We (I say “we” because without the effort from the community it would have been impossible to fight the two major parties) managed to turn that around at the last election with the Liberal primary vote falling by 10 per cent, which equalled my vote. It meant the Liberal candidate Brian Paynter had to go to preferences to win.
I’ve heard it said that we are being treated much better by the current government because the seat of Bass is now anyone’s to win.
Clearly we’ve been heard in Spring Street but we don’t want to fall into a safe seat again no matter who’s in power because we still have many issues to solve.
I’m still considering the options, including standing for the Upper House on a policy of improving public transport in eastern Victoria. I will stand again if I can see some advantage to the community. If I do, Bass Coast Post readers will be the first to know!
Suddenly we’re seeing the fruition of a lot of hard work over many years. It also shows how important the selection of a new CEO by the previous council was. Every council has pressing needs and worthy projects. We had been patient for far too long. It was time for a more aggressive approach to get what we deserve.
We now have a new team with a fresh approach and a CEO who can knock on doors in Spring Street. We have an advocacy policy and shovel-ready projects. We can go and say this is what we want and we have costed it and this is how much we have to contribute.
The south eastern suburbs are bulging … Bass Coast is next. The growth we’re looking at in the next 20 years is phenomenal. We have to prepare for it and advocate for services we’re going to need.
We’ve been advocating to the State Government for schools and hospitals. To my mind the next step has to be better public transport between Bass Coast and the city. That constant drive on the Monash is wearing for all of us. Bus services are much better than they were but it’s a slow tedious journey.
We have to start looking at train services. We probably won’t ever get them back to Wonthaggi but we need to push to get a train to Lang Lang that could serve Phillip Island, the Waterline communities, Wonthaggi and Inverloch, and South Gippsland.
One of Casey City Council’s top priorities is extending the metro rail line to Clyde to serve the vast new estates, so a further extension to Koo Wee Rup and then Lang Lang is not out of the question.
As a grandmother, I saw many young families in the Waterline area struggling with the need for long day care and vocational care. I had seen this in my own family over the years and here we were in 2012 and they still faced the challenges of trying to return to work or education when we had no child care other than occasional care at the Bass Valley Community Centre.
The young mums set up a committee. The council at the time told them they had to raise $70,000. People told us it would take 10 years or more. Or even that it would never happen!
They raised $107,000 in a short period of time. If they saw a young mum in the street, they’d ask her to join the group. A lot of them were new young mums who have moved down to the area for more affordable property prices and who really didn’t know anyone. A lot of them had skill sets and they soon had connections.
In the end the children's centre was a combined effort - council, community and the committee of young mums.
It was exciting to work with a group like that. That process taught them what they can achieve. These young women are the emerging leaders who will fight for their community.
That’s what it’s all about. Growing up in Melbourne you’re told not to talk to strangers. When I came to Bass I found you do the opposite. I haven’t shut up since!