Funds provide a photo finish for Canni Creek races
Buchan and Gelantipy, Omeo and District and Tambo Valley Picnic Racing Clubs have been allocated funds through the Coalition’s Victorian Racing Industry Fund, State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said today.
The money’s will aid the upgrade of club facilities, including the installation of a photo finish tower at the Buchan and Gelantipy Racing Club, which received $13,756.
“Picnic racing is the back bone of many country towns and provides enormous social and economic benefits for those communities who rely on these meetings to raise funds for local services.
Omeo and District Racing Club received $2,500 to upgrade power and relocate the judge’s tower; and Tambo Valley Racing Club received $600 to upgrade their power facilities.
“I congratulate all three clubs and the many dedicated volunteers on their ongoing efforts in promoting picnic racing in East Gippsland and providing a fantastic day out that the whole community can enjoy,” said Mr Bull.
Ian Dunkley, secretary, Buchan and Gelantipy Racing Club said, “the announcement couldn’t have come at a better time, as this year we will be celebrating our 125th anniversary”.
“The funding will be for used a number of improvements that the committee had identified, with the bulk to be used to demolish and replace the old horse stalls that were built 35 years ago from saplings and tin.
“They now pose a risk to the horses and patrons, with 12 new horse stalls scheduled for construction.
“This financial support is greatly appreciated by the Club, and with hundreds of racegoers headed to Canni Creek for this year’s meeting on Saturday 18 February, these upgrades will make future race days even more exciting,” said Mr Dunkley.
Minister for Racing, Dr Denis Napthine said the Coalition Government strongly supported picnic racing as a terrific community event which also contributes significantly to the local economy.
“The Coalition Government has established, through its new Victorian Racing Industry Fund, a grants program specifically to support picnic racing clubs.”
“The aim of this fund is to assist picnic racing clubs, largely reliant on the dedication and hard work of volunteers, to build and upgrade racing infrastructure as well as facilities for patrons.
“In many cases, providing improved facilities at picnic racecourses has the additional benefit of assisting other community organisations that use the racecourse infrastructure,” Dr Napthine said.
Road sealing works to commence on Omeo highway
Work is starting on sealing of the unsealed sections of the Omeo Highway, delivering on another election commitment, says Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“It is one of only four routes between the North East and Gippsland and the sealing of the unsealed sections will not only serve the general public, but also provide support to industries, including timber and tourism.
“Providing a safe bitumen surface will also mean that the road will be more accessible and safer in wet weather and snowy conditions,” Mr Bull said.
The Victorian Government has committed $8 million to sealing the unsealed sections of the Omeo Highway. At this stage to seal all the unsealed sections of the Highway more funding will be required. A submission has been forwarded with the extra costing needed.
Transport Minister, Terry Mulder, said “sealing the unsealed sections will boost tourism and local industry by creating a safer and more convenient route for road users, and providing a safe bitumen surface ensures that the road will be more accessible in certain conditions.
“Approximately 28 kilometres of the Omeo Highway remain unsealed in two separate sections. The Government has committed $8 million to commence work on the first unsealed section approximately 10 kilometres south of Mitta Mitta. The second section to be sealed is located 40 kilometres south of Mitta Mitta.”
Mr Mulder said VicRoads had worked closely with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and other stakeholders to ensure environmental and cultural values were protected throughout the works.
“Works will be limited to the road reserve and won’t impact on undisturbed ecological areas. Sealing these gravel sections of the highway will reduce the impact of dust and silting of watercourses, which can adversely affect fish and frog habitats.
“VicRoads has conducted cultural and environmental assessments to ensure that all sensitive areas within the vicinity of the Highway that could be affected have been identified and processes established to address any potential issues,” Mr Mulder said.
Federal Member for Gippsland and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport Darren Chester said he was pleased the project, which would improve safety for local residents and visitors, was underway.
"Given the current condition of the road and a lack of maintenance, there are safety concerns for drivers, particularly during adverse weather conditions," Mr Chester said.
"I'm pleased that the Victorian Coalition Government started the works to improve road safety for local residents and visitors venturing to and from the high country."
Government gets tough on weed control
The Victorian Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to target recalcitrant land owners who fail to control invasive plants on private property, says State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“Whilst more continually needs to be done and this is a problem that will not go away, I welcome the news that the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) had more than doubled property inspections in a major crackdown on agricultural pests like blackberry, gorse, ragwort and thistles.
