Police Minister intervenes when it suits
The motives behind the Police Minister’s decision to intervene with the hours of operation at Waurn Ponds Police Station in her own area, but not other regions across Victoria such as Lakes Entrance, was raised in State Parliament last week.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who has been advocating for more police in Lakes Entrance during peak tourism times, was on hand to watch Opposition Leader Matthew Guy quiz the Minister in Question Time last Thursday as to why she intervened following cuts to counter hours at Waurn Ponds, near Geelong, but not Lakes Entrance.
“When I’ve asked the Minister and her predecessors about the operational hours at Lakes Entrance Police Station, and the need for additional resources come Christmas and Easter, I’ve been told it’s a decision for the Chief Commissioner,” Mr Bull said.
“However, it seems the Minister can intervene when it’s in her own region.”
Mr Guy asked: “Minister, why did you intervene regarding cuts to the opening hours at Waurn Ponds police station when you have been a silent and passive bystander while the opening hours have been cut or police stations closed at places such as Endeavour Hills, Greensborough, Burwood, Ashburton, Carrum Downs, Forest Hill, Mount Waverley, Nunawading, Whitfield, Tatura, Somerville, Reservoir, Pakenham, Ballarat West, Mooroolbark, Craigieburn, Epping and Lakes Entrance?
“Minister, at Waurn Ponds you actively intervened in what you have previously said was an operational decision. Why will you not now commit to intervening for the other 18 locations in the same manner that you are gloating about having done for Waurn Ponds?”
“Unfortunately, the Minister could not provide an answer suitable for the concerned communities at these locations, including Lakes Entrance,” Mr Bull said.
“It’s double standards to then hear about the reduced counter areas in one area and take action, but leave the other communities out in the cold,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said he would continue to lobby the Government for additional police resources for the upcoming Christmas and Easter holiday periods.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Roads Minister questioned about highway closure
The lack of notification and consultation with the local business and tourism sector in relation to the closure of the Princes Highway at Bunga Creek, east of Lakes Entrance, has been raised in Parliament by Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, following contact by several local operators.
“My office has received complaints about the lack of notification and consultation with the local business and tourism sectors, mainly in Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers Beach,” Mr Bull said.
During State Parliament on Thursday, Mr Bull directed a question to the Roads Minister about the timing of the closure while culverts under the roads are replaced, which has resulted in lengthy detours and a high level of frustration within the community.
“VicRoads has since advised it is in the process of establishing a temporary, one-lane road along the highway, with hopes of it opening before the start of the school holidays,” he said.
“I have urged VicRoads to try and have these works completed before the holidays so the detour is not required and they are hopeful of achieving this, but weather will play a role.”
Mr Bull said after asking the question in Parliament, he was advised VicRoads had not initially intended to start the works until after the school holidays, but the road had deteriorated in recent weeks and as a result, works had to be commenced immediately for safety reasons.
Caption: The Princes Highway, between the intersections to Lake Bunga and Lake Tyers Beach, is currently closed.
Friday, September 2, 2016
Concerns over Doctors in Schools program
The announcement of the State Government’s Doctors in Secondary Schools Program has raised a number of concerns about exactly how the program will run, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
The Government this morning announced Bairnsdale and Maffra Secondary Colleges and Swifts Creek P-12 School will be included in the Doctors in Secondary Schools Program, however Mr Bull said that due to a lack of detail, some parents had raised legitimate queries.
“Philosophically it’s a good idea, however there are as yet unanswered questions over just how the program will work,” Mr Bull said.
“Parents have raised concerns that children as young as 12 may be able to access medical advice and treatment at school, including things like prescriptions for the contraceptive pill,” he said.
“The Government has failed to clarify whether parents will be able to provide consent – or even have knowledge – that their children will be accessing a doctor whilst at school.
“It is also unclear if the decision to have a doctor attending schools will have input from the school leadership and the parent associations.
“Whilst I have great confidence in our schools and medical practitioners to make common-sense decisions around such topics, it is clear that all parents state-wide fully understand the details on how this program will work. As a parent, I want to know.
“The program is set to roll out from term one next year and I would hope that the detail on the program that is presently missing is relayed on to schools and parents in the very near future,” Mr Bull said.
Thursday, September 1, 2016