Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
Local business, contractors and tradies must be used wherever possible in all aspects of the East Gippsland fires recovery.
That is the message from local Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who said engaging locals would go some way to assisting with the massive economic recovery that was required.
“Of course, we are going to have to have additional business supports provided by the various levels of government, but the fact is, there is a massive amount of work to be done and we need locals doing it.
“One example of this is Clifton Creek Primary School. We need to rebuild it and we need it rebuilt by locals.
“There will also be considerable clean up and reconstruction work and we have the expertise here to do it. If these jobs have to go to tender, we need a strong weighting for East Gippsland businesses,” he said.
Mr Bull said that while the East Gippsland Shire was the official recovery agency, the State still had a role to play in many areas.
“One of these is boundary fencing. We’ve had hundreds, possibly thousands of kilometres of boundary fencing destroyed, much of it where the government is the neighbour, usually either VicRoads, DELWP or Parks.
“In many cases fuel loads were not controlled by the government and now private assets have been lost, so the State clearly has a role to play. It hasn’t been a good neighbour in the past, but it can start being a better one now.
“I was speaking to one Buchan farmer who spent a lot of time and money on wild dog fencing and only just had it completed. He’s been pleading for a burn on public land adjacent to his home for years and it wasn’t done and now he has lost the lot.
“The next day he lost his first lamb for some time. He cannot be expected to tip in again and there are many similar cases.”
Mr Bull said while some communities were looking to recovery, others were still bracing themselves for fire impact, but recovery needed to start in some areas.
“I will be meeting with the shire on a regular basis to assist them in any way I can with the different elements of the recovery, but they must be the first point of contact,” he said.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, pictured with Australian Defence Force personnel, working and planning the early stages of recovery.