Gippsland Line is Victoria’s worst performing
Latest train punctuality data from the Andrews Labor Government shows the Gippsland Line is currently the worst performing service in the state.
For the month of May, only 66 per cent of Bairnsdale trains ran on time. The statewide target is 92 per cent.
It was also the worst performing line for April, with only 68 per cent of trains on time. This means almost one in every three Bairnsdale train services is not arriving at its destination within 11 minutes of its scheduled time, with some trains in the past four weeks arriving up to 45 minutes late.
Bairnsdale train services have been cancelled, or services replaced with buses, due to faulty trains. The V/Line Gippsland twitter feed shows services have been starting at Sale, instead of Bairnsdale, forcing passengers on to buses.
The Traralgon (Gippsland) Line services have also been badly affected by delays. The line is performing worse than Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.
Train, track and rolling stock faults are the responsibility of the Victorian Government.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the Victorian Government’s own data showed that Daniel Andrews can’t run trains on time.
“Labor has been in power for 14 of the last 18 years in Victoria – but the Andrews Government always looks to blame someone else for the problems facing V/Line,” Mr Bull said.
“It’s time that Daniel Andrews and Harriet Shing contributed state money to fix the Gippsland line and V/Line trains.”
Member for Morwell, Russell Northe, said while some train delays were unavoidable, due to accidents and other passenger requirements, the majority of delays were caused by faulty trains and track congestion on the Metro network.
“The Nationals are committed to improving the reliability of service for V/Line passengers in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland,” Mr Northe said.
“But we have seen no plan from Labor about how it will improve train reliability on the Metro corridor between Pakenham and Melbourne. They are in government – it’s time for them to act.”
Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said many people, including the elderly and students, relied on the train service to make appointments and attend study.
Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said there were ongoing talks between the Commonwealth and the State about track upgrades, but the Federal Government could not be blamed for trains breaking down.
“People in Gippsland don’t want political games; they just want governments to get on with the job of delivering,” Mr Chester said.
“I have announced record Commonwealth funding for the Gippsland line, including $195 million for track duplications to improve service reliability, and $95 million to replace the Avon River Bridge at Stratford.”
Friday, June 16, 2017
Changes recommended to ‘Uber’ tax
A parliamentary committee has recommended the Andrews Labor Government reconsider its proposed taxi reform legislation, including its new $2 tax on every taxi trip.
Daniel Andrews’ own Labor MPs were among the committee members who have recommended to amend the Bill to “provide for a reduced rate of levy in rural and regional areas” and that the Government considers reducing the $2 levy.
Local State MP, Tim Bull, said the report proved the ‘Uber’ tax was unfair on East Gippsland taxi users and the Government needed to change it.
“If Daniel Andrews again breaks his promise not to introduce any new taxes, a lower rate for regional passengers that have limited public transport options, is a more sensible outcome,” he said.
“For country people, a tax on taxi trips is a tax on people who can’t take the bus home with the weekly groceries, or travel to and from the doctors.
“Often, these are short and regular trips, so Daniel Andrews’ proposed $2 tax is a significant increase.”
The Committee also recommended extending existing Multi Purpose Taxi Program concessions to all trips and exempting these concession holders from the $2 tax.
“This new tax is one of eleven that has already been announced or implemented by Daniel Andrews despite the fact that on election eve he promised no new taxes,” Mr Bull said.
“Consumers and the taxi industry have been stuffed around by this government for too long and it’s time they were given the certainty to plan for their future with confidence.”
The report was tabled in Parliament last week by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Daniel Andrews has let Heyfield down
The news yesterday that Australian Sustainable Hardwoods will close is devastating for the local community and complete failure by Premier Daniel Andrews to seriously address the issue, says Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull.
“I was at the mill that morning with Opposition Leader, Matthew Guy, meeting with staff and we had no idea this demoralising news was coming later in the day.
“We have known since last year the timber supply contact was ending in June and despite promises from the Premier four months ago to visit and help sort this out, he has not visited Heyfield once. That in itself is a disgrace.
I also note the mill owner’s comments yesterday (after Mr Andrews announced earlier this year he would be prepared to buy the mill) that “any suggestions that there has been any form of intense discussions or negotiations of any form with the government are simply wrong”.
“The ridiculous thing is, this does not need to happen. At a Parliamentary Inquiry just two weeks ago, VicForests put on the Hansard record what we have suspected all along.
