Items filtered by date: June 2018
Friday, 22 June 2018 15:24

Seawall meeting, funding needed

Victoria’s Environment Minister has been asked when she will meet with East Gippsland Shire Council so she can be briefed on the need to replace Lakes Entrance’s ageing seawalls.
 
In State Parliament this week, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, spoke about the Lakes Entrance Critical Asset Protection (seawall replacement) Program and sought a meeting date from the Minister.
 
“This involves the replacement of the foreshore and Bullock Island seawalls, which range from being 50 to 120 years old and are at or nearing the end of their functional life,” Mr Bull said.
 
“I understand the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, which has overall responsibility, submitted a business case earlier this year with a proposal for remediation, repair and replacement of these assets, but funding was not included in this year's budget.
 
“East Gippsland Shire has advised it has submitted a funding application to the Australian Government’s Regional Growth Fund for a suite of investment projects, however they are reliant on certainty regarding the upgrade of seawall infrastructure.
 
“I therefore would like to know when the Minister will make herself available to meet with council so she can be briefed on the project,” Mr Bull told Parliament.
 
The Minister has 30 days to respond.
 
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has asked Victoria’s Environment Minister when she plans to meet with East Gippsland Shire Council so she can learn of the need to upgrade Lakes Entrance’s seawall infrastructure.
 
 
Friday, June 22, 2018
Published in Media
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 09:25

Hope was a real community effort

The announcement last week that the Hope Restart Centre, a drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation facility, will be built in Bairnsdale, is a great example of what can occur with community backing.
 
This is not just my view, but that of the current Labor Minister, Martin Foley.
 
Since last year I have had a number of meetings with the Minister to push the reasoning as to why the Gippsland facility that both sides of politics had agreed to building – should be in Bairnsdale.
 
It is fair to say that initially, Bairnsdale was not on the radar when discussions commenced, but over time – due to the great support received – it developed into a situation where it could not really go anywhere else.
 
Minister Foley commented to me in Parliament last week after the announcement was made that it was a real credit to the entire community.
 
He said the ability of the community to pull together and present such an overwhelming case in favour of the project was the key determining factor in him visiting Bairnsdale last week to make the commitment. He is right!
 
This was due to a number of factors, which included:
 
• Obtaining agreement on the proposed site.
• Gaining the support of Odyssey House, a very respected deliverer of residential rehabilitation services, under the leadership of Stefan Gruenert.
• A Federal commitment of $3million by Darren Chester for the project if established in Bairnsdale (as well as a matching philanthropic donation), and
• Obtaining East Gippsland Shire planning approvals.
 
There were of course many other elements, but being able to go back to the Minister at various occasions and explain we “now have this”, started to present an overwhelming case.
 
Then there was the vast community support.
 
As has occurred in other areas of the state, there is often some high level of community opposition to such a proposal, this did not occur in this case to any degree.
 
While some community members raised various concerns, it was done in a balanced way and mainly related to simply to seeking further information on the proposal. There was generally overwhelming support.
 
This no doubt was in part due to the proposed location being terrific with so much to offer in relation to program delivery and the number of people in our community who recognise the greater good such a facility would deliver.
 
When Peter and Margaret Down came into my office - a couple of years back now – and I know they did with my Federal colleague Darren Chester as well, they simply had an idea to discuss.
 
From then, their ability to bring together a committee, including their lieutenants Richard Rijs and John Glynn and other dedicated members, paid dividends as the jigsaw pieces came into place.
 
All kudos to the committee, but also to the many other individuals and agencies who got behind the project (too numerous to mention).
 
As a result we will now have a facility that will serve our most needy when they need that level of assistance to overcome the challenges they face. Without that support it would not have happened in East Gippsland.
 
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 
Published in Comment Columns
Friday, 08 June 2018 09:40

Men’s Shed worth the wait

Lakes Entrance Men’s Shed is a fantastic facility for the local community and a resource that was well worth the wait, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
 
Alongside community members and East Gippsland Shire staff and councillors, Mr Bull was in Lakes Entrance today to help officially open the Men’s Shed, which will begin formal operations next Tuesday.
 
“Having provided $60,000 for this building under the former Liberal Nationals Government, it is very pleasing to see it come to fruition with everything in place,” he said.
 
Mr Bull said funding was allocated in 2013 to build the facility on land owned by the Baptist Church.
 
“Plans have been in place for a long period of time and for various reasons they have had to change with a new location selected at Evett Park, with a specific committee later established, and here we are today with a modern facility perfect for this community,” he said.
 
“Having toured the building today, I can see just how much work has gone into developing this site into something suitable for the Lakes Entrance.
 
“My congratulations go out to all who have helped in some way and donated their equipment or time.
 
“I know many locals are looking forward to using the new facilities while also have the chance to get outside and interact with other like-minded people.
 
