New dozer to assist firefighting effort
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today welcomed a new first-attack D6 dozer to further support firefighters and planned burning operations in East Gippsland
Through Victorian Coalition Government funding, the $700,000 Caterpillar D6 dozer is a welcome addition to the state’s equipment resources.
Mr Bull said the new dozer will complement existing plant and equipment within the district and greatly improve the capability for planned burn preparation and firefighting.
“First attack dozers play a critical role during planned burns and fires,” Mr Bull said. “They clear access tracks and construct control lines for burns and fires and during fires they also support on-ground firefighters to protect both public and private assets.”
Just hours after the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) team at Bairnsdale welcomed the arrival of their new bulldozer at Swifts Creek, it was put to work undertaking track clearing and boundary preparation works for planned burning.
Staff across the region met north of Swifts Creek to familiarise themselves with the new machine and undertake training in its operation before it was put to work in the field.
DEPI’s Infrastructure Manager for Gippsland, Peter Jephcott, said there will be no shortage of work for the new dozer, once training for the DEPI team at Bairnsdale is complete.
“It’s got quite a job ahead of it - the new machine replaces an old dozer that has successfully serviced the area for over 10 years,” Mr Jephcott said.
“When the new dozer is not being used for fire suppression, it will assist with preparations for planned burning and road maintenance.”
The Caterpillar D6 comes with state-of-the art technology includes GPS tracking systems and a range of safety features to allow it to operate in forested areas.
The new edition is one of two D6 Dozers replaced this year by the Coalition Government, making up a permanent fleet of 47 bulldozers.
New depot at Bendoc open for fire season
The staff at the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) depot in Bendoc had a lot to smile about today as their new incident control centre was officially opened by the Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, Brad Battin and State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said having the depot fully operational and ready for the upcoming fire season was a great result for the local community. “The Bendoc DEPI office is a Level 3 Incident Control Centre, which is able to handle a full-scale emergency incident.
“The depot redevelopment will play a key role as a Level 3 Staging Area, where task force crews and heavy machinery can now be accommodated whilst waiting for deployment.
“The new depot is a great addition to fire service facilities available in the district,” said Mr Bull.
Mr Battin said the new $4.7 million depot is part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s stronger regional focus and commitment to boost service delivery to regional areas.
“Our ability to effectively manage emergency situations and planned burning operations across the remote alpine area in this region is critical,” Mr Battin said.
Located on a significant slope, the new depot was built on two levels to maximise use of space at the site.
It has been designed specifically to withstand snow and hailstorms that are not uncommon in the area, incorporating best practice standards in chemical and fuel stores, and offers fantastic new amenities for local and visiting crew.
Fresh prawns from Lake Tyers on the Christmas menu
The Coalition Government has stocked 1 million more Eastern King prawns into Lake Tyers to improve recreational fishing opportunities, Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull announced today.
Mr Bull said this brought the total number of prawns stocked into Lake Tyers since February to 1.3 million.
“Anglers at Lake Tyers can expect Eastern King prawns as part of their catch for Christmas and Easter this season,” Mr Bull said.
“These additional 1 million prawn larvae will significantly boost the Lake Tyers prawn population and provide significant catch opportunities for recreational fishers in 2014.
“Following a smaller stocking of prawns in February, this stocking is the largest of its kind in Victoria and will provide a useful benchmark for other estuarine stocking projects.
“It has been funded from the sale of recreational fishing licenses, which demonstrates how the Coalition Government is putting fishers’ fees straight back into improving fishing opportunities across the state.”
The previous stocking of prawns in February is expected to reach a catchable size by Christmas and the prawns been regularly monitored by the University of New South Wales
“The University has found that because the prawn larvae were released in the upper reaches of Lake Tyers in February, they should have escaped the flooding events of June,” Mr Bull said.
“It is estimated that less than 20 per cent of the prawns left the estuary when the entrance opened because most would have been sheltered in seagrass and sediment to protect themselves from high flows.”
Prawn stocking in estuaries along the south-eastern Australian coast, particularly in New South Wales, has been successful in recent times and yielded good results for anglers.
The stocked prawns can be distinguished from wild prawns through genetic sampling methods.
For more information about the project visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/prawnstocking
All Abilities Playground opens for fun
Around 500 children and their families attended Saturday’s All Abilities Playground opening in Bairnsdale by State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said the new state-of-the-art playground at Davison Oval in Bairnsdale would accommodate people with special needs and provide a much needed place to stop for travellers through the region.
“Almost 10 years ago parents of children with special needs and regional disability service providers recognised a lack of specialised playgrounds in Bairnsdale and East Gippsland more generally,” Mr Bull said.
“Today we open a facility that has come to fruition through the hard work of many local community members and organisations.
