New boat for Lakes surf life savers
Lakes Entrance’s surf life savers will have a new inflatable rescue boat (IRB) by next summer, thanks to a Victorian Emergency Services Equipment Program grant.
Surf Life Saving Lakes Entrance will also receive five new rescue boards, which combined with the new IRB is worth a total of $23,359, according to Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said Lakes Entrance Coast Guard was also the beneficiary of a $7500 grant for training and fuel purposes.
“I am pleased Surf Life Saving Lakes Entrance and Lakes Entrance Coast Guard received financial assistance, along with many others from across the electorate,” he said.
“This funding is great for these organisations, as it contributes to a more efficient safety service for locals and visitors.”
“These types of grants enhance our assets to meet our growing membership and update our equipment,” said club secretary, Kristine Cordery.
“The IRB will eventually replace one of our older boats and the new motor will allow us to turn over a motor each year – as you can appreciate, our equipment gets quite a hammering over the season.
“We have approximately 6000 visitors over the peak period and each and every one of them visit our beaches, being Eastern Beach and Main Beach.
“With our patrols each weekend the demands for updating our equipment with these types of grants is immeasurable,” she said.
Mr Bull encouraged all local emergency service organisations to lodge an application to future rounds of this grant stream.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Surf Life Saving Lakes Entrance club captain, Chelsie Smith, and secretary, Kristine Cordery.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Levy just an extra tax on country residents
East Gippsland taxi users should not be forced into paying a new levy to compensate metropolitan taxi operators, according to Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said the Government recently put forward legislation in Parliament that all commercial passenger vehicle providers charge a levy equivalent to $2 per trip to help fund the state-wide buy-out of taxi licences.
“It’s not fair that country people are asked to pay for the compensation paid to metropolitan taxi operators,” he said.
“Taxi operators have also raised concerns with me that they will become debt collectors for the Government and taxing the biggest resource they have – their customers.
“One local operator, who is to be compensated just $22,500 for his two licences, said he will have collected this in just six months by imposing the $2 tax.
“Over eight years they will have collected an estimated $580,000, when they are only going to receive $22,500 in compensation. The rest will be shovelled off to pay for the metro licence holder compensation, which is considerably more,” he said.
Mr Bull also said the new tax would significantly impact the most vulnerable members of country communities.
“Pensioners should not have to pay the $2 tax just to visit the doctor or to go grocery shopping, nor should those with special needs have to eat into their individual support packages. These people rely considerably on taxi travel to and from appointments, day care programs and work,” he said.
“Country people should not have to pay for a metropolitan taxi licence holder compensation package and country taxi operators should not be forced into being the collection agency. There are no winners here for country people and Daniel Andrews needs to change this immediately,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, says East Gippsland residents shouldn’t be taxed to compensate metropolitan taxi operators.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Paynesville Coast Guard sets the right course
Paynesville Coast Guard will soon be able to undertake rescues more safely and effectively, with the addition of a new vessel and electronic steering system.
The flotilla was the recipient of more than $45,000 worth of funding under the Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grant Program (ESVSGP) to purchase the steering system and a new generator. The grant also allowed for $7500 for training and fuel.
Jeff Williams, of Paynesville Coast Guard, said the steering system would be added to the flotilla’s new $460,000 vessel, currently under construction, made possible by a $300,000 Victorian Emergency Services Equipment Program grant, with the other $160,000 raised by volunteers.
“We’re finding that we need this due to the increasing size of the boats that we have to tow around on the Gippsland Lakes, and we also find that this 35-foot Noosa Cat will also handle foul weather conditions in a much better manner,” Mr Williams said.
“What we’ve also done is added a GPS and joystick steering system on the boat which enables much greater control at low speeds for pulling up next to stranded vessels and such. It also enables us to hit a button and maintain that position.
“We’re hoping to get delivery sometime between August and Christmas and we’re really looking for some young folk to come along and help us operate it.”
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said many other local emergency service organisations also received funding under ESVSGP, including:
• Marlo Coast Guard ($7500 for training and fuel);
• Lakes Entrance Coast Guard ($7500 for training and fuel);
• Mallacoota Coast Guard ($7500 for training and fuel);
• Sarsfield Fire Brigade ($11,500 for a thermal imaging camera);
• Briagolong Fire Brigade ($2875 for chainsaw, generator and lights);
• Lindenow South Rural Fire Brigade ($11,344 for two-way radios, fridge/freezers, hose nozzles and an urn);
• Paynesville Fire Brigade ($9309 for rehabilitation unit equipment);
• Lakes Entrance Surf Lifesaving Club ($23,359 for inflatable rescue boat and rescue boards);
• Mallacoota Surf Lifesaving Club ($21,551 for inflatable rescue boat and motor).
“This funding is great for these organisations, and it means that time previously spent selling sausages, raffle tickets and rattling tins, can be spent out in the field saving lives,” he said.
Mr Bull encouraged all local brigades to lodge an application to future rounds of this grant stream.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Paynesville Coast Guard’s Jeff Williams.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Marlo Coast Guard handed training boost
Marlo Coast Guard volunteers are set to receive better training with the assistance of a $7500 Emergency Management Victoria grant.
Commander, Harry Ferrier, said the grant came on the back of recent movements which saw Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association come under the jurisdiction of Emergency Management Victoria.
