$2.43 million road safety upgrade for Paynesville Road
A new roundabout will be constructed at the troublesome Paynesville/Forge Creek Road intersection, State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, announced today.
“The road is quite busy with both tourist and local traffic, which has seen some community concern raised over the intersection, particularly after three serious accidents of relatively recent times.
“At that time there were many who believed a roundabout was the preferred solution and after the speed limit was reduced in this area as an interim measure, a closer examination of the location has determined a roundabout is the preferred outcome in relation to safety.”
“I certainly thank the local VicRoads and Victoria Police staff who agreed to on-site meetings to progress the preliminary work required to reach this point.”
“The roundabout will improve safety and to slow vehicles through the area.
“Detailed planning for this work will be undertaken, with construction of the new roundabout expected to start in spring 2014.
“It is anticipated at this stage the work will take around five months to complete.
“The funding is the centrepiece of Victoria’s new Road Safety Strategy 2013-22 and Action Plan 2013-16, which includes a new and stronger focus on measuring and reducing serious injuries.
“The Victorian Government has lifted the Safer Road Infrastructure (SRIP) funding to $1 billion over 10 years, an increase of more than 30 per cent a year, in a bid to reduce the risks to road users through vital safety improvements.
“We’ve had successive, record low road tolls in Victoria and we need to keep working hard to ensure that we stay a world leader in road safety,” Mr Bull said.
Officer in Charge of Bairnsdale Highway Patrol, Sergeant Dwayne Morrison welcomed the news of the extra funding for this intersection.
“There had been a significant number of collisions at this intersection leading up to the change in speed zones and signage improvements conducted last year, and after further consultation with VicRoads and East Gippsland Shire Council it is pleasing to see further safety improvements will be made with the construction of this new roundabout,” Sergeant Morrison said.
Bairnsdale becomes a hub for Australian beetroot
Bairnsdale is set to become a hub for the Australian beetroot processing industry, with local manufacturer Vegco investing in a new $3.78 million beetroot processing facility with the support of $150,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the Coalition Government’s funding boost would help Vegco purchase and install its new beetroot processing facility, reducing reliance on imported beetroot products.
"I have been regularly briefed on this project over the course of this year and have been fully supportive - it is terrific news that it is now coming to fruition. This new facility will make Bairnsdale a leader in the Australian beetroot processing industry, creating 16 new full-time jobs and a further 15 indirect jobs, with the potential to generate more employment in the future.
“Vegco is investing $3.63 million of its own money into processing equipment and product development that will enable it to produce its innovative ‘Love Beets’ range of products right here in Bairnsdale,” Mr Bull said.
“This range includes vacuum-packed 250 gram packs of 100 per cent natural baby beetroot as well as packs infused with flavours such as sweetfire chilli, honey and ginger, and white wine and balsamic vinegar.”
Mr Bull said the products were packaged in a format that had never been used in Australia, eliminating the need to import the product from the United Kingdom.
“Ensuring that these beetroot products can be manufactured locally is crucial to revitalising the Australian beetroot processing industry, which has been in decline over recent years due to movement off-shore,” Mr Bull said.
“The technology associated with the new plant will also allow the year-round supply of beetroot products, where previously local supply was on a seasonal basis.”
Mr Bull said today’s announcement continues the Coalition Government’s strong support for Vegco following the announcement in February of a $120,000 grant towards the $1.8 million upgrade of the company’s salad leaf production line earlier this year.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Peter Ryan, said local suppliers, growers, transporters and businesses would benefit from the increased production, resulting in more jobs, higher wages and other flow-on benefits for the region.
“This investment is proof that regional Victoria has a strong future in manufacturing and is vote of confidence in the people and products of East Gippsland,” Mr Ryan said.
“This expansion project is another example of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund investing in local manufacturing to grow the region and create additional local employment and opportunities.
“In just over two years, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $300 million into 1100 regional and rural projects, leveraging $1.3 billion in total investment.
“This includes many significant projects across East Gippsland including $500,000 towards the Bairnsdale Library Precinct improvements, $500,000 towards Bairnsdale CBD improvements and $500,000 towards the refuelling facility at Bullock Island, Lakes Entrance.”
Great Alpine Road $910,000 boost
The Great Alpine Road will be one of the first locations to benefit from the Victorian Government’s $170 million package to address the condition of Victorian roads, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, announced today.
“The Great Alpine Road is both a key tourist attraction for many visitors but also a busy road used daily by many locals and industry.
"A large amount of work has been undertaken on this road of recent times and this latest announcement that a further $910,000 will be spent on two sections of the road near Bruthen and Ensay is welcomed.
