Fox and dog bounty commences
Foxes and wild dogs now have a price on their head, with the Victorian Coalition Government’s fox and wild dog bounty commencing Saturday.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said it was the latest in a range of actions this government had initiated to combat the wild dog problem in the region.
Among measures introduced in 2011 have been:
• The extension of 72 hour trap checking (which was to become 24hr) to allow doggers more flexibility to carry out their work. • The announcement that the aerial baiting trial will commence this autumn. • Restructuring of the wild dog management group that will allow communities to have more of a say in the overall control program. • A commitment to review (currently underway) trap sizes and changes to the presently restrictive 3km buffer zone.
“These are all changes Labor refused to consider in 11 years in government and whilst there are still stock losses occurring, we are putting measures in place to make an impact.
“The bounty will reward Victorian farmers and hunters with $10 for each fox and $50 for each wild dog that is killed from 1 October,” Mr Bull said.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the $4 million bounty would be open state-wide over the next four years.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to reinstate a true and proper fox and wild dog bounty,” Mr Walsh said.
Hunters will need to submit an entire fox scalp, including both ears and the skin surrounding the eyes and the nose in an air-dried, fresh or frozen condition to collect the reward.
To collect the reward on wild dogs, a single piece of skin including the skin and fur running from the snout, including the ears, along the animal’s back and the tail is required.
Mr Walsh said there were 21 collection points across regional Victoria for fox scalps and eight collection centres for wild dogs with collections to start from 17 October.
“Specialist DPI staff will visit each location monthly in order to collect the skins and pay the bounty,” Mr Walsh said.
Any Victorian can collect the fox bounty, however only landholders in designated wild dog control areas and financial members of the Sporting Shooters Association Victoria, Field and Game Australia and the Australian Deer Association will be eligible for the wild dog bounty.
Mr Walsh said the reinstatement of the fox and wild dog bounty would give community groups, landholders and shooting organisations an active role in controlling Victoria’s fox problem.
“The bounty is a long-term, year-round commitment to pest control. The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to ensuring fox and wild dog control is not funded on a temporary, ad-hoc basis,” Mr Walsh said.
“The fox and wild dog bounty replaces Labor’s ineffective FoxStop program which saw just 17,146 foxes submitted over three years, compared with 198,000 foxes killed when the fox bounty was last trialled in 2003.
“The Coalition is delivering for regional Victoria by reintroducing the fox bounty program eight years after it was scrapped by the previous government.
“We have also committed to introducing aerial baiting of wild dogs next autumn in parts of Victoria’s high country,” Mr Walsh said.
Full details of the Victorian Fox and Wild Dog Bounty, including terms and conditions and monthly collection times, are available at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/bounty or by contacting the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Better access for youth mental health services
Young people across the region in out-of-home care will have priority access to mental health services under the new Chief Psychiatrist’s Guideline, according to Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said, the guideline introduces priority services for infants, children and young people in out-of-home care who suffer from mental illness, a significant developmental delay, functional impairment and emotional or psychological distress.
“These young people have often had experiences in their lives which warrants them getting priority access to services they desperately need. Joining these services is critical to making sure this happens for children in out-of-home care,” said Mr Bull.
Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge, said the responsibility for providing support does not rest solely with one service or person, and that staff would now have the training and support to understand the situations of these young people.
“Not surprisingly, children and young people who have experienced significant trauma have a high incidence of mental illness and behaviours such as substance abuse and self-harm,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“We recognise that we need to take action for children who have been neglected and abused to support them to get their lives back on track.”
Mr Bull said, “it’s time to put individual young people back at the centre of the service and the guideline will assist in doing this. It says to them, yes you are a priority of our support”.
Honouring police officers on Blue Ribbon Day
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, attended the National Police Remembrance Day service at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Bairnsdale, paying tribute to members of the force who have lost their lives in the past 12 months.
“The police play an integral role in upholding law and order and community safety and today’s service recognised those who have served the Australian people.
“We need to engender greater respect for the police and the work they do within the community,” Mr Bull said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Peter Ryan, said that in Victoria 157 brave men and women police officers have died while protecting and serving their community.
“National Police Remembrance Day is an important time for all Victorians and Australians to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who died in the line of duty and to celebrate their lives and achievements.
“Known across Victoria as Blue Ribbon Day, today is also a time for us to praise the members of Victoria Police who continue to serve our community displaying bravery in the face of adversity.
“Victorians proudly wear blue and white ribbons to show support, appreciation and remember those brave police officers who have died while striving to make our state safer.”
