Fracking ban follows Coalition lead
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said today’s announcement by the Government relating to onshore gas, followed the lead of the previous Coalition Government.
The announcement today put a permanent ban on onshore unconventional gas and fracking in Victoria and extended the current moratorium on exploration and development of conventional onshore gas until June 2020.
“It was the Coalition that implemented the initial ban on fracking when it was proceeding under the previous Labor Government, which initially imposed this industry on regional Victoria without any consultation with rural communities,” Mr Bull said.
“When we came to government in 2010, Labor had approved 23 fracking licences and 73 exploration licences. It was the Nationals in Coalition who stopped this in its tracks by making the initial tough call and implementing the moratorium after concerns were raised by our farming and rural communities.
“There have only been fracking licences approved in this State by one side of politics and that was Labor, so it is important history is not re-written here.
“Our farmers and rural communities are not only the backbone of our local economy here in East Gippsland, but critical to our state and nation and that is why we brought the ban in initially. In relation to the continuing conventional gas moratorium, this is the same timeframe as the Coalition announced last year.
“I await the further studies the Government has announced into conventional on-shore gas, which I would hope will commence and be finalised as soon as possible,” Mr Bull said.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Stratford-Maffra Road repairs 'being considered'
Reconstruction of two kilometres of the Stratford-Maffra Road are ‘being considered’ by the State Government.
Having raised the condition of the road in State Parliament and the need for surface improvements, State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said he was pleased to be advised by the Minister that two sections are being ‘considered for funding’.
“Whilst there is no guarantee as yet, I would certainly hope the requests I have made on behalf of the community are listened to and the considerations lead to the work being done,” Mr Bull said.
“I do a lot of travelling around the electorate and of all the roads that are used by strong traffic volumes, I would have to say from my perspective, it is the stretch most in need of an upgrade.
“In his response, the Minister has advised that two sections of the road, approximately two kilometres in length, had been identified for reconstruction.
“The road has well over 100 patches along its stretch of 6-7 kilometres and crumbling shoulders in several locations.
“It is pleasing to know it is on VicRoads’ radar for works, the objective now is to get it completed as soon as possible,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has been advised by the Roads Minister repairs for the Stratford-Maffra Road are ‘being considered’ after raising the issue in Parliament recently.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Specialist school project back on track
Gippsland Nationals MPs Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien have received confirmation the State Government will deliver the Sale Specialist School project in full.
Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, has received written confirmation from the Education Minister James Merlino that despite a $1.5 million cost overrun, the school will go ahead as planned with all buildings and will be due to open in July 2017.
“With the revelation of a $1.5 million cost overrun earlier this year, there was some concern in the school community that the project will be reduced in scope. I was pleased to get confirmation from the Minister at the time that this would not be the case but there was concern in the school community that it would be built in two stages to accommodate the funding issues,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I have now received confirmation from the Minister in writing that there will be just one stage. Naturally there was a concern from parents and teachers that having a building site at the Specialist School would not be suitable given the nature of the students and concerns about safety.
“I am very happy that the Minister has given his assurance that the project is proceeding as planned.”
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the community had fought hard for this new school and would be looking forward to moving in next year
“There’s been a massive community effort to get this school funded and after The Nationals in Government delivered the land and stage one funding, I am pleased we are now proceeding as planned,” Mr Bull said.
“I look forward to the official turning of the first sod next week and seeing this school spring up and deliver for parents, students, teachers and the wider Wellington community.”
Friday, August 19, 2016
State bungle earns Cr Buckley a reprieve
The State Government has this week said no councillor codes of conduct will be recognised until after the upcoming local government elections in late October, after it completely botched the process, said Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“This means that Cr Ben Buckley will no longer be sacked on September 1 and can see out his full term,” Mr Bull said.
“The new council then has the right, under the Act, to amend the content of its Code of Conduct, providing an opportunity to address any areas of concern the new council may have.”
