Items filtered by date: November 2019
Wednesday, 27 November 2019 16:04

Where is the plantation timber?

Premier, Daniel Andrews has been asked to prove the assertion that there will be enough plantation hardwood timber available by 2030 to replace the timber from native timber resources.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, asked the Premier in parliament this week to provide the full details of the location and quantity of hardwood timber plantations in Victoria that currently exist and will come into full production in 2030.
“Given the Andrews Labor Government’s announcement of a transition to plantation timber by 2030 and the fact hardwood plantation timber takes about 40 to 60 years - depending on species - to mature to sawlog, I have asked Daniel Andrews to advise my communities and timber workers of the location and quantity of these plantations set to mature to harvestable hardwood sawlog in 10 years,” said Mr Bull.
“The notion that the native hardwood timber industry can switch over to plantation timber by this time is hard to believe, because despite the Premier’s assertion, industry experts tell me there are no hardwood plantations to transition to.
“This is not a transition – it should be called for what it is – it is the death of the hardwood sawmilling industry in Victoria.
“Communities across my electorate will bear the brunt of the job losses and business closures that will follow.
“I have met with timber workers and logging contractors from Heyfield, Bairnsdale, Orbost and Swifts Creek and they are shattered that their livelihoods have been so callously disregarded.   
“The Premier for Melbourne had to be dragged kicking and screaming for a one hour visit to the area to face up to the difficulty that this region is experiencing with years of drought, but he has never visited any of our mills or timber towns. He does not front up.”
The Liberal Nationals have pledged to reverse the native timber ban if elected to government in 2022.
“The Premier has 30 days to respond and I am looking forward to the answer, I can guarantee it will not provide specific locations or quantities as I have asked for – as they do not exist,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, discusses the impact of the ban on native timber harvesting with Gary Squires, Brian Donchi and Leonard Fenning at Fenning Timbers in Bairnsdale. 
Published in Media
Monday, 25 November 2019 13:07

Metung RSL to receive upgrade

Metung RSL will receive $11,000 for a new roof and a solar PV system under the Veterans Minor Capital Works Grant Program.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is delighted that Metung RSL has won a share of the $1.4 million announced recently by the state government to fund projects that support veterans. 
“This is good news and a just reward for the hard work of the Metung RSL committee, led by President Forbes McQuitty,” said Mr Bull.
“The Metung RSL clubrooms are a valuable asset to the community and this money will go a long way toward improving them for everyone’s enjoyment.” 
Secretary of the Metung RSL, Howard Womersley, said the grant would help to give the facilities a whole new lease of life.
“Our initial proposal was to just install a solar PV system to reduce our energy costs, but when we looked into it we realised that the old roof needed an upgrade too, so our grant submission was expanded to incorporate both,” said Mr Womersley.
The Veterans Minor Capital Works Grant Program grants are made available for projects which support building and facility improvements for not-for-profit organisations delivering services to veterans and their families. 
More information about the grants can be found at: 
vic.gov.au/grants-support-and-commemorate-veterans. 
Caption: Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, at the dedication of a plaque at Metung RSL earlier this year. 
Published in Media
Tuesday, 19 November 2019 08:43

Push for harvesting of road reserves

Allowing farmers to harvest the long grass on country roadsides is mutually beneficial in that it reduces fire risk, saves road authorities the cost of slashing and provides farmers with additional fodder. 
With extensive areas of the Princes Freeway / Monash Freeway roadsides and centre medians covered in lush grass after good rainfall, Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, proposed in parliament last week that these road reserves be harvester for fodder.
“Large areas have already been slashed once and are likely to need to be slashed again pre-Christmas, said Mr Bull.
“Drought affected farmers in my electorate have estimated that these road reserves could produce thousands of bales of desperately needed fodder instead of the grass just going to waste.
“It would also potentially save the taxpayer the cost of further slashing. 
“Considering that East Gippsland and parts of Wellington Shire are still in drought, I have requested the Roads and Agriculture Ministers to have these road reserves assessed for hay making to boost depleted fodder reserves.
“Our farmers have been denied the benefit of the freight fodder subsidies that the New South Wales Government provides so this practical, low cost alternative to helping farmers obtain fodder needs to be examined,” he said. 
Published in Media
Thursday, 14 November 2019 16:23

