March 2018
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 14:51

Ongoing community input critical

With the Victorian Minister for Planning having approved the final scoping requirements for the Environment Effects Statement (EES) on the Fingerboards Mineral Sands project, State MP, Tim Bull, said it was important for the community to remain engaged in the process.
“What I found disappointing was a number of changes submitted by the proponent shortly before the scoping requirements were finalised. Submissions previously lodged were based on detail that changed at the death knock," he said.
“I raised this with both with the proponent and Minister’s office and requested more time for new or altered submissions as I believed this to be a fairer outcome for the community.
“The Minister’s office advised it had reviewed the new information and deemed the scoping requirements remained relevant, also pointing out the public will still have opportunities to provide submissions and comments during the process.”
Mr Bull originally wrote to the Minister requesting an EES on the proposal and is open to an independent review of the process when finalised.
“The reality is this is a greenfield site in proximity to the Mitchell River and an existing vital industry, so it requires rigorous assessment.”
Mr Bull said further to this he has met with several agencies who are on the EES Technical Reference Group (TRG) over recent weeks to raise matters that he wished wish to have closely scrutinised as part of the EES.
“This will be a long process and I want to see it completed. It is important that at the various stages that allow for community input, that it occurs.”
He pointed out that although the EES was an important stage in the process, it was important the community understood it was not part of the permitting/approval stage.
The permitting process follows the EES and falls across various agencies and departments, including the Federal Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation (EPBC) Act, VicRoads, Aboriginal Victoria, Environment Protection Agency, Catchment Management Authority, Southern Rural Water, DELWP and East Gippsland Shire to name a few.
The proposal must get sign off from all these to be able to proceed and it is in this permitting stage that the various agencies need to be satisfied. The EES, if accepted, is only one tool to inform statutory decision-makers responsible for the project’s approvals, but the final decision sits with these various agencies.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Published in Media
Sunday, 18 March 2018 09:58

Drones to assist life savers

Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota Surf Life Saving Clubs will benefit from having access to state-of-the art life saving drones, which will be delivered under a Liberal Nationals Government.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said this summer had been a horror one on Victorian beaches with 21 recorded drowning deaths – the highest in over a decade.
"In recent years we have also seen fatalities here in East Gippsland. Our life saving clubs do an amazing job in our communities, and this is about giving them the latest safety tools available," Mr Bull said.
"Initially, 15 drones will be purchased and Life Saving Victoria will determine the best locations for these drones from a safety perspective at any point in time.
"The $400,000 investment will not only purchase the drones, but also provide operator training for up to 100 lifesavers," Mr Bull said.
Drones currently operate in New South Wales and Queensland to save lives and give lifesavers eyes in the sky, providing a birds-eye view of rips and other hazards and dropping floatation aids to swimmers in distress.
Using cutting-edge computer software, these drones can automatically distinguish between swimmers, boats, sharks and even stingrays.
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Brad Battin, who is no stranger to East Gippsland's beaches, said this was about keeping swimmers safe on our beaches and mitigating risks posed to volunteer lifesavers.
“Giving swimmers in trouble something to hold on to while they wait for help to arrive could be the difference between a successful rescue and another tragic statistic.
“Our hardworking volunteer lifesavers patrol our beaches and risk their own lives to save others," he said.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Published in Media
Wednesday, 14 March 2018 10:16

Timeframe needed for Stratford bridge

Today’s announcement that preliminary works will commence on the new Avon River Bridge at Stratford is good news for Gippsland train travellers on the back of the Liberal-Nationals’ commitment last week to replace all long haul rolling stock if elected in November, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“While it is pleasing to hear crews will dig boreholes and test pits near the Avon River Bridge and at other sites along the Gippsland line, what we do need is for a firm timeframe to be set, particularly given the Government’s comment today that it intends to ‘prolong the life of the Avon River Bridge’.
“In Parliament I have continually requested a firm timeframe since my Federal colleague, Darren Chester announced the $95 million to replace the bridge.
“But here the Minister is saying they are going to prolong the life of the bridge, that the existing long-haul carriages will be replaced with the VLocity fleet and that approvals ‘are likely to take some time’.
“Having these VLocity carriages run to Bairnsdale would be great if they were additional services, but not as a replacement for the existing long-haul fleet, which despite its age, offers features such as a buffet and first-class seating.”
Mr Bull said today’s news followed the recent announcement from the Liberal-Nationals, who have committed to replacing all long-haul rolling stock on country lines, including the Bairnsdale line, if elected in November.
“Our new train sets will be more reliable, larger and faster purpose-built long-haul services that have a buffet service and air conditioning that works, helping make them more comfortable,” he said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has questioned this morning’s announcement from the Andrews Labor Government that it intends to prolong the life of the Avon River Bridge with still no firm date for its replacement.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Published in Media
Monday, 12 March 2018 11:32

