PORTLAND West residents wanting to rezone land to allow smaller subdivisions will have to wait until early next year for a decision by the Glenelg Shire Council. A petition signed by 18 residents fromOak Park, McIntyre’s and Echidna roads was presented to the council in September regarding zoning changes proposed in the Glenelg Sustainable Settlement Strategy (GSSS). The GSSS proposes rezoning of part of Portland West from Farming Zone to Rural Living Zone, making the minimum lot size eight hectares, but the petitioners want the minimum lot size changed to one hectare. “The current default size of eight hectares, we have stated in the petition, does not reflect previous subdivision, development and growth that has occurred and is still occurring around our properties,” petition author Nicole Miller said. “Such a large default size of land is also unmanageable to people without farming skills, specialized expensive equipment, time and physical ableness.” Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.
FOLLOWING an outcry from private schools around the state, the State Government has backed down on its proposed means testing of a bus subsidy, designed to save $21.6 million annually. At the end of October, Minister for Education, Martin Dixon announced the conveyance allowance, which subsidises private school transport by up to $1153 per student, would be means tested from next year affecting Portland families who send their children to Hamilton. Monivae College principal Mark McGinnity thanked federal and state members for lobbying the change. “This is really the best news possible and I’m really impressed the government has responded so well and we have to thank the Nationals and Liberals who have played a part in overturning what was, really, an ill-considered proposal,” Mr McGinnity said. Mr McGinnity previously told the Portland Observer the introduction of means testing could affect the enrolment of 60 students that attend the school from Portland. Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.
THE generosity of Portland and Heywood district people was again on show on Saturday as more than a hundred motor bikers joined in the 18th annual Heywood to Portland Toy Run, collecting donations of toys, food and money along the way. Riding motorbikes along the highway from Heywood and then through Portland’s central business district to the foreshore, participants brought the donated gifts to the foreshore where they were handed over to the Salvation Army, which will distribute them. Amongst the many that took part were Russell Giles and Michele Compton, who added toys to the stack on Santa’s sleigh. See more pictures in Monday’s Portland Observer.
FOUR major trade unions have joined forces in the bid to save wind energy manufacturing jobs at Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering. It follows community concerns that local jobs are at risk following recent decisions by wind farm companies to award contracts to South Korean and Chinese companies. Representatives of the Australian Workers Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Electrical Trades Union, and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union met in Melbourne on Tuesday last week and are believed to have agreed to put pressure on wind companies that choose to source cheap imports. AWU state secretary Cesar Melhem foreshadowed there would be protest action against companies such as Meridian Energy at theMount Mercer wind farm site near Ballarat. “Meridian’s wind farm atMountMercerwill have all of its 70 towers sourced fromSouth Koreaand that is outrageous,” he said. Mr Melhem spoke at a mass meeting of Keppel Prince workers in Portland recently on the subject of the dumping of low-cost manufactured goods on the Australian market, with particular reference to wind towers. Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.
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