Anti-violence program expansion
An East Gippsland program aimed at stopping men from using violence against women and children can now educate over 50 per cent more men to change and manage their behaviour after receiving a significant funding boost from the State Government.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said Gippsland Lakes Community Health will receive $60,000 over four years to deliver expanded voluntary men’s behaviour change programs in East Gippsland, which was identified as an area that will benefit from an expansion of this service.
“The rate of violence against women and children in Gippsland is something we need to address and I have no doubt this initiative will be successful,” he said.
Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge, said that the Victorian Coalition Government has committed $2.1 million over four years for a 22 per cent state-wide expansion of voluntary behaviour change programs for men who use violence, with the aim of breaking the cycle of violence and reducing recidivism.
“This funding will provide more than 1000 additional places in behaviour change programs for men who use violence,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Ms Wooldridge said that the programs are delivered according to the No To Violence minimum standards for running men's behaviour change programs.
Participants are assessed for motivation, intention and suitability for the programs, which include group work, as well as individual counselling, advocacy and support.
“The Men’s Behaviour Change Programs are a key initiative of Victoria’s Action Plan to Address Violence Against Women and Children 2012-2015, which is supported by more than $90 million in funding this year,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“The action plan outlines the Coalition’s commitment to preventing family violence occurring, to intervening earlier when it does occur, and to holding perpetrators to account.”
Services are being expanded where there is a high incidence of family violence, where the incidence is increasing, and/or where there are high rates of substantiated child neglect and abuse.
For more information on the action plan visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/actionplantoaddressviolence
Cabbage Tree Creek Community Hall revamp
The Cabbage Tree Creek Community Hall is set for an upgrade following a $12,200 investment by the Victorian Coalition Government from its $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Secretary of the Cabbage Tree Creek Hall Committee of Management, Kathy Woods, said the Committee welcomed the funding to help further the restoration of a wonderful community asset.
“The committee of management has been working hard to bring the hall back to life and once again become the centre of the local community.
“Achievements have been many, including restumping and reroofing the hall building, sealing the car park, refurbishing the toilet facility and purchasing new cupboards and benches to construct a useable kitchen.
“The hall now houses a library, children’s toy room (under development) and a small gym, has been used for birthday and other celebrations and hopefully there will be a ‘Back to Cabbage Tree Creek’ event in the not too distant future,” she said.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the funding towards the $16,267 project would be used to repair termite damage to the doors and windows which will enable the hall to retain heat more effectively in the winter months.
“Retired members of the community use the gym equipment twice weekly, which delivers great physical and social health benefits that were only available at Orbost.
“A local project manager with extensive experience in building, carpentry and drafting, will oversee the work, which will be performed by local tradespeople.”
Mr Bull said Cabbage Tree’s current population of about 60 residents was expected to increase following the renovation and sale of what were formerly timber worker’s houses.
“The project is supported by long term resident families, as the hall has been a very important part of the community's history and heritage,” he said.
Mr Bull said the Victorian Government was proud to invest in the project with funding from its Regional Growth Fund provided to the Cabbage Tree Creek Hall Committee of Management, which would contribute close to $4000.
For more information about the Regional Growth Fund visit www.rdv.vic.gov.au/regional-growth-fund
New depot and office for Swifts Creek
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said construction has started on the $10 million Swifts Creek Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) office and depot.
The redevelopment is part of the State Government’s stronger regional focus and commitment to boost service delivery to regional areas.
Mr Bull said Swifts Creek is a crucial Level 3 Incident Control Centre, meaning it is able to handle a full-scale, multi-agency emergency incident as well as playing a key role in planned burning operations.
“The office will be completely redeveloped to bring all emergency management functions and facilities under one roof and provide improved response to community stakeholder expectations and a one stop shop community service,” Mr Bull said.
“The depot will provide purpose-built facilities designed to ensure a safer work environment, assist day to day works delivery and emergency preparation and response operations.
“The existing facilities are aged and disjointed with a number of extensions and portable buildings added over the years to cater for increasing staff numbers, evolving technology and the sophisticated emergency management operations we have today.
“The new layout will ensure improved integration and communications between emergency management staff. It will significantly strengthen our ability to effectively manage emergency situations and planned burning operations in this remote district,” he said.
DEPI Swifts Creek District Manager Ben Rankin said Swifts Creek is a remote and complex district with large areas of public and private land which are prone to fire activity. A suite of public land management activities are undertaken from this work centre.
“Swifts Creek has historically played a major role in emergency management operations – in recent years this has included the 2003 Alpine fires, the 2005 locust plague, the 2006/07 Great Divide fires and the Harrietville Alpine fire in 2013.
“The redevelopment will be built in stages to minimise interruption to our works delivery, emergency response and planned burning operations. It is anticipated the redevelopment will be complete prior to the 2014-15 fire season,” Mr Rankin said.
Coalition achieves aerial baiting and fresh 1080 baits
The Victorian Coalition Government has again boosted farmers’ arsenal in the fight against wild dogs by securing approval for aerial baiting and trialling interstate supply of fresh 1080 baits.
In welcoming the announcement today Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said farmers in East Gippsland had advocated strongly for aerial baiting and fresh 1080 baits in the fight against wild dogs.
