Locals reject Southland station

Holly P

Cheltenham residents have raised concerns about the functionality and necessity of the Southland train station currently under construction.


The project is expected to cost $21 million and will be used daily by 4000 passengers on the Frankston line.

Since its proposal the idea has been met with objection and disapproval from members of the public, questioning the need for a station based on close proximity to existing Cheltenham and Highett stations.

In March 2015, 450 locals attended a Public Transport Victoria information session about Southland station to raise their concerns, primarily about noise pollution and parking issues from increased traffic congestion.

Don’t need it: A local takes to Facebook to protest the construction of Southland station. Source: Facebook

Emily Marie, who travels by car to work in Southland shopping centre, said “instead of parking going to actual shoppers who will fill their trolleys with stuff they’ll be taken by people that are just catching the train.

“I think it will impact those of us who work here because it’ll be harder for us to get a spot and if they introduce paid parking that will also inconvenience us.

“If the shopping centre’s profits go down from no parking being available then that could cost us our jobs,” Ms Marie said.

In a media release, Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said “thousands of passengers will now get direct and safe access to Southland shopping centre – for the first time.

“Southland station will boost public transport access to the shopping centre with a safer, more direct route while providing an alternative to neighbouring Highett and Cheltenham stations.

“We will consult closely with local residents and the community about the design of the new station,” the Minister said.

Local's main concerns about Southland station

Some residents are in support of the new station due of its proposed increased accessibility and safety.

Cheltenham resident Paul Smith said “I have daughters who regularly catch public transport to Southland and it’ll be safer for them and elderly people when they don’t have to wait around for buses or walk like they do now.

“Parking is certainly going to be a hassle when it’s up and running, with all the people catching the train but they can’t do much about that.

“Some people might think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money but it’s progress – it was always going to be built eventually,” Mr Smith said.

Works are on track to be completed by the end of 2017.


Flight fears unfounded

Fears about aviation accidents occurring within and around Moorabbin Airport are largely unsubstantiated.

In the wake of the fatal Essendon DFO plane crash concerns have been raised about the dangers of encroaching retail developments at Moorabbin airport, however statistics indicate that the threat to local homes and businesses is minimal.

A plane lands within meters of Moorabbin DFO shopping centre. (Source: Holly P)

The number of flights in and out of Moorabbin airport has slightly increased from 235,000 in 2014 to more than 236,000 in 2016, with eight serious crashes and three fatalities since 2000, according to The Herald Sun’s Leader newspaper.

  • Flights in and out of the airport in 2016: 236,438
  • Serious crashes since 2000: 8
  • Recorded fatalities since 2000: 3

Craig Harwood, owner of Professional Helicopter Services said “aviation is inherently safe and very highly regulated; we can operate safely in most environments,” and that airport users are unconcerned about encroaching retail development.

“In the last ten years with the private management of these facilities they’ve activated unused land for retail development. As we’ve seen at Essendon, these buildings are susceptible to being hit, but so is any building from an aircraft anywhere,” said Mr Harwood.

The recent retail developments on airport land include a McCormick Foods warehouse, an expansive Costco development and a 31,000sqm Spectrum Brands warehouse.

Mr Harwood said “they can’t go within certain parameters like within the fence-line or runway. I don’t think they can build when it would impinge on the direct safety of the airport.”

Another concern is that the airport is primarily used as a training airport as it is has most flight training organisations in South East Asia, training 800 pilots annually.

“Moorabbin is very much a training hub; they’re with an instructor all the time. The industry is so highly regulated, (with) so many checks and balances and that’s why the accident rate is so low,” said Mr Harwood.

Local resident Sue Talbot said “living close to the airport is a concern; there is very little room for error now that nearly all the area immediately surrounding the airport is built up.”

“It seems a little ill-conceived that people learning to fly are flying right above shops, homes and schools when there are other airports where far fewer people would be affected,” said Ms Talbot.

Mr Harwood said “I can’t see the degradation of safety standards because it is so highly regulated and anyone who would try to do that would be seen as putting money over safety and that just does not happen in the aviation industry.”

Roller derby boom in south-eastern suburbs

Roller derby player and coach Erin Beckett.

Roller derby is gaining popularity in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne with three leagues within 10 kilometres making the sport easily accessible for young women.

Erin Beckett, a member of South Sea Roller Derby based in Springvale and East Vic Roller Derby based in Dandenong, said roller derby is popular in the local area as it is “one of those sports and exercises that’s coming along in great booms and something that’s also affordable for middle class people.”

The availability of rinks in Mordialloc, Springvale and Dandenong also contributes to the sport’s increasing popularity in the local area, said Ms Beckett.

The first league in the local area, Kingston City Rollers, was founded in 2009, with neighbouring teams East Vic Roller Derby and South Sea Roller Derby formed shortly after.

According to the 2016 Australian Government’s ‘Girls Make Your Move‘ campaign, young women are twice as likely to be physically inactive than young men due to barriers including self-consciousness and the fear of being judged due to appearance or skills.

One of the primary barriers to female sport participation is feeling uncomfortable exercising in the presence of males, according to the 2016 Physical Activity and Sport Participation Campaign Insights Report, making the female-oriented nature of roller derby appealing for women.

Being a female-dominated sport, roller derby provides a “sense of being together with other females and coming together and accepting who we are and what we look like,” said Ms Beckett.

As a coach of the Junior Derby Program, Ms Beckett said team members may be “very shy and quiet at school and then they come down to training and are completely different.”