“It confirmed the amount of timber available to industry has dropped by 60,000 cubic metres per annum due to confirmed possum sightings and projected future possum colony identification. This is the Heyfield timber. VicForests also said the possum was being discovered at a rate “much higher than ever anticipated”.
“In 2014 it was stated in the Leadbeater's Possum Advisory Group Technical Report that there are 204,400 hectares of potential habitat found across the range of the Leadbeater’s Possum and that only 30% of that area was available for potential timber harvesting.
“Given this, I think it is incorrect to say it has to be ‘the timber industry or the possum’ as some are doing. Surely we can undertake protection and conservation actions in the 70% of range that is not available to the timber industry. To me this is about balance, but the Premier has not even visited the town for any discussions, or entertained, a balanced outcome.
“There are 250 people employed at the Heyfield mill, while the mill’s operations support 7000 jobs down the line. If this closure goes ahead it will have a further devastating effect on the local economy after the closures of Hazelwood and Carter Holt Harvey.
“Daniel Andrews, now more than ever, needs to step in and provide the timber supply his own agency says is there. The mill’s closure will only drive up imports of appearance grade timber from countries with far less oversight that we have – when we have the timber,” Mr Bull said.
Thursday, June 15, 2016
Labor has funds for wild dogs (at the zoo), but dropping the ball on the real dog issue
The State Labor Government has announced $9 million for wild dogs, but unfortunately for East Gippsland farmers, it is a $9m upgrade to the Melbourne Zoo enclosure that will house African wild dogs.
“This announcement comes when after two and a half years of this government, the new wild dog committee still hasn’t been formed, let alone been appointed,” said Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“It is extremely disappointing for landholders feeling the effects of the wild dog population that the Minister has seemingly forgotten all about the problem,” he said.
Mr Bull said the Government’s decision to halve the overall landholder representation and cut the number of East Gippsland committee members from three to one was a further slap in the face to farmers.
“To go and invest $9m to build a new home for African wild dogs in Melbourne is a slap in the face over and above the incompetence that has been shown,” he said.
“From dumping the original wild dog committee and bounty, interrupting aerial baiting, establishing a committee that hasn’t been appointed yet and electing a chair who had no idea and said she was ‘too busy’ to fill the role, and now this – Labor really has dropped the ball on the wild dog issue.
“The Minister must immediately get moving on this issue, appoint the committee and get on the ground to properly deal with the wild dog problem facing local farmers.”
Monday, June 5, 2017
Mallacoota Coast Guard gets its shed
Mallacoota Coast Guard has received almost $300,000 in funding to build a three-door shed, thanks to the Emergency Services Volunteer Equipment Sustainability Grant Program, Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, announced today.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the announcement of the shed was the icing on the cake for the flotilla, with the former Coalition Government having provided $80,000 in funding to go towards the purchase of a new vessel.
“This really is pleasing news for the flotilla, which has advocated strongly for this upgrade,” he said.
“Having met with the flotilla about this issue and toured the site while assisting in advocating for the shed, I know how much this means to the entire community and members of the Mallacoota Coast Guard.”
Flotilla Commander, John Rudge, said the organisation had fought long and hard for this development and was excited to receive funds for the construction of the new shed, to be located on Crown land in Betka Road, Mallacoota.
“This is very good news for us. Operating without a shed has been extremely difficult, not to mention the security issues we had over the boat in its current location,” said Mr Rudge, who expects the facility to be operational by summer,” Mr Rudge said.
“We are extremely happy with the result, we are now in a position to go to Council and get a building permit. It’s in an ideal location because it has street frontage front and back,” he said.
Mr Bull said the Emergency Management Victoria grants program benefitted many different organisations east of Orbost.
“Ambulance Victoria at Orbost received $8750 for first aid equipment and training and CPR dummies, while SES units at Mallacoota, Bendoc, Cann River and Orbost also received financial assistance,” he said.
“The SES units will use the funding to purchase operational equipment, fuel cabinets, lighting upgrades, freezers and four-wheel-drive recovery kits.”
Caption: Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, announces funding for the new Mallacoota Coast Guard vessel in 2014. The flotilla is now able to provide cover for the vessel, receiving almost $300,000 in grants funding for the construction of a new shed.
Friday, June 2, 2017