Local schools receive maintenance funds
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said two local schools, Lindenow and Orbost North Primary Schools, had received funds for much needed repairs in the latest round of State Government schools maintenance funding program.
Mr Bull said both Lindenow Primary School and Orbost North Primary School had been identified as priority funding needs by an independent audit recently conducted by the education department.
“Lindenow Primary School received $122,000 which will go a long way to bringing the school up to the standard expected by the community.
“My understanding is the school will use the funds to repair exterior and interior walls, fix floors and paint the interior of buildings at its Woodglen campus,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said Orbost North Primary School was yet to determine how it would spend its $23,000 in funding, but would work with the education department to prioritise its maintenance needs.
“Both Lindenow and Orbost North Primary schools serve some of our smaller rural communities and do a fantastic job educating students.
“It is pleasing for the two school communities that these funds have been allocated to help maintain their facilities and allow students the opportunity to learn in an upgraded workspace.”
VicHealth Sporting Grants open
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is encouraging sports and active recreation clubs to apply for VicHealth grants to help purchase core equipment and injury prevention items.
Mr Bull, who served on the VicHealth board for three years, said the Active Club Grants aimed to make it easier for clubs to fund items or equipment which helped them to improve safety, to reach out to new participants, and keep our communities connected.
“They also play an important role in supporting more Victorians to become active.
“This is increasingly important as we see the impact of a lack of physical activity in the growing numbers of people with chronic diseases and other health problems.
“To create greater opportunities for clubs to access Active Club Grants, VicHealth will run two rounds of funding, opening Monday 17 August 2015 and again on Monday 1st February 2016.
Applications for the first round of Active Club Grants can be submitted now until Friday 18 September 2015.
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said this year they are offering clubs the option apply for the traditional grant of up to $3,000 or a larger grant of up to $10,000 for core equipment that will help increase or maintain participation through their club.
“We are offering up to 10 of these larger grants per round for clubs that can make a big impact and enable a greater number of Victorians to start or continue being physically active.
“This may include large clubs with a high number of teams, clubs that are seeking to implement new programs and activities to increase participation, clubs trying to reach new community members, or clubs in areas experiencing significant population growth,” she said.
For further information or to apply for this grant online, visit www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/activeclub
Round 1 – opens Monday 17 August 2015 and closes Friday 18 September 2015
Round 2 - opens Monday 1 February 2016 and closes Friday 4 March 2016
Men's Shed grants now open
Grants of up to $8,000 are now available to help communities modify, equip and improve Men’s Sheds, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said today.
Mr Bull encouraged community groups with existing Men’s Sheds across the Gippsland East electorate to apply for the latest round of grants available from the Australian Men’s Sheds Association under the Nationals Shed Development Program.
“Men’s Sheds play a very important role in our region and are one of the most powerful tools we have in helping men to remain valued and valuable members of our community,” he said.
“Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed gives a man that safe and busy environment where he can connect with friends and maintain an active body and active mind in an atmosphere of old-fashioned mateship.
I visit a number of Men's Sheds around my electorate and see the benefits first hand so it is important we continue to grow these facilities,"he said.
The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) administers the Australian Government National Shed Development Program (NSDP) to provide direct financial assistance to men’s sheds with priority given to those sheds in areas of greatest need.
Mr Bull said individual Men’s Sheds can apply for up to a total of $8,000 for a range of financial support across the following three funding categories:
Category One – Tools & Equipment, Community Projects and Training to a maximum of $5,000
Category Two – Building Maintenance & Development to a maximum of $7,500
Category Three – Health Improvement Activities to a maximum of $5,000
The grants opened on Monday 17th August and close on Friday 18th September 2015.
Port sale short changes country Victoria
Last week in State Parliament the hottest topic of debate, both inside and outside the Chamber, was the Port of Melbourne sale. Although some may think it has little to do with East Gippsland, that’s far from the case – it is in fact very important to East Gippsland on a range of fronts.
Perhaps the most important point is the sale of the port will generate an estimated $7 billion and between 40-50% of container exports come from rural and regional Victoria, which has 25% of the state’s population.
So it is very unfair that all that has been offered by this State Government from the $7 billion port sale is a $200 million agriculture fund – this is just 3% of the expected port proceeds and massively short changes country Victoria. Of further concern is that from this “farmers’ fund” as the government has referred to it, some of the first projects announced from it were several road and bridge upgrades between Geelong and Melbourne.
These included the Avalon Road Overpass on the Princes Freeway, the Corio Quay Road Bridge and three bridges over rail spur lines in the area.
I am fairly sure the majority of people from rural and regional Victoria would not see this as fitting within the criteria of an agricultural “farmers’ fund”. When questioned on this in Parliament last week, the Minister’s response was that it was a fund that had “wide application”.
It is simply funding urban roads projects that should be addressed under the roads budget and when these projects are funded there will be very little left for our farmers or rural areas, so while the paltry 3% was a slap in the face for country Victoria, it appears as though it will actually be a fraction of that after these metropolitan roads and bridges are financed.
