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F.C.A.T.A. Update – 20th July 2011 …

FCATA
F.C.A.T.A. Update – 20th July 2011
FCATA LogoHello to all FCATA interest participants. It has been some time since I updated this page and I hope that after reading this update – you will understand why.The last update [5th May 2011] spoke of some optimism over the progress of the FCATA – this update bears some news that has wetted down that optimism. In developments over the last week – the FCRC  CEO – Lisa Desmond – has joined the Councillor throng and put everything the FCATA stands for in the too hard basket.

After the 5th May update a submission was formulated in line with the CEO’s request and sent on the 19th May – Ms Desmond acknowledged receipt of this message and the Submission on the 23rd May.

This submission can be read in full using this PDF link.

As part of that submission and the good-will being felt from the CEO’s conversation – it was advised to the CEO that she could run with the submission for two months or so without interference. The intent was to give her a free reign with the content to see what she could achieve. That period has elapsed and I followed up with her on the 13th July with a lengthy conversation. I had been leaving messages from mid-June which all went un-returned.

The CEO I spoke to in the 13th July was not the same enthusiastic supporter of the FCATA program she was two months earlier. In fact – throughout the conversation that lasted the best part of 90min – she gave every indication that she had done absolutely nothing with the submission sent 2 months earlier. She stated that she had read the submission on a plane trip somewhere – she was in Canberra mid June and was then on leave after that until early July. Her return to work date was the 4th July – and I gave her a few days or so to return my messages – she did not contact me.

I phoned her office again after I read the Independent story published on the 7th July ’11. They also went un-returned. I again followed up with another call on the 13th July and Ms Desmond took my call – as stated we spoke at length about what progress had been made subsequent to her receipt of the 19th May submission and it became clear that she had nothing to offer. Not a single thing had been advanced. I broached the matter of the “Independent” story – and how the Mayor appeared to be out there claiming credit for everything he had opposed with regard to what the FCATA was trying to achieve.

The story in the ‘Independent’ newspaper was published on the 7th July 2011 under the heading – “Swimmers warm up with new pool heaters” – that story appears as an image file below:

Independent Story 7th July 2011

This story inflamed an already hot issue – The FCRC Mayor is a putz to try and take credit for any advancement on pool admission concessions that he reneged on in Sept 2010 – and continued to do so from that point onwards –

It was not until Ms Desmond became the CEO officially that se took a motion to council to have the ‘season ticket’ discount’s applied for pensioners. But even in that gesture – there was controversy – the 27% for a 6 month ticket and 30% for a 12 month ticket did not match the 50% daily concession already offered for rehabilitation access. That is why when I spoke with Ms Desmond on the 5th May that I chased her for a commitment for a better deal for FCATA members and she agreed as posted in the FCATA 5th May update.

In the aftermath of receiving the following message from Ms Desmond yesterday – some six days after we spoke on the 13th –

—–Original Message—–
From: Lisa Desmond [mailto:Lisa.Desmond@frasercoast.qld.gov.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 19 July 2011 7:14 PM
To: fcata@bigpond.com
Cc: Debra Moore
Subject: Progress

Dear Ian,

Following our telephone discussion last I have requested Deb to investigate and respond to me on the different concessions applied for single entry compared to season pass. Further I have requested Deb to complete a report detailing what Council is currently progressing or seeking funding for that will enhance the use and accessibility of the Pool. I mentioned a few projects which we recently received funding for in our discussions.

Further Council is happy to promote the new season pass concessions introduced (as a result of your representation to Council) widely to the Community so at they are aware of these concessions and encourage use of the facility for recreation and rehabilitation purposes. I would also suggest that you approach Wide Bay Transit for information on public transport schedules that service the pool.

Once I have received the information and report from Deb, I will contact you with the outcome.

Kind Regards

Lisa

Lisa Desmond
Chief Executive Officer
Fraser Coast Regional Council

I responded to Ms Desmond’s message and that response is also posted below:

—–Original Message—–
From: Ian Bleys [mailto:fcata@bigpond.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 19 July 2011 9:57 PM
To: ‘Lisa Desmond’
Subject: RE: Progress

Hello Ms Desmond,

Thank you for your message …

I recall our lengthy conversation on 13th July and I made detailed notes as I’m sure you did as well.

Given the content of the information you provided in you message – a number of things come to mind –

  1. It is 12 months since I first took this matter to Council in a serious way – before that is was a few enquiries that ended up in the sending of a DVD presentation to Ms Moore in early 2009 – who after some weeks tossed the DVD – after some weeks I tried to follow up on what happened to my presentation and she told me I should take the matter up with Cr Muckan. (I have documented this in greater detail to Council previously)
  2. 12 months ago I became more serious in my endeavour and had several liaisons with Cr MucKan to pursue it further – this eventually led to a motion being put to Council to investigate the pool season ticket discounts for disability and pensioner patrons.
  3. The Council produced a report in response to a Council directive at their July 2010 meeting – that report was tabled at the Aug ’10 Council meeting.
  4. This Council produced report was a ‘dog’ report – in so much that it did not include any relative data to pensioner discounts that reflected other Council practices – it was also erroneous because no contact was made with any of the Council Pools to verify the data. The report thus presented was a misrepresentation of the data and whether it was done so deliberately is yet to be confirmed.
  5. This led me to conduct my own research and produce a separate report showing the glaring mistakes contained within the Council’s report – (report attached as PDF file)
  6. Ms Moore was involved in this dispute all the way up until Dec 2010 – as was Mr Smith and Mr Gaze – and a meeting with the Mayor was held in late Sept ’10 at which the Mayor gave an undertaking –
  7. That undertaking was dishonoured and the FCATA matter insured and you are probably up to date with most of what has happened since …

Your response today indicated that you are now awaiting new reports from Ms Moore before you can send me an update on what has happen in the 2 odd months you have had the FCATA submission.

I don’t have any faith in Ms Moore or Mr Smith and I have made this clear to you previously. In our 5th May conversation I told you of this and you agreed that I should deal with you directly – I can give you any number of examples or reasons for my mistrust of both Ms Moore and Mr Smith and the Mayor should you care or be interested …

In our 13th July conversation you offered to send me a letter outlining what FCRC has done to advance the FCATA cause – why is it now that you need to have Ms Moore compile a report to provide that information?

I told you that I needed to advise the 700 subscribed FCATA members and update them with progress that has been made. I indicated I needed this sooner rather than later – and yet you’ve taken a week to respond to our conversation and now I have to wait further for Ms Moore to do a report.

Ms Moors has had no interest in this program or the issues I raised with her for over two years. Why would I now have any faith in her being able to produce a report that advances the FCATA cause.

And in the interim – what have you and FCRC done with the FCATA submission in the last 2 months?

I am disappointed with the content in your response –

As previously mentioned I made detailed notes of our last conversation to which your message refers to and some of these notes are presented below –

  • – 13th Jly – spoke at length with Lisa Desmond – maybe 90 min … outcome FAIR
  • – Going to further review Disability rehab discount on season tickets i.e. daily 50% upgraded to offer season ticket discounts of 50% as well …
  • – Going to contact GATA and Gladstone COUNCIL to find out about daily FREE access …
  • – Going to go public with some media and promotional stuff on FCATA and its efforts to date via Council Newsletter …
  • – Does not want to offer different deal with FCATA and public – does not recall her undertaking to FCATA members … refer 5th May blog – check notes –
  • – Said she read submission but obviously had retained little knowledge of the detail contained within document – e.g. GATA program explained but she had little knowledge of program and many other issues raised during the conversation …
  • – Amenities upgrades for Tier 1 and 2’s to be taken to Council Oct 11 for approval – no guarantees
  • – Told her about Paul Neville’s offer to assist with stand alone pool project – the $6-$10 million cost – asked her to speak to Mr Neville about his offer to help with the project …
  • – She is going to send a letter updating what Council is offering and going to do about upgrades …
  • – She indicated sending me a letter outlining what Council has already conceded to do so I could post it on-line …

Further to your response – you make no reference as to whether you contacted Gladstone Council to find out about GATA and how they offer the ‘free’ access for pension card holders between 8-9 Mon – Fri – have you done this?

