Labor bailing out of wild dog controls
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has hit out at the Labor Party’s decision to end the very successful wild dog and fox bounty on November 29.
“As we know there is no easy solution to this problem, but the dog bounty has resulted in over 1,557 wild dog pelts being handed in to date and has proved its worth.
“This government has made a number of positive changes in relation to wild dogs and has not only re-committed to the bounty, but has announced a $4m boost to the aerial baiting program.
“Labor has said it will not fund the bounty and in a major faux pas has said it will put the money into aerial baiting, but the total spend is less than what the Coalition will spend on aerial baiting – while keeping the bounty.
“Under the Coalition you don’t have to choose between one or the other.
“I will give the Labor candidate for Benambra some credit, at least she has expressed her disappointment at her party’s policy. She seems to understand we need all actions, but her city based masters just don’t understand.
“In the past three years the total amount paid out for the bounty was $131,290, while the cost of this year’s two aerial baiting campaigns was around $500,000, so yet again Labor confirms that it does not understand value for money or budgets in general.
“This latest error comes after Labor for many years sat idle and did nothing on the wild dog front,” Mr Bull said.
He said the Coalition had made a number of positive changes including:
• Re-introduction of Lanes traps at the request of doggers and local community members after they were banned by Labor.
• Introduction of the wild dog and fox bounty and then doubled the wild dog bounty in January 2013 to $100, which has seen over 1200 pelts handed in.
• Established and grown community baiting programs with many landholders now participating.
• Maintained 72 hour trap checking for doggers (rather than move to 24 hour checking as was to occur under Labor) to allow doggers more flexibility to go about their business.
• Allowed farmers to undertake dog control measures outside their boundary as part of their co-ordinated baiting programs - with the intention to grow this in more areas.
• Provided iPads to the doggers so data can be entered in the field, removing the need for doggers to spend time in offices and thus allowing more time in the field.
• Now employing contractor and casual staff to provide more flexibility to the dog control program. This is forming the basis of a transition plan with some of the contractors/casuals being employed aged in their 30’s and 40’s.
• Recently changed legislation to allow for the introduction of mobile bait manufacturing stations.
• Recent commitment to completely abolish the 3km buffer zone
• New local Wild Dog Management Zone work plans are also now in place, which contain operational targets and allow government and industry to effectively work together using all available tools including trapping, baiting, shooting, exclusion fencing, guardian animals and good animal husbandry to reduce wild dog impacts.
• Training an additional 25 DEPI Field Service Officers in 1080 bait deployment to assist in peak activity periods.
$223,000 upgrade for Cameron Street Complex
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, met with members of the Maffra community today to announce a $223,000 project to upgrade the Cameron Street Sporting Complex. The project will see the installation of a water bore and upgrade to irrigation infrastructure.
Maffra’s Cameron Street Sporting Complex is soon to receive an upgrade thanks to $100,000 in State funds, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, announced today.
Mr Bull said Wellington Shire Council will contribute $123,000 towards the $223,000 project which will help develop a water bore and upgrade existing irrigation infrastructure to ensure the four turf wickets receive a consistent supply of water.
“This is a great investment for the Maffra community and will make a great sporting complex even better,” he said.
Mr Bull said sport and recreation clubs throughout the state are a vital part of our social fabric, providing a great outlet for community members to not only participate in sport but to interact socially as well.
“That’s why the Victorian Government is delighted to invest in sports facilities that bring even more great benefits to the community, encouraging people to get together and get more active and involved in Maffra,” he said.
“This funding will continue to help Wellington Shire Council develop quality, accessible community sport and recreation facilities that can play an important role in increasing participation, accommodate more people of all abilities, improve the health of the community and host bigger and better events,” Mr Bull said.
Minister for Sport and Recreation, Damian Drum, said the Victorian Government is committed to a more active Victoria and proud to give this timely boost to clubs throughout the state that are the backbone of their communities.
“This investment is recognition of the important role sports clubs play in community development, from providing a place for locals to meet and get active to supporting the development of volunteers,” Mr Drum said.
Mr Bull said the Cameron Street Sporting Complex project in Maffra was one of over 120 projects to receive funding from the 2015/2016 round of the Community Facility Funding Program.
