Dear valued subscriber,
What another big week of local news.
This week we revealed the true extent of how the state and federal governments have avoided fixing the Princes Highway for almost 20 years.
The highway resembles a goat's track when compared with other major roads in Victoria.
The state government produced a blueprint for the highway west of Geelong back in 2000. After much lobbying from south-west councils, a 15-year plan of works was published.
We dusted off the blueprint 19 years later and found that less than half of the 21 overtaking lanes planned between Colac and the South Australian border had been completed. VicRoads conceded the highway was built more than 70 years ago and was not expected to last this long, plus there have been given a massive jump in vehicle movements and unplanned truck use.
Our story is below.
We will continue to lobby for improvements and keep reminding governments we have had enough of our goat tracks and deserve better.
The week began with the Essential Services Commission giving the green light to Warrnambool City Council to lift rates by almost double the permitted cap for two years, not three as requested. That brought a predictable negative response. The decision also riled some residents who are reportedly wanting their part of the council to be taken over by neighbouring Moyne Shire.
Footballers behaving badly also made headlines. Cobden's Paul Pekin copped a month on the sidelines after an investigation found he had kicked an opponent in the head. But the most shocking case was that of East Warrnambool's Joshua Stennett, who had a "blackout rage" and assaulted an umpire. His two-and-a-half year ban was the biggest in the past 20 years locally but did it go far enough?
Footy is fighting for survival in some country areas. We have a shortage of umpires for the region's two biggest competitions, the Hampden and Warrnambool and District leagues, and this type of incident does not help on two fronts. One, who would want to umpire when subjected to this on top of the crowd and player abuse? Two, why would you let your child play our great game when the assault could have been on a rival? Fans, and players need to show more respect to our umpires.
Here's a selection of other stories that made headlines.
Until next week