To further update you on my understandings of your undertaking re – ‘the better deal for FCATA members’ – during and from our conversation on 5th May – I blogged the details of that conversation the same day and they are pasted hereto for your reference:

They can also be read on-line and that post includes a copy of the Council minute – use link here – www.fcata.wordpress.com
____________________________________________
[COPIED FROM BLOG POST]

“… The good News delivered this week was very welcome. In case you had not heard – and I heard it from a Media call asking for a comment on the news – but on the 27th Apr the FCRC made a decision to grant Season Ticket discounts at the Hervey Bay Pool. The decision also called for negotiations to be entered into with the Maryborough Swimming Club (MSC) for similar discounts – MSC manage the Maryborough Pool. The full FCRC Minute of the decision is posted below:

I tried to contact the new CEO – Ms Desmond – her CEO appointment was confirmed last week – and with my previous calls since March having gone un-returned – I was not holding out much hope of an early return call. To my surprise MS Desmond called an hour or so later and I gotta tell you – the tone and conviction in the conversation during that call gave me renewed hope that there are public servants out there who understand civic duty. It was a delight to hear positive belief and to feel there was support for what this program is trying to achieve.

The conversation lasted 20 min or so – and Ms Desmond gave an undertaking that the discount offered via the Council minute above – will be bettered when the Council considers a new proposal from the FCATA for Tier 2′s and 3′s to access the pool between 7:30-9:00am Mon-Fri.

The understanding was that this would be for Members of the FCATA and who were independent and did not need transport or supervision whilst attending the pool.

This was a wondrous concession and made light of what the Mayor and his team had been posturing over for the last 9 months. It gave me the feeling that a new breath of fresh air just swept through the Council chambers. I would go so far as to say – that Ms Desmond has her own agenda and is prepared to lead – hopefully – Bevis Butthead and his group get out of her way.

Ms Desmond has asked for a new proposal outlining the FCATA agenda for the Tier 2s and Tier 3s and their access to the pool and beyond. That proposal will be sent within the next few days and I would expect discussions within a few weeks. Further posts on the proposal and discussions will be made here…”

[End of Post]
____________________________________

I go back to this 5th July post because when this blog was first posted – I sent you and all Councillors, Ms Moore and Mr Smith a direct link to this blog update – if you had a problem with its content then – you or nobody else from Council made any attempt to correct the information –

The data in this blog post is as how I recall our conversation. I have not misquoted you – and yet the undertaken given is something that has been lost in the ensuring months. That is your error – not mine –

As you can see from the tone of the 5th July post – you offered hope when all I have received in the 2 years of dealing with the Mayor, Mr Smith, Mr Muckan, Ms Hovard, and Ms Moore was a – ‘shutout’ – a ‘go away’ – a ‘we don’t help individual’s we only deal with incorporated associations’ – and now as reported in the media – [per The Independent 7th July pg-12] – the Mayor is out there taking credit for pool improvements and pensioner discounts for season tickets that would never have been on his agenda had it not been for the efforts of FCATA …

I take extreme objection to this and will be making representations to the Independent to have the context of the story corrected.

The Mayor opposed the discounts at every stage and you of all people knew this at the time … it was your motion that had the season tickets discounted back in April ’11 as your first act of business when you officially became the CEO … you had to have known about the Mayor’s continued objection to this matter.

No … Ms Desmond – you have not followed through on your undertakings given on the 5th May – you have not honoured your commitments – and given the length and breath of our conversation we had on the 13th July – the response you provided today falls far short of an adequate or reasonable response.

For your benefit I again – (the 4th time I have sent this document to Council) – have attached the report response to the Aug ’10 FCRC Report that was submitted to Council and on which every Council member voted in favour of – there was no discussion recorded on how the report was compiled and when I asked the question and enquired to who compiled the report and how it was compiled after I was told of the Council’s decision – I was dealt with sharply and with contempt by Mr Gaze. It was very evident at that point that nobody was taking any notice of what I was trying to achieve. From this point on – Council have done everything to obstruct this program up until I had the conversation with you on the 5th May 2011 – or so I thought.

When I established this Council report was grossly incorrect in its representation of the data – and for what it did not include – I did research and compiled my own report and sent it to All Councillors and Mr Gaze.

The attached report – [linked here] – proves beyond any doubt – and as we discussed briefly in our Feb ’10 meeting – to which you also cut me short because of your time constraints at that meeting – and again last week – FCRC Council were negligent in their duty of care and responsibility in compiling that report – they did not do their job – and as a result they reported erroneous data to which Council made a decision and made this issue all that more difficult to present to Council.

This Council error has never been corrected – and perhaps I should have focused then in having the actions of Council at the time bought to the attention of the State Minister for Local Government to have the matter exposed – and Council made accountable for their own failings in not having done any due diligence on the report before it was presented to Council.

At the time I became focused on the bigger picture (FCATA) – having discovered the GATA program as part of my own research – but your want go back to the same people who were responsible for producing the first erroneous report astounds me –

I raised with you your undertaking re – ‘for a better deal for FCATA members’ in our 5th May conversation in our recent conversation – you were unsure about the undertaking – I am not – you gave a clear indication that you would offer a better deal for FCATA members to access the pool than what was announced in your season tickets discount dealt and I reported it at the time.

I believe that you did not fully understand the background to this issue at our Feb ’11 meeting, and again when we spoke at length a week ago – and I believe you still don’t have a full understanding of the background and what this issue is all about – please do not underestimate my resolve – I would be happy to once again go over the history first hand at a sit down meeting – but then I would also ask myself why did I write all those detailed and expanded commentary messages – and send them to you and everybody else at Council if they were not really read or understood.

I gave you an undertaking that I would leave this with you for 2 months in our 5th May conversation and see where you went with it – well – if your letter below is representative of where you have taken this matter in that agreed time-frame – it is a very sad failure –

You going back to Council staff to once again do a report is where this matter was 12 months ago when Mr Muckan went that path that ended up with Council requesting a report – this matter has surely progressed from their in my mind – but sadly – You and Council are looking at another diversion rather that someone at Council stepping up and taking responsibility for a long term discriminate Pool admission policy that disadvantages pensioners and the disabled.

I am now intending to take this further using media and whatever other avenues that are available to advance this cause and highlight your Council’s extreme inability to deal with this matter.

If the content of this message pushes you to an ‘anger’ response – then I’m content with that and advise that perhaps you now know how it feels to be treated with utter contempt – and represents a reflection of how I feel you and your Council has treated my issue.

I ask you – what have you done personally since your received the 19th May ’11 submission?

How have you progressed with the requests made with regard to the FCATA submission in the 2 months you have had the submission … discarding the last week …

I have not sent this message to ‘All Councillors’ or other specific targets as yet – but will be doing so unless I get a more urgent response that fully addresses the submissions information and your Council begins to take this issue with the seriousness that identifies with the 20,000+ disability and aged pensioners living in the Fraser Coast region.

Regards …
———————————————————————————————–
Fraser Coast Aqua-Therapy Association – Proposed Contact Information:

I have made this post to update all FCATA interest members – I feel that this Council is as inept as ever and has no real interest in addressing the needs of the 20,000+ disabled and aged pensioners in any self-help way. The Aqua Therapy program cannot proceed without Council becoming involved and I have spent more that 30 months trying to convince them so.

