visa for refugees requiring them and their families to settle in regional area. Andrew Gordon queried why the Government does not ensure that for a designated period refugees be required to riside in rural areas. Councillor Rob Pollock stated that Gillian Trigg the refugee advocate said that there must be jobs and accommodation and support networks before refugees are forced to live in regional areas. Ann Sudmalis agreed, the promotion of employment must be matched with actual sustainable jobs, otherwise these refugees will spend the rest of these days living on welfare which will be a burden on the economy. There also has to be the support network for ethnic groups, English classes and schooling for children and adults to assist them to integrate into our community, and to accept and respect our Australian laws and culture. Ann Sudmalis pointed out that in the ethic clusters, such as the north Africans, it has been predominately the mothers and sisters of troublesome youths who report information about family members to the police, and these mentors are generally the steadying influence for assimilation into the Australian way of life. The reason ethic groups form clusters in and around cities is that upon arrival it makes them feel more secure and not isolated by the surrounding community which would be the case if forced to live in remote locations where English is the mainstream language. Ann Sudmalis made the point that this sense of isolation extends into the aging ethic population, especially when they are placed into aged care facilities where their cultures are isolated, particularly when no one in the aged care staff can speak their dialect, particularly nursing and medical staff, unless there are interpreters available from their ethnic communities committed to visit such establishments. Ann Sudmalis began by reinforcing that the current policy of “Stop the Boats ” is working and gave statistic of the refugees in custody under PM John Howard, with only 5 adults and no children in detention, compared to the dreadful legacy of thousands of illegal refugees in custody in Australia and in off-shore detention camps left by the Labor Government when it lost office. Liberals will continue with the current border protection policies which has been the key to saving lives, as there have been no further drownings at sea. She recently participated in a border protection course conducted by the Navy in Perth aimed at informing Government officials of how the policy is implemented at sea, and all the Navy instructors and crew she spoke to strongly supported the policy as they do not want to find themselves in the same stressful position of again of having to pull cadavers of drowned victims from the sea if the people smugglers have their way. Stowage of decomposed bodies of men, women and children aboard Navy patrol boats to be conveyed to ports for identification and disposal is far from pleasant for our ADF personnel. On patrol boats there are no bulk freezers, so cadavers had to be stowed in the kitchen refrigerators and freezers. Ann Sudmalis went on the say that Australia will continue its humanitarian program of taking 100,000 plus refugees annually from UN Refugee Camps, whereby the number of queue jumpers arriving illegally by boat or by overstaying visas, this correspondingly cuts down on the numbers of bonifide refugees that are then able to be adopted from the overseas refugee camps, where in Africa some of these helpless refugees have been held in those squalid camps for more than 8 years with nothing but the clothes on their backs and no possessions. There are estimated to be more than 8 million refugees fleeing their war-torn countries, but Australia is punching above it weight in its numbers for resettling refugees, noting that whilst there are 170 countries around the World, relatively few in number accept refugees or provide the generous support services such as those in Australia through Centrelink pensions, housing subsidies, free Medicare and assistance from charitable organisations. Affordable housing for the aged and socially disadvantaged Janine Uleman raised with Ann Sudmalis the spiralling problem, especially in rural areas, of the lack of affordable housing stock. Where persons on fixed incomes below the national wage, such as persons on aged, disability or welfare benefits are struggling to be able to pay for basic rental accommodation. This situation is worse for singles where there is no cost sharing partnerships. This topic stimulated a wide-ranging debate, and Ann Sudmalis outlined just how much her Government had contributed to the States for affordable house, which is measured in the billions, but the program has been so badly managed by the states – the cost of public housing equated to around $1m per dwelling delivered which was ludicrous. The Federal Government was now embarking on a revised program whereby the public housing construction program will be results based and financed on value for money and the numbers of dwellings that are actually delivered, so that tax-payer funded housing stock monies that is passed to the State authorities is used much more wisely. Ann Sudmalis made the point that one of the biggest issues is the appropriate land zoning and planning regulations by the respective Councils that prevents the type of multi-occupancy housing stock to be built to provide affordable housing and accommodation for the disadvantaged. As such it is up to the community organisations, such as the THPA, to lobby their Councillors to make the necessary land zoning changes that will lead to the delivery of more affordable housing, and available land that is earmarked for public housing. Higher density residential zoning would also assist to attract developers and rental property investors Governance of Aged care facilities Following on from Janine Uleman concern, Ann Sudmalis was questioned by Lei Parker on the rising costs of aged care and in-home care, as well as rising costs of independent living in retirement villages. Recent justifiable bad press concerning unconscionable aged care facility operators is ringing alarm bells for those of us in the community that are destined to be admitted to retirement village or high care aged facilities. There have been calls for a Royal Commission into the bludgeoning aged care industry. Ann Sudmalis stated that the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner has proved to be totally inadequate in that has not eradicated the dodgy operators, laid any charges or issued any fines. In contrast the Minister for Aging (Ken Wyatt) is focussed on enforcing new accreditation criteria for the aged care sector, covering the regulation of pricing, minimum standards of living accommodation, strict fire safety, minimum standards of food and adequate around the clock in-house nursing care and medical treatment in all facilities. Ann Sudmalis stressed that persons intending to transition to an aged care facility should conduct their own research well ahead. That is, you should aim to choose where you wish to go, determine what you can