March 2019
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 12:07

Veterans Capital Works Grants now open

Ex-service organisations, local government and not-for-profit groups who support veterans and their families can now apply for funding through the Veterans Capital Works Grants Program to improve their buildings and facilities. 
Gippsland East Nationals MP and Shadow Minister for Veterans, Tim Bull, is encouraging eligible groups and organisations to consider submitting an application, with grants of up to $200,000 available. 
Funding can be used for renovation projects that provide all abilities access, improved community access or upgraded memorial halls.
Interested organisations can apply for up to $50,000 through the Veterans Minor Capital Works Grant Program or up to $200,000 through the Veterans Major Capital Works Grant Program.
“While this is a great opportunity for groups in East Gippsland to receive financial support to help support our local veterans and their families, the requirement for a co contribution to the major grants will put it out of reach for some,” said Mr Bull.
“For example, last year I announced that an elected Liberal Nationals government would provide a no strings attached grant of $100,000 for urgently needed improvements to Stratford’s ageing RSL facilities for accessible toilets, upgraded flooring, relocating the front entrance and making the building more accessible.
“Stratford RSL is not able to afford a significant co contribution and I have asked that the Veterans Affairs Minister either matches the undertaking I made prior to the last state election or grants Stratford RSL an exemption from this requirement.  
“Despite these shortcomings, I would encourage all eligible groups to access the guidelines.” 
Grant applications will close on Thursday, 4 July 2019. 
Visit for information on the grant guidelines and an application form.  
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Published in Media
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 11:50

No consultation with timber industry on trail

No consultation with timber industry on trail
Agriculture Minister, Jaclyn Symes has confirmed the Government did not consult with the local timber industry prior to announcing funding for plans for the proposed Sea to Summit trail, while also conceding it will almost certainly impact on the timber industry.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull specifically asked what consultation had occurred with the industry pre-announcement and where and when this occurred, but the Minister did not provide a response. 
The reason according to Mr Bull is it did not occur.
He then asked the Minister if the proposed trail would have any impact on currently allocated timber harvesting areas, to which the Minister replied “timber harvesting operations may need to be modified”.
Mr Bull said he asked a further question - if there would be no nett loss of resource to the industry?
“I asked this because if areas had to be reserved from what was previously harvestable area, I thought it only fair it be replaced with resource freed up from other locations to protect our local industry jobs.
“This is not just my view, it is also the unanimous view of the East Gippsland Shire Council.
“Unfortunately Minister Symes was completely non-committal and only said ‘a range of options will need to be considered to manage the impact of timber harvesting on the proposed trail. These actions may include postponing timber harvesting in specific coupes, increasing the distance between the trail and the coupe, or reshaping the coupe area’.
“The fact she ignored the question completely in her response, only indicates to me that under her plan, if this goes ahead, the timber industry loses out again.
“I am quite open to this walk proceeding and if the community determines it will be a benefit and bring visitors, that is great and worthy of support, but it should not be a situation where the timber industry and its workers get shafted yet again.
“Much of the proposed walk is along old logging tracks, so the surrounding forests have been logged over the past 40-50 years. 
“One proposal that has been put to me was that if the trail proceeds it would be an opportunity to demonstrate how the forest has multiple uses with information boards along the route explaining, where relevant, the effects of fire with or without logging and the different stages: from newly harvested, regeneration 10 years after harvesting and regeneration 40 years after harvesting.
“And when the walk gets into the Errinundra National Park it would describe untouched conservation forests. It was simply an idea that was put to my office in some detail and could be discussed.
“Regardless, the government should be sitting down with the sector and working out a win – win situation where it can have this trail and the industry maintains its overall harvesting area, but I won’t support the timber workers and their families being whacked again.
“We have to stop this continual loss of resource to the industry as it only drives up timber imports from countries that have less robust environmental oversight,” he said. 
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Published in Media
Thursday, 21 March 2019 10:31

Bush Nursing Centres ignored by Labor

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Bush Nursing Centres ignored by Labor
The State Government has been pressured into a review of the viability of Victoria’s Bush Nursing Centres.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said this resulted from a petition tabled in the Upper House on Tuesday by Nationals MP, Melina Bath and questioning from the Shadow Minister, Georgie Crozier on Wednesday.
“We went to last year’s election with a policy of providing an immediate cash injection into Bush Nursing Centres as an immediate action and a review into their ongoing sustainability.
“This came after Bush Nursing Centres like Ensay and others in East Gippsland raised concerns over their viability, but unfortunately the Government didn’t seem to understand the crucial role they play in our communities.
“It is disappointing that the Minister only seemed to commit to this after being backed into a corner, but we will work hard to ensure this review occurs. More immediately though, a cash injection is needed to look after their short term viability,” said Mr Bull.
Nationals Upper House MP Melina Bath, who has also been a strong advocate for Bush Nursing Centres, tabled a petition Tuesday with over 400 signatures calling for the funding shortfall for our Bush Nursing Centres to be addressed.
Ms Crozier said the centres provide invaluable support to communities, ensuring that people have access to much needed health services across Victoria.
“Without Bush Nursing Centres, people across regional and rural Victoria, who already have worse health outcomes, would not have access to these vital services in their own communities.
“If Daniel Andrews and Labor truly cared about health outcomes in regional and rural Victoria, they would immediately provide the Bush Nursing Centres across Victoria with the funding they urgently need,” she said.
 Thursday, March 21, 2019
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says the Liberal Nationals have been successful in pressuring the Andrews government into a review of Victoria’s Bush Nursing Centres.
Published in Media
Wednesday, 20 March 2019 08:44