There is a Council election in the next 9 months or so. I urge you all to take this FCATA program to all your local Councillors – and to facilitate that – their collective E-Mail is: All Councillors

Please send messages to your Councillors protesting their handling of the FCATA submission and its attempts to get the FCATA program up and running.

There are a number of Councillors who will face a difficult time getting re-elected – there are 20,000+ pensioners living in the Fraser Coast region – 20% of the population – they have a voice and the Council need to be made aware of just how loud that voice can be.

Ms Desmond may be swamped with other issues – but then that is why she receives a paycheck in excess of $250k p/a – that is supposed to reflect her ability to deal with issues like this – her dealing in this matter has sadly failed given her response over the last 2 months.

Who appointed her – are they up for the Job?

Are any of the Council members worthy to hold their position?

I’m yet to find one in all my dealings with any of the Councillors I’ve met in relation to this matter – they include – Muckan, Hovard, Hawes, Brooks, and Mayor Kruger. It is just deemed as not a relevant issue on their agenda.

So once again – I urge you to contact your Councillor and make the complaint … the link to the each Councillor’s e-mail address is here

________________________________________

FCATA Web Master …

F.C.A.T.A. – Update 5th May 2011

Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association

Headline: “F.C.A.T.A. Update:”

Title: “Council agrees to Pensioner Discounts…”

Post Date: 5th May 2011 …

Article by: FCATA-Web-Master

___________________________

The good News delivered this week was very welcome. In case you had not heard – and I heard it from a Media call asking for a comment on the news – but on the 27th Apr the FCRC made a decision to grant Season Ticket discounts at the Hervey Bay Pool. The decision also called for negotiations to be entered into with the Maryborough Swimming Club (MSC) for similar discounts – MSC manage the Maryborough Pool. The full FCRC Minute of the decision is posted below:

ITEM NO: ORD 11.13 FRASER COAST REGIONAL COUNCIL ORDINARY MEETING NO. 7 WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL, 2011SUBJECT: FEES AT THE HERVEY BAY AQUATICCENTRE DIRECTORATE: COMMUNITY & DEVELOPMENT

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER: ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, Lisa Desmond

AUTHOR: ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, Lisa Desmond

DOC NO: #2021222 LINK TO CORPORATE / OPERATIONAL PLAN:

1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this report is Council approval for the introduction of a Pensioner Concession Season Pass at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre.

2. BACKGROUND & PREVIOUS COUNCIL CONSIDERATION

Council considered a report on the provision of pensioner concessions in August 2010 following an enquiry regarding Council’s position on concessions for pensioners, especially season tickets for disability pensioners.

The current fees and charges provide for a $1.85 (Adult Entry Fee $3.70) for a Holder of a Disability Pension Card or Health Care Card which required a letter from a Medical Doctor certifying that aquatic activity is a requirement of rehabilitation.

In addition Season Passes are offered Half Yearly (Adult) – $164; All Year (Adult) – $293.00

A comparison with other nearby Councils Fees and Charges identified that there was no consistency in the setting of fees and charges and those that apply a discount also only on single admissions. The opening period affects the cost of a season ticket and those that do provide a season ticket do not provide a discounted ticket.

3. PROPOSAL

That Council introduces a Pension Concession Seasonal Pass for Seniors &

Commonwealth Pension Card (blue) and Disability Pension Card holders at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Facility as follows:

27 APRIL 2011

Season Passes

1. Half Yearly (Pension) – $115 (Summer 1 Oct – 31 Mar/Winter 1 Apr – 30 September)

2. All Year (Adult) – $211 (1 October onwards)

That Council has discussions with the Maryborough Swimming Club about proposed fees for 2011/12 to include a Pension Concession Seasonal Pass.

4. FINANCIAL & RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS

The introduction of the season pass is expected to have minimal impact on revenue.

5. CONSULTATIONExecutive Manager – Community & Culture Councillors

6. CONCLUSION

That Council introduces a Pension Concession Seasonal Pass at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Facility and undertakes discussions with the Maryborough Swimming Club about proposed fees for the 2011/12 year to include a Pension Concession Seasonal Pass at the Maryborough Aquatic Facility.

7. OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION

That Council:

1. Introduce a Pension Concession Seasonal Pass for Seniors & Commonwealth Pension Card (blue) and Disability Pension Card holders at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Facility as follows: Half Yearly (Pension) – $115 (Summer 1 Oct – 31 Mar/Winter 1 Apr – 30 September) All Year (Adult) – $211 (1 October onwards)

2. Discusses with the Maryborough Swimming Club about proposed fees for the 2011/12 year to include a Pension Concession Seasonal Pass at the Maryborough Aquatic Facility.

ATTACHMENTS: NIL

I tried to contact the new CEO – Ms Desmond – her CEO appointment was confirmed last week – and with my previous calls since March having gone un-returned – I was not holding out much hope of an early return call.  To my surprise MS Desmond called an hour or so later and I gotta tell you – the tone and conviction in the conversation during that call gave me renewed hope that there are public servants out there who understand civic duty. It was a delight to hear positive belief and to feel there was support for what this program is trying to achieve.

The conversation lasted 20 min or so – and Ms Desmond gave an undertaking that the discount offered via the Council minute above – will be bettered when the Council considers a new proposal from the FCATA for Tier 2’s and 3’s to access the pool between 7:30-9:00am Mon-Fri.

The understanding was that this would be for Members of the FCATA and who were independent and did not need transport or supervision whilst attending the pool.

This was a wonderous concession and made light of what the Mayor and his team had been posturing over for the last 9 months. It gave me the feeling that a new breath of fresh air just swept through the Council chambers. I would go so far as to say – that Ms Desmond has her own agenda and is prepared to lead – hopefully – Bevis Butthead and his group get out of her way.

Ms Desmond has asked for a new proposal outlining the FCATA agenda for the Tier 2s and Tier 3s and their access to the pool and beyond. That proposal will be sent within the next few days and I would expect discussions within a few weeks. Further posts on the proposal and discussions will be made here.

18th Apr Update:

Hi All,

April Newsletter:

  1. Firstly – Can I ask all Carer Groups who have responded to this program to please print the attached Newsletter in Word format and forward the Newsletter to their charges with a copy of the PETITION form.

Link to Newsletter and Petition Form:

It has been an interesting few weeks – we formed a sort of  ‘Steering Committee’ earlier this month – there were two meetings and the small group (5) dissolved due to personal obligations and agenda conflicts – it was just too early to go the committee route given the workload, still unstructured agenda – and the still very broad concept of the program.

I have to wear the responsibility for this – the programs concept that was a part of the build up to gather the community interest  had outside influences.  Initially I listened to views about backing off Council and the need to form a Committee to agree to Council’s wishes.  Council did a good job in mis-direction and confusing the agenda – from the steering committee perspective others had their own agenda’s and nobody had any real vision or understanding about what this program was really trying to achieve.

The workload was daunting and to want to break down the program to smaller programs may well be a way to start – but from my perspective and vision – and how this program has been promoted to the community – I was not ready to roll over and be dictated to by a mis-direction campaign by a bunch of what seems like weak Councillors – who would rather choose to stay ignorant as opposed to at least wanting to know about the program and what they can do to assist.

The Committee will be important but it is still a ways off – it needs Local Business and community involvement – the immediate issue is to show Council they need to review their negative attitude – and be exposed for their reluctance to embrace this demographic within their community.

