Items filtered by date: February 2019
Wednesday, 13 February 2019 15:57

Defending farmers’ rights against animal activists

Unlawful animal rights activists are in the National Party’s sights with a motion moved in State Parliament to defend the rights of Victorian farmers against illegal activities.
 
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said the motion was introduced in response to the publishing of thousands of farmers’ personal details and a number of alleged thefts and incidents of trespassing, including at one Gippsland farm.
 
“The State Government must act and condemn the unlawful behaviour of animal rights activists and individuals who illegally enter law abiding farms in East Gippsland and across Victoria,” Mr Bull said.
 
“Victoria is known for its high quality produce and our farmers are some of the best in the world, including those here in our region. They adhere to strict animal welfare laws and we must protect their right to farm.
 
“It is completely unacceptable that the safety, health and biosecurity of our farmers and their livestock are being put at risk through trespass and theft.
 
“The Nationals are calling on the Andrews Labor Government to ensure activists feel the full force of the law.
 
“When publications are openly encouraging individuals to upload photos and video footage taken on properties they are deliberately making them a target of extreme animal rights activists.
 
“Our farmers work hard and operate responsible and sustainable businesses. They deserve to be able to operate their farms without fear for their own safety or that of their family, employees and livestock.
 
“Farming is an important contributor to the Gippsland economy and the State Government must ensure the industry can continue without the fear of theft and harassment.
 
“Anyone found to be illegally entering Victorian farms and stealing livestock, promoting or financially supporting farm theft should face the full force of the law,” Mr Bull said.
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says The Nationals moved a motion in State Parliament to defend the rights of Victorian farmers against illegal activities.
 
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Published in Media
Monday, 11 February 2019 11:21

Labor still stalling on drought rate subsidies

Labor still won’t commit to subsiding local councils for farmer rates in drought stricken areas of East Gippsland.
 
“In the drought forums we had pre-Christmas, some which the Minister attended, individual landholders had many different ideas about government support for drought affected farmers, including from water cartage support, power bill subsidies for those running pumps, super subsidies for when it does finally rain and fodder subsidies just to name a few,” said Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
 
“However, there was a general consensus that council rate relief (where the State Government would pay rates to councils on behalf of farmers, so councils were no worse off), was the fairest and most even handed way to offer support.
 
“This would have a double impact of freeing up funds for landholders to spend in their specific areas of need and also supporting the local economy when those funds were spent, noting that our rural businesses also suffer in times of drought.
 
“The previous Labor Minister repeatedly said because rates weren’t due until February, it would be considered in the New Year.
 
“As a result of this comment, I wrote to the Minister and Premier a fortnight ago seeking they introduce this drought measure. However, despite not hearing back as yet, the new Minister has dismissed that entirely, saying rates are squarely a matter for local councils.
 
“The fact it was not discussed with local farmers or given any serious consideration is very disappointing,” Mr Bull said.
 
He vowed not to give up the fight and urged the Government to take urgent action.
 
What Labor said pre-election…
 
“We’re in September now and rates aren’t due until February. Until we know what the rainfall is going to do, making a decision on rates is premature.” – Then Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford, The Weekly Times, September 5.
 
“People's rates aren't due to be settled with councils until February, so we've got a little bit of time to still consider that.” – Then Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford, ABC Gippsland, October 4.
 
What Labor says post-election…
 
“Rates are squarely a matter for local councils.” – New Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes, Gippsland Times, February 5.
 
 
Monday, February 11, 2019
Published in Media
Wednesday, 06 February 2019 10:42

Bull seeks water security update

Questioned in Parliament this week on the Government’s plans to improve water security for Lindenow Valley irrigators, Water Minister Lisa Neville said any proposal for water storage in the area had to be considered in relation to the sensitive nature of the environment.
 
Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull last night asked the Minister to provide an update on water security improvement plans and also visit the region and meet with local irrigators.
 
Mr Bull outlined that in 2011 the Liberal Nationals Government established a local working group that included irrigators and provided $1 million to consider water security options.
 
“Then in 2016 the Federal Government provided another $550,000 to complete what was a complex project,” he told Parliament.
 
The question seeking an update came on the back of irrigators this week reaching Stage 10 water restrictions, the final stage before a total ban.
 
Mr Bull told Parliament the industry generates between $100-120m to the local economy and to give some idea of the scope of the markets, one of the many they provide for is 60 per cent of the lettuce to McDonald’s on the eastern seaboard of Australia.
 
It also employs up to 1500 people depending on the season.
 
Mr Bull said one irrigator told him this week “When we get to this stage, the business plan is just to push on and hope we get a few showers of rain. For a multi-million dollar industry that has markets we need to supply, or lose, it is not the ideal plan”.
 
“I understand an off-river storage at Stoney Creek is one of the options that was being given consideration,” he said.
 
“I believe we are now at a stage, where after seven years since the initial funding was provided, the Government needs to make some decisions. Hence my invitation to the Minister to come and meet with the irrigators.”
 
In response, the Minister said it was not an uncomplicated issue and any storage built in that area cannot be done lightly.
 
While she did not commit to a visit, the Minister stated: “I would encourage people to engage very strongly with Southern Rural Water”, adding “We are certainly open to working with the community on what we need to do in that area”.
 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, pictured speaking with local farmers, has sought an update from Victoria’s Water Minister on plans to secure water supply for Lindenow Valley irrigators.
 
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Published in Media
Tuesday, 05 February 2019 10:18

Premier won’t commit to rate relief

Premier Daniel Andrews has refused to commit to providing rate relief to East Gippsland farmers on the first sitting day of 2019.
 
The Premier was asked by Nationals Leader, Peter Walsh, if he would commit to providing rate relief to drought-stricken farmers in northern Victoria and Gippsland.
 
This followed a written request by Gippsland East MP Nationals Tim Bull to both the Minister for Agriculture and the Premier two weeks ago.
 
“In response to the question, the Premier would only say ‘We may well do more’ and stated he was happy to discuss further measures, but at this stage that is not good enough,” Mr Bull said.
 
“Rate relief (where government would pay part or all of shire farm rates in drought-impacted areas) has been on the agenda since pre-Christmas. Rates are now due and there is not time for another talkfest. If it’s going to be done it needs to be done now.”
 
Mr Bull said council rate relief provided by the Government would not leave councils any worse off, would put funds back into farmers’ pockets to spend in their area of need and would also provide a boost to the local economy.
 
“In times of drought, small businesses also suffer as people on the land tighten the belt.
 
“This would allow farmers to spend more locally in their area of need and support the business sector in drought impacted areas,” Mr Bull said.
 
Mr Walsh said farmers wanted common sense support.
 
“The Premier said he would be happy to sit down and talk ideas and while the Liberal Nationals will take up that offer, we do hope that these practical measures can be implemented swiftly to bring immediate relief to farmers and our communities that are in dire need,” Mr Walsh said.
 
Caption: Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh, speaking with Gippsland East MP Tim Bull and local farmers, has used the first sitting day of State Parliament to call on the Andrews Labor Government to commit to providing council rates relief.
 
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Published in Media