STUART RESERVE RE-VISITED
At the December 2011 meeting of Greater Shepparton City Council, Councillors acknowledged receipt of 127 submissions from interested nearby residents and wider community members who were keen to see the playground equipment at Stuart Reserve upgraded for all children and the open lawn space left as is.
For safety reasons they were against Council’s proposal to build a uni-sex public toilet next to a children’s playground due to illicit behaviour. As a result Council declared a new plan for the upgrade of the Reserve (another $4,000 of ratepayer money?) would be available for public comment late February to March.
Council is now inviting the local community for another Stuart Reserve Playground Consultation, namely residents who reside in the area and access the Reserve on a regular basis. Complete with free BBQ and ice cream!!! Only it won’t be free. A community slush fund subsidised by ratepayers more like it. Not unless Councillors and the various managers of behind the scenes departments are coughing up!!!
Why didn’t Council use the extra four weeks granted to the community in October/November last year to engage in their own broader community consultation to include children’s ideas? Are ratepayer’s and children’s views more important to Council now than they were last year? If so, why?
Ratepayers now have to foot the bill for cost of:
Printing of flyers
Distribution by hand of flyers to residents within 400 meters of Stuart Reserve
Media promotion by Council Communications Team for advertising, radio etc
Time of Council employees to visit and address Gowrie Street School
Flyers to be included in school newsletter
Free ice cream
Was Council asking children at Stuart Reserve on March 28 if they have accessed the Reserve in the last six months and how often?
How big is the range of playground equipment available for children’s playgrounds?
Why in this instance, does it require so much deliberation from so many to decide what to provide? Bearing in mind OH&S restrictions that now apply.
Cannot Councillors, Asset Dept. Officers, Community Development Officers, Media Promotions Team members and whoever else has been embroiled in this great debate on what to do at Stuart Reserve, remember their times spent at community playgrounds and what was the most fun equipment for them? I’ll bet thanks to OH&S a lot of it is unavailable now. Away from the ‘hoo haa’ of technology, children are still basically the same as us oldies used to be.
Will Councillors and behind the scenes council departments (who are all largely bankrolled by ratepayers), get back in touch with local residents?
Give us a sensible no frills decision. Save us some of our money and put it into more pressing needy areas. Like sprucing up our CBD.
PENSIONERS AFFECTED AS CENTRELINK GOES PAPERLESS
Centrelink has advised all their clients that paper statements will no longer be posted to them from June 2012. All statements will be electronically available through individual online accounts.
This new practice by Centrelink does not consider pensioners who have no computers, let alone any internet experience.
Clients who still wish to receive paper statements via mail will apparently be charged a postage fee of approximately $3.50.
The only other way to receive a paper statement will be to collect it in person at the nearest Centrelink office.
Pensioners living in remote towns have no access to public transport and some cannot drive long distances, and travelling costs are considerable.
Centrelink may go green with their paperless statements but it should not do it at the expense of its most vulnerable clients.
Welfare recipients need to contact Centrelink as soon as they find that their statements have not been updated, have errors in them, or to advise of changes in their circumstances. Clients cannot do this if they have no access to their statements in the first place.
For instance, there might be a significant delay before clients find out from their bank account that their payments have not been processed properly. Clients then have the added stress of ringing Centrelink to clarify the issue. 1 3 phone numbers can be expensive, especially from a mobile and when you have to wait for long before getting through to a consultant.
Pensioners have a lot to be concerned about at the moment especially with rising costs of living, the carbon tax, new superannuation rules, and the private health insurance means test changes.
The last thing that pensioners want is to be hit with additional costs for something as simple as a Centrelink statement. Paper statements should be mailed out at no additional charge if anyone requests them.
Dr Sharman Stone,
Federal Member for Murray
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