This current merged Council has division and what some would call ‘petty’ and self-serving agenda’s – not just on this matter but on several basic needs of the community.  I have not spoken to any individual in the forming of this program who has a good word about any of the Councillors or the Council as a group.  Given their response to this single issue – this is not surprising.   There is one Councillor I have been speaking with on a regular basis – and she was on this steering committee as an advisor – I know she supports the program –

I have head from several people who lodged Interest Notifications who said they spoke to Councillors they knew and they all indicated they support the program – I have the names of five – six Councillors who have given these comments to people they have spoken to.  My question is why have they not responded to my letters of invitation for them to become more familiar with the program?  There can only be one answer to that – as to give the appearance of a united Council – they have been told not to have contact – and that then leads us back to the Mayor – what a petty and small man he must be and what a weak bunch of Councillors to follow in such shallow footsteps.

In an answer to this position – I believe them to be ‘gun-shy’ and frozen in a searchlight glare – they are too scared to make a decision because they are scared it will be a wrong decision – or a too little too late committment – a Council cannot be allowed to behave like that –

Leadership is what is needed and sadly – it is lacking here and all over this Country and elsewhere around the globe.  Leaders want the title – but none of the responsibility that comes with the job description – for too long they rely on self-promoting bureaucrats doing all the hard work of running the Council – Government who all have their own agenda’s working to boost their own pay packets.

An example of this is that the most pressured job in the world POTUS – (President of the United States) – earns US$400k – the Prime Minister of Australia earns $350K – and the CEO of Fraser Coast Council is paid $260K plus Super and other perks – there is no comparison in responsibilities – the USA has a US$14 trillion year GDP – the Australian economy a A$500 billion GDP – and the FCRC has a $200 million LGA budget – how can they demand such overpaid salaries at the Local Government level for the responsibilities they endure?

I am told the Mayor ‘boozes’ away his Saturday afternoons at a well known pub on the Hervey Bay Esplanade – and is picked up late afternoon by his limo driver when he is ready to go home – is that how he views his roll as the Mayor and to the extent of his community awareness involvement?

For the Council to express their want to deal with an Association before they address what should be already available is the Mayor’s way of turning a blind eye. If he had any moral compass to his community and the needs of this demographic group – he would have acted some years ago.  This is an Administration hangover from previous Administrations and even whilst the previous Mayor – Ted Sorensen and now State Member for Hervey Bay – had the same ‘no discount’ policy toward pool entrance fees for the disabled and elderly – his efforts to date in challenging the current Council on this matter suggest he is also not convinced.

In a personally meeting with him earlier this year – he did offer support and encouragement – yet when I later asked if his office could do some photo copying of Interest Notification forms – they refused because we were not an ‘Association’.  The same offer was put to Mr Foley – the State Member for Maryborough – in an e-mail and no reply was received either.

We are underdogs in this battle – and the real question is why?

Are they that ashamed of the little noise we make that might rankle their moral compass?  – or is it that they believe we should stay silent and not be heard – really it is a dark day when those who are in a position to help look away and not want to acknowledge and give help when it is asked for.

It as been over a month now since anybody connected with Council have returned a call or answered an e-mail.  I think that deplorable from a LGA when they set the pool price policy.

Last Friday I sent another E-mail to All-Councillors asking that they take the time to find out about the program – rather then let them be led by a weak man in the Mayor – a man who gives undertakings and then wimps out when he seems to have stepped over this authority – a man who listens to Council employees rather than trust his own judgement.

That E-Mail is posted below –

_______________________________

Dear Councillor,

My name is Ian Bleys and I am the proposer of the new Aqua Therapy program for the Fraser Coast region – I write to you requesting an opportunity to present to you and your fellow Councillors the full understanding of the proposed aqua-therapy program.

You will recall your own part in this two year campaign to have the FCRC address the ‘pensioner’ access to the FCRC pools and the fact there is no discount afforded.  You all voted in agreement with a Council motion last July as follows:

_______________________________

Minutes of the FCRC Ordinary Meeting No. 12 held on Wednesday 28 July 2010 Page 11

#1892087

ORD 14 GENERAL BUSINESS

ORD 14.6 Aquatic Centre – Disability Pension Holder Concession

Councillor MucKan said that he had received approaches from members of the community enquiring as to why Council did not have a discounted seasonal ticket to the Aquatic Centre for disability pension holders, and he requested a report be presented to Council regarding this matter and possible implications.

The meeting was advised that at the present time only people undertaking a rehabilitation program received a discount.

RESOLUTION ( MucKan / Harris )

That a report be brought to Council outlining the budget implications of implementing a concession seasonal pass at the Aquatic Centre for people with a disability pension.

Carried Unanimously Ord 12/241/07/10  

____________________________________________

Yet – when it came to review the report produced by Council employees – there was no ‘budget impact’ implications included in the report.  Yet All Councillors voted to accept the report and its recommendations. (see below) – (I sent you a copy of the Council produced report and my own research in Sept last year)

_____________________________________________

Minutes of Community & Development Committee Meeting No 4 held on Wednesday, 25 August, 2010 Page 4

#1942868

Councillors in attendance:

Councillor Hovard, Councillor Arthur, Councillor McNeven, Councillor Brooks, Councillor MucKan, Councillor Dalgleish, Councillor Nioa, Councillor Kruger, Councillor Hawes, Councillor O’Connell, Councillor Harris

C&D 6 OFFICERS’ REPORTS – COMMUNITY & CULTURE C&D 6.3 Fees at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre RECOMMENDATION ( Brooks / Nioa )

That the Council recommend that the enquirer be advised that the current Fees and Charges offer a substantially discounted fee for regular users.

Carried Unanimously C&D 4/64/08/10

_______________________________________

You were made aware that the information in the Council produced report was both erroneous – and mis-represented the facts about ‘pensioner’ discounts at Council pools in other LGA’s.

The Mayor contacted me after receiving this researched and conflicting report sent to ‘All-Councillors’ – his request was for a meeting to discuss pensioner’s discounts.  This meeting was held late September – it was also attended by Peter Smith and Andy Gaze – both Council employees.

During the meeting Mr Smith proposed that any ‘pensioner’ discounts be addressed in the next years budget – to which the Mayor responded with a slam of his hand on the desk – ‘no, we’ll do something now’.  I took him at his word and again later when he shook my hand as I exited he re-affirmed his commitment to ‘do something now’.  The ‘now’ in my understanding was not waiting for next year’s budget which is what he ended up doing.

Two weeks later Peter Smith responded in a letter – in part suggested I could pay the annual subscriptions on a monthly basis – see text below …

________________________________________

REFERENCE: PENSIONER DISCOUNT – HERVEY BAY AQUATIC CENTRE

I refer to your recent emails and to discussions held on 27 September 2010 between yourself, the Mayor, Cllr Mick Kruger, Councils Director Community & Development, Peter Smith and Executive Manager Environmental Health & Regulation, Andy Gaze in relation to the above matter.

Council acknowledges your comments in relation to the fee structure at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre and will undertake a review of the entry fees for the Centre as part of its annual review of fees and charges.

Given that this review will take some time to complete, and in recognition of your concerns in being able to pay the yearly pass amount of $293 in one amount, Council is willing to enter into a monthly payment plan based on a pro rata basis for the year.

Should you take up this offer from say November 2010, this would equate to a monthly payment of $24.40 per month.

Should you wish to enter into the progress payment plan, please contact Carole Bye on 4197 4345 to make the necessary arrangements.

_______________________________________

If the ‘gesture’ in this letter was in fact that I personally could pay the annual fees on a month basis – something that has been available to all the general public for some years according to the Pool Manager – the ‘gesture’ was both insultive and demeaning in that my representation to Council was on behalf of all ‘pensioners’ and not of a personal nature.

Since this time – there has only been three Councillors who have had any contact with me on this matter and in relation to the Aqua Therapy Program – they being Cr- Brooks, Hawes and Hovard – Cr Muckan did attend a meeting with Lisa Desmond and other parties on the 21st February to discuss the program …

In the period since January-Current – I have been promoting the Aqua Therapy program – indications of interest up to the 31st Mar indicated 679 persons of varying disabilities and pensioner age indicated their interest in the program via Carer and Respite groups and by individual notifications.

