Residents urged to look-out for scams
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is reminding local residents to be on the look-out for scams with Consumer Affairs Victoria receiving more than 6,770 reports of scams in the last financial year, up from around 4,700 reports in 2009-2010.
“Scammers often pose as legitimate institutions, pretending to be from companies such as Microsoft or Sensis Yellow Pages or government agencies including the Australian Tax Office, the Department of Treasury and even Consumer Affairs Victoria,” said Mr Bull.
“Victims of scams are diverse, but seniors who live alone are especially vulnerable and might respond to a scam letter out of loneliness, or to a busy small business owner who accidentally pays a fake invoice.
“Scams can be very difficult to identify from the real thing so consumers need to educate themselves about the tactics scammers may use to deceive them,” said Mr Bull.
Tips to avoid a scam:
Don't respond to unsolicited e-mails, texts or phone calls requesting personal information from anyone you don’t know or trust.
Check your bank and credit card account statements regularly.
Always look up phone numbers in an independent directory when you wish to check if a request or offer is genuine.
Remember that even an offer that looks enticing or genuine could still be a scam.
"Consumers who receive unsolicited requests for personal details or an upfront payment should always ask themselves if it could be a scam. These could come in the form of an offer a pre-approved credit card, an apparent inheritance or a fabulous prize or holiday.
“Anyone who thinks they’ve been approached by a scammer should report it. Authorities rely on the information that you provide to warn others about the scams out there,” said Mr Bull.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Michael O’Brien, said scammers were constantly finding new ways to con innocent people out of their hard earned dollars.
For further information or to dob-in-a-scam call 1300 55 81 81 or visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au to try out Consumer Affairs Victoria's online scams quiz.
New wild dog advisory committee
The Victorian Coalition Government has established a new advisory committee on wild dogs to give local community groups more input into control measures.
It is the latest in a series of measures this Government has introduced to combat the problem, including:
The extension of 72 hour trap checking (which was to become 24hrs) to allow doggers more flexibility to carry out their work. The announcement that the aerial baiting trial will commence this autumn. The introduction last weekend of a new wild dog and fox bounty. A commitment to review (currently underway) trap sizes and changes to the presently restrictive 3km buffer zone around private freehold for dog control actions.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the new group has been put in place to provide the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) with valuable localised advice and input on wild dog control measures.
“The problem is ongoing and in recent weeks we have seen attacks continue, but with the new measures in place we will hopefully see the tide start to turn.”
Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said the changes deliver on the Victorian Coalition Government’s promise to reinvigorate the wild dog management committees.
“The new statewide committee replaces the Gippsland and North East Wild Dog Management Groups and will be supported by a number of local, community-led wild dog control groups.”
The committee is chaired by former Biosecurity Victoria executive director Peter Bailey and includes affected landholders from the North East, Gippsland and North West of Victoria.
The committee also includes representatives from the Victorian Farmers Federation, catchment management authorities, the forestry plantation industry, DPI, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Parks Victoria.
Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries, Bill Sykes, said the new committee would be charged with reviewing the effectiveness of wild dog control programs in Victoria and adopting national best practice.
“Since the election we have been consulting with landowners and farm groups on what practical changes can be made to reduce wild dog predation,” Dr Sykes said.
“We are also reviewing trap sizes and changes to the restrictive three kilometre buffer zone.”
Mr Walsh thanked the Gippsland and North East Wild Dog Management Groups for their efforts over the past nine years to better manage wild dogs in their regions.
Nominate a terrific teacher
To celebrate World Teachers' Day on Friday, 28 October, the Victorian Institute of Teaching is inviting students, parents and community members to nominate a teacher who matters.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said “World Teachers Day is an important day when we can acknowledge and celebrate the invaluable way in which teachers contribute to and define our communities.”
“The Victorian Institute of Teaching is also seeking nominations for the ‘World Teachers Day Awards’ and I encourage anyone who knows a teacher that they feel has made a significant contribution to their school and local community to nominate them.
“It might be a teacher who inspires colleagues, expands students’ horizons, or one who challenges a community to engage in a particular project.