“It is very pleasing to see common-sense prevail and I thank the Federal Coalition Government and my federal parliamentary colleague, Darren Chester, for supporting the Victorian government’s application.
“Helping to control wild dogs in Victoria is a key priority of this government. The vicious pests prey on newborn lambs and calves, as well as native fauna, causing both emotional and financial hardship for rural communities,” Mr Bull said.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, said the Federal Coalition Government approved Victoria’s aerial baiting application late last week after the Victorian Coalition continually lobbied the Commonwealth.
“Aerial baiting was a key election commitment of the Victorian Coalition, which I am proud to now see being fulfilled. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries will begin aerial baiting at three sites each in North East Victoria and East Gippsland in May.
“On top of this, we are also providing livestock producers in Gippsland and North East Victoria with increased access to fresh 1080 baits as part of an interstate trial program.
“Authorised 1080 bait users who live on or manage land in participating parishes can now buy fresh and shelf-stable 1080 baits from the South East Local Land Services Bombala depot or the Murray Local Land Services Holbrook depot,” he said.
Mr Walsh said farmers now had two extra weapons in the fight against wild dogs, in addition to a number of control initiatives the Victorian Coalition Government had already implemented since 2011:
• introducing a bounty on wild dogs which has already eradicated 1,149 dogs; • expanding community baiting programs; • cut red tape so wild dog controllers can work outside the 3km buffer zone; • baiting deeper than ever into remote Crown land areas; • reintroducing Lanes traps; and • establishing the Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee.
For more information on aerial baiting visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/wilddogs
To view an interstate 1080 bait supply fact sheet and eligible parishes visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/1080
New jockey rooms for Tambo Valley
A joint investment by the Victorian Coalition Government and the racing industry will finally give jockeys at the Tambo Valley races their own rooms.
Tambo Valley Racing Club Secretary, Kate Commins, said the club is always looking at ways to improve its facilities and it is a fantastic result for jockeys to now have their own dedicated changing rooms, bringing to an end a 118 year old problem.
“The club is gearing up for its Easter Sunday meeting and is encouraging all East Gippsland residents to come along to the races and enjoy a great day out with the family,” she said.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the picturesque racecourse was one of the best places to go to the races in all of Australia, but the provision of adequate facilities for jockeys was well overdue.
“The new changing rooms will include showers and toilets giving participating jockeys greater comfort and privacy as they prepare for the next race or come back after the last ride,” Mr Bull said. “The Victorian Government has contributed $12,316 to the works, with the funding matched with a joint contribution from Country Racing Victoria and the Tambo Valley Racing Club.
“It’s important that all our racetracks, both big and small, are safe and comfortable venues for all users particularly our brave and hard-working jockeys. That is a key reason why these improvements will be undertaken at this very iconic racecourse,” Mr Bull said.
Country Racing Victoria Chief Executive Officer, Scott Whiteman, said the support from the Victorian Government would provide added safety for horses, jockeys and industry participants and will enable racegoers to enjoy a day out at the picnic races.
“In addition, local businesses will be involved in some of the projects and as such those local communities will benefit,” Mr Whiteman said.
Premier and Minister for Racing, Denis Napthine, said grants such as this helped to grow Victoria’s racing industry, a vital lynchpin of the State’s regional economy.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to supporting and growing country racing which is worth $729 million to the state’s rural and regional economy and employs 27,000 country Victorians,” Dr Napthine said.
$2.2m state-of-the-art police boat
An added layer of protection has been provided to the Gippsland coastal and lakes region with a state-of-the-art $2.2 million jet-powered boat joining the Gippsland water police fleet.
Electronic features include infra-red imaging equipment, radar and side-scan sonar which are used during search and rescue operations, particularly in darkness or poor light.
It can carry up to six personnel for short patrols or four personnel during longer operations.
The vessel, ‘VP09’, was officially handed over today by the Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who said the acquisition had provided the region with a valuable resource.
“Whether performing general police duties, helping our local fishing boats, passing yachts or bigger vessels that get in to trouble, or taking part in a major search and rescue operation, Gippsland’s water police play a vital role,” Mr Bull said.
“This new high-speed boat will provide Gippsland’s water police with even greater capacity to perform their critical work.”
The 14.9-metre vessel is an aluminium catamaran which can cruise at 32 knots (nearly 60 km/hour) and has a range of up to 600 nautical miles (nearly 1,100km)
Fitted with jets rather than propellers, it can operate in shallow water making it ideal for Gippsland’s lakes and rivers.
The new vessel will help the Paynesville-based water police unit, whose area stretches from Inverloch to Gabo Island on the NSW border, improve its search and rescue capacity and response times in the area.
“Any time of the day or night, the water police can be called out to assist those experiencing trouble on the water,” Mr Bull said.
“Now, with the acquisition of VP-09, Victoria Police’s ability to serve the Gippsland coastal and lakes region has greatly improved.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has a clear law and order agenda and is on target to deliver 1,700 additional police by November this year, investing $602 million.
“The purchase of this vessel is another step in support of the Coalition Government’s law and order agenda to build a better and safer Victoria.”