Nobody can argue against this program and its intent – you know that as things stand currently – you stand on the wrong side of the fence in not offering Pensioners a pool entry discount across the pool’s ticketing structures –

You also know that your Council offers ‘pensioner’ discounts in many other Council manager activities – not only is the ‘no discount’ policy for pool access for this group discriminatory – it is just an insult to the large demographic of disability and aged pensioner group living in your community who would like to use the pool and cannot afford to do so.

By example – your operational pool budget for Hervey Bay pool offers a budgeted Council subsidy for 2010 of $258k and for 2011 of $267k –  from this it can be said that the Council subsidises ‘general admission’ entry to the pool to the value of this budget subsidy.  My question to you as a Councillor – what discount does the Pool offer disability and aged pensioners … it is the same as the general public discount.

In Sept ’10 when I had the meeting with the Mayor – what was being asked for was a 50% discount on the general admission season tickets.  At the time that would have cost the Council perhaps $1500 for all the season tickets sold to persons with disabilities.  At the time your Mayor said ‘no’ to this $1500 – do you think he made an error of judgement – do you think the ‘budget impact’ of this amount would still have been voted down at a full Council meeting?  I think not.

The ‘budget impact’ was asked for and you and your fellow Councillors ignored the fact that the report did not even cover your own request.  How could you of all voted on that report when it did not fulfil its obligation?

The matter has now become a bigger issue on account of the research undertaken to refute the Council employee report – and despite numerous attempts to contact your staff in recent weeks and months – Messes Smith, Moore, and the Acting CEO Lisa Desmond – and even the Mayor – refuse to responded to the numerous phone messages and e-mails sent.

This invitation will be the only opportunity you have to give yourself a full appreciation of what the Aqua Therapy program is about and seeks – if you choose not to respond – I can assure you that further action will be taken to bring this Council to account.  My intention is not to intimidate – but purely state to you the obvious course when something so wrong and that which impacts on so many – cannot be altered because of ego – and an unwillingness to face facts and accede to a greater good.

My options are many – Discrimination Act – Disabilities Act – State Minister Local Government – Federal Government Minister – Media – campaign infection at the next election – the issue is that at the moment – you have failed in your charter as Administrators and Councillors to fully address the needs of your community –

You are aware of the high number of disability pensioners living in your community – some 5,500 as at 2009 – you also know that 14,000 aged pensioners live in your region and that more than 30,000 are aged 55+.  You know that the disability and health care for these residents drives 35-40% employment in the region – yet when someone ask’s you for support – your representative in the Mayor says ‘no’ – and your Council staff say ‘no’.

You will not be campaign against this program in upcoming elections – yet who of you will campaign for it?

This invitation has no quick pro-quo – Ms Desmond has confirmed the Hervey Bay Pool has available access times for the program – the Maryborough pool is uncertain in relation to what – if any pool will be available post Sept 2011 due to the planned refurbishment – but all attempts to have the Council yield a cost for the program’s access has been met with – ‘form an association’ – ‘we’ll talk to someone else or a group’.

This is pure deflection and mis-direction on the part of the Mayor’s response – the Mayor is exposed as is the Council on their flawed ‘no discount’ policy for pool access for pensioners –

What the Mayor is presenting as a defence debate to not acting on this matter does not inspire or show leadership or character –

Surely if a policy is deemed a good policy and is something all agree about – and even the Mayor has acknowledged this – it is right and therefore Council should act in the capacity of providing Council assets and resources to see it done – and not have to wait for associations to be formed etc –  these are elderly and disabled persons and who are their advocates that will help bring this about?  In that scenario – if it was going to happen it would have already happened – this FCATA is that advocacy group and Council should accept their roll and play their part –

One of the main reasons an ‘Association’ will be needed at some point in the future and its need to be incorporated – is to provide for public funding applications – and public funding will be required as this program expands.  The funds will be predominately for TIER 1 participants and the training of staff and volunteers to take care of them in the pool environment and transport cost.

Before this Tier 1 program can progress down that path – Council need to upgrade the heated pool facilities and the amenities – something they are not even aware of or bothered to asked about.

If in the interim the Council were to allow ‘free’ access – as Gladstone Council does – to disability and aged pensioners between 7:30 and 9:00am Monday to Friday for those who are capable of doing their own exercise and therapy sessions – what cost would that be to the Council?

It would be a minute fraction of the $260k+ it already subsides the general public pricing.  In fact – without the free access – the council would not even get any more of these persons to the pool –

That is the whole point!

Council needs to create the incentive for these persons to self-help via exercise in the only environment that suits their disability and aged issues … pool/aqua therapy and exercise.

By not addressing this issue for the value it will bring to your community – and by bringing it down to a Council budget issue – is not the way you should be looking at this matter –

Nothing from nothing gets you nothing – i.e. there is ‘no’ budget impact for those who are not using the pool if they decide to use it if the admission was free – the pool is not being used and it is people who would not be going unless it was free.  Therefore the only real cost to the pool revenue stream would be the give-up on the persons in this disability and aged pensioner group who are currently using the pool and paying the general public price –

So I ask you to please seek to find out more about this program from the person who has championed its cause for two years now –

I await your response.

Regards … Ian Bleys.

_____________________________________

As I write this post – only one Councillor has responded to this message – and not the one who has always responded in the past.

I think that just about sums up the level of interest all the other Councillors have for this matter – its a pathetic response.

Letters to the State and Federal Ministers for Local Government – Communities – Disabilities – and Discrimination are being drafted – also letters to Mr Neville and  Mr Truss – Federal Members for the local area – and to Messes Foley and Sorensen – State Members for the region on this matter – let us just see what shaming this LGA  and exposing the inaction of the so called community Leaders will do in other arena’s – these letters will also be sent to National Media outlets – both print and vision – current affairs and talk back radio – it is intended to bring the inaction into clear focus as to why this demographic grouping is so marginalised and disadvantaged.

The members of this grouping have life experience – they have a want to self-help and to help others in the same position – just the social opportunity this will present will create great benefit to those participating  and that is just as important as the exercise program.  All it needs is for able persons who control the funding and hold the prejudicial attitudes to turn over and help this group and realise what this group can do to help themselves.

A program like this has to potential to address so many issues facing our aging population and relieve future pressures on an already floundering health system.

Where to Now:

As a group all we have is the strength in numbers that represents.  The Carer groups servicing this community are stretched and they have rules about becoming vocal advocates dare they risk their existing funding grants – the only thing we can do as a group is to let  our voices be heard.

To that aim I have attached a ‘PETITION’ form that can be downloaded as a Word file and printed out below –

Only a matter of a few weeks ago – 1500 odd signatures was enough local voice to stop a ring-road along the Pt Vernon foreshore – that venture was to cost ‘millions’ – how many signatures do you think it would take to convince Council to review their current ‘no discount’ policy pool admission for elderly and disabled – into a free access for disability and elderly to the pool during a limited time frame that the Council have already acknowledged as being idle and not used?

s a demographic group we number more that 20,000 in this region – that is a voice worth exploiting and hearing – let it be heard.

So I ask you to take the time to download the Word file here – DOWNLOAD PETITION – please print the file and have as many of your friends and fellow ‘want-to-be pool’ uses sign and return same to the address included on the bottom of the Petition form.

This battle is escalating – and as a demographic group we number more that 20,000 in this community – that is a voice worth hearing and exploiting – let it be heard – and to think that this is now where this matter sits because the Mayor – nor the Council staff advising him would not roll over on an asked for and estimated annual $1,500 subsidy for disability,  and aged pensioners back in Aug-Sept 2010.

