Items filtered by date: July 2016
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 09:51

Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre in the running for training award

Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre (PNC Training) has been identified as one of the best training providers across the state and is in the running for a Victorian Training Award.

PNC Training manager, Karen Fleischer, said the team was “humbled” to be in the running for the prestigious Victorian Community Training Provider of the Year award, and that it was due to a strong partnership it has established with Federation Training over many years. 

Ms Fleischer said PNC, along with Noweyung, Buchan Neighbourhood House, Orbost Telecentre and SNAP, were members of Gippsland East Learn Local Organisation (GELLA). One of the aims of GELLA is to provide Learn Local pre-accredited training to the community following the closure of Community College East Gippsland. 

“We’ve got a dedicated team of people who work very hard and provide a quality service to the community,” Ms Fleischer said.

“To win it, it would be recognition of the effort and what the team does here at Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre. It (to be named a finalist) validates the quality of the programs we provide and our commitment to the community,” she said.

Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said it was pleasing news to have a local training provider shortlisted for such an award, which will be presented on Friday, August 26.

“I fully congratulate the educators and staff at Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre for providing such high standards of adult, community and further education to the community,” he said.

The Victorian Community Training Provider of the Year is one of 15 categories featured in the awards, with Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre the only East Gippsland nominee.

“PNC Training and Federation Training have established a fantastic partnership that is seeing more people being entered into courses at either Paynesville or Bairnsdale. There are people coming through the door at PNC who are being referred to courses at Federation Training, and vice versa,” Mr Bull said.

An example of the strong partnership is PNC’s ‘Linking Learning to the Land’ program with Federation Training’s ‘Paddock to Plate’ initiative, according to Federation Training’s Karen Bird.

“In its first six months, there have been 130 enrolments, with four apprentice outcomes in term three,” Ms Bird said.

Expressions of interests are currently being sought for PNC Training’s ‘A Start on the Land’ course which is being offered in partnership with Federation Training. This course is for people with no farm experience who want to learn about job opportunities with local farming industries.

Federation Training is hosting four of PNC Training courses this term. They are ‘Your Next Step’, ‘A Start on the Land’, ‘Skills for Successful Supervision’ and ‘Improving Team Productivity Course’.


Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, congratulates Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre manager, Karen Fleischer (left), with Federation Training’s Karen Bird, after PNC was shortlisted for a Victorian Training Award.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Published in Media
Thursday, 21 July 2016 15:11

Farmers encouraged to apply for funding

Young farmers in East Gippsland have the opportunity to apply for funding so they are better equipped to face the farming challenges and opportunities of the future, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has announced.

Mr Bull said scholarships of up to $10,000 were available to farmers and farmhands under 35 years of age to help them improve development and career progression.

“$5000 is available for study and another $5000 is available for farmers to invest on-farm or in professional development activities to help put new skills into practice,” he said.

Mr Bull said the scholarship program was designed so it can be flexible to fit in with the demands of farmers and farmhands across the state.

“Some of the courses eligible include human resources training, business management, a Diploma in Agriculture, a Diploma of Agribusiness Management and on-farm technical training,” he said.

Applications for the Young Farmers Scholarship Program close on August 26.

More information on the program is available at

Caption: Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is encouraging farmers under the age of 35 to apply for State Government grants to invest on-farm or in professional development activities.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Published in Media
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 11:49

Why the firefighters’ EBA should not be signed

There has been much said and published about the CFA in recent months and the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) that is causing concern amongst many in the community over the hotly debated power of veto it provides to the firefighters’ union (UFU) over the CFA.

To be fair to the Premier, new Minister and union, they have said this is a beat up fuelled by the media and Opposition.

I don’t believe it is accurate to say this has been fuelled by the media and Opposition, as while the issue has received massive state-wide coverage, it has become a story largely because of the concerns of others.

To justify this, it is worth recapping on how this all started and marking some key points in time.

The issue commenced when the Labor Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett, said she would not sign the EBA.

After working on it for well over a year she agreed it was “very unsatisfactory”, adding that she believed it provided veto powers over the CFA, would impede the CFA in doing its work and gave too much power to the union – that from the Labor Minister who went over the document with a fine toothed comb over long period.

This created significant media is how it all started. Although the media reported it, it was not the media or the Opposition that got the ball rolling.

We have also had the former chair of the CFA, Mr John Peberty; the former CFA chief executive Lucinda Nolan (whom this current government appointed) stating their view – and that of their legal advisors – was that the EBA greatly disadvantaged the CFA.

Mr Peberty went on to say “there are around 50 clauses that provide power of veto”.

We then also had Jack Rush QC, who assisted the Bushfires Royal Commission, say after he had carefully considered the EBA, that “the ability for the CFA to run their own show will be completely lost”, that it “threatened to strip away the independence of volunteer brigades” and concluded by saying “the whole ethic of volunteering is under threat”.

