Boating facilities grants open
East Gippsland residents have the opportunity to share in $4.2 million worth of funding with the first round of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Boating Safety and Facilities Program now open.
“We have some beautiful waterways in this region and this program is a fantastic way to ensure that we can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of our lakes and rivers knowing that we have safe and reliable facilities.
“Boating is an important part of our community. It generates a significant amount of tourism for the region and provides a fantastic way for maintain active lifestyles and spend time outdoors with family and friends,” Mr Bull said.
Victorian Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said the Boating Safety and Facilities Program was an important part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to provide safe and accessible waterways for Victorian boaters.
“Each year for four years, the Coalition Government will open a new round of funding for this important program. This will give community groups, waterway managers and local councils vital and steady access to money that will enable them to maintain safe facilities for boaters,” Dr Napthine said.
“The Coalition Government recognises that local users have the best local knowledge and understanding of how their facilities could be made safer and I would encourage groups to talk to their local council or waterway manager and make an application to the program.”
Types of projects the Boating Safety and Facilities Program could fund include;
: boating facilities such as jetties and boatramps;
: navigation aids and signage;
: new search and rescue vessels;
: equipment and training for recognised search and rescue groups;
: boating safety and education programs; and
: marine communications.
$60,000 for local Landcare groups
The Victorian Coalition Government has marked the 25th anniversary of the Landcare movement with $600,000 to help fund activities, highlighting the great work of this iconic volunteer movement.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said “Landcare is an amazing grass roots movement that harnesses individuals and groups from a variety of backgrounds from kids to retirees, office workers to farmers, CEO’s to students.”
“Landcare has had 25 strong years of providing support for our environment and the Government wanted to show its support on their 25th anniversary to recognise those individual and group efforts.
“Each Landcare group and network in the 10 Catchment Management Authority regions of Victoria will receive $60,000 to progress their hard work and efforts.
"We recognise and acknowledge the work of these dedicated volunteers and groups who are devoted to making sure Victoria's natural environment is protected and restored for future generations to enjoy.
“Landcare brings landholders and communities together to plan, organise and develop practical ideas to address environmental or land management issues of common concern.
“With 750 Landcare groups in Victoria and 5,000 throughout Australia, volunteers share in a desire to creative positive change in their communities and their projects and initiatives help to improve and protect our state’s natural resources,” Mr Bull said.
For more information about Victorian Landcare go to www.landcarevic.net.au
Local knowledge sought for fire planning
Residents who would like to find out more information about planned burns in Victoria’s parks and forests should attend one of the community information sessions, said Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Upcoming community information sessions will be held on:
Tuesday 16 August, 2011 Heyfield : DSE Office – Licola Road at 1.00pm – 7.00pm (Open office session)
Friday 19 August, 2011 Ensay : Ensay Hall – Great Alpine Highway at 9.30am – 10.30am Benambra : Benambra Neighbourhood House, Gibbo Street at 11.30am – 12.30pm Omeo : Parks Victoria Office, Day Avenue at 1.00pm – 2.00pm Swifts Creek : DSE Office, McMillan Avenue at 2.30pm – 3.30pm
“Far East Gippsland is acknowledged as one of the most fire prone areas in the world and it is very important that people with local knowledge of the hazards faced when dealing with bushfires give their input into this region’s fire planning,” Mr Bull said.
“Each District in the state develops a Fire Operations Plan for the coming three years which shows planned burns and other fire prevention works such as slashing, track works and construction of fire breaks.
“The Victorian Coalition Government committed prior to the last election to increase planned burning annually and so we will work closely with local communities to ensure that this is achieved effectively,” Mr Bull said.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, confirmed the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to consulting with local communities about their fire operations plans.
Proposed new fire management zones for public land are also being displayed at the same time and are available for public comment.
“Local knowledge is critical to ensuring that the proposed changes to zones will help fire managers decide where, when and how often to burn and to ensure that Victoria is best prepared to protect communities from bushfire,” Mr Bull said
DSE Fire Operations Plans are developed in consultation with communities, special interest groups, local councils, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, forest managers, CFA, flora and fauna specialists and any other parties who register their interest.
Members of the community unable to attend the various community information sessions being held in the region can either view the District Fire Operation Plans online at www.dse.vic.gov.au, or call DSE on 136 186, or visit your local DSE or Parks Victoria Office.
Comments will be received up until 29 August 2011.
