Items filtered by date: May 2018
Wednesday, 23 May 2018 09:32

Omeo issues remain unaddressed

Issues affecting the operations of the Omeo Early Childhood Development Centre have still not been addressed by the Andrews Labor Government, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who is desperately seeking answers.
 
In March, Mr Bull asked the Minister for Early Childhood Education for a timeline as to when operational and capital works issues would be addressed at the facility, but almost two months later – nearly 30 days overdue for an answer – she has not responded.
 
“Having again been contacted by parents of children who attend the kinder, it is clear this is an important issue that needs addressing immediately,” Mr Bull said.
 
When initially raising the matter, Mr Bull said parents were disappointed with the lack of communication, particularly relating to works required to complete the facility.
 
“There are strong concerns this is now interfering with the services provided at this centre,” he told Parliament.
 
“Most critically, I have been informed the operator, UnitingCare Gippsland, is still waiting on the finalisation of its funding and service agreement with the Department of Education and Training.
 
“I am told the centre would not have opened if it were not for three parents and one community member, who spent the day before resumption of kinder mowing, whipper-snipping and clearing lawn clippings.
 
“While parents have raised these matters with the powers above, I understand they cannot get answers when this work will be attended to, which is the reason why I am seeking a timeframe on when this will be completed,” he said.
 
Having formally reminded the Minister to answer, Mr Bull is hopeful of these matters being addressed in the near future.
 
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Published in Media
Sunday, 20 May 2018 17:41

Award recognises island initiatives

Having helped initiate works at one of the sites, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, is pleased the Gippsland Lakes Bird Habitat Restoration Project at Crescent and Pelican Islands received a Victorian Coastal Award in Melbourne on Thursday night.
 
“Recognition to this extent is a real credit to those who supported the restoration of both islands, which has seen the return of local wildlife,” Mr Bull said.
 
The project was supported by funding from the Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund, administered by the then Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee, which was established by the former Liberal Nationals Government in 2012.
 
“The Pelican Island project in particular is one initiative I am very proud of,” Mr Bull said.
 
“Having fished at and visited this location for many years, I could see this area had become very barren with vegetation dying and erosion occurring, feeling the pinch of increased salinity in the Lakes as a result of the drought.
 
“It was then when I contacted Parks Victoria, Gippsland Ports and Nungurner Landcare, and in partnership with these organisations and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, we were able to undertake some dredging and planting works with advice from experts in these fields.
 
“Other groups involved in the project and ongoing monitoring of the island include BirdLife East Gippsland and Greening Australia.”
 
Mr Bull returned to the location in 2016 alongside members from Nungurner Landcare Group.
 
“It was very pleasing to see the phragmites starting to return in many areas after being absent for a few years.”
 
The Pelican Island bird habitat restoration was finished shortly after the rehabilitation of Crescent Island in Bunga Arm.
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who helped initiate the restoration of bird habitat on Pelican Island, with members from Nungurner Landcare Group while inspecting the site recently.
 
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Published in Media
Friday, 18 May 2018 14:10

Lakes development to boost tourism

An elected Liberal Nationals government will kick-start development of a new $4.5 million tourism drawcard on Bullock Island that will boost visitation to Lakes Entrance.
 
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull were on Bullock Island today to announce if elected the Liberal Nationals will inject $1.5 million into the project, which will see a new on-water café – selling fresh caught fish – a viewing area and waterfront decking built.
 
Mr Walsh said the project was an important investment in the popular tourist town.
 
“Labor’s latest State Budget handed Lakes Entrance a raw deal,” Mr Walsh said.
 
“Only the Liberal Nationals will work to grow all of Victoria by investing in projects, like this one at Bullock Island, which will make it more attractive to live and work in regional Victoria.”
 
Mr Bull said: “As part of the plans, a new café, viewing area and waterfront decking will be built on the island to make this part of Lakes Entrance even more popular to local residents and visitors.”
 
“Bullock Island is one of the prime pieces of real estate in the entire region and this is a great first step in developing the Island into a showpiece and a real Lakes Entrance attraction.
 
“This will benefit all Lakes Entrance businesses and the local economy by providing a real attraction in the town.
 
“Tourism is one of the largest industries in Lakes Entrance. This project, proposed by the Lakes Entrance Fisherman’s Cooperative, will boost visitors to our town and our local economy.”
 
Cooperative chairman, Geoff Ellis, welcomed the commitment from the Liberal Nationals and called for a similar pledge from the Andrews Government.
 
“Our Cooperative identified that this town needs a boost, so we put forward this proposal that will benefit a lot of people and businesses in Lakes Entrance,” Mr Ellis said.
 
“This is a project we have also raised with the current government and we are also seeking its support because we acknowledge the town needs an attraction like this.”
 
While in Lakes Entrance, Mr Walsh also announced the next step in our plan to decentralise Victoria’s population.
 
If elected, the Liberal Nationals will restore Council Planning Flying Squads to take the pressure off Victoria’s rural and regional councils, better supporting development and investment growth in country Victoria.
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh, East Gippsland Shire CEO, Gary Gaffney, Fishermen’s Cooperative Chairman, Geoff Ellis, and EGSC Mayor, Cr Joe Rettino, at the announcement that an elected Liberal Nationals Government will invest $1.5 to help develop Lakes Entrance’s Bullock Island as a tourism attraction.
 
