It has been a torrid couple of months for Raymond Islanders.
The East Gippsland Shire draft budget proposed some massive (e.g. double from $10 per trip to $20 per trip) increases to the cost of getting to and from Raymond Island.
The Raymond Island community was horrified – not just for themselves, but for the many visitors who come to this idyllic part of the Gippsland Lakes.
There are approximately 560 residents on Raymond Island.
The shire received 254 written submissions from Raymond Islanders regarding the ferry cost increases.
The “excuse” for the increase was that the federal government and state government had both reduced funding to the shire.
The shire representatives started talking about a “user pays” model being more fair for the Raymond Island ferry.
What a load of codswallop!
If “user pays” were to apply, then what about the following examples …
I don’t use the Bairnsdale library or pool – so charge Bairnsdale ratepayers more than me.
I don’t use the marina at Metung – so charge the Metung ratepayers more than me.
I don’t use the Bastion Point boat ramp – so charge the Mallacoota ratepayers more than me.
… and none of those examples refer to the only means that ratepayers have to get home.
For the Raymond Island community, the ferry is their only means of getting back home, so it could be considered like a road.
In my humble opinion, the fact there is any “toll” on the ferry is ridiculous anyway.
I attended the Shire meeting last night (along with many islanders – we filled the room again!).
The final result is that the ferry fees will go up by 4.3% rounded up to the nearest dollar.
That means the ferry trip will now cost $11 not $10 (which is still a 10% increase).
Whoever came up with the original draft proposal obviously had no clue about the community here on Raymond Island.
We fight for our rights – and most of the time, we WIN!