“Under the transition to EMV coming on board late last year, they’ve paid the insurance policies for all for marine rescues and activities under the national scheme, which is a great saviour,” he said.
“With this grant that’s come out through EMV as well as the insurance costs being covered across the board, it relates to ongoing training and also fuel for running equipment, which in return alleviates the burden for us to go out on the street, rattle the tins and run sausage sizzles – it frees up a lot more time.”
Mr Ferrier also said with insurance costs being covered by EMV, it allowed for the flotilla to run programs with schools in the region, which he hopes will result in younger community members joining the flotilla.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said Mallacoota Coast Guard also received funding for training, along with the Lakes Entrance and Paynesville flotillas.
“This is great news for these flotillas as it does allow them more time out on the water either saving lives, or training to do so, rather than spending such a large amount of time fundraising themselves,” he said.
Mallacoota Surf Lifesaving Club received $21,551 under the same stream for a new inflatable rescue boat and motor.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Coast Guard members Harry Ferrier, Kathy Alexander, Gail Baird, Jeff Williams (Paynesville), Tabitha McEllister (Paynesville), Wendy Detar (Paynesville), Gavan McDonald and Arthur Ward.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Mill closure a real kick in the guts for Heyfield
The announcement by Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) today that it will close its Heyfield operations is devastating news and a real "kick in the guts" for the local community, said State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
"It is now clear that for Daniel Andrews to say he cares about jobs, is nothing more than weasel words,” Mr Bull said.
"Almost eight weeks ago the Government released a statement saying it would negotiate in good faith for a positive outcome, however after all that time it has not changed its offer of timber volume at all. Why did it take eight weeks to decide to do nothing?
"It's clear that this government has never intended to negotiate at all and has simply been stringing the workers and their families along with false hope.
"As late as yesterday afternoon, ASH offered to accept the 80,000 cubic metres on offer to be able to continue to operate until early 2018. This would have allowed more time to find a possible resolution – but even this was rejected.
"Daniel Andrews has not bothered to visit Heyfield throughout this process, which shows his care factor on this issue is zero and he never really intended to resolve this.
"He waltzes into the Latrobe Valley last week and announces sporting facilities that will provide next to no long-term employment and wants everyone to say thanks, but when he has a chance to save real jobs, he goes missing.
"The statement today that the Government would be prepared to buy the mill is bizarre to say the least when the company itself does not have it on the market and knew nothing of it.
"The owners have since made statements that they could well relocate the equipment interstate, so there may not be mill infrastructure to sell. This makes a mockery of the Premier's statement before he has even spoken to the mill owners.
"It is clear this comment was only based around trying to shift the argument from resource allocation, which is the real issue here.
"His claim today that the timber is simply 'not there' is in direct conflict with his own government agency, VicForests, which has stated the timber is there, but the reason for the reduced offer is because of what has been placed into leadbeater possum reserve in the past two years and its forecasts on what will be placed into reserve in the future, under the current system.
"This clearly indicates a change of policy would allow more future resource allocation. VicForests has stated this very clearly, so for the Premier to say the timber is not there, it needs to be asked who is right – him or his agency, VicForests?
"A review of possum reserve and timber allocation was meant to be undertaken at the identification of 200 leadbeater colonies. We are now up to 569 and no review has been completed. I think this speaks for itself about the Government's intentions.
"Daniel Andrews should allocate the 80,000 cubic metres to ASH in line with the company's offer yesterday and allow for the review of the regulations around possum colonies in the interim. If he really cared about the jobs, this would be a no brainer.
"However, the reality is, this is a government that is scared of losing inner-city seats to the Greens and who have 24 MPs who rely on Green preferences to hold their seats," Mr Bull said.
Caption: Australian Sustainable Hardwoods employees receive the news they will soon lose their jobs due to the Government’s inability to provide enough timber for the Heyfield Mill to remain viable.
Friday, March 17, 2017
$2875 boost for Briagolong Fire Brigade
The firefighting capabilities of Briagolong Fire Brigade have been boosted, thanks to almost $3000 in funding from Emergency Management Victoria.
Captain, John Hamment, said the brigade would receive $2875 from the Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grants Program (ESVSGP), to allow volunteers to purchase a new chainsaw, lights and a generator.
“The extra generator is going to help us with lighting at remote incidents and the chainsaw is actually to replace an older chainsaw we bought 35 years ago ourselves,” he said.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the grant meant great things for the brigade, which received a light tanker under a similar funding stream during the term of the previous Coalition Government.
“Grants like this allow emergency service providers, such as the CFA in this case, to upgrade equipment that is vital to their rescue capabilities,” Mr Bull said.
“The volunteers at Briagolong and other brigades do a great job in protecting the communities and their surrounds from the threat of fire and this funding will further assist that.”
Mr Hamment said the brigade had applied for the next round of the ESVSGP to purchase a thermal imaging camera to assist with fighting fires, carpet for the brigade’s meeting room and ventilation for the shedding.
Mr Bull encouraged all local brigades to lodge an application to future rounds of this grant stream.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Briagolong Fire Brigade members John Hamment, Darren Rafferty, Margaret Henderson and Mike Coen, who will be better off after receiving a $2875 Emergency Management Victoria grant.
Friday, March 17, 2017