“The Victorian Coalition committed to contribute $500,000 towards the abilities playground in Bairnsdale in the lead up to the 2010 Victorian Election.
“The Coalition Government has delivered on this commitment and with strong inputs from east Gippsland Shire and significant community fundraising – families can now enjoy a safe, fun and adventurous playground which will provide for people of all abilities.
“The playground design has a strong emphasis upon creating an experience for people with special needs, but it is open for the enjoyment of all.
“It is also strongly focused on families with the development of a barbeque area, a stylish pathway to link up the playground components and soft-fall rubber in relevant areas to protect playmakers.
“It includes an access road, parking and new public conveniences.”
Mr Bull said the playground was also unique because it incorporated key themes of East Gippsland, including a timber mill and a shipwreck.
“Projects like these provide joy to local communities and energise business and volunteer groups,” Mr Bull said.
“It will also become a popular tourist stopover point, which will contribute to the overall social and economic growth of the district.”
Deputy Premier, Peter Ryan welcomed completion of the project and said the Coalition Government was proud to invest $950,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund in the playground, with the East Gippsland Shire Council contributing $600,000 and the East Gippsland All Abilities Playground Committee well in excess of $100,000. “The Regional Growth Fund is supporting local government and community groups to invest in community-led projects that may otherwise have not come to fruition,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Regional Growth Fund is driving jobs and investment growth and delivering vital new infrastructure to regional and rural Victorian communities. “Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $360 million to support over 1,240 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging almost $1.5 billion in total investment.”
Mr Ryan said across East Gippsland Shire the Regional Growth Fund had provided more than $10 million for 56 projects, leveraging almost $30 million of total investment.
Regional Growth Fund to enhance Alpine Road experience
Upgrades to two lookouts on the Great Alpine Road, opened this week by the State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, will enhance visitor experiences of the High Country.
They were funded with a $140,000 allocation via the State Government’s Local Government Infrastructure Fund, which is provided to councils to use for local projects.
Mr Bull said the projects have involved substantial landscaping works at Kosciuszko Lookout, north of Omeo and Connors Hill, south of Ensay. The opening took place at Kosciuszko Lookout.
“Both lookouts are key stopping points for travellers on the Great Alpine Road,” Mr Bull said.
“These upgrades will significantly enhance visitor experience at the sites, raise the attractiveness of the lookouts for purposes of media promotion, and encourage more visitors to enjoy all that the High Country has to offer,” Mr Bull said.
“The project involved new picnic table seating, the planting of indigenous species and a new rock wall and rock paving.”
“East Gippsland artist, Josephine Jakobi, has also put her stamp on the project with stainless steel moths at Kosciuszko Lookout and stainless steel tubing at Connors Hill.”
Deputy Premier, Peter Ryan, said the Coalition Government was proud to invest $140,000 from its flagship $1 billion Regional Growth Fund towards the development of the two lookouts.
“The Regional Growth Fund is investing in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.
“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $360 million to support over 1240 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging almost $1.5 billion in total investment.”
For more information about the Regional Growth Fund visit www.rdv.vic.gov.au/regional-growth-fund
Bass stocks increased in local waterways
Fisheries Victoria recently released 82,000 Australian bass into nine Gippsland waters to further improve recreational fishing opportunities in the region.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said releases of bass in previous years were starting to deliver for anglers, and this latest stocking would further boost local fishing opportunities.
“Australian bass are a popular sportfish, highly regarded by freshwater anglers,” Mr Bull said.
“Fisheries Victoria has now stocked more than 400,000 bass into Gippsland since 2002 and this investment is paying off with legal size bass of 27 centimetres becoming increasingly common.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to improving recreational fishing opportunities across the state and maintaining Gippsland’s status as a quality fishing destination.
“We are spending $16 million through the Recreational Fishing Initiative to not only stock fish but also improve access and facilities, upgrade boat launching facilities, build new fishing reefs, undertake more fisheries research and strengthen fisheries enforcement and education.
“On top of this the Recreational Fishing Grants Program invests licence fees straight back into local projects that improve angling opportunities across the state.”
The bass fingerlings, averaging 2-3cm each, were released into:
Blue Rock Lake – 25,000 Lake Glenmaggie – 10,000 Mitchell River– 10,000 Tambo River – 10,000 Nicholson River – 10,000 Narracan Lake – 10,000 Avon River – 3,000 Cowwarr Weir – 2,000 Macalister River, downstream of Lake Glenmaggie – 2,000
Mr Bull said Lake Glenmaggie in particular was gaining momentum with anglers enjoying success from the shore using worms.
“One local man and his father landed five bass between 25 and 28cm in one session at Lake Glenmaggie during September. He was so happy about it he rang Fisheries to report his success,” Mr Bull said.
For more information about fish stocking visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/fisheries