Responsible duck hunting supported

Improved levels of monitoring and enforcement for the upcoming duck season were called for by Gippsland East Nations MP, Tim Bull, in Parliament last week.
“Last year’s season was marred by some irresponsible actions, there is no doubt about that, and we need to stamp it out,” said Mr Bull, who added the Game Management Authority (GMA) had come under some heavy criticism.
“However, I want to point out that enforcement is not the sole responsibility of the GMA and it is unfair that it should be held solely responsible for last year’s problems.
“Victoria Police, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s wildlife officers and Parks Victoria staff all have a role to play in monitoring and enforcement prior to and during duck hunting season opening weekend.
“The Minister must not use the GMA’s difficulties as an excuse for restricting duck hunting.
“We need to weed out those who do not do the right thing. Those people who do not abide by the strict laws and regulations that are in place should face the full force of the law.
"What we need is better resourcing to make them accountable.
“Many generations of Gippsland families have enjoyed duck season opening as an opportunity to get together as a family and with friends as a traditional activity.
“We also have a number of groups in our community like Field and Game members who do an enormous amount of work in restoring the breeding habitat of our wetlands and in controlling the foxes that endanger both common and rare species of waterbirds.
"I also know there are those in the community who hold a different view on duck season and I respect those views, but do not support ending this traditional activity.
“There are significant penalties for failing to comply with hunting laws but the laws don’t act as a deterrent if they are not backed up by the visible presence of enforcement officers on the ground,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who has called for appropriate enforcement of regulations this duck season, inspects the wetland habitat restoration works at Jones Bay State Game Reserve with Bairnsdale Field and Game conservation and hunting officer, David Young.
Monday, March 12, 2018
Published in Media
Thursday, 08 March 2018 11:38

MTB facility should be high priority

The Omeo Mountain Bike Park proposal should be funded in this year’s State Budget, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“There has been strong interest for a mountain bike park facility in the township of Omeo,” Mr Bull told Parliament on Tuesday.
“I know the Minister has been made aware of this project and I urge him to give it strong consideration.
“This will help promote the Omeo region, and the whole of East Gippsland for that matter, as an all-year-round tourist location.
“Its creation will also result in a number of construction and ongoing jobs.
“The Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails in north-eastern Tasmania, in an area similar in size to Omeo, has put that location on the map for cyclists worldwide and this proposal here in East Gippsland has similar potential.”
Mr Bull understands a total of about 174 kilometres of trail has been conceptually designed, providing experiences for all ability levels, including beginners.
“Trails have also been created to maximise visitation and economic development opportunities,” he said.
“With the State Budget just over one month away, I am aware of some discussions having taken place with the current government.
“I very much look forward to hopefully this being announced in the budgetary process.”
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, pictured in Omeo with Nationals colleagues Peter Walsh and Melina Bath, has called for the proposed Omeo Mountain Bike Park to be included in the upcoming State Budget.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Published in Media
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 09:54

Liberal Nationals will restore the Farmers’ Market Support Program

Farmers’ markets and small food producers across East Gippsland will receive increased support under a Liberal-Nationals Government, if successful at the November poll.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, welcomed the announcement the Liberal Nationals will restore the $2 million Farmers’ Market Support Program, saying these markets are an important part of the community.
“Farmers’ markets promote locally sourced and grown produce, generating jobs and investment in our local small food producers and the East Gippsland community,” Mr Bull said.
“With this program being quietly axed by the Andrews Labor Government, this announcement is quite pleasing as farmers’ markets and small food producers are very important to East Gippsland in particular.
“We have many successful markets here in East Gippsland that source directly from local businesses who form part of our thriving agricultural sector.
“On top of this, people who come into town for farmers’ markets shop locally in various other small businesses as well.”
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said the Liberal-Nationals would also work to cut red tape.
“Our small food producers have a reputation for providing high-quality, delicious, locally made goods, but red tape is making it harder for them to do business,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal-Nationals will take a common sense approach and work with our small food producers to ensure there are sensible regulations so they can get on with business.”
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, meets with Forge Creek Lamb’s Neil Stringer at Saturday’s East Gippsland Farmers’ Market, following the announcement the Farmers’ Market Support Program would be introduced under a Liberal Nationals Government.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Published in Media
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