2400 less CFA volunteers
A significant reduction in Victoria’s volunteer firefighters is disappointing, said Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services revealed there were 2400 less CFA volunteers protecting communities than in June, 2014.
“I believe this 6.9% reduction in volunteer firefighters in just over two years is certainly partly due to the current dispute,” he said.
“I am disappointed in the Productivity Commission’s findings, especially on the brink of the fire season, but I am not surprised. I have heard first-hand that volunteer firefighters would leave the CFA all because of the dispute.”
Mr Bull said Premier Daniel Andrews declared that the dispute over the EBA had come to an end in June last year, but that was clearly premature.
“Seven months on, we’ve had senior personnel resign, allegations of bullying, a Senate Committee inquiry, a Commonwealth bill amending the Fair Work Act, and civil litigation in the Supreme Court challenging the EBA.
“And now, volunteer members are declining and prospective members have little incentive to join.”
State Emergency Service (SES) funding has also been cut by $1.25 million, according to the Productivity Commission’s report.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Feedback sought on proposed rental changes
Landlords and tenants in East Gippsland are being encouraged to contribute to discussion around the rules and regulations of rental properties.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the State Government was calling for feedback on a range of proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.
“We have many renters and also a lot of investors in the Gippsland East electorate, so I would urge these people to contribute to the feedback,” he said.
“When considering any changes to legislation it is important the Government canvasses the views of its constituents, and I would hope East Gippsland residents can provide their input.”
The proposed changes include facilitating fixed-term leases of longer than five years; restricting rental increases to once per year; banning rental bids and introducing minimum health and safety standards for rental properties.
Other proposals include:
• Improving incentives for landlords to make repairs quickly, such as restrictions on charging market rent;
• Introducing a mediation service with powers to make binding decisions;
• Requiring notices to vacate to be accompanied by supporting evidence; and
• Requiring tenants to have landlord consent before listing a property on Airbnb or similar sites.
“Some of these proposals would mean significant changes for landlords and tenants and could also impact the availability of rental housing,” Mr Bull said.
For more information, or to make a submission (which close on February 10), visit fairersaferhousing.vic.gov.au/renting.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Heyfield calls for government support
The Heyfield community has called on the State Government to provide support to Australian Sustainable Hardwoods at Heyfield by moving a motion in favour of the mill at the community meeting on Wednesday night.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who attended the meeting and spoke in front of a packed Heyfield Memorial Hall, said a motion was put forward, stating:
We call on Daniel Andrews (Premier of Victoria) to keep his word that he will fight for every job so that:
• The Heyfield Mill will stay open;
• Its 250 staff will keep their jobs;
• The town of Heyfield and the surrounding areas, businesses and communities have a future;
• The thousands of businesses that rely on ASH’s products will also have a future;
• Australian-made high-quality hardwood timber products from Australian-grown, environmentally-sustainable and commercially-managed regrowth forests are not replaced by imported products; and
• Over 7000 (indirect) jobs/families in Victoria are saved from flow-on effects.
“It was pleasing to see the Heyfield community out in force to fight for the future of their town, and make their voices heard,” Mr Bull said.
“The Government has started a working group to assist ASH going forward, and engaged Regional Development Victoria to help with funding for the longer-term security of the plant, however what we need now is the Premier to intervene and ensure short-term supply, which has been lost due to the amount of harvesting areas that have been placed into reserve of recent times,” he said.
“VicForests have said themselves that this is the reason for the reduction in timber. You can’t just put timber that was available in 2014 into reserve, without finding a replacement and expect there will be no ramifications.”
Thursday, February 2, 2017