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F.C.A.T.A. update – 20th July 2011

July 20, 2011
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 she 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 Desmond
Chief Executive Officer
Fraser Coast Regional Council

I responded to Ms Desmond’s message rather hastily 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

“… 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:

This post is to update all FCATA interest members to the current status – I feel that this Council is as inept as ever and has no real interest in addressing the self-help needs of the 20,000+ disabled and aged pensioners in any real or meaningful 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 and I urge you all to take this FCATA program to all your local Councillors – their collective E-Mail for messages is linked here: All Councillors

Please send your messages to your Councillor 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 responses 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 …

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