Tim Bull MP – 2015 Christmas message
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the residents of East Gippsland a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The Christmas holiday period is a great time to reconnect with your family and friends and share in and create many special memories. It is also a great time to recharge the batteries and what better place to do it in than East Gippsland.
However you choose to spend your holiday season, whether it be boating on the Gippsland Lakes, fishing off Lakes Entrance, camping in our National Parks or heading to one of our many beautiful mountain regions like Omeo or the Snowy River region, please look out for one another and stay safe.
If you are travelling away from the region to visit family and friends or holiday, take care on the roads, be patient and give yourself plenty of time to arrive safely at your destination.
It is also worth remembering, this time of year can bring sadness to some through loneliness, loss of a loved one during the year or another reason. If you have someone close who may be going through this, try and spare them some time.
On behalf of my wife Kim and children Daniel, Lachlan and Nikita, I wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas, and a bright and prosperous New Year, which I hope brings happiness and good health.
Comment: Join me in giving an hour a week to give back to our community
On a recent visit to Bairnsdale, former Chief Commissioner of Police and National Ice Taskforce Chairman, Ken Lay, had a clear message relating to ice use. He said police cannot arrest their way out of this and governments cannot fund their way out of this – communities have to take some control of their own destinies.
This comment can be applied to many of the social problems we experience in society and it got me thinking about what we can locally to assist our youth that are perhaps lacking direction in their lives and lacking good role models.
For some time I have been aware the successful Gippsland East Mentoring program that is run through Workways Australia with current State and Federal funding.
The program screens, recruits and trains mentors to assist vulnerable young people in East Gippsland and it has already made a huge difference to many young peoples’ lives.
While it has “runs on the board” in relation to assisting our region’s youngsters from avoiding the pitfalls of life, it is not achieving its full potential for one reason – if it had more mentors it could assist more of our region’s youths who need support.
The young people involved are identified by their schools as needing a “significant other” in their lives who can listen to their concerns and assist them to develop confidence.
The program’s aim is to increase the young person’s self-esteem, improve their relationships with peers and family, encourage school attendance and help them feel connected to the community.
Youth mentoring has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of supporting young people and can have positive effects in changing behaviour and building confidence in young people who might otherwise lose their way.
Mentors come from all walks of life - the young to the more mature and the retired to the fully employed.
Some local businesses in the area have also joined the program to offer their employees as mentors as a part of their commitment to the community.
The employees are then able to spend time with their young person during their working hours. This has proven to be both positive for the employee and the employer.
Once training has been completed the mentor is closely matched with a young person. Volunteer mentors receive ongoing support during the match.
The pair then spends approximately an hour a week together (in school time) for a minimum of six months to a year or more. Often the mentor and student continue with their friendship beyond this time on a more casual basis
The project employs a part-time coordinator and assistant whose role it is to recruit mentors, provide training, match mentors with students, and provide on-going support to matches.
Volunteers are always needed with most schools having a waiting list of students.
I am putting my hand up in the hope I can assist a young person with some guidance. If you are interested in joining me and becoming a mentor please contact Workways.
Our community will be a better place for it.
To finish this column I will leave you with one mentor testimonial:
I wanted to make a difference in a young person’s life. I remember what it was like to be young and how it wasn’t always easy, and it would have been great to have someone to talk to who wasn’t going to judge me. I have learnt to really listen and put myself into someone else’s shoes. It’s not always easy but what I’ve found is that they don’t want you to fix things for them, just spend time with them and listen. It is one of the most rewarding things I have been a part of.
Park fees lowered after review
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said he was pleased camping fees had been dropped in a host of Victoria’s parks, including Bunga Arm, following a state-wide review.
Earlier this year Mr Bull raised in Parliament the need for a review of camping fees.
“I am pleased that as a result, the fee for camping at mid-level campsites has been reduced, from $38.90 to $28 per site in peak season.
“Importantly, fees to camp at the popular boat based campgrounds at Bunga Arm in Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park have been reduced from $38.90 per site to $21 per site.
“This was one location where I received a high level of community feedback and made representations on behalf of a number of visitors to this location, so it is pleasing the cost has been almost halved,” Mr Bull said.
This change will affect 48 campgrounds around the state where fees have been reduced and Parks Victoria will immediately begin to process refunds for these campgrounds, which will continue in to 2016.