Then we had the CFA’s own legal advice that the proposed deal breached state equal opportunity laws. This advice came from the person who has since been appointed the State Government’s own Crown Counsel. On top of this, the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has said 12 clauses are discriminatory.

Former Labor Minister, Andre Haermeyer, said many of the demands in the current dispute were Trojan horses that would sideline CFA volunteers and undermine their interests. And former Federal Labor Minister, Gary Johns said “The Victorian Labor government called the agreement reform: anyone else would call it a union takeover.”

If all that was not enough, just a few weeks ago the CFA Chief Fire Officer, Joe Buffone, resigned and stated "I've walked away from a job that I love and that I'm committed too. Pay was the last thing on my mind. The core concerns about veto and the role of the chief officer were never addressed, it basically puts me in an untenable situation. Ultimately it [the deal] has the potential to affect public safety."

During the last sitting week in Parliament, several of the over 50 clauses that are causing concern were discussed. Space prevents listing all the areas of concern, but here is a snapshot: • 15.1 and 16.1 – requiring that changes to structure and roles in the brigade administrative and volunteer support services must be agreed by the UFU; • 41.1 – requiring the CFA hand over all access of its email system and database to the UFU and that the UFU will have unrestricted use of it; • 42.1 – requiring all CFA policies affecting employees can be made or varied only with UFU agreement; • 51.6.5a, 51.3, 147.1 and 183.3 provides that the CFA cannot employ operational staff on a part time casual basis unless the UFU agrees; • Schedule 20 requiring the uniforms and workwear for all CFA operational staff must be agreed by the UFU

The Premier, new minister and union will dispute several of these points, however the fact remains that this government has been told this agreement either unfair, flawed unworkable or illegal by the former Labor Minister and current Labor MP (Jane Garrett), the now sacked former CFA Board, the former CFA chief executive that Labor appointed (Lucinda Nolan), Jack Rush QC, the current Government’s Crown Counsel who provided advice to the CFA (Melinda Richard), the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and the recently resigned CFA Chief Officer, Joe Buffone (and many others including former Labor MPs).

Our professional firefighters do a great job on fire grounds. I was not pleased that they doorknocked thousands of homes for Labor and had hundreds of members man polling booths for Labor (which they openly state), but I have no issues with giving them a deserved pay rise or improved working conditions, for the job they do in fighting fires, saving lives and protecting assets.

These people and groups mentioned above highly credentialed, educated and informed. Despite the allegations from either side of politics or the media, their concerns alone are enough to suggest this agreement cannot be signed in its current form and needs more work.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Published in Comment Columns
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 09:24

Region recovering well after floods

State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the region was recovering well after the recent floods and was looking forward to a bumper spring period.

I have spoken to a number of farmers who lost fencing and crops, but as always they are being optimistic. A common phrase I have heard is “in the scheme of floods it wasn’t a bad one”.

Mr Bull said it was important that the wider Victorian community knew that East Gippsland was well and truly open for business.

“The way some things are reported in the metropolitan media, people could be excused for thinking the entire area was under water. They see the worst pictures that are published and think that is typical, so we need to get the real message out there,” he said.

Mr Bull said he hoped these floods did not result in a summer algal bloom, but given the level of flooding, history would say it is more than likely.

“There is a greatly increased chance of a significant algal bloom in summer after floods of this nature in the winter as it dumps high levels of soils and nutrients in the system. If the other factors fall into place, including high temperatures, salinity levels and still days to name a few, blooms were very likely.

“They are a completely natural occurrence that was taking place in the Gippsland Lakes before white settlement, so if it happens I hope we can get well into the tourist season first,” he said.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Published in Media
Tuesday, 19 July 2016 15:25

Input sought for invasive animal inquiry

Local farmers and landholders have been encouraged to make submissions to a Victorian Parliament inquiry into the control of invasive animals on Crown land.

Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said he had received a number of complaints from concerned property owners regarding effects caused by many species including wild dogs, foxes, feral cats and sambar deer on the environment, property and livestock.

“If left unchecked, invasive animals will spiral out of control in certain areas and we have seen that first-hand in East Gippsland,” he said.

“The committee needs to hear from our local people who face issues with invasive animals and this inquiry is an opportunity to have your say on how issues can be addressed on Crown land.

“This issue affects many regional areas across Victoria and city Members of Parliament need to understand the impacts that invasive animals are causing in county areas.”

The Nationals Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Tim McCurdy, is the deputy chair of the Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee which is conducting the inquiry.

Mr McCurdy said deer, foxes, wild dogs, rabbits, feral pigs and feral goats were some of the main species causing issues.

Submissions can be made until August 8, 2016. For more information, including how to make a submission and the terms of reference for the committee, visit

Caption: The Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee is seeking feedback on how best to manage invasive animals such as sambar deer (pictured) on Crown land in Victoria. Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is encouraging affected local landholders to make a submission.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Published in Media