This year has been a big one for Baw Baw’s towns. Major governance changes have taken place with the impacts yet to be seen, major projects have started and finished and community groups have celebrated successes. Here are just some of the stories from the year, ordered by when WBBC published them. You can find stories in full by clicking the linked text.
Above: Dusties win the EDFL Reserves Premiership. All photos by William PJ Kulich.
First published in the 11 December 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
16: West and Central Gippsland doctors express concerns about Federal cuts to Medicare, saying they “threaten the viability of local… clinics.”
16: Unfare: Rail ticket costs down in city, up in country: WBBC’s front page story was the first to highlight how much more than Metro commuters V/Line customers pay for travel in same zones.
16: Warragul’s oldest radio station, 3GG, is sold to Capital Radio.
16: New Labor MP Harriet Shing takes up her post in Warragul.
16: Rakesh cashes in on ‘white gold’ rush: a story about the man who revived Longwarry’s milk factory and sold it in December 2014.
22: Baw Baw announces Helen Anstis will be reappointed as CEO. Councillors ultimately extend her term by five years.
27: Paula Summerfield announced as Baw Baw Citizen of the Year. Alex Ionascu awarded Baw Baw Young Citizen of the Year.
13: Baw Baw report shows a massive increase in the region’s birth rate.
13: Warragul North Primary parents renew their push to keep extra portables.
13: Drouin’s Ficifolia Festival attracted a huge crowd despite bad weather. This year’s theme: love.
13: McMillan MP Russell Broadbent tells WBBC refugee action groups should suggest a solution “after they’ve whinged about human rights.”
13: CSIRO report shows Baw Baw faces harsher fire weather, more hot days and less rainfall.
13: Baw Baw refuses grant request from the West Gippsland Music and Drama Eisteddfod for its Parasteddfod.
13: Trafalgar tennis pavilion renamed after local legend Molly Ryan.
18: Mass sackings, directorate folded, outsourcing mooted in draft Baw Baw structure review: WBBC broke the news that at least 35 Baw Baw staff could be made redundant in a massive restructure.
27: Councillors unanimously approve trial of off-leash areas for dogs.
27: Plan to develop 36 units at Sutton Street Warragul site narrowly passed by councillors.
27: Trafalgar’s McGregor Park reopened after $400,000 redevelopment.
05: 3.1 magnitude earthquake hits south of Trafalgar. No damage reported.
13: Champion chopper cuts through: a story about the return of world record wood chopper Glen Gillam to the Warragul Show.
27: Baw Baw’s child immunisation rates best in Gippsland, according to national report.
27: Rock-a-Jerry fundraiser held in Warragul.
27: New Baw Baw Equestrian Centre opened in Lardner.
27: Local acts impress Warragul South’s Tonicfest.
30: Warragul’s third rail crossing, an underpass connecting Alfred Street to Queen Street at Normanby Place, officially opened.
10: Leisure Centre project to cost over $10 million: councillors unanimously accept tender from Vermont-based company for the redevelopment of the Warragul Leisure Centre.
10: Counting the toll: despite only 30 per cent of the state’s population living outside of Melbourne, regional road deaths dominate stats.
10: Small businesses warn of staff reductions and surcharges during Victoria’s two new public holidays.
10: Mountain Rivers quits Baw Baw boards to go it alone on tourism.
10: $547,000 loan from Clean Energy Finance Corporation allows Baw Baw to replace mercury vapour lights.
14: Warnings over European wasps after an increase in sightings of the agressive insect in the region.
24: New cooking program for people with learning disabilities starts at Yooralla Drouin.
24: Demise of the Democrats: WBBC talked to a former candidate for the then-deregistered party.
25: Anzac Day attracts crowds. (Warragul, Drouin, Yarragon, Trafalgar)
29: 2.4 magnitude earthquake recorded near Yarragon South.
15: Councillors endorse 3.6 per cent rate rise.
15: Trafalgar Baw Baw customer service centre closure approved by councillors.
29: Noojee Library closure approved by councillors.
29: De facto parkland adjacent to Bellbird Park, Drouin, incorporated into the park proper after councillors considered sale.
29: Protest outside the Warragul Commonwealth Bank branch over potential financing of coal projects in Queensland.
29: Labor chooses Chris Buckingham as its candidate for McMillan after preselection battle.
29: Section 173 agreement on Drouin Golf Club land removed by councillors.
01: Pakenham line passengers booted from Gippsland’s V/Line trains: WBBC broke the story that a number of Pakenham pick up/drop off options had been removed from timetables to relieve the overcrowding on regional services.
12: Headspace shake-up as federal changes end GML assistance: WBBC broke the story the Warragul branch of youth mental health service headspace was looking for a new lead agency and would lose its receptionist. Staff also expressed concerns about the renaming of the local branch to headspace Morwell from headspace Central West Gippsland.
12: Jim Chapman renews campaign for better bus service timetables.
12: Coalition calls for cops, but is that the answer? WBBC looked into whether state opposition calls for more police in Warragul were warranted.
12: Newmason design ‘creating a precedent’ for Warragul – architect
26: ‘Mason Street could end up being Warragul’s main street’: Warragul councillor Joe Gauci after the approval of a new multi-storey development on land occupied by six heritage-listed townhouses.