East Gippsland is home to dairies, meat producers, vegetable growers, timber operations and food manufacturers. Primary industries like these are not only strong economic contributors to East Gippsland, but Victoria as a whole - and a lot of the value is in export markets.
How do Victoria’s exports get to their overseas markets? Often it is by a container that departs from the Melbourne Port. It is our gateway to the world. Melbourne’s Port, very literally, has been built off the back of Victoria’s farmers and manufacturers.
The Port has been critically important in our past, and it will remain absolutely critical if we are serious about continuing to grow Victoria’s potential as a food and fibre State
Recently we have seen the Port stevedores warn that if there are any extra costs associated with handling goods at Melbourne Port, ultimately these will be passed back to producers.
That’s why it is so important that the State Government gets a really good deal for all Victorians if it proceeds with selling off this long-term lease.
That’s why my Nationals colleagues and I remain very concerned that the deal being proposed for the lease is just not good enough.
The Government is yet to provide all the details, so last week The Nationals used our numbers in Parliament to send the Port lease legislation to a Legislative Council inquiry.
The Coalition is not opposed to the sale of the port, but it has to be a deal that benefits all of Victoria.
The disappointing aspect from a local point of view is that when the Minister for Water was in the Macalister Irrigation District recently turning the first sod on upgrades that were ironically funded by the previous Coalition Government, she had the perfect chance to say the next stage of the MID could be funded under this program.
It is after all a critical agricultural project. However all she could say was it “could be considered” through the new agriculture fund. So the urban road and bridge projects can be guaranteed from this fund, but the MID – a real agricultural project – can only “be considered”.
The Victorian Farmers Federation management supported this 3% agricultural farmers’ fund of which much is going into city roads, but I have been contacted by members who are very unhappy that such a deal – which short changes rural Victoria – has been supported by the group.
This is simply a dud deal and to put it into context - the paltry amount being offered to regional and rural Victoria is the same as the budget for the St Albans level crossing removal project in Melbourne’s western suburbs - around $200 million.
The people who built the Port, provide between 40-50% of the container exports and who represent 25% of our state’s population are getting around 1-50th of the funds – and even then they’re going to city projects.
Because we successfully forced the Government to send its port lease legislation to an inquiry last week, it will now be thoroughly examined and scrutinised. Members of the public, including councils, businesses and concerned individuals will also be able to have their say and make a submission to the Committee.
Anyone who is interested in doing this can get more information from my office.
August 17, 2016
CFA volunteers deserve to have their voices heard
The short timeframe for submissions to the Fire Services Review has fuelled concerns country brigades and their volunteers will have little say through the submission process.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said local CFA volunteers and communities have been given just three weeks to write and lodge their submissions to the State Government’s Fire Services Review
“Following that, there’s only four weeks for all of those submissions to be considered and for the final report to be developed, so it seems an incredibly short time-frame for such an important matter relating to the future structure of an organisation as important to country Victoria as the CFA.
Mr Bull said if the Labor Government took CFA volunteers’ views seriously, it would provide them with adequate time to make submissions.
“To provide just a few weeks for written submissions to this review is offensive to our CFA volunteers and country communities,” Mr Bull said.
“At the same time, the government is taking more than 12 months to look into gaming machine arrangements, so why the rush for this review?
“Our CFA volunteers dedicate their time and risk their safety to protect others – and they deserve to be treated with far more respect by this government.”
“I am urging all of our CFA volunteers to have their say by lodging a submission before the August 31 deadline as there remains concerns there will be a shift to merge the CFA and MFB, or aspects of them and that would not be a good outcome for country brigades,” Mr Bull said
Bull says new DELWP offices a great boost for Swift’s Creek
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, visiting the new Coalition funded DELWP offices at Swift’s Creek when under construction last year.
The new Coalition funded Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) offices to be officially opened in Swift’s Creek next week, have provided a huge boost to the town according to State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull said that although he had not received an invitation to the opening, he was proud the previous government was able to provide such a facility to Swift’s Creek.
“I will be very interested to see if the Minister turns up herself to open the facility, as being in the heart of wild dog country, she may be able to answer some questions as to why Labor axed the successful wild dog bounty on July 1 as I am sure many locals will be interested in knowing. Time will tell if she attends herself,” Mr Bull said.
“This project, which attracted $10 million in funding from the previous Government, is a strong commitment to a small rural town like Swift’s Creek and with certainty around staff numbers, it had great spin off benefits for the community,” he said.
“Swift’s Creek is a crucial Level 3 Incident Control Centre, meaning it is able to handle a full-scale, multi-agency emergency incident as well as playing a key role in planned burning operations.
“The office has been completely redeveloped to bring all emergency management functions and facilities under one roof and provide improved response to community stakeholder expectations and be a one stop shop community service.
“The new depot has provided purpose-built facilities designed to ensure a safer work environment, assist day to day works delivery, emergency preparation and response operations.
“The old facilities were ageing and disjointed with a number of extensions and portable buildings added over the years. The new layout is a massive improvement and will significantly strengthen the ability to effectively manage emergency situations and planned burning operations in this remote district,” he said.