The Minister has advised customers who have booked to stay from 18 December 2015 will be automatically refunded for the reduced fees by Parks Victoria, but the bookings will still be honoured. People do not need to contact Parks Victoria; refunds will be processed for everyone who has a booking.
“East Gippsland has some of the best camping areas in the state and these changes will make it more affordable for families to enjoy,” Mr Bull said.
“A strong percentage of the 680 campgrounds in 133 parks across the state are in East Gippsland and those travelling to these locations over the holiday period will, I am sure, welcome this announcement.”
Mr Bull took the opportunity to remind holiday makers to take their time on the roads and remember there are traffic delays on the Princes Highway between Nowa Nowa and Orbost, so those making the trip to eastern camp grounds should allow extra travel time.
A full list of the camping site fee structures will be available on the Parks Victoria website www.parks.vic.gov.au.
Heyfield and Maffra sporting clubs receive a boost
Sports and active recreation clubs in Heyfield and Maffra will receive funding as part of the first round of VicHealth’s 2015-16 Active Club Grants program, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull announced today.
The following clubs were among a total of 262 across Victoria to share in more than $746,330 worth of VicHealth Active Club Grants:
$2,990 – Heyfield Bowls Club
$2,393 – Heyfield Tennis Club
$2,960 – Maffra Hockey Club
Mr Bull said the grants aim to increase or maintain participation in physical activity by funding essential equipment like bats, portable goals, uniforms and balls.
“This funding is vital to helping many more Victorians get the recommended 2.5 hours per week of moderate physical activity,” Mr Bull said.
“As well as the physical benefits of preventing illnesses, getting active helps maintain mental wellbeing, keeping us alert and resilient against the stresses of modern life.
“Research also shows that sport builds community pride and loyalty and offers people the chance to get involved, providing them with a positive sense of self-worth.”
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said VicHealth was proud to continue to support local sporting organisations, particularly in more disadvantaged areas of Victoria.
“VicHealth is committed to addressing the rising obesity levels in Victoria and as part of this, we want to make physical activity participation part of everyday living,” Ms Rechter said.
“Sports and active recreation clubs are a terrific way to get involved in the community, meet new people and keep active for good health. Previous rounds have shown us that these grants encourage people to try new activities, support them to join their local club or continue playing their favourite sport.”
Mr Bull encouraged clubs to monitor the VicHealth website for up-to-date information on available grants. VicHealth grants are a terrific contributor to any clubs budget and allow clubs to purchase much needed equipment to keep the cost of participating in sport to a minimum.
For more information visit https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/ or contact Tim Bull’s office on 5152 3491.
Tinamba Hotel named 2015 ‘Pub of the Year’
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, called into the award winning Tinamba Hotel this week to congratulate its owners, Brad Neilson and Damien Gannon, on being awarded the 2015 DeBortoli Pub of the Year.
Mr Bull said the DeBortoli pub awards have been running for about 25 years and each year the competition gets better and better with pub owners raising the standard right across Victoria.
“There were 38 pubs assessed for this year’s award with Tinamba Hotel up against three metropolitan pubs in the final,” he said.
Mr Bull said the Tinamba Hotel’s commitment to great food, great service and country hospitality ultimately shone through giving it the win.
“It is pleasing to see a great local business being recognised with such a prestigious award and putting Tinamba on the map for pub lovers right across the State.”
Regional living expo under funding cloud
The anticipated loss of the successful Regional Living Expo, despite its success in recent years, is not good news for East Gippsland.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said when asked in Parliament, Jaala Pulford refused say whether the Expo would be held next year – leaving East Gippsland and Wellington Shire Councils in limbo.
The Minister’s own agency, Regional Development Victoria, hailed the Expo as “a success, attracting a record 10,156 patrons” in its latest annual report.
“The Regional Expo has been a fantastic way to showcase our local region to people living in Melbourne, and to attract more people to live and work here.
“The Andrews Labor Government did not fund the Expo in this year’s budget and instead launched a review – one of around 100 reviews it has initiated in 12 months.
“Since then, despite repeated questioning by the Coalition, we are still in the dark.
“Jaala Pulford must end months of uncertainty and tell us once and for all whether she will axe the Expo.”