With the initiation of a Junior Derby Program in 2016 based in Dandenong for children between 8 and 17, girls and young women who would otherwise not engage in physical activity due to self-consciousness or other factors have the opportunity to participate in a predominantly female sport that encourages body positivity in the local area.

Gemma Duncan, a member of East Vic Roller Derby and founding coach of the Junior Derby Program said she had previously never played sport and was drawn to it because it had “more agency” than other traditionally feminine sports.

Roller derby is “something different- it’s very good exercise”, and provides an alternative to male-driven sport that is also easily accessible in the south-eastern suburbs, said Miss Duncan.

“It’s really good for young girls to see these strong, positive role models with all these different body shapes and I love that everyone is useful in roller derby,” said Miss Duncan, who founded the program for children and teenagers with the purpose of showing them “something different and something positive”.



Electricity price rise expected

Electricity prices are set to rise with the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station, resulting in the loss of 2500 jobs announced at the opening of the largest wind farm in Australia, said the Minister for Energy and Resources.

The Latrobe Valley power station provided 75 per cent of Victoria’s energy supply and was the “biggest greenhouse emitter in the country,” said Lily D’Ambrosio, the Minister for Energy and Resources.

The station’s 2500 workers’ have lost their jobs, and will be retrained “to skill them for jobs in this new carbon-free country.”

Balliang Wind Farm is proposed to provide 200 jobs for locals and power for 200,000 homes for a “cleaner, greener world” by reducing Victorian gas emissions by 8 per cent annually, said Ms D’Ambrosia.

Locals objected to the construction of the wind farm, with 4000 people protesting its proximity to homes in December last year after its announcement in October.






Cat “a fireball” in vet’s worst case of cat cruelty

A cat set alight and described as a fireball is the worst case of cat abuse he has witnessed, says a Keysborough vet.

The feline had been brought to Keysborough Veterinary Practice, South Eastern Victoria, suffering critical injuries after being “doused in some sort of accelerant- probably petrol or kerosene”. It had been set on fire behind Parkmore Shopping Centre late one Saturday night in a horrific act of animal cruelty.

Gemma, a cat adopted from the RSPCA after suffering abuse.

Dr Chris Boemo treated the cat which had “lost a lot of skin progressively over three or four days”, and he had believed the animal “may well survive”, despite substantial injuries.

The cat remained unclaimed and was eventually euthanised, “because of the condition that the cat might eventually suffer from”, said Dr Boemo in reference to incontinence.

The offenders were not identified and could not be charged.

Abuse such as this is not common as “most people respect their animals”, according to Dr Boemo.

In Victoria 2014-2015, over 3,000 felines received by the RSPCA were euthanised, including 527 cats which were euthanised due to medical reasons, such as the prevention of suffering as in the case Dr Boemo cited.

RSPCA Victoria investigated over 10,000 reports of animal cruelty between 2014 and 2015, with the state having the highest rate of charged offenders nationally.

According to the RSPCA’s most recent statistics published in August, over 1,600 reports of cat welfare concerns have been received in the 2015-2016 period so far.

The RSPCA employs Inspectors authorised under the ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act‘ who are responsible for the investigation of reported abuse and the enforcement of the Act, according to Animal Welfare Policy Manager Mhairi Roberts.

If members of the public witness animal cruelty they are urged to report it to the RSPCA, “we strongly encourage people to report cruelty to us,” said Ms Roberts.


Monash students’ construction frustration


The constant thumping and drilling of library building works is causing frustration for Caulfield campus students.

The noise has impacted on students’ ability to focus during classes over the past year, “it’s so loud you have to stop,” said student Leonor Gausachs.

Constant rearranging of book collections in the library has caused students significant difficulty in locating relevant subject material, “it’s hard to have to go and find my way again,” said Ms Gausachs.

Access to walkways and bridges as a means of travelling between classes has been disrupted by construction, “it’s annoying for circulation”, particularly for classes in buildings near the library.

Caulfield student Briana Johnston found the library construction “rather frustrating” and found the noise levels “really distracting”, stating that it has impacted her learning.

The library will be “bigger and better”, said Ms Johnston and Ms Gausachs was certain she will “appreciate the outcome”, acknowledging that the actual construction was not the issue, but rather “just the noise”.

Leonor Gausachs, a Monash Architecture student



Final stages of Watson’s Brownlow inquiry


Jobe Watson has “suffered enough” with his suspension from AFL and public backlash for receiving the 2012 Brownlow Medal in the wake of the Essendon supplements scandal, says Gillon McLachlan.

The AFL President said an inquiry into the stripping of the Essendon captain’s medal was underway and that if Watson “unfairly took performance enhancing drugs which lead to his Brownlow Medal, the AFL should take the medal off him.”

As the medal is strictly “awarded to the best and fairest” of AFL players, McLachlan said that “if it is deemed that what he did was unfair then he should be stripped.”

In regards to the possibility of further consequences for Watson’s involvement in the ongoing Essendon supplements scandal , McLachlan said”if his medal is removed that should be it”, as it is punishment enough.

The formal resolution is in the “final stages of deciding but an inquiry like this should not be rushed”, said McLachlan, who has not been involved in the inquiry’s decision.

Richmond player Trent Cotchin, 2012 Brownlow runner-up, is said to be the recipient of the medal if the decision is made to remove Watson’s Brownlow as he would then be “the best and fairest that year”, according to the AFL President.