New Ports dredge under construction
Safe and reliable ocean access at Lakes Entrance is secured, with work starting on Gippsland Ports’ new dredge.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the new trailing suction hopper dredge would be a win for commercial fishermen, tourism operators and recreational boaters and fishers.
“The new dredge will be a great asset to the region and provide a greater level of certainty around consistent ocean access,” he said.
“The port is critically important to the region’s economy with an increasing number of recreational craft utilising the entrance for off-shore access and of course the Lakes Entrance fishing fleet being so dependent on navigable access.”
The dredge, to replace the Pelican, a 35-year-old dredge contracted from New Zealand for the past eight years, is being built in Dutch company Damen’s Yichang Shipyard in China.
“While it would have been preferable to have the construction undertaken by an Australian company, I would expect an exhaustive process was followed in what is a specialised area.”
Mr Bull said the 60-metre dredge, expected to be operating by late 2017, would service the port and support Victoria’s biggest commercial fishing fleet.
He said Gippsland Ports would operate the new dredge as it did with the April Hamer side-casting dredge for 34 years before its retirement in 2009.
“It is pleasing to see the current government continuing on the process commenced under the Coalition when Ports was given the go-ahead to take the construction of a new dredge to the market place.”
Funding open to local shooting clubs
A funding stream has just opened for local shooting clubs to develop their facilities.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today announced the second round of the Victorian Government’s Shooting Sports Facilities Program and said it gives grassroots clubs the opportunity to secure funding for projects they needed to complete.
“Sporting clubs are always looking at ways they can improve their facilities and the Shooting Sports Facilities Program is a great way they can do this,” Tim said.
Clubs can apply for upgrades of up to $100,000 for projects such as upgrading ageing clubrooms, to improve the access for people living with disabilities and to build new facilities for the female participants.
“Clubs can also build new shooting platforms and develop new rifle ranges and target systems.
“Through the grant funding, clubs will hopefully see an increase in participation and they will be able to better accommodate members of all abilities.
“Some of our local clubs have already been successful in securing funds and this is another opportunity.
“And it’s important that members of all ages in these clubs are safe.”
To apply for the grant, shooting clubs can visit www.sport.vic.gov.au.
“I encourage local clubs to see how they can better their facilities through this funding.”
Lakes Entrance Fire Station overhaul
Lakes Entrance Fire Station is set for an overhaul.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the Country Fire Authority (CFA) is seeking registrations of interest from building contractors to tender for the alterations to the existing station, in Bulmer Street, Lakes Entrance.
The scope of works include demolishing the rear of the existing building and rebuilding a new meeting room set back from the rear boundary and easement.
“The Lakes Entrance Fire Brigade is a key part of the local community and it is important the station’s building and equipment is up to date at all times,” he said.
“Fire brigade volunteers play an important role in not only fighting fires, but also other roles in the community.”
Tim said prospective tenderers were required to register in writing via the Tenders VIC website.
“I encourage qualified local builders to put their thinking caps on and tender for the job.”
Contractors must be commercially registered building practitioners and must submit a copy of their registration number.
“The CFA will consider all registrations of interest. Tenders will then be invited from a number of registrants whose registration indicates their suitability for the job,” he said.
Registration documents are available from the Tenders VIC website www.tenders.vic.gov.au and close at 2pm on Wednesday, February 10.
Important Lakes boating facilities open
Three significant pieces of boating and tourism infrastructure have been added to the Gippsland Lakes, all of which were funded by the Coalition Government in conjunction with Gippsland Ports, State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, announced today.
“The iconic Metung Wharf has doubled in size thanks to an $800,000 project with the facility significantly increasing the number of transient berths available to boaters.
Mr Bull said anyone who has visited the Gippsland Lakes would know how popular the jetty is in front of the Metung Hotel, so the additional jetty capacity will be a boon for local traders.
“In peak holiday season it has always been a challenge to get a berth at the Metung Wharf and it is pleasing this project has been delivered in time for summer,” Mr Bull said.
Metung Hotel owner, David Strange, said the increased capacity is proving a great benefit to the entire Metung business community and to the boating public which wants safe, easy boating access to the village of Metung.
“Metung has always been a popular destination to call into and this has eased the pressure on boat owners looking for berthing.
“The investment by the previous Government both here and at Paterson Park is fantastic and we look forward to improving facilities for holiday makers and Gippsland residents alike,” Mr Strange said.