For more information about the Community Facility Funding Program visit www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/sport
Government supports Heyfield memorial
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today announced $65,000 in State funding will go towards the establishment of a memorial in Heyfield for Victorian timber workers. Tim is pictured with John Mahoney (President of Victorian Timber Workers Memorial at Heyfield), Cr Scott Rossetti (Mayor Wellington Shire Council) and Cr Malcolm Hole (Wellington Shire Council).
The Victorian Coalition Government is providing $65,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to establish a permanent memorial to Victoria’s timber workers, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, announced today.
Mr Bull said the project would see a state memorial built in Heyfield, the largest timber town in Victoria, to commemorate workers who lost their lives in the industry.
“Victoria’s timber industry has a rich history and currently there is no memorial in regional Victoria that honours its importance, and those workers who lost their lives,” Mr Bull said.
“This project will establish a site where people can come to commemorate these workers and join with others in remembrance and reflection and I pay tribute to the local group that has met continuously over recent years to see this come to fruition.
“I have met with the group of passionate locals, led by John Mahoney, and it is a pleasure to be able to provide this funding to see their goal realised.
“A public art sculpture will be the centrepiece of the memorial, which will be surrounded by native trees in Heyfield Park.
“Works will include connecting paths, low stone walls, seating, interpretive panels and memorial plaques.
“The project will enhance the Heyfield community’s sense of place, recognising the nine lives that have been lost in the local industry over the last 40 years.
“The unique memorial will also add to the suite of attractions in and around the Heyfield area, drawing new visitors to the region.
“The site is well connected to facilities at Heyfield Park, an existing commemorative walk and the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
“The increase in visitors will have positive flow-on effects for local businesses and there will be local job opportunities during the construction phase.”
Mr Bull said the Victorian Coalition Government funding towards the $141,000 Victorian Timber Memorial project would be provided through the Regional Growth Fund to Wellington Shire Council, which would contribute $40,000, with the Heyfield community providing $36,000.
“The Regional Growth Fund invests in community-led projects to drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria,” Mr Bull said.
Since it was established in 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has supported 1600 projects generating $1.8 billion of total investment.
In Wellington Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided $12.3 million to 46 projects, leveraging $43.5 million in total investment. These projects include:
• $500,000 for the $2.477 million Australian Sustainable Hardwoods expansion project
• $150,000 for the $380,000 Maffra farmhouse cheese expansion project; and
• $200,000 for the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail project (Glengarry to Cowwarr section).
The project is expected to be completed in August 2015.
More aerial baiting for wild dogs
The Victorian Coalition Government commenced more aerial baiting on public land this week as part of intensified efforts to reduce the impact of wild dogs on livestock producers.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said 1476 baits were being deployed at three sites in the North East and a further 2507 at three East Gippsland sites.
“These sites – in the Angora/Cobungra, Bindi and Wonangatta/Punchen Budwied areas of East Gippsland and the Burrowa, Bullhead and Wabba areas of North East Victoria – are being targeted a second time following initial aerial baiting in May this year,” Mr Bull said.
“Aerial baiting was a key election commitment which the Victorian Coalition made prior to coming to office in December 2011, after years of incompetence by the Labor Party.
“The Government received approval to undertake aerial baiting from the Commonwealth in March this year and we have acted quickly to fulfil our commitment.”
Mr Bull said aerial baiting had an important role to play in the Government’s integrated approach to wild dog control that also included trapping, 1080 ground baiting and shooting.
“The Victorian Coalition understands the devastating impact of wild dogs on our state’s livestock industry, with the vicious pests preying on young lambs and calves. We are strongly committed to helping control their numbers,” Mr Bull said.
“The Coalition Government allocated $1.84 million in the 2014-15 State Budget for both aerial and ground 1080 baiting in remote areas over the next four years. To date 1,557 wild dogs have been handed in.
“We have also committed $4 million, if re-elected, to continue the bounty of $100 per wild dog skin and $10 per fox scalp for another four years.
Mr Bull said this Liberal-National Coalition Government has done more to help control wild dogs in four years than the former Labor government even attempted in more than a decade, including:
· Re-introduction of Lanes traps at the request of doggers and local community members after they were banned by Labor.
· Introduction of the wild dog and fox bounty and then doubled the wild dog bounty in January 2013 to $100, which has seen over 1200 pelts handed in.
· Established and grown community baiting programs with many landholders now participating.
· Maintained 72 hour trap checking for doggers (rather than move to 24 hour checking as was to occur under Labor) to allow doggers more flexibility to go about their business.
