Lakes lifesavers powered by solar
Lakes Entrance Surf Lifesaving Club will soon be powered by solar after receiving a State Government grant to shift towards renewable energy before summer.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, congratulated the local lifesavers who represent one of the 42 successful clubs across Victoria to receive the funding as part of the Community Renewables Solar Grants Initiative.
“This funding will help the club upgrade to solar electricity and ultimately save the club money on expensive power bills, allowing it to allocate funding where it’s needed most,” Mr Bull said.
“The club already does a fantastic job of serving Lakes Entrance and the surrounding townships, but the savings on power bills will help improve the club even more.”
Mr Bull said the grant recipients would have a five-kilowatt system installed in the near future.
“Across Victoria, 12 solar retailers approved by the Clean Energy Council have competed for the installation grant, which will support local jobs in the renewable energy industry,” Mr Bull said.
Friday, June 24, 2016
State asked to match Federal East Gippsland Princes Highway funding
The State Government has been asked to match the $25 million Federal Government commitment to upgrade the Princes Highway East.
Speaking in Parliament last night, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, outlined the Federal Coalition’s commitment should it win the Federal election and pushed the State Government to match the promise made by Federal MP, Darren Chester, last week.
“Although I am not sure the Minister has been past Lakes Entrance in his time in the job, but if he did travel this far from Melbourne, he would see the areas that require further upgrades, continuing the work done by the previous Coalition Government,” Mr Bull said.
“In recent years, quite a deal of work has been done on the Princes Highway East, funded by the previous Coalition State Government and Federal Coalition Government.
“This included three overtaking lanes between Orbost and Nowa Nowa after an $11m spend and there were resurfacing works carried out on the approaches to Orbost and Cann River.
“It is important that works on this section on the Princes Highway East continue and that is why it was pleasing to join Federal Member, Darren Chester, last week to announce the $25m Federal funding commitment.
“Clearly one of the areas where works are needed are road shoulders, where presently there are sections that have no sealed shoulders at all.
“It is also likely the Federal Government will announce further road investment projects in the coming week I would hope that should these announcements also eventuate, that they will attract matching funding.
“The $25m commitment that has been announced is on a section of the highway that is the State Government’s responsibility, so I would fully expect the funding be matched and I call on the Minister to confirm this,” Mr Bull told Parliament.
The Minister has one month to formally respond.
Caption: Federal and State MPs Darren Chester and Tim Bull at the announcement of $25m in Federal funds for the Princes Highway East. The State has now been called on to match that allocation.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Their legacy will be protected
The legacy of those who have served Australia at war will continue to be protected through four recently-announced veterans grant programs, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said today.
Mr Bull said the programs would support community education and welfare projects commemorating the service of veterans.
“The Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenues of Honour program is the first of these grant streams and will ensure war memorials and honour rolls are restored to their original condition, or improved, with grants of up to $20,000 per project available,” he said.
“The Victoria Remembers program will assist communities in making personal connections with the World War I centenary and help activities or projects that commemorate other wars, peacekeeping operations and conflicts in which Victorians have served.
“Under this, projects that have significant commemorative or educational benefit for Victoria’s diverse community have the opportunity to attract grants of between $20,000 and $80,000.”
Mr Bull said the Anzac Centenary Community Grants, administered by the Victorian Veterans Council, was designed to leave a lasting legacy for future generations of those who served in World War I and that grants of up to $20,000 per project were available.
“Applications for these three grant programs are open now and will close on August 29.”
The ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund, the fourth grant program, would provide practical assistance for veterans and their dependents who are in need.
“This fund is distributed to organisations that provide welfare support to veterans and it opens on June 20,” Mr Bull said.
More information can be found at http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/index.php/veterans/veterans-grants.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Time to actually invest in country roads
People on country roads are being killed at almost four times the rate than those on city roads. Based on a five-year average, Victoria’s rural road network is responsible for 151 deaths per year.
I’m sure we would all agree that this number is simply too high.
In its Towards Zero road safety strategy and action plan, the current State Government sets an ambitious target of less than 200 deaths on Victorian roads by 2020. I agree this is a great intention and fully support it, but don’t necessarily agree with all the strategies outlined to get there.
The current Roads and Roads Safety Minister, along with the Premier, have issued statements saying they will reduce the speed limits on country Victorian roads to make travel safer.
I have no issue with this occurring in some locations that have a long accident history, but my problem is that this government is reducing limits in a number of locations while having severely cut investment into our roads network.
For proof, let’s have a direct look at this State Government’s Budget papers.
In the last budget delivered by the Coalition Government (2014), the Road Asset Management Budget was $486.4 million. Last year it dropped to $419m and next year is $440m – still well below the 2014 figures and a cut over the two years of $113.8m.
Then we move to the Road Operations and Network Improvements Budget, it has a reduction of $194.8m over the past two years on what the level was in 2014.
So in these two areas alone we have seen a cut of just under a third of a billion dollars ($307m) in the past two years in budgets that service country Victorian roads.
In Parliament’s last sitting week, we had our local Labor Upper House member, Harriet Shing, state:
“I refer to the parlous state of roads in the Eastern Victoria Region and in Gippsland, which have in and of themselves contributed more than their fair share of fatalities, serious injuries and near misses in the area.” – Ms Shing 7 June 2016.
