Non-locals making recommendations about East Gippsland is simply not on
I wish to provide comment on a matter that hit the news last week, that being the suggestion by the Labor Government appointed “Citizen Jury” to convert the Gippsland-Melbourne rail line to a Gippsland-Pakenham shuttle, which raised the concern of many Gippsland groups and organisations.
The issue I want to discuss here is not the recommendation itself (which I strongly disagree with), but more with the fact a government appointed body with no Gippsland representation is making recommendations that impact on our region.
The government appointed two “Citizen Juries” – one focused on the metropolitan area and the other with a regional focus.
It was in fact the Metropolitan Citizen Jury that came up with this recommendation, but two questions need posing. Why was this group making recommendations that impact East Gippsland when it had no Gippsland representative – and why did the separate Regional Citizen Jury looking at the future of regional Victoria also have no Gippsland representation?
It smacks of a case of this Government forgetting we even exist yet again.
Rather than having a city based group making recommendations that impact on East Gippsland and saying more consultation would be required, perhaps it should not make the recommendations in the first place until that consultation has been completed. Or better still, get some locals on the decision making group!
Before proceeding any further, it is fair an appropriate to state that after the concerns were raised over the Gippsland line becoming primarily a shuttle service, the Government has since said it will not adopt that particular proposal.
It was interesting that some members of the Labor Party initially said the concerns raised by the Nationals and other Gippsland groups was not accurate, but then it released a statement acknowledging the citizen jury proposal was real, but would not be adopted.
To show the recommendation was real, page 59 of the Citizen Jury report on the Gippsland rail line stated the following:
- “The Jury sees the benefits of converting the present Gippsland-Melbourne Rail Service to a linking Gippsland-Pakenham Shuttle”
- “The Jury suggests that a small number of off-peak Gippsland services would be retained to meet specific demands”
These two statements clearly indicate that the proposal was promoting more shuttle services at the expense of retaining the three direct services to and from Melbourne daily, something that raised a level of concern with many, but particularly seniors who do not wish to get off the Gippsland train to link with a service to the city from Pakenham.
I will advocate that this recommendation is not adopted as we need to keep our three direct services, but more importantly, that any future government appointed groups that are discussing elements important to our region, have Gippsland, and in particular East Gippsland, representation.
Prior to the 2014 election, the Coalition announced a 173m package that included such projects as duplicating sections of the Gippsland line to allow for trains to pass and therefore more services. State Labor did not have any similar policies for the Gippsland line. This is the answer to getting more services longer term.
Monday, August 15, 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
Getting football and netball facilities up to scratch
Football and netball clubs in the Gippsland East electorate have the ability to apply for State Government funding to update their grounds and facilities.
The Country Football and Netball Program grant can be applied for on clubs’ behalf by their local council, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has announced.
“This grants stream is an opportunity for clubs to get their grounds up to scratch and also update their facilities such as changerooms so they are safe and provide for local sportspeople,” Mr Bull said.
“Clubs would need to enter an expression of interest into the local council, and the council can then make the application directly to the Department of Health and Human Services,” he said.
“This grants stream comes at a time when the popularity of women’s football is increasing, so the upgrade of changerooms for players and umpires of both genders is a viable option.
“Lighting at netball courts and football grounds is another option for clubs.
“Local sporting club committees work so hard to keep their clubs afloat, but upgrades such as those I have mentioned are often out of reach through club budgets, so this grants stream is ideal.”
Mr Bull said councils had the ability to secure a maximum of $100,000 per financial year in funding, with the program running until 2020.
He said the program would close on December 7, with local clubs and associations encouraged to contact their council regarding arrangements in accepting an expression of interest.
To download an expression of interest form, and for more information, visit http://sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/country-football-netball-program.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with budding soccer stars after East Gippsland United Football Club was successful in obtaining State Government funding for the upgrade of its lights at Howitt Park. Recently-opened grants are now available to local clubs.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Students’ chance to commemorate battle
Schools from the Gippsland East electorate are able to apply for State Government funding to encourage students to attend the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said schools were able to apply for funding packages of up to $1000 to help them cover costs of travelling to the free service and march at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
“The Vietnam Veterans Day (August 18) service in Melbourne is a great opportunity for students to pay their respects to the veterans who fought so hard for our freedom,” Mr Bull said.
“This funding, covering basics costs of the travel to Melbourne, makes it possible for teachers to educate their children in a way they cannot inside the classroom.”
Mr Bull said about 60,000 Australians fought in the Vietnam War, with 521 paying the ultimate sacrifice.
“2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, where 108 soldiers from D Company 6 RAR resisted an attack of more than 2000 Viet Cong soldiers,” he said.
The Vietnam Veterans Day March will start at the Police Memorial on St Kilda Road, ahead of the service at the Shrine.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016