Personal Observation:

It has been said to me that the Council do not want to deal with me – I felt some reluctance in pushing my agenda in response to this – some self conscious that I may have been damaging whatever chance there was to advance this program might have been held up because of my persistence in challenging Council.  This wet-nose view has now gone.  This Council needs to be thrown out if this is what they think is local community awareness and governance – and the staff needed to be given direction as opposed to running their own agenda’s – Councillors set policy – council staff implement – that is the way it should work and this Council and council Administrators act like chooks with their heads chopped off .

Whenever you let people try to do the right think by backing off – you get much less than you asked for the first time – this Council played politics on this matter when no politics needed to be played

It is time to force this issue and I call on all who support this program to step up and be heard –

To the left you will find a link to e-mail addresses and phone numbers for all FCRC Councillors and the State and Federal Members for the area – please contact them to voice your views on this Council’s inaction.  

Let us see if the democracy in Australia works and that these Members can be responsive to genuine constituent input.

29th Mar Update …

Hello all,

Yesterday was a watershed day in many ways …

  • First off in the morning there were on camera interviews with Channel 7 and Channel 9 – they came in response to help spread the word about the program to the Fraser Coast community.  Both Channels indicated they will air the interviews Monday night – interviews can be seen using the links below – files are compressed .avi file format and run for about 90sec –
  1. Channel 7 Local News Story
  2. Channel 9 Local News Story

The comment I will make on the record about the content of the interviews is that there are no versions of the truth – I challenge the Mayor to deny he gave an undertaking during a meeting in Sept 2010  to immediately address the issue of ‘concession pool’ prices.

The undertaking he gave was that Council would not wait until the next round of budgets to move on ‘concession card’ discounts – his comments in the linked interviews above were not an honest reflection of the commitment he gave during that meeting – his other interview comments were a muddied version of the truth – he was playing politics –

I call him to account for his comments – he cannot deny that he shook my hand and looked me in the eye and said: ‘No – we’ll do something now’ – in response to his Director Community Development’s suggestion that they do a review in the 2011-12 budget.  The offer he did make has been documented at this site previously –

As to what other information he spoke about – the man is unconscionable and still has no comprehension what this program is about an can offer to the Fraser Coast Community …

  • A registered participant who contacted the Federal and State Member – and a Councillor – copied to me the return comments by Councillor Brooks who I call a flip-flopper – and to ensure she is not misquoted – her response is pasted hereto in full –

sent 25th Mar:

Sue,

My partner Neville, is unable to walk very much at all, due to significant problems with his health, To have something like this in Hervey Bay for people with disabilities would be wonderful and is urgently needed, Please support this

for me, as a carer I am not getting much attention and help from anyone as it happens.

__________________________________

response 28th Mar: from Councillor Sue Brooks

I hope Mr Bleys is successful in launching a group. I am sure Council will provide support to any such group once it is created.

Take care, Sue

___________________________________

further reply to Cr Brooks:

sent 28th Mar:

Thanks Sue, my understanding is that the Fraser Coast Council has not been very supportive of the issue

____________________________________

28th Mar – final response from Cr Brooks:

This is just not true. Mr Bleys wants Council to create the group and support it etc and this is not what Council does. We require the community to create the interest and/or bring it together and then we can work out ways to support it. Mr Bleys is doing a great disservice by running Council down. I believe he is not helping his cause and is not understanding the Council commitments properly. We do not have the resources to go out and create this group but if the community does, we will help as much as we can. We have always said this!

Ta, Sue

PS It is not just about entrance fees to the pool…

____________________________________

I sent the following message to All Councillors and Lisa Desmond yesterday after I received the Cr Brooks information:

To – All Councillors and Ms Desmond –

You are advised that the Cr Brooks comments are completely incorrect and misguided –

_________________________________________

For some history please read the attached file sent to All Councillors in Sept 2010 – a summary version appears below:

The file can be read using this link:  Pool issue 20100922

  • Two years ago I contacted Debra Moore with a DVD about the non existence of ‘concession card’ discounts for pool admission.
  • Ms Moore said there was nothing she could do and suggested I contact Cr Muckan – I left several message for Cr Muckan over a matter of weeks and he replied to none of them.
  • I again contacted Cr Muckan via e-mail to raise the same issue again early 2010 –
  • That resulted in a Council meeting in August last year – see attached file for Council minutes and responses …
  • Council requested a report on ‘budget impact’
  • Council report does not respond on ‘budget impact’ – but quotes erroneous numbers for other Council pool admission fees.
  • Council report proved to be false in its information –
  • My own report submitted –
  • Mayor requests meeting
  • Mayor gives an undertaking to fix the problem –
  • Mayor gives me a personal invitation to pay the full and general admission price on a monthly basis – no discount to the general public price –
  • This monthly payment plan is already available to the General Public
  • During research for report – Gladstone Aqua Therapy program is discovered –
  • Approach made to Council about supporting a similar program –
  • Council advise they cannot support a program or establish such a program –
  • Federal Funding grant ‘Healthier Communities Initiative’ canvassed with Council as being a possible funding option for program
  • Council advise the funding application they are preparing and the parameters they understand the funding to be made available under – do not suit the proposed aqua-therapy program –
  • Further research undertaken with Carer groups and they all suggest to apply for funding under the ‘Healthier Communities Initiative’ – submissions for this Federal grant closed on the 4th Feb 2011 –
  • Back to Council and told that they cannot become involved with the aqua therapy program – it has to be established by the community before council can get involved –
  • Further research done on establishing an aqua therapy program on the Fraser Coast undertaken –
  • Council again approached on pool access and cost question –
  • Council indicate they will negotiate pool access and cost when Management Committee formed –
  • Council informed that no funding applications can be made until Council give undertaking to support the program with pool access and a known cost for that access –
  • Council refuse to answer further correspondence or return phone calls –

Council are aware of my own disabilities and their restrictiveness – yet they offer no logistical support to help establish a program that would benefit a great many number of people living in this community – forming a Committee to manage what will become a $500-$750k annual budget requires people with some experience and financial ability.  The people who will benefit from this program will be able to provide some volunteer type help – but as for being able to serve on Committee and manage a budget, staff and the logistical support required for this program requires people with relative experience.

I do not have the ability to go and knock on doors seeking Community leaders to become involved with this program – all my efforts to date have been made largely over the internet – some small media help and by phone – in fact there have only been three councillors who has made any attempt to contact me in relation to this program – and I would go so far as to say  –  collectively – they and the rest of the Councillors take no responsibility for voting unanimously on the Council produced report last August – they got it wrong then – and they have it wrong now –

As a Council – of course they can act to better service their local community – they just choose not to when it comes to the aged – the disabled and the concession card group on this issue …

Why should they wait for this group to form their own committee and structure a program and then approach Council to beg them to help – why the hell don’t Council be pro-active in helping this Group help themselves.

Cr Brooks’ comments are naive in the extreme and are indicative of just how Council and Councillors recognise this large demographic group living in their community – they need Council to provide initial support by providing pool access and a costing for that access to help get the program up and running.

Carer groups have large Administration and funding behind them – this program does not have that – everybody says this is a great program and is needed – yet nobody at Federal, State or Local Council wants to become involved at the base level of formulation and getting this program up and running – the question is why?

This Council provides a budgeted General Public pool subsidy in excess of $250K per year – what do they provide for the ‘concession card’ group for pool subsidy – zero  support – if they matched the general public subsidy – then the program has a base level of cost funding to make application for Federal and State funding.  That level of support would encourage funding from other groups –

If the only thing stopping them from making a commitment like that is that they want to deal with a Management Committee – then I say bullocks – this is a genuine attempt to do good community work and if council cannot see they – they are blind –

I do hope this clears up the misleading information Cr Brooks has put forth in her response …

She has continually got her facts wrong and completely off topic when she has responded on this issue with me in the past – any support she has offered to date comes as a flip-flopper and has had no real contribution to where the program is currently –

Regards … Ian Bleys.