The second project recently completed was the $430,000 jetty near the footbridge in Cunninghame Arm, Lakes Entrance, which will provide a boost for traders in Myer Street and the eastern end of the Esplanade shopping strip.
Mr Bull said previously recreational boaters’ nearest access point to this area was at Cunninghame Quay and there had been no place for boaters to stop that connected them with the eastern end of Lakes’ shopping precinct and the nearby amenities block.
“This is a great location for a jetty and I’m sure it will be popular with boaters who frequent the area,” he said.
President of the Lakes Entrance Action and Development Association, Allison Brewer, said it was pleasing to see the new structure completed in time for the holiday season.
“As this town increases in popularity, we need to have our local facilities keep pace with this increasing demand and this is a welcome addition,” she said.
The final project is at Paynesville where boaters will now have access to 24-hour refuelling facilities thanks to a $485,000 upgrade.
Mr Bull said the new facilities will allow boat operators swipe card access seven days a week and will ease congestion previously experienced by those who visited the area.
"The extension will provide a much safer service and move the refuelling area away from those hiring a boat or using the pump out facility,” he said.
Mr Bull said boating generates a significant amount for our local economy and all of these projects are essential if we want to ensure the Gippsland Lakes remain the boating capital of Victoria and he thanked Gippsland Ports for overseeing the successful construction of all projects.
Men’s Shed grants open
Grants of up to $60,000 are now available to help communities build a new Men’s Shed or $30,000 to redevelop and modify an existing Shed.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is encouraging community groups to apply for the latest round of grants from the Strengthening Men’s Sheds initiative.
“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,” Mr Bull said.
“I visit Men’s Sheds in my electorate regularly and see the many benefits they provide.
“There are many men in rural communities that are prone to suffer from isolation, loneliness and depression.
“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.”
Funding is available to community groups and local councils and priority will be given to projects from vulnerable communities, especially those affected by fire or drought.
Applications for grants close on Friday 27 May 2016. More information is available at: http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-business-and-community/community-involvement/men-in-the-community/mens-sheds
Pelican Island taking on a new look
Members of the Nungurner Landcare Group joined State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, on Pelican (or Baxter as it is sometimes known) Island recently to inspect the first stage of the Island’s renourishment project.
Mr Bull said this program received funding in 2014 under the former Coalition’s Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund and it is pleasing to see it coming to fruition.
“Every year for many years I have spent a fair bit of time around this island as it’s a favourite fishing haunt, so have got to know it fairly well.
“Around 2009/10, there was a lot of vegetation die off and some erosion, which appeared to be the result of increased salinity on the back of the 10 year drought.
“When we did receive rainfall and river inflows picked up, the salinity levels dropped and with the return of some of the vegetation, it has gone from being completely barren to quite green now.
“However, this occurrence led to thinking it would be the ideal place to renourish (as it is a key swan nesting site) and undertake some vegetation trials relating to salt tolerant species given we are sure to see more drought at some time in the future.
“I initiated meetings with the Nungurner Landcare Group, which has a strong interest in this area and following this, put the proposal to the executive officer of the then Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee, which oversaw the Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund.
“Various approvals and permissions had to be undertaken and the project has commenced as a partnership between Parks Victoria, Gippsland Ports, DELWP, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and the Nungurner Landcare Group.
“The dredging works that have recently been undertaken by Ports have followed detailed assessment of lake bed materials, hydrographic evaluation and consultation with wildlife experts and local Landcare representatives.
“While Parks Victoria will manage the project, it is very pleasing to see the agencies working together and I am delighted the Nungurner Landcare Group will continue to play an important role in this project to improve the ecological condition of the Island.
“This will be a project that will require monitoring over a number of years and one that I am sure will tell a real story, particularly in relation to the vegetation species in a changing environment.
“When visiting the Island with members of the Landcare Group, it was very pleasing to see the phragmites starting to return in many areas after being absent for a few years,” Mr Bull said.
The project follows the successful renourishment of Crescent Island at Bunga Arm, which is now hosting a large number of migratory terns as a result of the work undertaken.
Mr Bull said it was projects like this that highlighted the importance of the Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund being continued.
“It commenced under the Coalition as $10m over four years and was recommitted for another four years pre-election. The current government committed to one year, but given we are again reaching the tail end, it is important the Minister reaffirms that this fund will continue.
“This will be a matter I will be pursuing with the Minister when Parliament resumes in early February,” Mr Bull said.