“This really is a great centre for the Lakes Entrance community.”
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, with Lakes Entrance Lions Club member, Wendy Brady, and Lakes Entrance Men’s Shed Committee president, Daryl Pattison, at today’s opening of the new facility.
 
Friday, June 8, 2018
Published in Media
Thursday, 07 June 2018 13:07

Bairnsdale RSL power bill raised in Parliament

The Premier, Daniel Andrews, has given an undertaking to contact the Bairnsdale RSL Sub-Branch over its soaring electricity bill.
 
Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy, raised the matter in question time in State Parliament today, stating the RSL Sub-Branch, a not-for-profit organisation, has had to agree to a new energy contract that would likely increase its costs by between $75,000 and $85,000 per year.
 
He asked the Premier: “Following Hazelwood’s closure, you told Victorians their power bills would be impacted by only 85 cents per week. Other than telling them to shop around, what are you going to do to assist RSLs like Bairnsdale?”
 
In response, the Premier said he would organise for liaison with the local RSL Sub-Branch over the matter.
 
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said the RSL Sub-Branch example was only one of many entities in East Gippsland that have experienced soaring power prices.
 
“I’m happy for the Premier to organise this discussion, but they don’t need a cup of tea and a chat, they need some real action to halt the ballooning cost of living increases he said would not occur.”
 
Mr Bull said another major employer had not only had power bill rises of $2500 per month on their new contract, but that due to a lack of confidence in power security over summer, they also installed a $30,000 generator just before Christmas.
 
“I have had a number of businesses put to me that they either need to cut staff or look at their ongoing viability and that is not to mention the impact on households. They are certainly experiencing bill rises in excess of the 85c per week,” he said.
 
Mr Bull added that while the Liberal Nationals had announced some policies relating to more affordable and reliable energy supply, more would be publicised in the lead up to November’s poll.
 
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, recently met with Bairnsdale RSL manager, Shane Pendergast, to discuss increases in the sub-branch’s power prices.
 
 
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Published in Media
Tuesday, 05 June 2018 10:45

What is the fire station deal?

Clarity is being sought on confusion over the funding of the Bairnsdale Fire Brigade’s proposed station relocation.
 
This comes after State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, received a letter earlier this week from the Minister saying funding has “already been allocated”, but alarmingly, neither the local brigade or the CFA seem to know anything about the project having been funded.
 
There was then social media from the CFA that said it has been funded, but it was quickly removed.
 
“Given this, I will be seeking some clarity. It wasn’t in the recent budget and it seems there are mixed messages all over the place,” said Mr Bull.
 
Mr Bull said local firefighters were waiting on funding to move to a new Princes Highway location, a precinct that would also house Ambulance Victoria and the State Emergency Service and he had attended recent meetings with brigade members and the CFA.
 
“With news in February this year land had been secured for this relocation, I wrote to the Minister requesting that funding follows this announcement, so there could be some further surety for our volunteers,” Mr Bull said.
 
“In his response which arrived yesterday – almost four months later – the Minister stated: ‘Funding for the construction of the new station has already been allocated’.
 
“The small problem with this is when my office contacted the Bairnsdale Brigade and the CFA they knew nothing of it.
 
“The Andrews Labor Government needs to make it clear – has funding been allocated, and if so, why doesn’t the brigade know, or is the statement in this letter incorrect?
 
Mr Bull said the existing facility was more than 90 years old, while its positioning in the Bairnsdale CBD was an occupational health and safety issue.
 
“I will continue to campaign for the funding for this facility,” he said.
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says Bairnsdale Fire Brigade members are waiting on funding to relocate their station away from the busy Main Street.
 
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Published in Media
Monday, 04 June 2018 09:36

Common sense prevails with Hope funding

A huge win for the local volunteer committee and the wider community, is how Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, described today’s announcement the Hope Restart Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre will be built in Bairnsdale.
 
“Having been able to advocate directly to the Minister one-on-one over several chats this year, which I have appreciated, today is a very pleasing outcome for the hardworking local volunteer committee and I look forward to the project progressing,” Mr Bull said.
 
“Given both sides of politics committed to a Gippsland facility and as I told the Legislative Assembly just four weeks ago, with the land having been donated, East Gippsland Shire council planning approval having been received, a $3 million commitment from the Federal Government for the facility in Bairnsdale and a matching philanthropic donation, it was a ‘no brainer’ for the Government to announce this as the location.
 
“Having pushed the need for the Hope Centre to be funded on three separate occasions this year alone in Parliament, it’s great news and a great reward for all who have been pushing the cause,” he said.
 
Mr Bull said construction would start later this year.
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says today’s announcement the Hope Restart Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre would be built in Bairnsdale is a huge win for the local community.
 
Monday, June 4, 2018
Published in Media