Let me say further –

  • The Council have had 2 years to address any moral and conscious position they personally may have in ‘not’ offering ‘concession card’ discounts to pool users – and they have not budged – this is not something that has just suddenly arrived at their front door – the Hervey Bay Council had never considered the issue of ‘concession card’ discounts prior to the amalgamation – yet the Maryborough Pool according to my research did offer concession card discounts –
  • In the 2 year period this matter has been on the FCRC doorstep – the Council have given the ‘general public’ a budgeted $500k in subsidised admission prices – and not a thing for ‘concession card’ holders using the pool.
  • When Cr Brooks says it is not just about entrance fees – she is right – it is about how a Council she serves on and supports – can be so blatantly prejudiced against the ‘concession card’ demographic on pool admission prices – when the  same Council can offer ‘concession card’ discounts of varying degrees on so many other Council services in the area –  [i.e. Council Rates – Bus operators operating under Council Tenders – Brolga Theatre – Maryborough and Hervey Bay Shows – and I am sure there are others.  In addition electricity suppliers offer discounts – as to private local business’s – tradies – Supermarkets – some Professional services etc ] –
  • What is the problem in expecting this Council to fall into line with every other like Council up and down the QLD coastline and offer pool discounts to the ‘concession card’ holders.
  • It is not like this group is going to the pool for leisure activity – they are going for exercise and the need to use the pool to assist with their mobility issues.

No – the Fraser Coast Regional Council are wrong and they also run the risk of the State Member for Local Government becoming further involved over the State Disabilities Act 2006 – and with reference to the following sections as a start … : [the Act can be downloaded via this link: http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/D/DisabServA06.pdf ]

  • Part 1 – Division 2(6-8) [Objects]
  • Part 2 – 18 [Persons encouraged to have regard to human rights Principle]
  • Part 2 – 19(3-5) [Persons encouraged to have regard to human rights Principle]
  • Part 2 – Division 2(20–33) [Service delivery principles]
  • Part 3 – Section 34 [Minister may make disability service standards]

The FCRC presides over the highest per capita number of disability pensioners in QLD – yet it is a Council that does not recognise what this really means.  The pool provides such relief for and assists in so many ways to aid this group – they have never thought to help this group in this way –

Councils reasoning is they believe someone else should put together a program for this group of disadvantaged persons.  Yet late last year when a local carer tried to instigate a Learn to Swim program for a disability group – the Council chose to refused them access even though it was independently funded and staffed away from the pool staffing resources.

The Council does allow private physio’s to bring their clients to the pool because the pool does not offer this service.  They also allow privately conducted water aerobics and other exercise programs on a private ‘pay as you’ use arrangement the persons conducting the program.

The Council has very strange attitudes to the whole ambit of disabled and aged persons using the pool to keep fit and help with mobility issues – as long as you pay the general public price – you can use the pool.

That attitude does not run consistent with what it does for ‘concession card’ users in other Council services and amenities.  I dare say that the Council policy on this issue is flawed in a way that Council do not understand what the pool offers and can mean to those wanting affordable access to manage their mobility issues.

Have you had enough of this Council?  Contact your Local Member and give them a serve – their contact details can be found at this link:    https://fcata.wordpress.com/contact-info-for-federal-and-state-members-local-councillors/

________________________________

To change the target away from the Council for a period as advised by a mentor – I turn to the positives of the week –

  • I will be making a few calls during the week to approach some people about serving on an interim steering Committee – looking for 4-5 people to serve until the first General meeting.
  • The Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Program President intends to make a trip to Hervey Bay to attend what looks like a delayed General Meeting to be held on the 5th May 2011.
  • It is very important that the meeting be delayed until this time – the lady who set up the Gladstone program now residing in Hervey Bay has indicated today that she is prepared to become part of the initial FCATA steering Committee – she is away for most of April.
  • Carol has been advising me on so many matters relating to this program – but not the Council bashing stuff – that she will be an invaluable asset to the program.   She is a qualified nurse and started the GATA program off over 22 years ago – she is very familiar with Council problems coming to terms with a program like this.
  • The steering Committee will be looking into the registration of the Association and its Incorporation – and will present a different face to Council to hopefully bring about changes to their resistant position.
  • I looked to the number of Respite Carers and their preliminary estimates and the number is approaching 200 – I have over 60 individual Interest Notifications and this is fast approaching the bottom side of initial target estimates of 300-500 in this initial interest stage.
  • This is but a fraction of the 5,500+ disability and the 14,000+ aged pensioners living in the area.  Hopefully the media stories on TV last night will carry the message out to a greater number of potential users of the program.

Cheers all ….

Weekly Update – 21st Mar 2011 …

Hello All,

At the end of the of the Week – Fri 10th Mar – and having received the CEO letter on the same day – I responded to Ms Desmond.

I sent her a draft copy of the work in progress ‘Funding Submission’ –  with an appeal for her Council to embrace this program as opposed to the minute offerings it has made to date.

I rang her last Friday [17th] and left a message re this correspondence – her Secretary confirmed she had printed out the Submission – but could not say when Ms Desmond has read the correspondence or when she might return my call.

It is now Monday morning [21st] – and as I write this post – I have had no response to either the letter sent 10th Mar – or the phone call message made 17th Mar.

This is exactly the way her subordinates – Debra Moore and Peter Smith elected to conduct themselves – silence and no acknowledgment of calls or messages – I think it very rude and insulting that the Council staff think that they do not need to at least acknowledge correspondence or messages in some way.

It continues to be frustrating – some two years of battles with this Council – all with a purpose to get them to acknowledge and respect the disability and pensioner group in this region – and still they sit atop their station and swat away these efforts.

The submission I sent to Ms Desmond had a covering letter – for information purposes – that letter is posted hereto:

______________________________________

From: [mailto:fcata@bigpond.com]
Sent: Friday, 11 March 2011 3:26 PM
To: ‘Lisa Desmond’
Subject: RE: Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Program

Hello Lisa,

Honestly Lisa – I just don’t know if you guys get what I am trying to get started here – I am continually disappointed in how far your Council attempts to reach when something new is put in front of them.

Your letter said absolutely nothing that was not already known – it took me an hour to find out what your staff took the best part of three weeks to uncover – your answer on not being able to find out about the ‘equity position’ – did you think to tell someone to ask Paul – the obvious is generally always the easiest and quickest solution to any problem.

I’m hanging out for the Council to commit to a cost for the pool access – yet all you have provided is confirmation the pool has available time – I knew these time frames well before our 21st Feb meeting – not talking to Paul about this program was and is a major failing – who’s call was that –

I know that Ms Moore told me not to speak to him about the program some weeks ago when I suggested it – she has lost any creditability with me some time ago – as has Mr Smith and the Mayor – all promised but insulted me with their offer –

If these people are naysayers – and are the reason why I am making little headway – I am quite prepared to step aside and let someone else take over – at this point I don’t think anyone on Council is in a ‘bulls roar’ of understanding what this program could mean for the region.

I am going to take a leap of faith here and send you the submission I have been working on with its accompanying Budget – maybe this will light a fire –

There is much in this submission I have been holding out for – I do not want the State Minister for Local Government having to be involved – I want to say that the FCRC is 200% behind this project – but I can’t – I cannot get you guys to first base – I have rounded home plate three times and your guys are still thinking about the team roster …

Please keep these documents confidential – but by all means use them to inform yourself and those who you think could be visionaries and take on a project like this …

These are DRAFT copies and so much more work has to be done on the Budget before it takes any type of real shape –  the Submission is 70% complete and needs some fine tuning – especially the FCRC section – it is such a negative in the submission – but that is where you guys are – you are behind the eight ball in this regional aging and disability demographic and until you get in front of it – you truly have not embraced what this community is all about …

Do you know what employment is driven in the area from the aged care and disability sectors?  What other local industry or business sector generates as much commerce as this aged and disability sector?