Rob Spence, chief executive of the Municipal Association of Victoria, which represents Victorian councils including East Gippsland and Wellington as members, was scathing of the Andrews Government. In a statement he said:
• Guidance material from the State Government failed to articulate a clear and unambiguous process and timelines.
• Mixed messages were provided by the Government in their 2015 Guide and March 2016 Circular advice to CEOs, causing confusion about whether the new penalty would apply to current councillors.
• It was important that the State Government learned a lesson from this bungled process.
• It’s critical and incumbent upon Government to provide clear and unambiguous guidance in relation to new laws they introduce. Laws that fail to provide a right of review do not offer appropriate checks and balances.
• Unfortunately the State has chosen to attack councils, release factually misleading information and failed to acknowledge there were multiple failures on both sides which contributed to this issue.
Mr Bull said that while the entire process was a complete debacle, he was pleased Cr Buckley, with a long record of community service, could serve out his full term.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
CFA query not answered by Minister
Serious questions need to be answered by the Andrews Labor Government over the signing of the United Firefighters’ Union (UFU) Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) last Friday, according to Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“In Parliament on Tuesday the new Minster – who was appointed after the previous Minister resigned over the fact she believed the EBA greatly disadvantaged volunteers – was asked to explain what appears to be a serious anomaly,” Mr Bull said.
“The anomaly was that the statement from the CFA chair announcing Mr Andrews’ new hand-picked CFA board had approved the EBA was timestamped 10.36am – five hours before the Board meeting to discuss the matter started on Friday.
“When asked to explain this, the Minister gave no direct answer.”
Speaking in Parliament shortly after, Mr Bull said it was concerning the EBA had been signed after the previous Minister had taken the serious step of resigning her position, the CFA Board was sacked, the CFA chief executive officer resigned and the CFA chief officer resigned – all because they believed the EBA greatly disadvantaged volunteers.
“On top of these respected people, there were also many reasoned voices like Jack Rush QC, who sat on the Bushfires’ Royal Commission, who said it was flawed.
“Despite these concerns, the Premier sacked the Board and appointed his hand-picked replacements to sign-off. Then we have a media statement coming out with a decision to support the EBA, carrying a timestamp that was five hours prior to the meeting starting to make that decision.
“And we are meant to believe natural justice has taken place?”
Mr Bull said he hoped upcoming Federal legislation and the legal action being taken by Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria would result in better protection of the rights of volunteers.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Train proposal is off the rails
Train proposal is off the rails
A proposal to terminate any additional Gippsland line trains at Pakenham will not be supported by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said the proposal had been made by the “Regional Citizen Jury”, which is part of Premier Daniel Andrews’ Infrastructure Victoria.
“The move would mean Gippslanders travelling on V/Line to Melbourne would be forced to transfer to Metro trains to continue their journey towards the inner suburbs and Melbourne,” Mr Bull said.
Page 30 of the Regional Citizen Jury Final Report, released on July 30, states: “Gippsland-Pakenham Rail Shuttle: Provide increased services on the Gippsland line that connect with metropolitan services at Pakenham”.
“Interestingly, this recommendation comes from a group that has no representation from this region at all.
“This will not be welcomed by train travellers. I have already had a lot of feedback, particularly from our seniors, who want to get on the train in Bairnsdale and get off in Melbourne without having to change trains.
“The service is used for commuters to and from work, to visit medical specialists in the CBD, to visit friends and family and by forcing a change of service at Pakenham it would unnecessarily and unfairly deliver a second-class travel system for the Gippsland region.
“Labor must immediately rule this recommendation out.”
Mr Bull said he was disappointed there were no local Gippsland representatives listed in the “Who Are We” section, which details where the jury members are from.
“The jury claims to “represent all of regional Victoria”, but this is clearly another decision that has been made by those have absolutely no idea what it’s like in the country,” he said.
Monday, August 8, 2016