“These Awards recognise the important role teachers play in building a better future for our children and communities,” Mr Bull said.
For further information contact the Victorian Institute of Teaching on 1300 888 067 or visit www.vit.vic.edu.au/wtd11
Youth community programs open
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is encouraging members of the local community and young people aged between 12-25 years to get engaged and play a role in the decision making of their local communities.
“The Coalition is committed to providing a range of opportunities for young people to participate in our community in a way in which they feel they are contributing at both a local and state level,” said Mr Bull.
Minister for Youth Affairs, Ryan Smith, recently announced two initiatives Engage! and Involve.
‘Engage’ a Victorian Government program administered by the Office for Youth provides early support and engages with young people aged 12-25 years to actively participate in and benefit from civic, economic and social activities in their community.
Funding between $30,000-$50,000 per annum is available to community organisations and local government to deliver the Engage! program and applications close 21 October, 2011.
For further information and applications visit www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/engage
Nominations are also open for a new Youth Ministerial Advisory Committee - ‘Involve’ which provides a unique opportunity for young people to meet with the Minister for Youth and other leaders and convey their views and provide advice on a range of interest areas.
The ‘Involve’ committee will include two people from every Victorian region; one representative aged between 12-17 and one aged between 18-25.
“I also encourage people to apply for this exciting opportunity to have a say in government decision-making processes and strengthening regional youth networks,” said Mr Bull.
To nominate for the ‘Involve’ committee visit www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/involve
Funding for better disabled access
Bendoc Community Centre is one of 27 Neighbourhood Houses to share in $450,000 of funding under the Victorian Government’s ‘Small Inclusion Grants Program’ (SIG) which helps support people with disabilities so they can more easily participate in community activities.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said “the Bendoc Progress Association was successful in receiving $5,000 which will be used to improve disabled access to their Community Centre, leading to better education and employment outcomes for community members with a disability.”
“The Bendoc Progress Association has been actively committed to the sustainability of Bendoc for over 100 years. This includes providing various services that benefit the community such as adult education programs,” said Mr Bull.
Secretary and Co-ordinator of the Bendoc Progress Association, Barbara Philbrick, said “we recognise the fact that more and more people, especially seniors, have difficulties or disabilities and the grant was specifically requested to extend the current ramp so that people in wheel chairs or walkers could more easily access the centre.
“The Bendoc Progress Association has been working for a number of years to gain funding to improve its facilities and especially recognises the region’s ageing population.
“Along with a bus with wheelchair access, we have also installed computers with touch screens and ergonomically designed computer mouses to assist seniors and those with a disability to participate in social and educational activities,” said Ms Philbrick.
Mr Bull said, “there are more than 360 Neighbourhood Houses in Victoria providing social, educational and recreational activities and these centres should be easily accessible places that accommodate the varying needs of all members of the community.
“The funds are part of the Coalition’s promise to improve facilities for people with a disability and will be used for a range of infrastructure and program improvements to increase participation in activities at local Neighbourhood Houses,” he said.
Improved access to Sydenham Inlet
Recreational anglers can enjoy improved fishing facilities at Sydenham Inlet thanks to $84,560 from the Recreational Fishing Grants Program, and funding received from East Gippsland Shire Council.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said “the Bemm River Angling Club has built a fishing platform and access paths at this popular Gippsland spot and the new platform is a welcome addition to Sydenham Inlet and good news for shore based anglers and families.”
“The platform will further improve this destination for newcomers to fishing, particularly for children,” Mr Bull said.
“Providing safe and convenient access to the water, the platform will mean anglers can fish year round for flathead, bream, luderick, mullet and whiting.”
Mr Bull said, “the funding from the Recreational Grants Program meant anglers visiting Sydenham Inlet were now safely separated from the boat launching area.”
“Built to provide access for all abilities, the fishing platform features seating and there are plans to install safety beacons and boardwalk lighting,” Mr Bull said.
For more information about how fishing licence fees are improving angling opportunities visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/fishinggrants.