Labour Hire Licencing Act – making small businesses smaller

Graeme Deveson runs a small cleaning business with three part time employees which services customers from Swifts Creek to Dinner Plain. Thanks to the Andrews Labor Government it has just become a lot smaller.
In State Parliament this week Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, spoke out against the Andrews Government’s labour hire licencing laws that have created a costly layer of bureaucratic red tape for small businesses like Graeme’s. 
“Graeme has been provided with legal advice that under the recently introduced Labour Hire Licensing Act, his cleaning workers who are his direct employees, are absurdly defined as “on hire” workers for whom he must obtain Labour Hire registration,” said Mr Bull.
“The cost of registration is $3,000 which is an additional cost he cannot absorb, nor can he pass on this cost to his customers under existing contracts.
“So, faced with a $500,000 fine for non-compliance with the Act, or paying an exorbitant registration fee, he is now confronted with a decision that will seriously impact the viability of his business.
“The new labour hire licensing regime is entirely unnecessary when we have a Commonwealth Fair Work Ombudsman to enforce workplace law.
“In regional areas where we don’t have the depth to our jobs market that our city cousins enjoy, the Andrews Labor Government’s needless labour hire licensing laws are killing jobs and they are harming small businesses.”
Mr Bull has called on the Minister to alter the Act to remove the adverse impacts it has placed on small rural businesses.

Dinner Plain image courtesy of Visit Victoria Content Hub

Published in Media
Monday, 11 November 2019 16:32

Local CFA volunteers join interstate fire fight

As a result of the ongoing fire emergency in NSW and Queensland, additional resources have been deployed from East Gippsland to assist, including seven CFA tankers as well as volunteer Firefighters from the Heyfield, Stratford, Bairnsdale, Mt Taylor, Johnsonville, Sarsfield, Paynesville and Lakes Entrance brigades.  
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull has acknowledged the selfless dedication of those involved in supporting the fire ravaged communities in NSW and Queensland.
“I would particularly like to thank all the employers who have generously released our volunteer Firefighters to respond to the NSW bushfires,” said Mr Bull. 
“Some of these employers’ businesses are, ironically, engaged in the native timber industry which the Andrews Labor Government last week shamefully announced it would close down to appease inner urban elites.   
“To the volunteers, thank you and well done for stepping up during this time of interstate need.
“With potentially “catastrophic” fire weather having been forecast for parts of New South Wales and Queensland we know the presence of our Firefighters will bolster their morale and operational readiness, just as they have willingly done for us in major bushfires in the past.     
“I wish all of our Victorian crews good luck and look forward to their safe return.”
Published in Media
Thursday, 07 November 2019 12:32

Andrews’ plan will decimate local towns

Today’s announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews that the native timber industry in Victoria will be shut down by 2030 will decimate the East Gippsland economy, said Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull.
“Our communities have had an absolute gutful of arrogant Andrews putting politics first and country people second. Instead of supporting and promoting Victoria’s sustainable forest industries, Daniel Andrews has sacrificed them to keep Melbourne’s latte' sippers happy.
“His statement that we are going to transition totally to plantation timber by 2030 is flawed. We do not have enough plantation timber in the ground to do this, and furthermore, the high quality timber – appearance grade timber for furniture and floors etc. - takes at least 40 years to grow and can’t be matured viably in plantations.
“I have spoken to mill owners this morning who have confirmed the plantation timber will just not be there by 2030 to replace the native timber supply.
“This is just going to drive up imports, often from countries with far less oversight and regulation and cause massive job losses locally. No amount of money he puts into a package can replace these jobs.
“Let’s take Orbost as an example. Latest figures show that town has just over 110 people directly employed in the industry, making up 25% of all full time jobs in the town. It will decimate Orbost and that is without the flow on being considered, which is just on 50% of all the town’s employment according to the local Chamber of Commerce.
“Then you have Heyfield, where around 20% of the town is employed at the mill. Native timber supply underpins that business and the plantation is not in the ground to replace it by 2030, so what happens then?
“And that is just two towns. Building a new town hall or sports facility is not going to save those long term jobs.
“Of the 7.8 million hectares of public native forest in Victoria, more than 94 per cent of it is in reserve or inaccessible, meaning the timber industry has access to less than six per cent, harvested on an 80 year rotation. Each year, just four trees in every 10,000 are logged, less than 0.04% of the total forested area.
“I am very confident we are going to see the people and industries of the regions, not just forestry, fight the Premier for Melbourne every step of the way on this,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, pictured at a visit to a local timber mill with Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath and Leader of the Nationals, Peter Walsh.
Published in Media
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