Business awards recognise dedication
Small businesses are the backbone of the local community, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who congratulated the finalists of the East Gippsland Business Awards at a function in Lakes Entrance this morning.
“It was fantastic to see so many operators represented at the breakfast this morning and I was pleased to be able to present certificates to those in the sustainability category,” Mr Bull said.
“All these businesses employ a significant amount of staff, a number of them at a young age, and are great supporters of local charities, community groups, organisations and emergency services.
“This sort of recognition is what they deserve and I congratulate them for it.
“It was also fantastic to see that 73 local operators made 126 entries for this year, which is a record number of entrants.
“I now look forward to seeing who can take out the top award in each of their categories at the gala dinner on October 19,” Mr Bull said.
Food and Fibre: Culinaire, Dennison Foods Manufacturing, Lightfoot & Sons.
Franchises: Aussie Disposals, GJ Gardner Homes East Gippsland, The HIIT Factory Bairnsdale.
Health and Community Services: Bloom Hearing Specialist, BOLD Dance & Arts, Natural Health Bairnsdale.
Hospitality: Albert & Co Catering, The Central Hotel Motel Lakes Entrance, Waterfront Retreat at Wattle Point.
Marine: Ashworth Maritime Services, Lakes Entrance Fisherman’s Cooperative, Webster Marine.
New Business: Down to Earth Farm Retreat, Haasle Free High Country Tours, Sailors Grave, Salt Boxing Studio, The Doggie Den, The Dutch Oven.
Personal Services: Danielle Milito Massage, The HIIT Factory Bairnsdale, The Pixie Palace.
Professional Services: Inspiring Success, Simon Anderson Consultants, SKIDZ Driver Training,
Retail: Batteryland Bairnsdale, Omeo FoodWorks, Target Bairnsdale, Venture Out Australia.
Supporting Youth Employment: Cells Café, Kennedy Trailers, Target Bairnsdale.
Tourism: Bemm River Holiday Accommodation and Boat Hire, Venture Out Australia, Waterfront Retreat at Wattle Point.
Trades, Construction and Manufacturing: Dennison Foods Manufacturing, GJ Gardner Homes East Gippsland, Kennedy Trailers.
Young Achiever in Business: Bec Blennerhassett - High Society Dance, Laura Waites - Elders Bairnsdale, Rachel Hewett - Momentum Health.
Environmental / Sustainability: Dennison Foods Manufacturing, GJ Gardner Homes East Gippsland, Ride the Koalas.
Customer Service Excellence: Batteryland Bairnsdale, Bemm River Holiday Accommodation and Boat Hire, GJ Gardner Homes East Gippsland, Omeo FoodWorks.
Disabled, Aged and Family Friendly: Bloom Hearing Specialist, Cells Café, The HIIT Factory Bairnsdale.
Innovation: Dennison Foods Manufacturing, p-i-l-a-t-e-s Pty Ltd, Ride the Koalas.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Power bill hikes hurting local businesses
Crippling power price rises of well over 50 per cent are hurting businesses across East Gippsland, threatening their ongoing viability and employment levels, despite Labor stating in November last year rises would only be in the vicinity of four per cent. This was the feedback received by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who recently sought the views of over 150 East Gippsland businesses from Heyfield to Mallacoota on electricity price rises.
The Bairnsdale RSL, which is a significant employer, reported the biggest whack to its budget.
“We are facing a 95% rise in our electricity costs, which adds $80,000 to the annual energy bill,” said Shane Pendergast, Manager of the Bairnsdale RSL.
“Another business is facing a 58% rise,” Mr Bull said.
“There were also a large number of smaller businesses who reported price rises of between 20-40% over the past year and it is similar with households.
“One of our bigger operators, who engaged a broker to act on their behalf for the best deal, questioned why they were being quoted 30-40% rises and was told ‘you can blame this on Hazelwood closing down’.
“The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio told Parliament on November 9, 2016, that the impact of Hazelwood’s closure would be around the order of a four per cent increase. Clearly that’s not the experience in East Gippsland and it is clearly not the situation state-wide.
“As I have acknowledged on many occasions, Hazelwood’s closure was inevitable, but it should have been a staged closure to both maintain employment and keep power prices to a manageable level during the transition,” Mr Bull said.
“Now we have Australia’s Energy Market Operator warning we face electricity shortfalls in the summer ahead.
“Labor has also set a very ambitious Renewable Energy Target, that to be achieved, will likely need another power station to close.
“I support the consideration of a new High Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) power station if one of the remaining older Latrobe Valley generators is to close.
“China has well over 200 new technology coal generation units under construction or planned, followed by India which is building over 100. Indonesia is planning a further 32, while Germany, Japan and South Africa are also building multiple new state-of-the-art coal fired power stations.
“It makes sense for us to have a plan for a new high efficiency low emissions plant to replace the future decommissioning of an old technology plant, well before that happens,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, discusses the impact of Bairnsdale RSL’s $80,000 increase in electricity costs with Manager Shane Pendergast.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Please consult thoroughly: Bull
Consultation will be the key when it comes to making changes to the intersection of the Esplanade and Myer Street in Lakes Entrance, according to Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who raised the issue in Parliament last week.
While calling for thorough consultation on the matter, Mr Bull told Parliament he had heard from a number of business owners regarding the VicRoads proposal, which might see access from the Esplanade into Myer Street altered in some way.
“Some consultation has occurred over recent months regarding the proposed installation of pedestrian crossings along the Esplanade, which is no doubt the busiest street in town,” Mr Bull said.
