Mobile cancer screening available to rural women
A bright pink bus fitted with digital breast cancer screening equipment has commenced a road trip which will bring state-of-the-art technology to women living in rural and regional Victoria.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said, breast cancer is the most common cancer in Victorian women, with one in nine women developing breast cancer by age 85.
“In 2009, 3,264 Victorian women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 698 women died from the disease and it is a statistic that we cannot accept.
“Fortunately, thanks to improvements in treatment and early detection, five-year survival rates have increased from 74 per cent in 1990 to 89 per cent in 2005, but we must keep this statistical graph heading in the right direction,” said Mr Bull.
The bus scheduled to arrive in East Gippsland in November will service local and surrounding communities commencing on the following dates:
Omeo – Monday 7 November; Mallacoota – Monday 14 November; and Orbost – Tuesday 22 November.
“This initiative represents the largest investment in breast screening services since the establishment of the program in 1991,” said Health Minister, David Davis.
“The Baillieu Government is committed to reducing the burden of breast cancer on Victorians in partnership with the Commonwealth; jointly providing approximately $35 million of recurrent funding to support the delivery of the BreastScreen program every year.
BreastScreen Victoria screens more than 210,000 women every year. Women over 40 can access screening for free, with women aged 50 - 69 invited for screening every two years.
“The mobile screening service will provide about 7,000 Breast Screen appointments every year for women across rural and regional Victoria and allows those women in remoter communities to get screened where otherwise they may not have had the time or inclination to drive long distances to regional hospitals and medical centres.
“A BreastScreen appointment every two years is the best way to find breast cancer early and I encourage all women aged 50 - 69 to phone BreastScreen Victoria on 13 20 50 as appointments will be necessary,” said Mr Davis.
No excuses for irresponsible dog owners
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, welcomed the introduction of tougher laws which could see owners of declared dangerous, menacing or restricted breed dogs serve up to 10 years in jail if their dog is involved in a fatal attack.
“Following on from the recent legislation that tightens the noose on the existence of restricted breed dogs like American Pit bulls, the State government has this week followed up with stronger laws that enforce owners of menacing or restricted breed dogs, to be more accountable for their dog’s behaviour,” said Mr Bull.
“The introduction of these stricter laws was as a result of the tragic death of four-year old Ayen Chol last month, which could have been prevented had the owners taken better precautions to contain their dogs.
“By introducing this new legislation the government is sending a clear message to owners of these dogs, if your animal endangers life or attacks and kills somebody, you will be held accountable, said Mr Bull.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, said owners of dangerous or restricted breed dogs who fail to notify their local council when their dog escapes, or when they change address, now face a doubling of penalties to $2,442.
“Penalties have also been increased to $2,442 for owners who fail to restrain a dangerous or restricted breed dog on their property or $4,885 for dogs outside their property.
“Owners of restricted breed dogs will also be required to ensure their dogs wear a warning collar when not at their property. This will provide another way for the public to recognise a restricted breed dog when they see one.
“In addition it will be illegal for people to sell or transfer ownership of restricted breed dogs,” said Minister Walsh.
“The government has gazetted new guidelines for identifying pit bull terriers to prevent dogs escaping regulation because of uncertainty over their breed, and a new telephone hotline is available to give members of the public an additional mechanism to report dangerous dogs,” said Mr Bull.
Members of the public can phone the dangerous dog hotline on 1300 10 10 80 between the hours of 8am and 6pm if they wish to report a restricted breed dog.
The hotline should not be used in an emergency – if in immediate danger of a dog attack call 000.
'Very Special Kids' Fundraiser
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has thrown down the gauntlet - or should we say trotter - to the rest of the community to support next week’s ‘Very Special Kids’ fundraising event.
Very Special Kids was established in 1985 after two families recognised there was a need to support other families experiencing the loss and grief associated with having a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
A not for profit organisation, Very Special Kids offer its services and support free-of-charge and rely on funding through community activities and events such as this.
The culmination of this year’s week of fundraising will be the pink “Human Pig Race” on Friday 23 September at the Grand Terminus Hotel.
“I’ve volunteered to be one of the “piglets” who will tackle the short, but I am assured, not too challenging obstacle course and encourage members of the community to get involved and come along for a laugh and a bit of fun,” said Tim.
Omeo recreation reserve upgrade
The community of Omeo will be able to play more sport more often with the official opening of three upgraded facilities at the Omeo Recreation Reserve today.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, was on hand to officially open the developments today.