Friday, May 18, 2018
Published in Media
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 14:15

Stratford Rail Bridge still not happening

In March this year, the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allen and Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing visited the Stratford rail bridge to announce the start of work on its replacement as part of the $530 million Gippsland Line Upgrade after funds were provided by the Federal Government.
 
However, the recently released State budget hasn’t provided a single cent of the $95 million that was negotiated by the Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester to build the bridge.
 
State Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull is disappointed that not only does the budget push completion of the Stage 1 works of the Gippsland Line Upgrade out to the end of the 2021/22 financial year, some four years away, it also puts no timeframe whatsoever on a start to the new Stratford rail bridge.
 
“It’s pretty disingenuous of the Andrews Labor government to talk up a half billion dollar Federally funded Gippsland Line Upgrade at a media event on the site of the Stratford rail bridge and then quietly make no provision at all for the bridge’s replacement,” Mr Bull said.
 
“Community members were right to be suspicious of the Andrew’s government’s intentions for the Stratford rail bridge’s replacement when the Transport Minister said back in March that VLine planned to run lighter VLocity trains on the Bairnsdale line to prolong the life of the bridge.
 
“It’s now clear that Minister Allan has no plan for replacing the Stratford rail bridge and we’ll be stuck with an inferior rail service for a lot longer than should be necessary.
 
“The Minister needs to stop stalling and give the community a clear timeframe of when the new Stratford rail bridge will be completed,” Mr Bull said.
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, pictured with Federal MP Darren Chester, has called on the Public Transport Minister to explain why the State Budget hasn’t included a single cent of the $95 million in Federal government money earmarked for replacement of the Stratford rail bridge.
 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Published in Media
Friday, 11 May 2018 10:49

Traditional burning, healthier bushland

Improving the health of East Gippsland’s bush, while reducing fire risk, will be an aim of an elected Liberal Nationals Government, which has declared support for the Return of the Firestick project, which is based on traditional indigenous fire management practices. The approach has been supported by the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria.
 
In welcoming the commitment, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said Return of the Firestick was a project that would study and involve traditional fire management practices.
 
“In such a unique area like East Gippsland, support for this is critical and that’s why we have announced $28.8 million towards the concept, which will also help rebuild and share valuable ancient cultural knowledge of Aboriginal Victorians in the land management space,” he said.
 
“Indigenous fire management is understood to promote healthy landscapes and boost biodiversity with ‘cool’ low-intensity burns.
 
“This commitment includes training and employing up to 40 Indigenous Fire Practitioners who will work with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
 
“If successful at the November election, we will work with Traditional Owners, councils and other land managers and stakeholders to fund and implement the project in Victoria,” Mr Bull said.
 
Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria projects officer, Chris Commins, said support for this project was a “step in the right direction” and that his organisation was “very supportive” of the plan.
 
“There are many similarities in the way mountain cattlemen and the indigenous used to burn the bush,” Mr Commins said.
 
“Government agencies can also learn an awful lot from firestick management.”
 
Shadow Minister for Environment, Nick Wakeling, said the Return of the Firestick concept was developed by the Wurundjeri Tribe and the Cultural Heritage Council, in collaboration with Yarra Ranges Council, and could have state-wide application and benefit.
 
“We all treasure Victoria’s landscapes and the new Indigenous Fire Practitioners will help protect and boost the health of our ecosystems,” he said.
 
“It also gives a leadership role to indigenous communities, sharing their cultural knowledge and skills and developing positive land management outcomes like healthier ecosystems and reduced fire risks.”
 
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Published in Media
Wednesday, 09 May 2018 12:01

Labor votes down presumptive rights

An attempt by the Liberal Nationals to introduce presumptive cancer rights for firefighters in Victoria was yesterday dismissed by the Andrews Labor Government, much to the concern of Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
 
“We introduced this through a Private Members Bill, however this was unfortunately voted down by Labor, which disappointingly wants to use our firefighters as political tools instead of actually protecting them,” Mr Bull said.
 
“Prior to coming to government, Labor said it would introduce presumptive rights within 100 days of the November 2014 election and this did not occur until this year – and it was tied with legislation to introduce the new Fire Rescue Victoria agency which volunteers were concerned would split the CFA.
 
“Although supportive of the presumptive legislation side, we voted down this Bill due to the concerns from volunteer brigade members over giving the unions too much power, including those from East Gippsland who contacted me directly.
 
“We were hopeful the Government would bring the Bill back to the Parliament with presumptive rights only but it has not done so, which is why we introduced this Private Members Bill – no strings attached.
 
“Our Bill also backdated eligibility to March 9, 2015, as opposed to Labor’s plan, which does not cover firefighters diagnosed with a cancer on or before June 1, 2016.”
 
Daniel Andrews’ legislation also unfairly discriminated against volunteers by creating an advisory committee to judge every volunteer firefighter to determine whether they ‘attended fires to the extent reasonably necessary to fulfil the purpose of their service as a firefighter.’ No mention was made as to how many fires, volunteers would have to attend, to satisfy the committee. Career firefighters were not subject to the same scrutiny.
 
The Liberal Nationals’ Presumptive Legislation removed this unnecessary and unfair barrier to volunteers and will make the path to cancer compensation the same for both career and volunteer firefighters.
 
Additionally, Labor’s legislation does not include training when determining a volunteer firefighter’s eligibility for compensation while the Liberal Nationals will expand the definition of firefighting to include the training of firefighters.
 
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Published in Media
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