Lower water bills for East Gippsland Water customers
Residential customers of East Gippsland Water will receive a $28 rebate on their water bills each year for the next four years as a result of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Fairer Water Bills initiative.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the savings would start from 1 July 2014.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to driving down the cost of living and our Fairer Water Bills initiative is delivering real savings for household budgets,” Mr Bull said.
“We asked water corporations to provide advice on potential productivity and efficiency gains within their businesses which could be adopted to help deliver lower household water bills.
“East Gippsland Water identified a number of capital cost and operational cost savings which will be delivered without compromising service standards or existing hardship protections that assist vulnerable customers.”
East Gippsland Water identified efficiencies such as: • Reviewing the frequency of grounds maintenance at some sites to reduce maintenance costs, where possible; • Utilising new and innovative technologies to reduce maintenance costs; • Streamlining billing services; • Collaborating with other water corporations to achieve cost reductions; and • Prioritising staff attendance at conferences by closer analysis of cost/benefit
Minister for Water, Peter Walsh, said Fairer Water Bills was delivering lower household bills after Labor’s legacy of waste and mismanagement.
“I thank East Gippsland Water for working co-operatively with the Office of Living Victoria and with the independent review team, led by Professor Graeme Samuel AC, to save money for its customers,” Mr Walsh said.
East Gippsland Water Chairman, Joe Rettino, said that the savings would be delivered to both owner-occupiers and tenants who paid for water usage.
“We are committed to ensuring that our customers receive high quality, value-for-money services,” Mr Rettino said.
East Gippsland soccer celebrate new facilities
East Gippsland soccer enthusiasts were today celebrating at the official opening of upgraded lighting facilities at Howitt Park in Bairnsdale.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, opened the new facilities which were supported by a $100,000 grant through Sport and Recreation Victoria’s (SRV) 2012 - Strengthening the World funding program.
“Sports clubs and their facilities play a vital role in bringing communities together especially in regional Victoria,” Mr Bull said.
The new lighting at Howitt Park will allow for after-hours training and competition.
“There are a number of sporting groups who use the Howitt Park facilities and the lighting opens up a whole range of new possibilities for these clubs, especially for fast growing clubs like the East Gippsland United Football Club.
“New lights increase the capacity of the facility to cater for after-hours training and night competition, which is great news for the 400-plus players, from juniors right up to seniors, keen to do United proud,” Mr Bull said.
“The Victorian Government is committed to a more active Victoria. That’s why we’re proud to have provided $100,000 from Sport and Recreation Victoria’s (SRV) 2012 - Strengthening the World funding program,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull thanked the East Gippsland Shire Council for securing the funding and its contribution of over $134,000.
“I would particularly like to acknowledge the East Gippsland United Football Club for its $10,000 contribution to the Howitt Park lighting project,” Mr Bull said.
“This is a fantastic effort and another great example where state and local governments, as well as clubs and local communities are working together to secure the future of sport and recreation and encouraging active communities,” Mr Bull said.
Labor opposes wild dog aerial baiting
metropolitan Labor Party branch has condemned aerial baiting, which is used as one method to limit wild dogs slaughtering more livestock and native wildlife.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said aerial baiting has been sought by a number of local farmers for many years as an additional tool to fight what is a massive problem in our region and after having refusals from the Federal Labor Government, it has recently commenced under the State and Federal Coalition Governments.
“I now read that one of their bigger metro branches recently voted unanimously to condemn aerial baiting, an essential tool for controlling wild dog populations. I wonder if any of those metropolitan based people have any idea about this issue at all,” Mr Bull said.
“They obviously have no understanding about the real and devastating impacts wild dogs have on livestock producers, both financially and emotionally.”
Labor’s agriculture spokeswoman Jacinta Allan has also exposed her ignorance on the topic, claiming in The Weekly Times this week that Labor had “always supported aerial baiting as a means of controlling wild dog populations…”. This is simply not true.
"The fact is the previous Federal Labor Government repeatedly rejected Victoria’s aerial baiting applications, which is now taking place under strict controls after a change of Federal Government.
"While the impacts on farmers are devastating, it is also about native wildlife. I have had many local bush lovers tell me they no longer see wallabies, emus and other wildlife in areas where they were plentiful have and even witnessed native animals being chased down by dogs. Late last year a local dogger told me he even found echidna quills in a wild dog scat.
“We need to do everything we can and the Victorian Coalition Government is committed to putting as many control measures in the tool box as possible, with aerial baiting complementing other control measures like trapping, ground baiting, shooting and exclusion fencing.
"While we still have a serious problem, the Victorian Coalition Government has achieved more in wild dog control in three years than the previous Labor government achieved over a decade. Some of the changes this Government has made include:
• Re-introduced the Lanes traps at the request of doggers and local community members. These were banned by the previous Government.