Stage 1 : Snowy river walk opened
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today officially opened the first stage of the 2km Snowy River Estuary Walk at the invitation of Parks Victoria.
The Snowy River Estuary Walk is an exciting new addition to nature-based tourism for East Gippsland and I commend Parks Victoria for completing stage one of the walk during a particularly wet construction period,” Mr Bull said.
While inspecting the completed walk, Mr Bull was also given a progress report on work to deliver stages two and three of the walk from Mots Beach to Frenches Narrows and across the estuary dunes to the ocean beach.
“The completion of the next stages of the Snowy River Estuary Walk would be a great Christmas present for visitors and locals to enjoy the full length of the new coastal wilderness walk this summer and unless weather conditions delay construction, Parks Victoria are well on track to complete this project on schedule,” Mr Bull said.
“Once completed, the next two stages of the walk will represent an investment in tourism for our region in the order of $500,000.”Together with a section built by East Gippsland Shire from the heart of Marlo
to Mills Street, the full walk will give walkers a two hour journey from the heart of Marlo and out into the breathtaking East Gippsland coastal environment."
After giving the new walk a test run, Mr Bull encouraged locals and visitors to Marlo to enjoy their own coastal walk experience.
Stage three of the project will include the replacement of the existing 140 metre Frenches Narrows Boardwalk along with an upgrade of the track leading to the ocean beach.
Parks Victoria has committed to delivering stage three as a priority ahead of the peak season as it provides a vital link to ocean beach access at Frenches Narrows, with future works to include over 230 metres of elevated boardwalk as part of 1km of gravel surfaced walking track at the base of the coastal escarpment.
Coalition to restore $6.5m in library funding
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has welcomed the Victorian Coalition Government’s announcement that it will inject $6.5 million over the next three years into Victorian libraries in order to fix the black hole in library funding created by the former Labor government.
"East Gippsland Shire and other interest groups had contacted me expressing their concerns that existing library services would be affected by these cuts had they gone ahead, and this announcement will ensure that no library misses out.
“The government has listened to the views of the Municipal Association of Victoria and will work together to address funding issues and the establishment of a bi-partisan Libraries Ministerial Advisory Committee to ensure the government can deliver a modern, vibrant and effective library service into the future,” Mr Bull said.
The announcement also confirmed:
An injection of $6.2 million over 2012-13 and 2013-14 to address Labor's cuts to library funding;
Restoration of funding for 2011-12 through an upfront full-year single payment and over $200,000 in top-up payments this year to ensure no library receives any less money than they did last year;
Re-establishment of the Libraries Ministerial Advisory Committee (Libraries MAC) – for the first time as a bipartisan committee, including a representative from the opposition; and
Funding of up to $100,000 for a comprehensive review of the role, services and funding for libraries in Victoria to be undertaken by the Libraries MAC.
“This action will ensure library funding levels are sustained whilst a landmark review into the future of Victoria library services and funding arrangements is undertaken.
“I am pleased that council and libraries can now plan for an exciting future with their local communities without the threat of budget cuts holding them back, providing them with a clear plan for the future,” Mr Bull said.
Grants available for young farmers
Young farmers in East Gippsland committed to a career in agriculture can now apply for grants of up to $10,000 under the Coalition Government’s $1.2 million First Farm grant program.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said, “the grants are an important initiative of the government to encourage more young people to take up a career in agriculture and I strongly urge young farmers across the electorate to seriously consider applying for a grant to enhance the productivity and sustainability of their business.”
“The First Farm grants assistance package has been designed to support young people pursuing a career in food and fibre production and it is vital that this area of the rural sector continues to grow strongly and remain competitive in the future.
“Grants include up to $3000 for business planning and an additional grant for development activities with a combined total of funding available of up to $10,000. This funding will allow young farmers to improve their management skills while providing capital investment for their future enterprise,” Mr Bull said.
Farmers who are under 35 on July 1 are eligible to apply for the First Farm grant. The grant program will continue for one year, or until the funds are allocated.
Applicants who were on the waiting list for the First Farm grants last year are asked to re-apply due to some changes to the eligibility criteria, which now provide more consistency across the government’s range of initiatives for young farmers.
The First Farm grant program will be delivered through DPI and administered by the Rural Finance Corporation. The program commenced on 1 July, 2011 and will conclude on 30 June 2012. For further information please visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au