Jan 312015

Mount Alexander Shire Councillors have been on holidays (from Council, anyway) since 9 December 2014, but get back to “serving the public” on 3 February with their Briefing Meeting (these are behind-closed-doors meetings where Councillors are provided information by Council Officers and upcoming items are discussed. In theory, no decisions are made which require voting at a Regular Council Meeting).

Regular Council Meeting (open to the public) start for 2015 on Tuesday 10 February. A list of scheduled Council Meeting may be found here.

Apart from Councillors often being accused of being little more than “rubber stampers” for Council Administration, one of the most contentious aspects of Council Meetings relates to Public Question Time, for it’s here than some members of the public get into strife.

Council publishes a guide to Public Question Time (PDF available here), but we’ll try to explain some of the Rules ‘n’ Regs in plain English (no responsibility for interpretation!).

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Jan 312015

From Quadrant Online:

No one disputes that Malcolm Turnbull, now and once again being promoted as the perfect Liberal leader by people who would never, not in a pink fit, vote for a conservative party, is a very smart man. Journalist, lawyer, investment banker and MP, his is a lustrous CV.

One thing that might not shine quite so bright, however, is the light bulb in the room where you might be reading this very post. Not so long ago, before Turnbull decided to save the world from global warming, your source of illumination likely would have been a cheap, effective, off-patent and bright-as-you-like incandescent bulb. Now, thanks to the Member for Wentworth, it is all compact fluorescents and expensive LEDs.

So, if the push is really afoot to replace Tony Abbott at the Coalition’s helm, as the Fairfax press is reporting, do bear in mind that while Gaia may have appreciated Turnbull’s carbon-cutting efforts on her behalf, she would be less pleased about the increase in mercury contamination from broken and discarded compact globes.

Just as a reminder of what Turnbull has wrought, and in the best interests of good health, follow the link below to a US Environmental Protection Agency guide to cleaning up when a compact fluorescent comes to grief.

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Jan 312015

Right on the heels of giving our local newspaper a gentle serve for publishing a ridiculous article on climate change/global warming, we find this wonderful counter-argument from Quadrant Online:

Warmists Take the Hardest Hits

Anyone can be a prophet of doom: Pick a spot on the globe, any spot, and state with oracular authority that it will suffer most from runaway climate change. Tim Flannery fancied Perth, for example, which has yet to become his predicted ghost town, but he has plenty of company in the dunce’s corner

dunceWhy can’t the global-warming catastrophe industry convince the public that the scare underwriting its meal ticket is real? Even the CSIRO’s  annual survey last year  showed that 53% of Australians reject the official story. And even on the CSIRO’s figures, Aussies rank climate fourteenth out of sixteen concerns overall, and we rate it only seventh out of eight even among environmental concerns. In Britain, more of the same, with a new survey showing those who describe themselves “very concerned” about climate change falling to 18%, down from 44% in 2005.

Partly to blame is that dratted 18-year halt to global warming, even as man-made CO2 continues to pour into the skies. But my theory is that the global warming industry has made itself so ridiculous over the past 30 years, so hyperventilatingly ludicrous, by predicting ever-more-dire catastrophes by the year 20XX.  But then year 20XX   comes and goes and life continues as normal.
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Jan 312015

Greenie Watch” is an Australian blog run by Queenslander Dr. John Ray. Once a week he provides a roundup of green craziness from Australia; here is this week’s contribution.


Three current articles below

How a garden pest is slowing Sydney’s progress: Projects stymied by green tape protecting frogs, bats and snails

GREEN tape protecting endangered plants and animals is delaying projects worth billions across the state, with contractors forced to search for snails, count bat colonies and protect pygmy fish.

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Jan 312015

Larry Pickering is an outstanding cartoonist and journalist. Somewhat like Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun, Pickering managers to brush quite a few people up the wrong way with his blunt comments. He’s also spot-on most of the time. The following is classic Pickering.


… so don’t do it, it only encourages them

I have never voted, ever, not even for myself because the thought of living in a black hole as a backbencher in Canberra was too distressing. I just wanted to make a stand against Whitlam, that’s all. The reason for compulsory voting is that, given a choice, you wouldn’t vote for any of the bastards, so we need to be dragged kicking and screaming, under the threat of a fine, to our respective polling stations and told to choose between a Tweedle dum and a Tweedle dee.