• Introduced the wild dog and fox bounty that has seen over 1100 wild dogs destroyed and handed in - and then doubled the wild dog bounty in January 2013 to $100.
• This month introduced aerial baiting.
• Established and grown community baiting programs with many land holders now participating.
• Maintained 72 hour trap checking for doggers (which the previous Government had on the agenda to reduce to 24hrs) to allow doggers more flexibility to go about their business.
• Restructured the wild dog management group with stronger Tambo Valley representation.
• Allowed farmers to undertake dog control measures outside their boundary as part of their co-ordinated baiting programs - with the intention to grow this in more areas.
• Made it easier for doggers to work outside the 3km buffer zone when required with a maximum 72 hour turn around for permission, but usually within 24 hours. This effectively removes the 3km restriction and has been utilised by doggers.
• Now setting up local wild dog management zone work plans with local input on actions to be undertaken.
• Provided ipads to the doggers so data can be entered in the field, removing the need for doggers to spend time in offices and this allowing more time in the field.
• Now employing contractor and casual staff to provide more flexibility to the dog control program and allowing for the use of younger doggers to be employed, which is being done with some of the contractors/casuals being employed being in their 30’s and 40’s – this is the basis of a transition plan.
“Labor’s members want wild dog baiting stopped, and regional people can bet their last dollar that’s what the Labor Party will do if elected.”
Further road safety upgrades
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today welcomed funding for a $1 million upgrade to a Princes Highway intersection at Montgomery just west of Stratford. The upgrade is part of the Coalition’s $17.7 million package to treat and improve high risk roads and intersections across Victoria.
The Victorian Coalition Government has invested $1 billion over the 10 years for the Safer Road Infrastructure Program (SRIP), a key initiative of Victoria’s Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan. SRIP is funded through the Transport Action Commission (TAC) and is delivered by VicRoads.
“The intersection will be significantly upgraded to include new turning lanes, new street lighting to enhance visibility, wire rope safety barriers and the complete resealing of the intersection to improve skid resistance, particularly in wet conditions,” Mr Bull said.
This intersection is in a rural area where two local roads intersect with a major highway on a sweeping bend in a 100 km/h zone.
During the five year period ending December 2013 there were three serious crashes at this intersection, all resulting in hospitalisations.
“This funding is in addition to the almost $25 million for road safety improvements the Victorian Coalition Government has provided for the Gippsland East area since coming to office,” Mr Bull said.
Previous projects include a new roundabout at Paynesville Rd, Eagle Point; six electronic messaging signs, rumble strips and linemarking between Stratford and Bairnsdale townships; and wire rope barriers, shoulder sealing, drainage works, guideposts, rumble strips, warning signs and tree removal along Princes Highway East.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is building a better Victoria by delivering vital safety upgrades to the regional road network through this program,” Mr Bull said
Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said the Victorian Coalition Government has approved more than $109 million in the past year for 95 SRIP projects across the State.
“An initial $17.7 million will be invested in 26 road safety projects across Victoria, which includes $14 million for 16 projects in regional Victoria,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
“The Victorian Government is committed to reducing the road toll and the number of deaths on the State’s roads is at a 90 year low. We are also focused on reducing serious injuries,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said that further projects will be announced as high-risk sites are assessed for these specialised treatments.
Additional family violence support
The Victorian Coalition Government has announced an additional $30 million over four years to protect and support women and children at high risk of family violence. Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said this is a great initiative to support members of our community affected by family violence.
East Gippsland and Wellington areas will benefit from a full-time worker to coordinate information sharing as well as providing practical support for women and children by linking them to the range of services they need.
“Family violence has been recognised as an ongoing issue in Eastern Victoria with the area having an unacceptably high level of family violence, so it is imperative we find ways to address, prevent and support those impacted by family violence.” Mr Bull said the $30 million package includes the state-wide expansion of the successful Strengthening Risk Management program that brings together police, the courts, family violence and family services to keep women and children at high risk of violence safe and hold dangerous perpetrators to account.
The Strengthening Risk Management project will roll-out across Victoria in all 17 Department of Human Services areas, after successful pilots in the Geelong and Hume regions.
A recent evaluation found that a key strength of the demonstration projects was the Risk Assessment and Management Panels (RAMPs), established to support planning around the safety of women and children.
Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said the investment built on a number of initiatives implemented by the Coalition Government to prevent violence, intervene early, respond effectively when it occurs and hold perpetrators to account. “We have worked alongside experts to develop a whole of government action plan to address family violence, and we have been very focused on delivering practical initiatives which deliver a comprehensive and coordinated response to ensure the safety of women and children,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“Since coming to Government the Coalition has increased total spending to prevent violence and support the women and children who are victims of family violence to more than $100 million each year. This represents an increase of more than 40 per cent since 2010,” Ms Wooldridge said. For further information about the Victorian Coalition Government’s family violence initiatives or to download the action plan go to: www.dhs.vic.gov.au/actionplantoaddressviolence