Minister pays a visit
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said today he was disappointed that the previous Government had bungled the introduction of laws to stop smoking in cars when children were present.
“I am not a great fan of smoking it can be said. I respect the right for adults to make their own decisions, but children in vehicles have no choice when exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke.
“Research has found that levels of tobacco smoke in cars can reach concentrations much higher than levels possible in homes or other enclosed rooms,” he said.
Mr Bull praised Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, Damian Drum, who has been a long term campaigner for laws to stop children smoking or being exposed to tobacco smoke.
“Mr Drum introduced a Private Members’ Bill in 2009 to ban smoking in cars when children were present and a range of other reforms designed to make it harder for children to obtain tobacco or be exposed to it,” said Mr Bull.
“This Bill passed through the Upper House, but in a shock move, Labor blocked it from even being debated in the Lower House. The Brumby Government then brought in its own legislation which wasn’t adequate.
“In essence the way Labor mismanaged it meant the laws designed to stop adults smoking in cars when children were present could not really be enforced. This has all been at the expense of our kids.
“In the first 12 months of Labor’s version of this law, 292 infringements were recorded – but they could not be enforced,” said Mr Bull.
During debate on the smoking laws in parliament last week, Mr Drum was widely praised for his ground-breaking work in bringing in the Private Member’s Bill and the Health Minister David Davis has told Parliament he will fix the problem left by Labor.
“I pay tribute to Mr Drum who led the way by introducing measures to ban smoking in cars which carry those under 18,” he said.
Attorney General, Robert Clark, said in the Lower House “so it is an important issue. If any further support for the fact that it is an important issue is needed, it is remarks made by the then Minister for Health in a media release of 18 December 2009 announcing that the smoking bans in cars would take effect from 1 January 2010”.
“Research shows there is no risk-free level of second-hand smoke in confined areas such as cars, in fact the air quality when a person smokes in a car is similar to that of a smoky pub.
“The then Minister for Health, the current Leader of the Opposition, was absolutely correct in making those points. Unfortunately there was no man with a plan around at that time to ensure that the relevant regulations were made so that these infringements could be properly enforced,” Mr Clark said.
Tostaree follow up
The Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (OESC) will be conducting a follow-up community presentation into the February 1 Tostaree fire.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the presentation will be held on Wednesday 29 June at the Nowa Nowa Community Health Centre, Hall Road from 7.30pm – 9.00pm.
“Once again, I encourage all members of the community to continue to be involved and participate in these community briefings to assist the OESC in finalising its report to the Fire Services Commissioner, which is due to presented at the end of July,” said Mr Bull.
“At the initial meetings a number of concerns were raised by local residents. The OESC said they would return to provide an update, and I am pleased this is going ahead.
“Members of the local community, especially individuals who were personally impacted by the fires, will have a final opportunity to be briefed by the department on its preliminary findings prior to the report being lodged.”
Morton praised by MP
Having praised the feats of young sporting champion Darcie Morton in Parliament recently, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull took the opportunity to personally catch-up with the budding table tennis star to get an update on her latest achievements.
Darcie, her mother Selina, and younger sister Damika, popped into meet the local member on their way to Melbourne where Darcie was due to compete at the “60th Annual Victorian Country Table Tennis Championships” being held at the Melbourne Sport & Aquatic Centre.
Together with team mates Pranav Gaur and Lorraine Yeates of Bairnsdale, Darcie was part of the winning Division D3 team and also runner-up in the Junior Girls.
A week before the Melbourne tournament, Darcie had also competed at the Albury – Wodonga Open, winning the under 18’s, 15’s and 13’s singles, an extraordinary achievement for one so young!
When asked how she feels about table tennis and competing in tournaments, Darcie said, “I just love the sport and even practising is fun and not a chore at all.”
Tim said, “it is obvious that Selina and her husband Cameron are dedicated and supportive parents, often required to drive long distances so that Darcie can compete at the various tournaments, allowing her talent and prowess to grow even further in the sport she loves.”
“It can sometimes be very difficult for young, aspiring rural sportsmen and women to continue with their careers without the ongoing support family and friends provide. Selina and Cameron are to be commended,” he said.
Minister to visit Lake Tyers
Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Jeanette Powell, gave an undertaking in Parliament this week to visit the Lake Tyers Trust within the next two months, after receiving a formal request from Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull explained to Parliament that earlier this year there was a blockade at the entrance to the Trust with some members of the local community raising a range of concerns.
“I note the Minister had a previous visit planned that was cancelled as it coincided with the state funeral of boxing legend, Lionel Rose.
“However, there remain a number of issues that the Lake Tyers community wishes to discuss. These include progress of the community renewal program, cultural heritage management issues, community plans and ongoing governance arrangements and I call on the Minister to visit the Trust,” Mr Bull said.
“Responding later in the sitting period, Minister Powell said she was pleased to advise she would be visiting in either late July or early August and that she was looking forward to discussing the community’s issues, aspirations and concerns.
“I know the Member for Gippsland East has some strong friendships with members of that community and I would be delighted for him to accompany me on that visit.
“It is important to remember that it was the people of Lake Tyers who originally approached the Government to address a serious breakdown in the administration of the Trust.
“There was general agreement that short term fixes had failed the community and hence the establishment of a 10 year plan to build the Lake Tyers communities capacity to govern itself was put in place.
“For the long term future of the community, I am committed to seeing that 10 year renewal plan through to completion and I am also committed to discussing the necessary steps and requirements to enable the community to move towards suitable and effective self-governance arrangements,” Ms Powell said.
ANZAC study tour
Year nine and 10 students from East Gippsland Secondary Colleges have the chance to participate in a two week study tour as part of the Premier’s Spirit of ANZAC Prize.
The prize is open to students at all Victorian secondary schools who are currently in years nine or 10.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is encouraging all students in these year levels to consider entering and taking advantage of the opportunity to visit sites of military and cultural significance to Australian servicemen and women.
“The Premier’s Spirit of ANZAC Prize is intended to inspire young people to explore the ethos the ANZACs displayed at Gallipoli and on the Western Front and to reflect on how those values apply in Victorian communities today,” he said.
“Since its inception in 2004, this important initiative has captured the imagination of students eager to learn more about Australia’s service history and given them the chance to see first hand those places where Australian men and women gave their all for future generations.”
Entries for the tour close on Friday 21 October, 2011 and all entries will be assessed by regional panels before 27 finalists are interviewed by a central panel in December to select the 10 students who will participate.
The tour will take place during the term one school holidays in 2012.
For more information, or to download an entry form, visit www.veterans.vic.gov.au