THE Glenelg Shire Council is requesting the South West Institute of TAFE re-instate management at Portland and Hamilton campuses before term one next year. Councillor Anita Rank moved a motion in urgent business at last week’s meeting that council write to the chair of South West TAFE, Bill Hewett, and local Members of Parliament Denis Napthine and Hugh Delahunty to object to the axing. The axing of both positions, announced on December 7, follows a State Government funding withdrawal of $2.9 million earlier this year, resulting in 43 job losses. “I’m sure that as soon as a management structure is removed from the local branch that maybe we’ll start to lose services,” Cr Rank said. She said the Glenelg Shire had the lowest attainment level of the Victorian Certificate of Education in the state, and cuts to the TAFE management could further jeopardise education in the region. “We want the board of management to have time to consider the ramifications of this important decision,” she said. Glenelg mayor Karen Stephens said there had been a lack of community consultation about the management changes at bothPortlandandHamiltoncampuses. Cr White said the restructure was a set-back the community shouldn’t have to endure. “There are a lot of people working very hard to lift this low ebb of attainment levels of higher education and this development occurs, so we need to advocate as strongly as possible to whoever can help us out,” Cr White said. Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.
THE Heywood community turned up in numbers on Friday evening to enjoy Christmas celebrations at the town green. A jumping castle, Zorb balls, face painting, Christmas songs by the Heywood Consolidated School choir, and performances by the Winda-Mara dancers early in the evening kept people entertained. However, it was the appearance of Santa just after 6pm that drew a long line of children and their parents keen to gain an audience with the jolly old man with white beard and red garb, bearing a bag of goodies. Ticket sellers for the monster raffle, featuring more than 60 prizes, reported a rapid trade, while the Lions Club of Heywood barbecue was also a popular site. The celebrations were the result of months of planning by the Promoting Heywood and District Committee. Read more and see all the pictures from the event in Monday’s Portland Observer.
THE Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape, which includes Lake Condah, Mt Eccles and Tyrendarra, has taken an important and positive step forward in its development to becoming a significant tourism destination. On Friday, it was announced that $130,000 of funding would go towards engaging Tract Consultants, a leading professional consulting firm, who will be tasked with preparing a masterplan for Budj Bim by mid 2013. The masterplan will review a number of current proposals for the region – with the overall aim being to establish a vision that will allow for future sustainable tourism throughout the Budj Bim landscape. Member for South-West Coast Denis Napthine said the viability and required investment to support developments of tourism and indigenous business opportunities such as a traditional aquaculture facility, visitor accommodation and community and visitor facilities in the landscape would be looked at. “With appropriate development, Budj Bim has the potential to develop into a globally-significant tourism destination,” Dr Napthine said. “The master plan will provide a clear implementation strategy and will be an investment and marketing tool to progress sustainable development of the landscape.” Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.
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