“Local clubs and their sports facilities play a vital role in our communities, providing a place for people to get together, strengthen ties and lead an active lifestyle,” Mr Bull said.
“I am a strong believer in sport being one of the key underpinning activities of rural communities and these new upgraded facilities ensure people can enjoy even more sport all year round and for more hours of the day.
“The Victorian Government is proud to continue to invest in community facilities like these which ensure communities have every opportunity to participate in sport and recreation activities
“I come from a previous job with the Australian Sports Commission’s Active After-school Communities program and that certainly highlighted the importance of sport, especially in our youth,” he said.
The Victorian Government provided:
* $60,000 to the Omeo Recreation Reserve towards replacement of the existing light poles with safe, low maintenance and energy efficient lighting. * $20,000 for the resurfacing of the Omeo Netball Courts with a plexipave surface and extended run off area. * $56,000 to the Omeo Recreation Reserve to allow for the collection and harvest of storm water from the reserve into tanks creating an ongoing, sustainable water supply.
Mr Bull commended the East Gippsland Shire for securing the funding for the projects and contributing close to $30,000 to the three projects.
“Local clubs and businesses also did a great job to contribute to the three projects, contributing more than $95,000 support for the upgrades in Omeo,” Mr Bull said.
“By investing in quality sports facilities like these we are making sure that Victorians can enjoy even more ways to get more active more often, now and into the future,” he said.
Swifts Creek town renewal project
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, joined members of the Swifts Creek community to officially celebrate the completion of the town’s CBD Renewal project today.
Representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Bull said Swifts Creek had received $250,000 from the Victorian Government to support the $663,000 streetscape redevelopment.
“The new and improved main street includes rows of heritage light poles, better pedestrian paths, parking areas, improved signage and new outdoor furniture,” Mr Bull said.
“The project also included the planting of up to 1,200 trees and shrubs, including the Chinese Pistachio trees that now decorate the town.
“The new street trees, garden beds and grassed areas are expected to improve over time to provide shade for pedestrian walkways and outdoor furniture and improve the overall look and feel of the town.”
"In addition to the completion of the streetscape works we are also celebrating the official opening of a new skate park facility in the town,” Mr Bull said.
“The $25,000 skate park, which has been funded by the East Gippsland Shire Council, will provide a fun and healthy new activity for the town’s young people and an additional draw card for visitors.”
Mr Bull said these important improvement projects would help boost the town’s economic and social viability.
“The local area is currently experiencing an increase in visitation numbers with around 1,000 vehicles a day passing through Swifts Creek via the Great Alpine Road.
“With a refurbished, upgraded and improved streetscape and new skate park facility we can expect that even more tourists will stop and explore this beautiful town and area.”
Mr Bull said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to working in partnership with local councils and communities to create jobs, increase prosperity and improve the quality of life for people living in regional and rural Victoria.
Review of speed limits
East Gippslanders are invited to have their say on what they believe are confusing or dangerous stretches of road where speed limit changes are required, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said today.
“Anyone who feels that there are too many speed changes on a street, or believe they have a solution to make limits easier to understand should make a submission,”.”
“In recent months both Federal colleague Darren Chester and I have had discussion with a number of residents in Genoa, Bruthen, Sarsfield, Stratford and Maffra who have raised various concerns with speed limit zones and the forum is now in place for them to have their say.
“It is important that speed limits provide a balance between safety and mobility, with consideration given to both traffic and pedestrians.
“However, when too many speed limit signs and zones occur on short sections of our road network, this results not only in driver frustration and confusion, but potentially hazardous for drivers distracted between monitoring speed signs and car gauges,” Mr Bull said.
Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, also said he had been contacted by local residents regarding speed limits at several road locations in Gippsland.
“Local motorists are telling me that they are frustrated and confused when travelling on certain stretches of road where there are several changes in the speed limit within a short distance,” Mr Chester said.
“To achieve the highest levels of road safety we need to have consistent and appropriate speed limits across the whole road network,” he said.
The State Government requested VicRoads undertake the review with a view to investigating ways in which speed limits could be applied more consistently across the state and easier for drivers to adhere to.
The Review of Speed Limits will investigate:
* routes with large numbers of speed zone changes * opportunities to reduce the number of speed limit changes * school speed zones, including - layout and location - remote crossings - times of operation - days of operation * strip shopping centre times * speed limits in town centres * use and application of advisory speed limits * minimum length of speed zones, and * consistency of speed limits under similar conditions.
People interested in making a submission can check the specific Terms of Reference on the VicRoads website at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au.
VicRoads will complete the review by December 2011 and present the findings to the government.