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 Frankston state independent MP Geoff Shaw is set to become an important figure on Spring Street following a by election at Lyndhurst over the weekend.

 ABC reports the seat was won by state Labor candidate Martin Pakula. The win means the Coalition government and Labor opposition now hold 43 seats each in the Victorian House of Representatives.

This means Mr Shaw’s vote will be a crucial one in close votes. The Frankston MP defected from the Liberal party last month, to become the only independent in the lower house.

He voted with the ALP for the first time last week, on a Bill relating to contact between biological parents and adopted children.

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 The trip to university is about to become much easier for students living on the Mornington Peninsula, with the recent launch of a new smartphone application.

The Get Me To Class app was developed by the Mornington Peninsula Shire in partnership with RMIT University.

It enables students to synchronise their university class schedule with public transport timetables on their smart phones and mobile devices, ensuring they find their way to class easily– and on time.

The project is the brainchild of Mornington Peninsula Shire Transport Connections Project Manager Rita Kontos.

GRAB RITA KONTOS: The Get Me To Class app was really initiated because we needed to find ways to assist students in reaching hard-to-reach campuses and destinations. And most of our tertiary institutions, of course, are in the metropolitan area, so we needed to be able to do something to link these students with existing services. END GRAB.

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 Mornington Peninsula tradespeople are being encouraged to enter this year’s WorkSafe Awards for occupational health and safety, following high levels of compensation claims in recent years.

Occupational health & safety regulator WorkSafe last week announced 12 categories for this year’s competition.

Figures released earlier this month suggest that over 1 billion dollars in compensation has been awarded to tradespeople in Victoria since 2008.

According to Leader newspapers, Mornington Peninsula tradespeople claimed over 18 million dollars in that period.

The competition will close in July, and winners will be announced in October.

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 In environment news, Mornington Peninsula environmental activists are vowing to keep fighting for the protection of the Tootgarook Wetlands, despite a Supreme Court ruling which potentially opens the area for development.

Friends of Chinaman’s Creek’s Norman McKinlay says activists will explore the possibility of having the site protected under the international Ramsar Convention, although he says this is no guarantee of security for the Wetlands.

GRAB NORMAN KCKINLAY: We have Westernport which is now a Ramsar wetlands, but it really doesn’t protect it 100 per cent. What we need is to get one body that looks after the whole Tootgarook swamp, because it’s split into so many different landholders that it’s a very complicated situation.  END GRAB.

Ultimately, Mr McKinlay would like to see a designated body like Melbourne Water protecting the Wetlands.

GRAB NORMAN MCKINLAY: They’ve got all the expertise and possibly money on hand. END GRAB.

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Frankston Police are embracing social media to better engage with the community, with a new Facebook campaign, Eyewatch.

Victoria Police launched the Frankston Eyewatch Facebook page on Wednesday, as part of an expansion of the program into 11 new localities.

The Facebook page allows police to connect with the community, which Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells says will make contacting witnesses to crimes much easier.

The program is funded by Victoria Police, with a 5 thousand dollar contribution from Eyewatch partner, Neighbourhood Watch.

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Over to football now, Round 4 and Sorrento have pushed the Frankston Bombers to second place on the Nepean Seniors’ ladder, following a 45-point win against Pearcedale. Red Hill Reserves defeated Dromana by just 4 points to retain the lead in the Reserves.  And the Deavon Meadows Under 18s have defeated Hastings 99 to seven, pushing Sorrento to second place on the Under 18s ladder.

 Frankston YCW continue to dominate in the Peninsula league after round 4, occupying top spot on the Seniors, and second place on the Reserves and Under 18s ladders. YCW Seniors defeated Karingal 79-63. The reserves are second to Mt Eliza, who had a 79-point win against Bonbeach. And Seaford leads the under 18s following a 97-point win against Edithvale-Aspendale.

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 The Nepean Historical Society President is calling on authorities to address existing infrastructure prior to commencing development at Point Nepean.

Doreen Parker highlights traffic congestion as a major issue for southern Peninsula, which would potentially worsen under plans to develop hotels and retail spaces at Point Nepean.

GRAB DOREEN PARKER: Clearly that has to be managed better than it is now, because you just can’t get through whenever there’s a large event at Portsea. You can’t really address the issues without controlling the traffic. END GRAB.

Specific plans for Point Nepean are still unclear. The state government will be holding community consultation sessions at Point Nepean next weekend.

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AuthorToni Brient