· Allowed farmers to undertake dog control measures outside their boundary as part of their co-ordinated baiting programs - with the intention to grow this in more areas.
· Provided iPads to the doggers so data can be entered in the field, removing the need for doggers to spend time in offices and this allowing more time in the field.
· Now employing contractor and casual staff to provide more flexibility to the dog control program. This is forming the basis of a transition plan with some of the contractors/casuals being employed aged in their 30’s and 40’s.
· Recently changed legislation to allow for the introduction of mobile bait manufacturing stations.
· Recent commitment to completely abolish the 3km buffer zone
· New local Wild Dog Management Zone work plans are also now in place, which contain operational targets and allow government and industry to effectively work together using all available tools including trapping, baiting, shooting, exclusion fencing, guardian animals and good animal husbandry to reduce wild dog impacts.
Lakes Visitor Information Centre re-opens
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, cuts the ribbon at the opening of the upgraded Lakes Entrance Visitor Information Centre with East Gippsland Shire Council’s Deputy Mayor, Cr Peter Neal, VIC Coordinator - Wendy McPherson and Cr Dick Ellis.
The Lakes Entrance community is celebrating today’s official reopening of its upgraded visitor information centre by the Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said the Victorian Government was proud to invest $260,000 in the Lakes Entrance Visitor Information Centre upgrade.
“Tourism in East Gippsland delivers about $273 million per year to the local economy and the Victorian Government is committed to supporting infrastructure upgrades to boost tourism in the region,” Mr Bull said.
“The Lakes Entrance Visitor Information Centre is the busiest in Gippsland, catering for over 100,000 visitors every year.
“The centre supports local businesses, accommodation providers and local attractions and is essential to increasing tourism in the region.
“It is also an important source of information in a crisis or emergency, such as during the bushfires earlier this year.
“This project has completely refurbished the centre, improving accessibility and energy efficiency.
“New service counters have increased efficiency and enabled staff to deliver a higher quality of service to visitors.
“Technology upgrades allow the centre to provide tourism information in various forms and will be critical to relay information during floods and bushfires,” he said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Peter Ryan, said Victorian Government funding for the Lakes Entrance Visitor Information Centre upgrade was provided through the Regional Growth Fund to East Gippsland Shire Council.
“The $1 billion Regional Growth Fund is investing in community-led projects to boost jobs, investment and innovation in regional and rural Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.
“Since it was established in 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has supported 1600 projects generating $1.8 billion of total investment.
“In East Gippsland Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $11.4 million to 67 projects, leveraging almost $27.4 million in total investment. Projects include:
• $300,000 for the $750,000 Paynesville Esplanade Enhancement Project
• $100,000 for the $3.4 million OneHarvest Beetroot Project
• $950,000 for the $1.7 million Davison Oval - All Abilities Playground
East Gippsland Libraries receive book funding
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, and East Gippsland Shire Mayor, Cr Mark Reeves, receive their new library cards from Narrelle Fox at the opening of the new Mallacoota Library.
East Gippsland Shire Council will receive $9,374 to add new books to its collection in the lead up to next year’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge.
Announcing the funding, in his role as Minister for Local Government, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the popular annual Premiers’ Reading Challenge encouraged more children to read, to read more often and to read more widely.
“The 2014-15 allocation of $1 million from the Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund provides a wonderful boost to library stocks, for the benefit of Victoria’s young readers,” Mr Bull said.
“This is part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to improving literacy skills for our younger Victorians.
“Readers already have rich pickings – from Asimov, Bronte, Dickens, D H Lawrence, Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl, Graeme Base and J K Rowling to name just a few of the authors to challenge and delight children of all ages. And there’ll be even more to come thanks to this latest allocation from the Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said Victoria has a world class public library network and the Victorian Coalition Government is intent on improving library services and facilities across the state.
“We have some great library facilities in East Gippsland, including the new Bairnsdale Library and the new Mallacoota Library I opened last week.
“The four-year $4.5 million Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund complements this government’s $17.2 million Living Libraries Infrastructure Fund, and the $38.6 million Public Libraries Funding Program – providing record funding the state’s library network,” Mr Bull said.
Victoria’s ever-popular Premiers’ Reading Challenge is supported by former Premiers Ted Baillieu, Steve Bracks, John Brumby, John Cain, Jeff Kennett and Joan Kirner.