Items filtered by date: February 2017
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 11:34

Guy commits to supporting Heyfield mill

State Opposition leader, Matthew Guy, has committed to providing Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) at Heyfield with the resource it requires to stay open, but with the next state election not until November 2018, it is critical the current Labor Government now also commits the timber supply required. Mr Guy was visiting Heyfield with State MPs Tim Bull (Gippsland East) and Danny O’Brien (Gippsland South). “It was pleasing to hear Matthew state quite clearly that Gippsland jobs are a priority, that he recognises the importance of ASH to Heyfield and the region and the mill must be kept open by providing it with the necessary timber supply,” Mr Bull said. “Yesterday marked the four-week deadline the Minister gave herself to have this issue resolved, yet we heard nothing and the workers and their families deserve better than silence. “While the community is sick of waiting to hear, you would have thought the Government would at least say it needed more time on the day the deadline expired, but we heard nothing,” Mr Bull said. Mr O’Brien said: “The timber was there in 2014 and it is there now, we just need a government with the political will to put the workers and their families first in their deliberations”. Caption: State Opposition leader, Matthew Guy, discusses the future of ASH at Heyfield with mill chief executive officer, Vince Hurley, and local MPs Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien. Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 11:30

Stratford-Maffra Road reseal underway

After having raised the issue in State Parliament on a number of occasions, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, is pleased that reseal works on the Stratford-Maffra Road are now underway. Mr Bull’s office has been told that two sections of the road, totalling 1.45 kilometres, had been added to VicRoads’ reseal schedule this month. “I first called for improvements to this road in Parliament in August last year because from my perspective, with high traffic volumes, it is one of the roads in most need of an upgrade across the electorate,” he said. “At the time, the Minister advised reconstruction of a 2km stretch of the road was ‘being considered’, so after writing back to stress the needs, in later correspondence he stated that two alternative sections, totalling 1.45km, had been added to VicRoads’ works program. “While the announcement of a reseal of the 1.45km stretch is great news for the residents of Stratford, Maffra, Tinamba and Heyfield, I will continue to encourage VicRoads and the Minister to complete an entire reconstruction of the 2km section that the Minister had stated was ‘being considered’,” he said. Caption: Reseal works along the Stratford-Maffra Road are underway, with Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, raising the need for improvements with the Roads Minister on numerous occasions. Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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Monday, 27 February 2017 09:24

Minister again asked to provide holiday police after Christmas station closures

Once again the issue of policing levels in Lakes Entrance over holiday periods has been raised in State Parliament by local MP, Tim Bull.

Given the station in Lakes was closed every weekend of the holiday period after New Year’s Eve, Mr Bull asked the Minister if she had decided to support provision of more police over the Easter holidays.

“As I have stated in this place numerous times, there have been police shortages over the holiday periods from Christmas 2015 and it got no better in the Christmas/New Year period just past,” he said.

“There was strong police presence in Lakes Entrance on New Year’s Eve, but they were all gone by January 2 when the tourist numbers were still rising.

“As the Minister may know, I had the Chief Commissioner in Lakes Entrance over the holiday period to hear my concerns and we had a productive chat where Mr Ashton agreed to ‘look at the situation’.

“Given this, and the level of angst that still exists in the community, I ask the Minister to advise whether she will also ‘look at the situation’ and resolve this problem before Easter,” Mr Bull said.

The Minister has one month to respond.

Monday, February 27, 2017

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 09:22

Heyfield working party deadline nears

With the Working Party tasked with securing the future of Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) due to report back on ongoing operations by no later than Monday, Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, has again spoken on the issue in State Parliament this week.

Mr Bull said it was pleasing to see the Minister for Agriculture finally visit ASH at Heyfield last week, however it was disappointing there weren’t any announcements given the closeness to the Minister’s deadline for a resolution.

“The Minister appointed a working party to resolve this matter in four weeks after her Forest Industry Taskforce could not resolve the matter over almost two years,” he said.

“What continues to concern me is the Minister’s ongoing reference to ‘reduced timber availability’.

“This is not true. The timber is there, it was there two years ago when the contract was being negotiated, the issue here is the Minister has allowed large areas to be placed into reserve without replacing the lost resource back to industry.”

Mr Bull said by the Minister’s own admission, the areas that have been placed into reserve have been predominantly for leadbeater possum protection. The Government committed to review the reserve system after 200 colonies were discovered.

“We are now approaching nearly 450 sightings – 215 of these were in the past 12 months,” he said.

“The review is due to report back in April, but timber must be guaranteed by next Monday for the company to be viable – the Government must guarantee security of supply to ASH and save these jobs and the Heyfield community.

“I just hope the Minister makes the required announcement in the timeline she stated, to put the minds of the workers and their families at rest.

“The community response has been unanimous in its support, but the community has also been patient and deserves answers in the time promised.”

Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Nationals colleagues Melina Bath, Danny O’Brien and Peter Walsh (Leader of the Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture) with ASH chief executive officer, Vince Hurley (centre), on a recent visit to the mill.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 09:31

Mallacoota medical update sought

State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, asked the Minister for Health for an update on her negotiations in relation to the future of the Mallacoota Medical Centre in Parliament recently.

Pre-Christmas, Mr Bull raised the matter with the Minister after community concerns over its ongoing viability were raised due to the practice being left with one doctor, down from three.

In addressing the Minister, Mr Bull said: “As you know I raised this last year and you advised your department was in negotiations on the issue and that the department would monitor and report on the progress of these negotiations.”

“I have subsequently been contacted by community members in January and early February and seek an update from the Minister on the progress of these discussions, including what solutions are being explored.

“Some community members have suggested a multipurpose service be funded and I am certainly interested in the Minister’s views on this proposal and any others that are being considered.”

Mr Bull told the Minister it was a unique situation due to Mallacoota’s geographical location.

Monday, February 21, 2016

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Friday, 17 February 2017 09:29

Roads getting worse under Labor

The slashing of State Government roads budgets have been highlighted by Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, during a speech in Lakes Entrance on Friday morning.

Mr Bull was speaking to a range of industry representatives at the South Eastern Australian Transport Strategy (SEATS) meeting at the Palmers Road shire offices.

“The reality is our roads are getting worse and the cold hard facts are that we have had roads funding cuts to rural and regional Victoria,” he told the audience.

“We have the Government spending millions upon millions on combatting the road toll and often the country road toll, which I have no objection with – but at the same time it is cutting roads funding and our roads are deteriorating – it makes no sense.”

“The Road Asset and Management Budget is down $113.8m over the past two years and the Road Operations and Network Improvement Budget is down $307m over the past two years.

“On top of this we have also had the Country Roads and Bridges Program scrapped (which allocated funding to rural and regional councils).

“These budgets needed to increase, but they have not even been maintained – we have lost half a billion out of these areas in two years that should have been spent on our roads.

“Our roads weren’t that great that we could afford the budgets to be decreased, at the bare minimum they needed to be maintained and increased at CPI,” he said.

Mr Bull also spoke on the need for investment in rail to allow for more passenger and freight services, and said the Coalition would look at future planning options for development of a third major airport east of Melbourne.

Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with East Gippsland Shire Council Manager Works, Mark Burnett, and Cr Maryanne Pelz, at the South East Australian Transport Strategy meeting in Lakes Entrance on Friday.

Friday, February 17, 2017

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