“Around 250 properties have been inspected in East Gippsland and over 50 landholders have received land management or directions notices. In several cases in the state, fines have been issued and one prosecution is pending.
“In an electorate like Gippsland East, where such a variety of weeds are threats in different areas, a higher level of enforcement is required and this will continue to be the case.”
Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said “this government allocated an additional $21.2 million in the State Budget to boost the fight against weeds and pests and this investment is paying off,” Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said state-wide, DPI officers inspected 2,768 properties from July to December 2011 compared to just 1,290 for the same period in 2010.
“As a result of this crackdown, 12 property owners have been hit with fines and another will be prosecuted through the courts by DPI inspectors,” Mr Walsh said.
“Across the state some 633 landowners have received land management or directions notices over the period demanding they take action to clean up their properties or face penalties. This is up on 288 notices issued the previous year.
“This government is committed to taking action on those landholders who allow their properties to become a haven for pests and weeds.”
Mr Walsh said the former Labor Government had walked away from controlling widespread weeds such as gorse and blackberry.
“The fact that more than one in five properties inspected required an improvement notice is proof the state went backwards under Labor’s lax approach,” he said.
Mr Walsh said DPI inspectors would target weed enforcement actions to support communities where landholders were working together to co-ordinate pest control action, for example through Landcare groups or weed taskforces.
The department is implementing 90 weed enforcement projects across Victoria to support community-led action on weeds.
Reforms to spur on retail industry
Retail policy changes announced by the Coalition government will spur on major jobs growth and provide more flexibility in Victoria’s retail industry and local member, Tim Bull, said these reforms can only be good news for retailer in East Gippsland.
It is important that the local retail community has every opportunity to grow and develop any potential business or employment opportunities.
“These retail zone reforms make common sense and will provide more flexibility to the retail industry, potentially creating hundreds of jobs across Victoria.
“The associated benefits generated by local retailers can only flow through to the rest of the community.
“The reforms are further evidence of the Coalition government’s continued commitment to growing employment and providing economic prosperity throughout regional Victoria,” Mr Bull said.
Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy said “these reforms give certainty to the retail industry about where stores may be developed.”
“The changes were welcomed by leading retailers including Baby Bunting, Officeworks, Beacon Lighting, Petstock and Associated Retailers Limited.
“These retailers are planning to open more than 50 stores in Victoria in the coming years as a result of these reforms,” said Minister Guy.
Mr Bull said, the former Labor Government reviewed retail policy in 2007, but failed to resolve the issue, leaving the industry in the dark and without certainty.
“These changes will allow councils to assess permit applications for bulky goods retail on their individual merits.”
Fire safety messaging for road users
Fifteen mobile messaging LED signs, including one positioned at Genoa on the Princes Highway, are providing high-impact visible safety information and advice for motorists this summer, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said today.
“The mobile signs are part of a $300,000 Coalition Government trial of fixed and mobile electronic signs across 29 locations in high-risk bushfire areas, designed to increase fire awareness for local communities and travellers,” Mr Bull said.
“The mobile signs are another tool to help raise fire awareness and assist local communities to make informed decisions about their own bushfire risk and motorists who are unfamiliar with the fire risks when travelling to popular holiday destinations across Victoria.”
“It is imperative that people living in high-risk fire areas have every means available to them to be alerted to any potential threat to their lives or property, but these alerts should always be used in conjunction with a well prepared travel or evacuation plan in the event of bushfire or floods,” Mr Bull said. Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Peter Ryan said, “although the signs were designed to provide proactive safety messages, they could also be used to broadcast warnings for fire or flood in any area.”
“The current sites chosen for the mobile signs are either in, or on the way to high-risk bushfire areas to attract the attention of travellers but they will be moved across the state, according to risk, if needed,” Mr Ryan said.
The 15 mobile signs will be trialled over the next two months around the Great Ocean Road, Gippsland, Grampians, High Country, Daylesford, Dandenong Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula.
The signs are located near the townships of Myrtleford, Halls Gap, Anglesea, Daylesford, Ferntree Gully, Dunkeld, Mansfield, South Gippsland, Genoa, Gisborne, Castlemaine, Dromana, Apollo Bay, Echuca and Shepparton.
Both trials are being led by the Fire Services Commissioner, in conjunction with the CFA.