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Wandong - Heathcote Junction - why would you live anywhere else. Until MACH 2021, Allen Hall (editor)


Printed by Newspaper House, Kilmore


AUSTRALIA DAY 2021 saw John Simpson and Denise King (pictured) of Heathcote Junction honoured by the Wandong - Heathcote Junction community when they were presented with the Wandong Australia Day 2021 community awards. Congratulations John and Denise. Further congratulations to John who after the Wandong ceremony travelled to Wallan where he was awarded Mitchell Shire’s Citizen of the Year.

John has lived in Heathcote Junction since 1983, the year of Ash Wednesday when Wandong was greatly impacted by the fires. John joined the Kilmore State Emergency Service in July of 1983 and has been to every event you can imagine during his 37 year service. He was Deputy Controller in the years 2010 – 2013 and again in 2015—2018. The SES was lucky to have him installed as the Controller 2018-2020. He was awarded his 30 years’ service medal a few years ago and is almost due for his 40th. He was also a recipient of the National Emergency Medal given to CFA members who contributed during the 2009 Black Saturday Fires for work done for both SES and CFA. John has served in the Wandong Fire Brigade for 28 years and for many years has been the Brigade representative to the VFBV.

Denise joined John at Heathcote Junction in 1990 and through her four sons involvement in basketball and the Wallan & District Basketball Association Denise became involved on the committee and ran the canteen for many years. Denise was honoured for commitment to Junior Basketball with the committee naming the Female Best and Fairest Award each year, the Denise King MVP Award. Denise joined the SES to support John in 1989. In 2018 she took on the role of Finance Controller to support John in his role as Controller. Denise also joined the Wandong Fire Brigade in 1998 and has given over 22 years of service to the community with catering and fund raising in so many ways. Denise also received a National Emergency Service Medal for her work during the Black Saturday fires.

Both John & Denise have been such stalwarts of our community for over 30 years and given so very much of their time to this community. They are certainly very worthy recipients of the Australia Day Awards.








How to apply for $250 Victorian government cash back on energy bills

Victoria’s state government is offering hundreds of dollars in cash back on power bills - and many households might not even know about it. One in three people is eligible for a one-off $250 cash back payment from their power bills.

“This one-off payment will provide immediate financial relief for those struggling to pay their power bills,” Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said in a statement.

The cash-back offer is available through the Victorian Energy Compare website. or alternatively call 1800 000 832.

A form can be completed there and a household electricity bill from a retailer must also be submitted.

Local Wandong resident Glenda Watson has offered assistance for any person who does not have a computer - telephone Glenda on 0407 871 087

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a Victorian residential energy consumer (i.e. have a residential electricity account)
  • You must receive one of the following concession benefits:
  • Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card
  • JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstud
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession Card (DVA Pensioner Concession Cardholders will be able to apply online from 1 March 2021 or may access the bonus through a manual application from 1 February 2021 – email


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EPA’s online help for farmers

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) offers online advice for the agricultural community, and is taking requests on what farmers need next.

The Agricultural Guidance section of EPA’s website supports farmers in managing the farm in a way that minimises harm to the environment and human health, meets Victorian regulations, and keeping the property in good condition for the next generation.

It also includes a two-minute survey that lets farmers ask for the environmental advice they most value.

EPA’s advice for agricultural community is at:

It offers advice on protecting the environment and human health; meeting Victorian law and regulations; and issues like livestock planning, farm waste, chemicals, noise, water, sediment and dust.

Anyone on the land can make a request or provide feedback, at:

Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline, 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).


Litter is a burning issue

Flicking cigarette butt from car window a severe fire danger and environmental risk: EPA, fire and rescue services say.

With North East Victoria’s fire danger period projected to continue into May, EPA, Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire Brigade are calling for cigarette butt litterers to check their habit, and for members of the community to report this kind of littering.

Given that most human-cause fire incidents in Victoria are caused by lit cigarette butts, the potential cost to the community and environment is extreme. “EPA counts on members of the public to report people who flick their butts out of car windows,” said EPA North East Region Manager Emma Knights. “Flicking lit cigarettes out your car window is a serious fire hazard, as recent fire tragedies across our state have shown. “And cigarette butt litter pollutes our roadsides and chokes our waterways,” Ms Knights said.

The CFA regularly attends to fires caused by cigarettes, and some of Victoria’s worst bushfire tragedies were sparked by cigarette butt litter. CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said roadside fires pose a “significant danger to drivers not only from smoke, but flames or falling burning trees or branches, and there’s high potential for tragic consequences.” Mr Warrington said more than half of Victorian bushfires are deliberately lit or caused by reckless behaviour. “One of the most common causes is inappropriately disposing of cigarette butts. “Recklessly caused fires are often viewed by the community as accidental, but in reality, the potential for injury, loss of life, property damage and drain on resources is the same as that caused by arson.” Mr Warrington said. MFB Chief Officer Dan Stephens said that firefighters respond to more than 10 fires caused by carelessly discarded smoking materials every month across the Melbourne metropolitan district alone.

Last financial year, EPA handed out over $5 million in fines to more than 11,000 Victorians for discarding litter, mostly cigarette butts, from their vehicles. EPA litter fines range from $322 for a small piece of rubbish or unlit cigarette up to $645 for a lit cigarette.

People can report littering via EPA’s website, through its smartphone litter app, or by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).





Are you interested in the history, conservation and community of the Mount Disappointment State Forest and
surrounding areas.
Join “Friends of Disappointment” to share history, photos and ideas.


Volunteers for Young Care Mentor Program urgently Needed

Have you got some spare time? Are you  a good listener? Would you like to help a young person continue with their schooling?  Not-profit organisation Villa Maria Catholic Homes has young carers in the Heathcote Junction area who desperately need support from an adult to help them cope with their day-to-day responsibilities.

Contact Marion Rak on (03) 5722 9046.


Do you consider commuting emails in your fatigue & working hours considerations?

With the installation of Wi-Fi on our rail system here is a study from the UK on extended work hours.

Researchers have suggested that as UK commuters are apparently so regularly using travel time for work

emails that their journeys should be counted as part of the working day. The study from the University of the West of   England found wider access to wi-fi on trains & the spread of mobile phones has extended the working day.

The study involved interviews with 5,000 rail passengers on commuter routes into London as wi-fi 

became more available. The study, presented this week at the Royal Geographical Society, found that 

54% of commuters using train wi-fi were sending work emails. Those on the way to work were catching up with emails sent ahead of the coming day, while those on the return journey were finishing off work not completed during regular working hours. The study examined the impact of an upgrade to free wi-fi on the London to Birmingham & London to Aylesbury routes. It showed that as internet access improved it had the consequence of extending working hours, using laptops & mobile phones. Researchers suggested that smartphones & mobile internet access had caused a blurring of boundaries between work & home life, & this now applied to the journey to work. Instead of technology giving people more flexibility over working, the study showed that people were working extra hours on top of their time in the office. The head researcher from the university's Centre for Transport & Society indicated that it is a real challenge in deciding what constitutes work. Do you account for this in your work hour considerations? Your IT/Telco records will indicate this post incident.                    


Residents in Wandong - Heathcote Junction, particularly in Affleck Street and Dry Creek Crescent are getting no response from authorities to curtail the noise, parking problems and destruction of the Mt Disappointment State Forest by rail bike and 4WD drivers. It is no longer safe to walk or horse ride on the mountain trails due to these uncontrolled vehicles. Mt Disappointment could rival the Dandenongs for beauty and tourism but no authority seems prepared to stop the damage.