Mixed bag in State Budget
Today’s State Budget produced mixed results for local communities, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“It was disappointing the Stratford Rail Bridge and the Bairnsdale Secondary College missed out and that road maintenance funding remains lower than it was two years ago when the Liberal-Nationals Coalition left office, but it was pleasing funding for some projects commenced under the Coalition continued.
“One of the most important of these was the Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund, which I have raised in Parliament many times, due to the uncertainty over its future.
“While not specifically mentioned in the papers, I was able to confirm in a later discussion with the Minister that $10 million has been provided over the next four years. This continues the Coalition’s funding level and is a win for community members who have advocated strongly.
“Overtaking lanes will be constructed on the Princes Highway between Orbost and the NSW border, continuing on the work of the previous government that funded three overtaking lanes between Nowa Nowa and Orbost. The Great Alpine Road has also been earmarked for overtaking lanes and this will improve road safety on both areas.
“As expected, we have the next stage of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) confirmed, which was part of the Port of Melbourne lease sale. It will benefit the Maffra/Stratford/Heyfield region of my electorate.
“There are also funds for sewage pumping station upgrade in Marine Parade, Lakes Entrance, and a water treatment project for Bairnsdale.
“As far as the Stratford Rail Bridge is concerned, given the planning and costings were almost complete two years ago, I am at a loss as to why that was not funded when the government is boasting a surplus.
“The same applies to the Bairnsdale Secondary College. It is ready to start when funded, but at the present time we can’t even get the Minister to come and meet the school council, despite repeated invitations from myself and the council itself.
“Both of these projects will be a matter of continued lobbying and representations and I will continue to advocate until they are delivered.
“From a wider perspective, it is also difficult to understand when the government is bragging about a $2.9b surplus we have police stations closing, lack of investment in police numbers and a new tax that will drive up the power bills of families.”
Labor must stand up for CFA volunteers
It has been revealed that Premier Daniel Andrews is considering a deal that would give the city-based United Firefighters Union unprecedented power to control the CFA.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the UFU was demanding the ability to veto CFA management decisions, a move strongly opposed by the CFA’s management, board and volunteers.
“A number of local CFA volunteers have contacted my office in the past 48 hours raising concerns. As we all know, CFA volunteers are the backbone of many of our local communities and this needs to be respected.
“For a city-based union to be handed the ability to override CFA management decisions is insulting and would be disastrous for our firefighting service.
“The UFU’s disdain for volunteer firefighters is well-known.
“The fact is, CFA volunteers selflessly put their safety on the line to protect our communities and they deserve to be treated far better than this.
“Daniel Andrews and his Labor Ministers must stand up to this militant union and ensure the important work of the CFA and its thousands of volunteers is not compromised.”
Overseas study tour open to students
Students wishing to study Australia’s wartime history at overseas locations are encouraged to participate in the Victorian Government’s Spirit of ANZAC Prize.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said students would need to consider the impacts World War I had on families of young soldiers to secure a position travel overseas or to visit the Australian War Memorial at Canberra, a prize available to regional finalists.
Mr Bull said one Nagle College student, Angelina Clancy, was one of 22 students selected for the tour of Gallipoli for ANZAC Day this year.
“Angelina was the third Nagle College representative to receive the opportunity of a lifetime of an overseas study tour,” he said.
“One of her fellow students, Roni Corby, will visit the Australian War Memorial as part of the same program later this year.”
Students can choose to study one of two themes:
• What would it have been like to have grown up in a family directly affected by World War I? What was the impact on women? On the community? And most of all, on the expectations and responsibilities of young people your age; or • What do sources of evidence, including visual art and monuments, suggest about the experiences of the ANZACs during World War I?
“The Spirit of ANZAC Prize is a unique opportunity for students to participate in a study tour in another country at locations that are important to Australia’s wartime history, while also reflecting upon those Australians who serve our nation,” Mr Bull said.
“It’s a great opportunity for local students who wish to learn more about such an important part of Australia’s history.”
Secondary school teachers are also invited to apply to become chaperones.
Applications closed on September 23 this year.
For more information, visit www.dpc.vic.gov.au/soap.
Maffra Ambulance Station opening great news for the local community
Nationals MP for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today welcomed the opening of the new Maffra Ambulance Station, which was funded during the Coalition’s term in office, saying it would be a great asset to the local community.
“Back in 2013 there was considerable community discussion around the site of the new station and initially construction was to commence in 2014, but there were some delays as these matters were resolved,” Mr Bull said.
“Peter Ryan (former Member for Gippsland South) and I had several representations made to us and it was pleasing to have a final location that was agreed upon in late 2013. It is terrific to have arrived at the point in time today where it can be officially opened.
“In 2012, due to increased staffing, Maffra became a 24-hour station and the team manager at the time said it would improve response times in the local area.
“The new station has been the final component of improving services and I am pleased that during our term in office we were able to provide more paramedics to Maffra and have this new station funded by Ambulance Victoria.
“This facility is a great use of taxpayers’ funds to support such an important emergency service in Maffra,” Mr Bull said.
Maffra Ambulance Station team manager and Mica paramedic, John Foley, said all staff were delighted with the final result and the design of the facility that will service the community for many years to come.
Caption: The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with team manager John Foley at today’s Maffra Ambulance Station opening that was funded by Ambulance Victoria during the Coalition’s term in office.
Sporting grants to benefit local clubs
East Gippsland sporting clubs have the opportunity to update their facilities under the Victorian Government’s most recent grants stream.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has advised of the opening of a new round of applications for the $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure Fund.
“This fund will help East Gippsland clubs update tired grounds and build facilities they need,” he said.
“These grants have invested more than $14m towards 120 projects, and have helped revitalise cricket pitches, install women’s change rooms, improve courts, build fields and develop better pools.”
Cricket grounds can also be upgraded under the initiative, while it will help aquatic centres, minor facilities works and planning grants.
The Community Sports Infrastructure Fund also includes a $10m fund for women’s change rooms.
“I encourage sporting club representatives to visit www.sport.vic.gov.au for more information about the grants and contact their local council to apply for funding,” Mr Bull said.
More police should be top priority
East Gippsland police station improvements announced this week is good news for some local communities, but Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said having more police officers on the beat should remain the top priority.
With the Lakes Entrance Police Station having been closed for long periods over the recent peak holiday times, and the fact figures on staffing levels show there are less police in East Gippsland now than in 2014, is cause for concern.
“After the Coalition Government added 1900 police state-wide between 2010 and 2014, figures from Victoria Police’s own website show a reduction in police numbers since, when our population has increased,” Mr Bull said.
“These improved facilities need to be matched with a commitment to restore police numbers in East Gippsland.
“It’s pleasing for Mallacoota, who will receive a new station, and Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale and Maffra police stations will be refurbished.
“Our police do a great job, and it’s important that facilities are maintained to current standards.”