Since being established in 1988, the Blue Ribbon Foundation has raised more than $5.4 million to buy specialised emergency equipment for public hospitals across Victoria, which assist about 200,000 Victorians every year.
$1 million airport upgrade a boost for Mallacoota
Mallacoota has secured its position as a significant air transport hub for the south eastern district of Australia, following the completion of a $1 million upgrade of the Mallacoota Airport.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who officially opened the new facility today, said “air travel services are a major contributor to the economic development of remote areas such as Mallacoota and the upgrade will allow for more reliable and swift access to markets for a range of high-value and time-critical regional products.”
“It also improves the reliable access for health and medical services and access to the world-class South East Coastal Wilderness Region.”
Mr Bull said the airport, which was originally a defence and training facility for the RAAF during WWII, had been under-utilised, but a new era was beginning.
• Installation of pilot activated runway lighting to enable 24-hour operation; • Sealing of the runways, taxiways and aircraft parking apron, which enables all-weather operations; • Installation of a permanent refuelling facility to improve aircraft services and safety; • Expansion of the terminal and facilities to provide a basic level of services to patrons.
“Mallacoota is a strategically located hub, providing access to planes flying west to Melbourne, north into NSW and to Tasmania and the Bass Strait Islands to the south,” Mr Bull said.
The Victorian Government provided $791,000 towards the upgrade project with the remainder of the funds provided by the East Gippsland Shire Council.
Mr Bull said, “the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to providing better infrastructure, facilities and services to regional and rural communities.”
“The Coalition Government is supporting the regions through our flagship $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is all about driving regional development across the State, creating new opportunities for economic and social growth in regional towns.”
Workshop breathes new life into war memorabilia
More than 40 RSL memorabilia officers and community volunteers were taught the skills to better preserve and manage their community‟s war-related material today at regional Victoria‟s first Victorian Veterans Heritage Workshop, held at Gippsland‟s Veteran‟s Welfare Centre in Sale.
Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull, who was on hand to launch the event, said the workshop was designed to strengthen the capacity of RSLs, community museums and other heritage organisations to better preserve and display their historical artefacts.
“This workshop ensures our regional volunteers don‟t miss out on the necessary skills and knowledge to protect, preserve, manage and share their community‟s cherished collections,” Mr Bull said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to preserving the legacy of our veterans and passing on their deeds to a new generation.
“Collectively Victoria has over 300 RSLs as well as hundreds of local museums, Legacy branches and other veterans groups. Each are custodians of thousands of objects and documents that help tell the story of Australia‟s wartime history.” Mr Bull said throughout the day participants learnt how to store and protect objects and documents, and were shown various methods of displaying materials safely and cataloguing collections of certificates, uniforms, photos and other items from museum professionals.
“It is pleasing that we are able to bring this workshop to regional Victoria for the first time and in doing so provide the opportunity for those who live in Gippsland to participate,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said, other related projects include the Victorian Government‟s „Digital Storytelling‟ workshops, which so far have recorded the wartime experiences of over 120 Victorian veterans and civilians from across regional and metropolitan Victoria as part of a future online Virtual Veterans Museum.
“Veteran memorabilia and stories provide a valuable insight into our past and those important qualities that make up the Anzac spirit,” Mr Bull said.
“Working together, we can ensure that our important wartime history is preserved, so that the legacy of our veterans is there to inspire future generations of Victorians.”
For more information about the Veterans‟ Heritage Workshops visit www.veterans.vic.gov.au
Local war history just a click away
A new easy to use database site where you can literally punch in your postcode and find out about local war memorials, avenues of honour and memorial buildings has been launched in Victoria.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the database is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to educate the community about the importance of our war memorials and monuments and remembering the sacrifice our veterans and current serving personnel have made for our country.
Known as the Victorian War Heritage Inventory, the searchable database contains information and images of sites relating to Victoria’s war history sites and places of commemoration and can be found on the Victorian Veterans Virtual Museum at www.veterans.vic.gov.au
Also currently open is ‘The Premier’s Spirit of ANZAC Prize’, an annual competition held to select 10 students to participate in a study tour of important sites where Australians have served in war, centred on Gallipoli or the Western Front.
“I would encourage all eligible students to think about applying for the 2012 Premier’s Spirit of ANZAC Prize.”
“The Prize is open to all year 9 and 10 students currently enrolled in all Victorian government, Catholic and Independent secondary schools and applications need to be submitted by 21 October, 2011,” said Mr Bull.
For further information go to: www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/veterans/premiers-spirit-of-anzac-prize