26: Costa visits Baw Baw: ABC Gardening Australia star visits region for the Baw Baw Food Movement’s launch.
26: Plans to expand native forest logging areas concern those attempting to protect the state’s faunal emblem, the Leadbeater’s possum.
10: Broadbent denies Mafia ties: McMillan MP Russell Broadbent says claims made by Fairfax and the ABC that he arranged meetings between Mafia figures and federal ministers are incorrect.
10: Refurbished Drouin Memorial Park reopened with ceremony acknowledging the history of the site.
10: Former St Kilda coach and North Melbourne premiership AFL player Stan Alves speaks to a meeting of the Gippsland Football Coaches Association in Warragul.
13: Stuck truck closes Princes Way Warragul for eight hours: WBBC’s fifth biggest story online so far this year.
24: Warnings from industry leaders that changes to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation could make household solar more expensive.
24: Yarragon CFA raises around $22,000 from annual book fair.
24: The health issues facing Baw Baw: planning for an ageing population, accommodating Melbourne patronage and managing the region’s growing population key concerns for new Victorian Healthcare Association CEO Tom Symondson.
14: Kurnai elders expect a new plaque unveiled at the West Gippsland Hospital in Warragul will improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people.
14: Councillors respond positively to calls for a skate park to be built in Yarragon.
28: Council report promises new fees for replacement sharps containers and other budget changes accidentally omitted from Baw Baw’s 2015/16 budget will be pushed again for next financial year.
28: Crowds flock to watch the Snow Train steam special travel through Baw Baw.
11: Plan to develop 27 dwellings on 1.436 hectare Drouin block rejected unanimously by councillors.
11: Drouin councillor Tricia Jones moves for a report on LED public lighting trials to be presented to councillors, saying no trials ever resulted in a report.
11: Arts Centre buys bigger seats for Baw Baw’s bigger bums.
14: Turnbull, fully aware of microphones, announces he will challenge Abbott for top job.
19: Dusties smash Cora Lynn to win EDFL reserves premiership: confident coach tells EDFL to watch out next year.
25: Leongatha teacher and tour guide Donna Lancaster chosen as the Australian Greens candidate for McMillan.
28: Families face kinder funding shortfalls, according to Liberal MP Gary Blackwood.
28: Off leash areas effective if managed properly: WBBC investigated the worth of off leash areas for dogs.
12: Baw Baw calls snap meeting after businesses and community groups express concerns about a plan to plant trees in the shared parking/cycling lanes on part of Queen Street.
16: Six local businesses come together to form Collective Good, a group which will raise funds for local projects through events.
16: Warragul station’s unused bus stops described as ‘ridiculous’ by campaigner Jim Chapman, who joined forces with Warragul Bus Lines chief Philip Radford to push for better services.
16: Local artist pushes for street art space.
19: Baw Baw rate rises above 10-year state average.
20: Clubs advised they will have to use alternate stadium facilities for around half of summer while the Warragul Leisure Centre roof is upgraded.
22: St Paul’s bomb hoax not a muck up day prank, according to the school.
26: Trafalgar station Baw Baw’s newest arts stop after refurbishment.
27: All safe after fire demolishes house, spreads to Warragul Child Care Centre.
30: Baw Baw councillors vote to end membership of the Victorian Local Government Association.
30: Yarragon development sets parking precedent.
30: Warragul Community Garden celebrates first birthday with spring festival.
30: Olympians turn out for Geoff Watt Memorial Fun Run.
30: Trafalgar Holden Museum celebrates first birthday after very successful year. Big plans for expansion are now on the cards.
13: Councillors approve a significant redevelopment plan for the West Gippsland Arts Centre, but funding remains uncertain. The redevelopment will see the seating capacity of the centre’s theatre increased from the present 480 seats to 750, a new foyer to the south side of the auditorium and other new foyers to access the rear stalls and balcony, and the reorientation of the entrance to better connect with neighbouring Civic Park.
13: After months of consultation with the shire and community the Victorian Electoral Commission handed down its recommended ward structure for Baw Baw, with the size of the proposed East ward frustrating some councillors.
18: Warragul ward coucillor Joe Gauci replaces Debbie Brown as Baw Baw Shire mayor. North ward’s Peter Kostos becomes deputy, the position previously held by Gauci.
27: Family violence ‘extremely prevalent’ in Gippsland, Australian of the Year Rosie Batty tells Warragul forum.
27: Work begins on an expansion to the Drouin Men’s Shed. “We have several guys we believe we have saved from suicide because they now have a reason to live,” secretary David Mudge told WBBC.
27: Labor candidate Chris Buckingham launches full time campaign for McMillan well ahead of expected election date.
29: Barb Phillippi and John Parker remembered at Warragul MND walk.
11: A study of bushfire responses over the last century concludes Victorians must change their behaviour, and even where they live, to survive increasingly hot summers.
11: Illegal asbestos dumping continues in Baw Baw.
11: Drouin McDonald’s planning approval investigated.
11: 2015 decorations cost Baw Baw’s ratepayers over $10.6k.
11: Paper chain over half the length of Mason Street assembled at Warragul Library.
11: Pakenham commuters to be allowed back on most Traralgon V/Line services.
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