All Heyfield jobs must be saved
The glaring omission in the Andrews Government’s confirmation of the Heyfield mill sale is a promise that all 250 jobs will be saved.
Labor MP Harriet Shing promised in March the mill would “not lose jobs overall” if the Government became a buyer of last resort, but Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford recently said “less timber for the mill does mean that there will need to be some change”.
Today’s announcement details nothing of what that change might mean for the 250 people employed at the mill and for the Heyfield community.
Up to 20 jobs have already been lost at the green mill when one shift was cut in August.
The Andrews Labor Government must urgently guarantee there will be no further job losses at the Heyfield mill.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh:
Daniel Andrews’ decision to refuse timber supply to the Heyfield mill left the local community in limbo for nearly a year.
Labor is desperate to paint this deal as a win for the community to cover up the fact jobs have already been lost at the mill and that they have not guaranteed there won’t be further losses to come.
Daniel Andrews promised he would fight for every job, but it seems jobs in country Victoria just don’t make the cut.
Comments attributable to Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull:
Each and every one of these mill jobs are vital to the Heyfield community. These jobs wouldn’t have needed saving if Labor hadn’t refused to guarantee a viable timber supply. Daniel Andrews is so desperate to secure Greens preferences and the seats of his inner-city MPs that he is willing to sacrifice those in our East Gippsland communities.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Dear Minister, please act on our deer
The need for deer warning signs on East Gippsland roads has been raised in State Parliament by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
He has formally asked the Minister for Roads and Road Safety to install roadside signs warning motorists of the deer collision hazard, saying sambar deer are in plague proportions and are the cause of an increasing number of accidents.
Mr Bull said local panel beaters were seeing a lot more work come their way because of collisions with deer.
“Unfortunately it appears only a matter of time before we have a serious accident with some of the most hazardous areas including the Princes Highway East, Great Alpine Road, the Buchan-Gelantipy Road and Licola Road,” he said.
“I have been advised that deer warning sign were erected in some areas but lasted only a matter of weeks before being stolen by irresponsible souvenir collectors.
“However, the problem has not gone away and the signs have not been replaced.”
Mr Bull suggested more generic wildlife warning signs might overcome the novelty value of the deer specific sign, which seem to be popular keepsakes.
“While culling programs have been undertaken this year in an effort to reduce numbers, warning motorists of the danger on our roads is something that we could and should improve.”
The Minister has 30 days to respond to Mr Bull.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, inspects a vehicle damaged by a collision with a deer with Brian Casey at GP Motors Bairnsdale.
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Have your say on country roads
Adequate funding should be provided to maintain and repair country roads, rather than dropping speed limits, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who has urged locals to have their say on a new proposal to reduce speed limits.
Mr Bull said the Andrews Labor Government had flagged its interest in a proposal to reduce all speed limits on unsealed country roads to 70km/h and feedback can be lodged at www.haveyoursayvictoria.org.
“There are many examples of where blanket approach policies formulated in Melbourne do not work in rural and regional areas and my strong view is this is another case of that,” Mr Bull said.
“The Government should commit to properly funding the maintenance and upgrade of crumbling country roads to keep motorists safe, not reduce speed limits. However, if we are to have reductions considered, it needs to be on a case by case basis with local community feedback sought.
“A classic example locally of reducing speed limits rather than fix the road is the Buchan-Gelantipy Road. Although it is not a gravel road, the same logic applies. Here we have signage saying the speed limit is ‘temporarily’ reduced because of the condition of the road.
“That ‘temporary’ reduction is now approaching two years. Surely it is time to fix this road and others in similar situations.”
Labor scrapped the successful Country Roads and Bridges Program, which was a $160 million fund for councils to repair roads, when first coming to government and now wants a blanket reduction on all non-sealed roads.
“Rural and regional councils have consistently called for the return of this program, which was introduced by the former Liberal-Nationals Coalition, but have been ignored,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, is encouraging people to have their say on a new proposal to reduce speed limits.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
WORLD complex gets water refill station
East Gippsland's athletes now have convenient access to drinking water at the WORLD sporting complex in Bairnsdale, following action by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, East Gippsland Water and East Gippsland Shire Council. After being approached by a parent of local netballers, Mr Bull recently suggested installing a water refill station at the complex to the shire and EGW.
“Their response has been brilliant and they have collaborated to fund and install the water refill station," Mr Bull said. "Previously, anyone playing sport at the facility had to either bring their own drinks with them or refill using a tap in the toilet block or at the back of the venue, which is both inconvenient and unhygienic," he said. East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor, Cr Joe Rettino, said the fountain was a great example of the two organisations working together on a small project that is a great outcome for the community. “We have a great working relationship with East Gippsland Water through our Memorandum of Understanding, and it’s great to see real benefit to the community that we both service. “The fountain has already started getting a workout from the netballers and other groups using the sporting fields, who hopefully will take the opportunity to stay hydrated as the warmer weather approaches,” Cr Rettino said.
Donated by EGW and installed by EGSC, the station is equipped with a wheelchair accessible bubble tap, a drink bottle filling point and a dog bowl. Like the other water refill stations installed around the region, it promotes a healthy lifestyle by encouraging people to drink tap water in preference to soft drinks and bottled water. “These water stations make financial and environmental sense, with Australians spending more than $500 million each year on bottled water, needlessly bypassing much cheaper water supplied direct to the tap in their own homes," EGW Managing Director, Bruce Hammond, said.
“This is a great example of what community partnerships can achieve and we are exploring further opportunities to install water refill stations around the region, working closely with local communities,” he said. Bairnsdale Netball Association president, Robyn Dunkley, said: “Our Association appreciates the help we have received and the speed with which the water refill station has been installed.”
“We have 500 netballers here every Thursday and it’s been an instant success.”
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with East Gippsland Shire Mayor, Cr Joe Rettino; Bairnsdale Netball Association President, Robyn Dunkley; East Gippsland Shire CEO, Garry Gaffney; East Gippsland Water Managing Director, Bruce Hammond; and Bairnsdale Secondary College Acting Principal, Huw Porter, with the water refill station.
Friday, September 1, 2017
New dredge great for Lakes
Tommy Norton, the new Lakes Entrance dredge, will boost confidence and ensure safe ocean access is maintained for Victoria’s largest commercial fishing fleet and growing recreational fleet, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who welcomed the vessel into port today.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to see our new dredge arrive, having initiated the expressions of interest process for its construction when in government back in 2014,” Mr Bull said.
“The recreational boating and commercial fishing industries operating within and through the Port of Gippsland Lakes generate more than $200 million annually, so it is vital that safe ocean access at Lakes Entrance is maintained.
“Safe ocean access is also so important to our tourism industry.”
Mr Bull said he was pleased that the current State Government had seen the project through to its completion.
“The arrival of the new dredge gives confidence to the East Gippsland community that the entrance will now remain navigable for the long-term, which in turn provides security that will support ongoing investment in our region,” he said.
“For example, the emerging broadbill fishing sector and the many visitors it has already started to attract can now have confidence they have as safe as possible ocean access.”
Mr Bull said there would likely be a public open day for the Tommy Norton on the weekend of October 7 and 8, but in the meantime could be viewed from the shore at its Gippsland Ports mooring on Bullock Island.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, welcomes the Tommy Norton into the Gippsland Lakes system. The former Liberal-Nationals Coalition initiated the expressions of interest process for the dredge’s construction in 2014.
Friday, September 1, 2017