afford to pay, and for pensioners check with Centrelink to establish what entitlements if any are available given your particular financial circumstances. Some in-care patients only sacrifice their pensions to the aged care facilities as that is all that they have? These packages are subsidised by the Federal Government. High cost of fuel in regional areas Graeme Slattery and others raised the issue of rising costs of fuel which continues to rise, with the cost of ULP in the past months rising 20 cents to 30 cents per litre. The cost of lower grade ULP in Moruya CALTEX (high volume turn-over outlet) this week is 167.9 per litre, which seems totally unjustifiable given that the local independent SHELL service station in Tuross sells the same grade of fuel for 154.9 per litre. Unlike the cities and other large regional areas such as Albury, Wagga and Orange - there is no public transport infrastructure in the Eurobodalla, with no bus service, light rail, ferries or train services, so our rural based population must rely entirely on their own mode of motor transport. Once they lose their ability to drive they are isolated and must rely on the limited availability of Council subsidised community transport which is totally inflexible, and the cost of a taxi from Tuross to medical appointments in Moruya to Batemans Bay can run into the hundreds of dollars. The irony is in that the large population centres such as Sydney, 1 in 5 daily commuters choose to avoid all forms of public transport for sake of comfort and convenience of their own cars. We in the Shire have no choice but resort to private vehicles, and if you do not have a car or are not able to drive, then you are isolated and stranded, not even being able to travel to grocery shops? Dee Meek made the point that in response to all the inquiries into the price of fuel that have been conducted over the past decades by the ACCC following the plethora of complaints, the ACCC simply takes the position that the wholesale fuel suppliers and the local service stations can “charge what they like”, and they certainly do in our Shire as there is no true competition, unlike completing retail fuel outlets in cities. Graeme Slattery made the point that as there are no longer any oil refineries in Australia, and all petrol supplies must be imported from Singapore, he was concerned about fuel supply security, in that Australia was meant to hold a reserve of 90 days fuel supply in the case of an Emergency. The public need to be assured that this fuel reserve is being maintained? Electricity and Gas Prices. The conversation moved to the ever-increasing cost of electricity and gas in Australia that was adversely impacting upon local industry and residential households. Ann Sudmalis opined that whilst supplies of gas was relatively cheap to harvest both offshore or onshore – the Gas companies elect to export most of its gas overseas dirt cheap, this in turn creates a shortage in the Australian domestic supply and rising costs to consumers and in the costs of operating gas fired Power Stations. The Federal Government called a summit with all the CEO of gas companies, whereby Malcolm Turnbull sat down at the conference table, and was able to negotiate a guarantee from Gas companies to ensure sufficient supplies of gas would earmarked for domestic consumption in Australia. Ann Sudmalis stated that the Liberal Government believed in keeping the price of gas and electricity down and discourage price gouging, such as the energy companies charging the consumer excessively with an item on their power bills for the maintenance of the “poles & wires” infrastructure which is more like 10 times of actual costs being absorbed. Countries overseas, such as France which has nuclear power has a declared national interest in the security of power and pricing. Ann Sudmalis said that NSW is loaded with subterranean gas holdings, but the NSW Government will not permit “fracking” to breach these gas supplies. Her posture on tapping into new gas supply venues is that she would support new gas supplies from remote parts of NSW to create wealth and employment opportunities in these areas, but obviously not in prime agricultural areas, nowhere near rural towns, nor anywhere near water sources or underground water tables. New Gas resources within NSW would serve to reduce prices, and to supply gas to fire electricity power plants. Andrew Gordon asked why the Government could not force AGL to keep the Liddell Coal Powered Power open indefinitely, or alternatively, to sell this aged asset to another competitor to operate or to the Government. Ann Sudmalis stated that the Government has no power to force any infrastructure sale in private hands, and besides AGL does not want to sell the coal fired Liddell Power Plant to another commercial entity, as from a business prospective, in 2023 there will only be one power plant remaining in NSW, and AGL will then have the monopoly on power generation in NSW whereby the prices for energy will most likely rise for the consumer and industry. Ann Sudmalis told the audience that the Federal Government was not geared to building and operating new power stations, as the cost would be prohibitive. The best way forward is to have a blend of renewables such as solar and Tesla batteries, and the traditional clean coal powered power plants. Fix the Princes Highway There was general debate on the way ahead for the staged improvement of the Princes Highway after the completion of the duplication of the Pacific Highway. Plans are afoot to upgrade the Princes Highway in stages to duplicate this main arterial road from Sydney to the Victorian border. Firstly, the NSW Government needs to get Federal Government recognition that the Princes Highway should be recognised as a road of strategic importance, which it is, as it is the only eastern coastal link between Wollongong and the Victorian boarder, as there are no other road links, no train service beyond Bombaderry and the airports at Council owned airports at Moruya and Merimbula are only caters for regional travel aircraft for small numbers of commuter travel to and from Sydney. Grants funding for Skate Facility in Tuross John Byrne & Lei Parker raised the vexed issue of the construction of a Skate Facility for the youth of Tuross. This recreational facility has been listed by Council for the past 20 years with no progress being made. The Skate Facility is listed in the Council’s 2017 Recreational Open Space Strategy (ROSS) as being part of the redevelopment of the Evans Park in Tuross Head, but again there is nothing planned in the Council’s forward budget estimates, even in the long term, to finance this infrastructure by Council. Ann Sudmalis gave examples where Federal funding can be obtained, in a cost sharing arrangement with the Community on a 50/50 basis. She cited the examples where that has succeeded in her electorate. So she would recommend that the community should have a plan of what and where and how much – and then start fund raising to provide the basis for cost sharing arrangements with the state of federal governments.