There are over 40 Carer groups in this region – all underfunded – their services and resources are stretched – the answer is right there in front of you – help these people help themselves –

The pool times are not being used at the moment – the Council is not missing out on any income by leaving them idle – get on board and make this Council proud and give the Community something to like themselves about – allow the Maryborough/Hervey Bay divide to be pushed aside – all it will take is leadership …

Please – this is an appeal and it is my last – this is exhausting me – if I have to keep dragging you to the table just to hear what I already know and what you already know is the right thing to do – this Council will be facing a blood bath at the next elections …

Mayor Kruger is no supporter – he has a team of other Councillors who support him – this is not about politics – but the media want this story – they want to blow it apart – I still want your Council to take charge of this program – but you are making it neigh impossible –

Read the submission – look at the budget – make up your own mind – see it through my eyes and be enlightened …

Cheers … Ian.

_____________________________________________

I had hoped that this would have appealed to the aspiring CEO – but the silence since I sent it has been deafening –

Other events since my last update included:

  • The Observer continues to publish information and contact details about the FCATA program – their continued support is appreciated.  The Maryborough Herald – who I though was also publishing the same information – agreed to run it again last Friday.  I can’t confirm this as the paper is not distributed in Hervey Bay. I would be pleased to hear from someone in Maryborough as to whether a FCATA article did appear last week.
  • I have had many phone calls – all from readers of the Observer – this is what made me wonder whether the Herald had been running the story – every phone call was positive about the program and the number of Interest Notification has passed 100 –
  • Only 5 or so of the 40+ Carer Groups contacted have responded with their clients Interest Notification levels – I will be chasing these up over the next week or so – if you have estimates or Interest Notification numbers – please contact me and advise.
  • There were also calls from Physio’s interested in being involved with the program – this was very encouraging and I thank them for their interest.
  • Progress on the General Meeting is progressing and it looks like being early April – I am advised that Thursdays would suit most Carer Group Administrators – and a tentative date of 7th Apr is set pending the availability of a Community Hall to conduct the meeting – The Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Association staff will hopefully still be able to attend – I should hear word on this later this week –
  • The agenda for this meeting has tentatively been structured as follows:

The 1st General Meeting of all interested parties supporting the Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association (FCATA) is going to meet on the:

Date:

Venue:

Time: 10:30am – 12:30pm


The proposed meeting agenda:

  • 10:30 – Opening Address and welcome by proposer –
  • 10:35 – Visitors address from Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Association (GATA) Address –
  • 10:50 – Q&A session to follow
  • 11:05 – About the FCATA program and vision for its future –
  • 11:20 – More Q&A session
  • 11:35 – Meeting break from formal proceedings to allow for general discussion between attending parties
  • 12:10 – Meeting resumes with Election of Committee
  • 12:25 – Proposer introduces Working Committee –
  • 12:30 – Meeting Closes.

Management Committee

The initial role of the Management Committee will be more about a working Committee to establish the FCATA and put together the initial structures, protocols, governance, workplace health and safety protocols and other administrative tasks to ensure the FCATA complies with all not-for-profit guidelines that make it eligible for Federal and State Government funding.

Each of the positions below carry specific responsibilities that the program sees as initial areas where knowledge and experience in the nominated areas would be an advantage to anyone seeking to nominate for the Committee to serve as the Management Committee of the FCATA.

At the first General Meeting if the proposed FCATA – nominations will be called for each of the undermentioned positions –  each of the Committee positions is an unpaid position with the exception of the Coordinator.

Positions on Committee:

President –

Secretary –

Treasurer –

Governance Officer-

Protocols Officer-

Aqua Therapy Officer-

Membership Officer-

Volunteer Officer –

Medical and Physio Consultant –

__________________________

Proposed Employed Positions:

  • Coordinator –
  • Aqua Therapy accredited Physiotherapist
  • Several swimmers with skill sets to become in-water assistants to Physiotherapist – Positions available – 3-8 between Apr ’11 and Jly 2012

Volunteers:

The number of volunteers to help with this program is untapped – areas where assistance is needed are:

  • Spotters to walk the pool watching for participants who may get into trouble and need assistance
  • Helpers to help run group exercise sessions for Tier 2 and 3 water sessions
  • Helpers to get Tier 1 participants in and out of the water – showered – dressed and supervised to ensure they pull up ok after the therapy session
  • Helpers with medicines for participants
  • Social Activities helpers for Association social events

  • I will send E-Mails and phone all the registered Interest Level notifications – Carer Groups – Councillors – and Council staff about the meeting date when it has been firmly set – please attend this meeting to ensure your voice is heard and avail yourself to the GATA staff on hand for advice and information about their program.
  • At the moment – interest notifications are running 10-1 in favour of Hervey Bay residents – I believe this is because the Herald has not been running the information about the program – please – if you know someone who would be advantaged by the program – please have them ring or go online to register their interest –
  • Please continue to contact your Local Members – Federal: Mr Neville Ph- 0741 520744 – State: Mr Sorenson Ph-0741 241386 – Mr Foley Ph- 0741 222277 and Council – please go to this website to retrieve contact numbers for the Fraser Coast Regional Council :  Link to FCRC Councillors or send an e-mail to All the FCRC Councillors using this E-Mail Link: E-Mail All FCRC Councillors
  • I cannot stress how important it is to contact your Local Members about this program – a single enquiry they can brush aside – but if the 5500+ disability pensioners living in the Fraser Coast region made a call to each of these members – I’m sure a message will be heard and perhaps motivate this Council to give some respect and attention to this group or residents residing in the Fraser Coast region with respect to this proposed program.
Please – if you have a comment or advice – or are motivated to want to become involved with this program before the General Meeting – I can do with some help – I know that there are many people out there who are isolated and still don’t know about this program – if you can spread the word – please do so …
cheers … Ian.

CEO Letter 10th March ’11 …

Hi All,

A bit has happened since the meeting with the Pool Manager yesterday – there were exchanges last night with the CEO and again this morning over the content of the Pool Manager post.  I agreed to hold the Pool Manager interview post pending the CEO getting back with what her letter re ‘pool access’ contained.

Everything in the letter is ‘old’ news and gives nothing but an undertaking that the pool has available time frames that will suit the FCATA program.  The Pool Manager confirmed all the information in the letter yesterday – the Council took three weeks to come up with this information – I obtained it in less than an hour.  No one from Council had a discussion with the Pool Manager about the FCATA and how he could be involved with the program – they did their enquiry by internal mail – talk about snails pace and how to get something done …

The CEO’s letter is copied hereto for information purposes.  Not surprising Council still have not committed to any admission ‘cost’ requests or considered the proposals as outlined in the Pool Manager post.

How Council expect the FCATA to use the information in the CEO’s letter to obtain funding – or structure a Budget to apply for funding without a base cost for pool access is beyond my comprehension – surely they must have thought about this – they understand budgets – this is a ‘claytons offer’ with no real teeth that FCATA can use other than that the pool is available.

This might be considered a start – but all that has been offered is possible pool access to times when the pool has little use anyway – the cost of that access is still unknown –

FCATA can work with these time frames – if we knew what the Council wanted as a cost for this access.  Council appear to be some way off from committing to any sort of price structure – this was part of what was asked for during the 21st Meeting …

I’m still chipping away to get this Council over the hump they seem to be stuck behind …

Cheers all ….

The CEO letter is pasted below:

CEO Letter 10th Mar 2011