The Menzies era of quiet efficiency is gone forever. I recall delivering his newspapers in Haverbrack Avenue, East Malvern. Each Saturday morning at 6.30 he was always at the gate in his red and blue dressing gown ready for a chat. He had a terrific sense of humour and I always looked forward seeing him, not because he was the PM, but because he was simply great to talk to.

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Jan 312015

One of the frequently-heard complaints in Mount Alexander Shire is about roads; poor condition of sealed and un-sealed roads, plus the lack of sealing of dirt roads that should have been sealed years ago.

Being a very “green” Council, MASC is against sealing of dirt roads, after all, sealing requires bitumen, and that comes from oil, The Greens’ pet hate along with coal. Of course The Greens also hate cars (they hate any transport except bikes, it seems) as they use oil; the recent fall in petrol prices must have made them furious.

Well, good news for greenies and bad news for residents who want their road sealed.

According to this article in The Age Australia’s capacity to refine oil is going down the gurgler quick-smart to the point where bitumen may soon be 100% imported.

So…. if you want your road sealed, don’t hold your breath. Council has never been quick to seal roads around the shire, and a small increase in the price of bitumen will provide them with a good excuse to seal even less.

After all, Council has to direct its available funds to projects which are really worthwhile. Like graffiti classes for the unemployed or something.

Of course they could just bump up the rates; no-one would mind that, would they?


Well Said, Mayor Cox

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Jan 302015

The Bendigo Advertiser carried an article today in which City of Greater Bendigo Mayor, Cr. Peter Cox stated he wanted Bendigo Council to operate with greater efficiency, to which we can only say, “Hear, hear”.

BENDIGO Mayor Peter Cox wants the executive arm of the council to be more efficient and have a lesser say on the council’s finances.

Cr Cox said City of Greater Bendigo employee wages had blown out and executives took too long to complete projects.

“I see things happening in local government that a normal business would not agree with – there are practices in local government that would not be acceptable in the general running of a business,” he said.

“It takes too long to bring out change – I want the issues dealt with in a speedier fashion.”

Mayor Cox could well be speaking about many councils in the entire country. Our experience with Mount Alexander Shire Council suggests they should be first in line to follow Mayor Cox’s suggestions.

He said the City of Greater Bendigo’s annual employee costs had risen by eight per cent last financial year, bringing the total to $54 million.

“We have to ask ourselves if that’s sustainable,” he said.

Ratepayers will undoubtedly be asking what value they receive for this $54 million. The same may be said for Mount Alexander Shire; our rates and employee costs rise every year, but ratepayers see little if any benefit, the only benefit seeming to be in the pockets of shire employees.

Cr Cox said the council’s Waste and Resource Management Strategy adopted three years ago was an example of a project that had taken too long to complete.

“We haven’t actually changed anything at this point in time – I get a little frustrated when it takes that long,” he said.

No surprises there. How many projects in Mount Alexander have languished for years, yet to be completed. One of the worst examples must surely be the Vaughn-Tarilta Bridge. This bridge – vital to a small local community in Vaughn – was in need of repair back in 2010 when Council allocated $408,000 for the repairs. Five years later the bridge has not only not been repaired, it has now been closed and the $408,000 has, er, well, we’re not quite sure what’s happened to the money. It was legitimately redirected to emergency works on a fire-damaged bridge, but was supposed to be still available to repair the Tarilta Bridge.

Many questions remain over the Tarilta Bridge, and it will be the subject of a lengthy article in the near future.

In the mean time, Mayor Cox’s suggestions that council administrations should become more efficient, lower their salary costs and allow councillors more control over finances seems like a good idea.

Are you listening, Mount Alexander Shire Council?

No, we didn’t think so, either.

Jan 302015

Castlemaine’s beloved “local rag” the Castlemaine Mail sometimes “gets it right”, and sometimes “gets it wrong” (fair enough – no-one’s perfect, even Jeff).

You’d think though, that prior to publishing something they’d take a few minutes to check the facts, not just publish some rubbish handed to them.

The article on Page 9 of the 30 January 2015 edition, “Temperatures rising, say climate experts” is utter garbage.

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