“As a result, I have been told one of the options being considered is to block or restrict access to Myer Street from the Esplanade.
“In line with what VicRoads has done at Stratford, where it is widely consulting the community on any prospective changes, I encourage a similar approach here, not just with the business sector, but also the entire community.
“One of the issues raised if this were to proceed, is the increased traffic stress on neighbouring streets.
“Modelling of these movements should be provided to the community in full and feedback obtained before any decisions are made,” Mr Bull told Parliament.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, chats about the proposals with Myer Street traders Leigh Walker (Lakes Entrance Eye Care) and Cherie Saunders (Bella Vita Jewellers).
Monday, September 25, 2017
Timber industry pioneers celebrate 70 years
If Charles Fenning, who started Fenning Timbers in 1947 at Kendall in New South Wales, could see his legacy today he’d be very proud.
At today’s 70th anniversary function to celebrate the founding of Fenning Timbers, timber industry heavyweights; federal; state and local government representatives; Fenning Timbers staff and their families gathered to acknowledge the achievement.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim BUll, congratulated Leonard Fenning and the employees of Fenning Timbers on achieving this significant milestone.
“Fenning Timbers has achieved a remarkable feat, not only surviving, but thriving in the timber industry during a chaotic period of change," Mr Bull said.
“Fenning Timbers’ Bairnsdale plant is one of the most successful and modern hardwood plants in Australia.
“The business employs 36 people and makes generous contributions to a myriad of sporting organisations in East Gippsland. Fenning Timbers’ puts back into the community.
“It was uplifting to see Leonard presented with a silver 70th. anniversary commemorative tray on behalf of the staff by Ray Bell, who thanked Leonard for their ‘good jobs, safe jobs and secure jobs’.
“I am committed to continue to work with the timber industry to play our part in helping secure jobs. Fenning Timbers is a standout business where hard work, determination and new technology has brought employment stability, but that’s not enough to provide certainty of ongoing jobs into the future.
““State Government has to provide guarantees of long term access to resource supply for the industry to continue to invest.”
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, congratulates Leonard Fenning, a fourth generation saw miller, on Fenning Timbers’ 70th anniversary.
Friday, September 22, 2017
Labor still not prepared to put East Gippsland jobs first
The Heyfield mill might be open, but the Andrews Labor Government continues to refuse to guarantee 250 jobs will remain at the mill.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh and The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull have called on Daniel Andrews to urgently reassure mill workers and the Heyfield community that all remaining jobs are safe.
Mr Walsh said the mill also needed certainty past the current three-year contract offer.
“While it is a relief for the Heyfield community that the mill won’t close, it is cold comfort when Daniel Andrews’ decisions brought the mill to its knees in the first place,” Mr Walsh said.
“Labor must guarantee mill workers and the community there will be no job losses and that the mill has a future beyond the current three-year contract.
“The Premier for Melbourne still hasn’t set foot in Heyfield, most likely too ashamed because locals know he’s put Greens preferences and his own job ahead of mill workers’ jobs and this community.”
Asked in Parliament about the cost to taxpayers, Special Minister for State Gavin Jennings, who led the transition process, refused to admit the price of the deal.
He would only say the Government had a “controlling share” of the mill.
Mr Bull said the community wanted to know what stake the Government had in the mill and if all remaining jobs would still be retained after one shift of more than 20 had already been lost.
“Rather than do more press conferences from the steps of Spring Street, the Government should travel down to Heyfield and address our concerns,” Mr Bull said.
“It was absolutely galling to hear a senior Labor Minister claim today it was a ‘unilateral decision of the owners to walk away from the mill’.
“The Heyfield mill was forced towards closure by the Andrews Labor Government’s refusal to guarantee timber supply because they are scared of losing inner-city seats to the Greens at next year’s election.
“The mill didn’t need new owners, it needed a government prepared to put East Gippsland jobs first.”
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Are you ready for the NDIS?
People with a disability and their families are being encouraged to attend information sessions on the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) this week in Bairnsdale and Orbost.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who is also the Shadow Minister for Disability, said the scheme becomes available to those in East Gippsland who meet the access requirements, from July 1, 2018.
“The NDIS is a new way to help people with disability get care and support services and will mean a lot of changes for disability services in the region, so it is important for families to be educated.
“I am pleased to support the information sessions being provided this week by the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with a Disability at Bairnsdale and Orbost,” he said.
“The information sessions will be presented by Christine Scott who has been involved in the rollout of the NDIS since 2013.
“I congratulate the Children with Additional Needs working group for bringing these information sessions to East Gippsland.
“It is vital that such significant changes to services for people with disabilities are accompanied by accurate information so that individuals and their families can get the best out of the NDIS.
Mr Bull said the Orbost information session would be held in the boardroom of the Orbost Regional Health from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Wednesday, September 20.
The Bairnsdale information session will be held at the Bairnsdale RSL on Thursday, September 21, from 10:00am to noon.
“I encourage everyone with an interest in the NDIS to attend these information sessions,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with NDIS information session organisers (back) Jess Alexander (Uniting Gippsland), Andrew Gowland (parent), Darren Webster (Gippsland Primary Health Network), (centre) Julie Storey (autism consultant), Shelly Wormald (Gippsland Lakes Community Health), Rachel Bell (Save the Children), Katrina Turner (parent), and (front) Julie Backhouse (East Gippsland Specialist School).
Monday, September 18, 2017