Across Gippsland a total of $9.74 million will be spent on road repairs under this package.
“The first contract to carry out these works will be advertised in coming weeks, with repairs set to start later this year in the warmer conditions required to construct road surfacing works,” Mr Bull said.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester commended the Victorian Government for listening to community concerns on the condition of local roads.
“In my recent Gippsland-wide survey, 76 per cent of respondents indicated that they didn’t believe the condition and level of maintenance on local roads was adequate,” Mr Chester said.
“The Victorian Government has implemented initiatives to address this problem, including this $170 million boost in funding.
“If the Coalition is able to form government after the coming Federal election, I will be pursuing a greater level of Commonwealth funding to address significant road issues in regional communities,” he said.
Mr Bull said VicRoads, for the first time, has a dedicated, multi-year capital program for road maintenance.
“This initiative includes $90 million which will go towards renewing deteriorated roads by strengthening the pavement and a further $80 million for resurfacing works to make roads more resilient to wet weather.
“The $170 million package will be delivered across three years, and will be a big improvement on the previous system that allocated funds on an annual basis.
“The previous system sometimes resulted in a short-term focus and didn’t always provide the best solution for the long-term.
“Making this significant commitment over the course of three years will give certainty which will lead to better decisions about the timing and type of maintenance to be carried out.
“It will also help us achieve better value for money from our maintenance contracts – all of this will result in better roads for Victorian motorists," Mr Bull said.
Further support for 2012 flood recovery
The Victorian Coalition Government continues to support local communities still recovering from the 2012 floods, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said today.
Mr Bull said Wellington Shire Council has been allocated $48,410 from the $2 million 2012 Flood Recovery Community Infrastructure Fund, to repair and restore damaged community facilities.
“This funding will support repairs to the Gippsland Plains Trail to allow it to be traversed in full between Stratford and McKinnons Roads in Heyfield.
The 2012 floods caused significant damage to the rail trail. Damage to the Boggy Creek ford alone meant that 7km of the trail is almost impossible to access, having dramatic impact on the numbers using this trail and adversely affecting local businesses, Mr Bull said.
Wellington Shire Council, Mayor, Cr Scott Rossetti says that this funding will help bring visitors back to the Rail Trail. “We are delighted that we can now conduct the necessary repairs to encourage people back to the trail. Soon we can make full use of this wonderful piece of community infrastructure once more. “People enjoy using the rail trail; it is a high quality, accessible multi-use recreation facility used and loved by residents and tourists alike. There is no doubt that this funding will encourage numbers to return to the trail, whether on foot, bike or horseback” he said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said four local councils would receive nearly $405,300 from the Victorian Government’s 2012 Flood Recovery Community Infrastructure Fund.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is pleased to support the re-establishment and replacement of flood-damaged assets important to these regional communities.
“We continue to work in close partnership with local councils to ensure that this funding brings about the best local outcomes as communities recover from the 2012 floods,” he said.
East Gippsland families to benefit from $12.2 billion schools funding deal
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today announced that schools in East Gippsland will benefit from an additional $12.2 billion dollars for school funding in Victoria over the next six years following successful negotiations between the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments.
“Students are going to be the big winners from a new funding agreement which will grow student funding from 2014, building on the record 2013-14 Victorian education budget,” Mr Bull said.
“This new schools funding agreement provides $12.2 billion of additional funding while protecting Victorian schools from a Canberra takeover.
“With this additional funding every student in East Gippsland will share the benefits of Victoria’s school reform agenda through real improvements in teaching and learning in every classroom,” Mr Bull said.
On Sunday Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and Education Minister Martin Dixon secured agreement with the Commonwealth Government to provide $12.2 billion of additional schools funding in Victoria between 2014-2019.
Under the agreement the Commonwealth will provide $6.8 billion combined with an additional $5.4 billion from the Victorian Government to benefit every school in the state.
To protect local control over local schools, the Commonwealth Government has agreed to make key amendments to the Australian Education Act after the federal election.
During the negotiations the Commonwealth also agreed to recognise Victoria’s right to distribute funding to schools according to its own need based funding model rather than a one size fits all model run from Canberra.
Because of these concessions Victoria’s nation-leading schools will be able to continue implementing critical reforms to lift the quality of teaching, improve curriculum and assessment, and increase personalised support for students in need.
Students with high needs including students with learning difficulties and students with a disability will benefit from improvements in targeted assistance for student learning.
“This historic agreement protects Victoria’s education system while increasing schools funding which will help drive our ambitious education reform agenda,” Mr Bull said.
“This $12.2 billion funding agreement is a huge win for East Gippsland students, families and schools”.