To have our Labor member saying how bad the condition of our roads are, while they’ve had large cuts to the budgets that service rural roads, is truly concerning. A good call would be to call on the Government to reinstate the money.
As stated, I am happy for speed limits to be reviewed and altered to make travel safer in areas where there is a long history of accident rates.
However, I don’t think it is fair that country Victorians be forced to drive at lower speed limits on a large number of roads ¬– meaning it takes longer for us to get to work each day, drive to our children’s sporting commitments at the weekend and transporting food, when funding has been cut and less work is being done.
Reinstating that funding should be the first step this Government takes in its Towards Zero campaign.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Bull tells Parliament – hands off the CFA
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today spoke in Parliament of the importance of the Country Fire Authority and its many volunteers maintaining their independence and not being answerable to the city-based United Firefighters Union.
“Over recent weeks I have had a large number of CFA volunteers, several current captains and ex-captains and a number with decades of service, saying they will walk away from the CFA should the current EBA be adopted,” he told Parliament.
“My electorate is one of the most fire prone areas in the world and our CFAs are the backbone of our communities.
“Here we are in a situation where the UFU is saying things have been misinterpreted and this is simply scaremongering.
“In response to these comments, I ask why is it then that the CFA Board, with its high level of legal advice, says this is not the case and the EBA in its current form will remove CFA decision-making powers.
“Why also do we have the Minister saying this EBA is unfair to volunteers?
“When the Labor Minister herself says she has major concerns with the deal and that she supports the CFA, but is overruled by Premier Daniel Andrews, it is a grave concern.
“She is saying the threat is real – as are the CFA, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria and CFA members – they are all saying this threat is real, because it is real.
“To the volunteers from brigades that have contacted me from Glenaladale, Mallacoota, Bemm River, Lakes Entrance, Maffra, Paynesville, Heyfield, Sarsfield, Woodglen, Bairnsdale and Hillside – we will fight for your right to maintain independence, “ Mr Bull said.
“The premier needs to forget about payback for the UFU members who handed out how-to-vote cards at the marginal seats last election. By all means give them a fair pay rise, but keep your hands off the CFA,” Mr Bull said in concluding his address to Parliament.
Caption: Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, speaking in support of CFA volunteers in Parliament today.
Safe Schools program needs changing
There has been considerable discussion over the Safe Schools program and I am supportive of the State Coalition’s announcement last week that it will scrap the program in its current form and replace it with a broader anti-bullying program.
I am also supportive of the changes made recently by the Federal Government and opposed to the Victorian Government ignoring this and saying it will fund the program in its original form.
My comments are not based on being transphobic or homophobic – I am not - they are based on what I want for my children as a parent and what I think is appropriate for my school aged children – nothing more or less.
Let me be very clear in stating our schools should have a zero tolerance approach to bullying of anyone over things like race, gender, religion, sexuality or appearance.
We live in a society where the suicide rate in the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community is too high. We all have a job to promote acceptance and better understanding. It is literally a case of life and death in some cases and we must all be part of the solution.
However, there are elements of the Safe Schools Program in its current form that as parent concern me, that I feel go beyond understanding and acceptance and into what I believe are parental responsibilities.
For example, some of the material I have read from the Safe Schools website relates to allowing students to freely use both boys’ and girls’ toilets – with respect I would not want my Year Seven daughter sharing the toilet with Year 12 males.
Neither do I think it is the responsibility of schools to have Year Seven students (aged 13) undertaking “gender diversity role-playing activities”, which is part of the program resources - and has been a major criticism of many parents.
The changes made by the Federal Government removed these elements as well as restricting certain materials including “OMG I'm Queer”, to one-on-one discussions between students and key qualified staff.
Students have every right to be safe from bullying and homophobia at school and we need to break down stigmas and discrimination associated with the LGBTI community.
My issue is, that having read some of the program material, I (and many others for that matter) believed the program overstepped the line from understanding, respect and acceptance to advocacy of certain lifestyles.
What initially sparked my concern is when I saw a video of the safe Schools Co-orindator, Roz Ward, who stating the following:
“… Safe Schools Coalition is about supporting gender and sexual diversity. Not about celebrating diversity. Not about stopping bullying. It’s about gender and sexual diversity. About same-sex attractive. About being transgender. About being lesbian, gay, bisexual – say the words – transgender, intersex. Not just 'Be nice to everyone. Everyone’s great'.”
Apart from her comments that it is about promoting certain lifestyles, to hear it is “not about stopping bullying”, which was the very basis on which it was marketed, raises major concerns.
Interestingly, Ms Ward was recently sacked from a government role for a Facebook post where she labelled the Australian flag “racist” and called for it to be replaced with a socialist red ¬ensign.
It is important that our schools foster respect and tolerance in our children and we need a program that supports respect of others, no matter what their circumstances or lifestyles.
Victorian schools should provide genuine anti-bullying programs for students. This is why a Liberal Nationals Government will remove this program and replace it with an initiative that sends a strong message of mutual respect and anti-bullying. We need to have a program without a fringe ideological agenda and a focus on a broader anti-bullying program that teaches kids to respect everyone and where parents are engaged.
June 6, 2016