New concerns surround "Princes Track"

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
New concerns around ‘Princes Track’ roadworks
Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull has raised new concerns around construction standards on the $51 million Princes Highway roadworks between Sale and Bairnsdale.
Mr Bull said he raised the matters in Parliament this week after having spoken to former and current roads workers, who all shared the same view, with some now referring to the road as the “Princes Track”.
“I am certainly not a road construction expert, but when you have people who know their trade well, all telling you the construction process is flawed, you take notice,” said Mr Bull.
“The issue raised is that the centre road line (which was a single line) has been widened to 1.4 metres to cater for centre of the road barriers that are already in place from Sale to Stratford and are about to be installed from Stratford to Bairnsdale.
“This centre widening has pushed vehicles further left than they were travelling before, in many cases outside the old ripple strips, which were the road edge.
“The problem is, this area of road where the cars, trucks and buses are now travelling (the old shoulder) was built to standard of being a “non-trafficable shoulder”, meaning it is a surface built to a lesser standard as it was never meant to take regular traffic loads.
“The advice I am receiving is this is why the road is constantly failing – there’s a strip that is now taking large traffic volumes it was not constructed for.
“I am led to believe this has been raised with Safe System Road Infrastructure Program (SSRIP) which is overseeing these works - and VicRoads - with a request that it be addressed, but my advice is that it has fallen on deaf ears.”
Mr Bull said if the information was correct, it was not the fault of the contractors, but the scope of works under the contract was the issue. And the many road failures in this area would indicate it is correct.
“There are other concerns that have been raised, including the new shoulder having a “lip” where it meets the old road which will hold water and cause failure, and the lack of table drains in certain areas.
“They are fair points. This whole thing is a mess and needs to be halted while concerns are addressed,” said Mr Bull.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
New concerns around ‘Princes Track’ roadworks
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has again called for a halt to the roadworks between Stratford and Bairnsdale, this time because of new concerns that the construction process is flawed and is causing pavement failures.
Published in Media
Tuesday, 19 March 2019 15:29

East Gippsland drivers pay for new road in city’s west

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
East Gippsland drivers pay for new road in city’s west
East Gippsland motorists can’t get local pot holes fixed and are having roadside barriers forced on them, only to find out today that Daniel Andrews is also forcing them to pay for his West Gate Tunnel deal.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said all drivers going in to Melbourne from Gippsland via CityLink will take a hip pocket hit after Daniel Andrews signed a deal with Transurban that will increase tolls to pay for the new West Gate Tunnel on the other side of Melbourne.
The independent Parliamentary Budget Office has released a report into the West Gate Tunnel Project and CityLink tolls which estimates the deal struck by the Andrews Labor Government will cost motorists an extra $37.3 billion in tolls.
The analysis shows that $26.5 billion of that increase (around 71 per cent) will come exclusively from CityLink users – and that includes East Gippsland drivers who use the Monash to attend medical appointments, work commitments or other personal matters.
“Our local country roads are in appalling condition due to funding cuts by the Andrews Labor Government, yet the Premier for Melbourne is now making us pay for his new Melbourne tunnel, which I would think the majority of Gippslanders won’t ever (or rarely) use,” said Mr Bull.
“It’s just unfair. He won’t front up for things like our badly needed Bairnsdale secondary college and is now making us pay for infrastructure on the other side of Melbourne.
“This is on top of the current government axing the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program and slashing hundreds of thousands more from VicRoads country maintenance budget. 
“Last year Labor MPs refused to support a Liberal Nationals’ amendment to the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill that would have increased funding for country roads,” said Mr Bull.
“Commercial vehicles already pay higher tolls, so any movement of fresh produce or freight that goes across the state via Melbourne will also cost more with Labor’s toll increases.
“The last thing our farmers and regional businesses need in this time of drought is escalating costs, but that’s exactly what this delivers,” he said
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Published in Media
Monday, 18 March 2019 15:27

Commercial fishers not consulted

Fishing and Boating Minister, Jaala Pulford, has confirmed she did not consult with Gippsland Lakes fishers prior to announcing the compulsory buy out of their Gippsland Lakes licences.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said regardless of personal viewpoints on the matter, it was disgraceful the licence holders, whose livelihoods were being taken away, were not spoken to.
Mr Bull, asked Ms Pulford in Parliament (1) what consultation she had with licence holders and (2) what consultation she had with Seafood Industry Victoria prior to the decision.
“Ms Pulford’s response was that she met with Seafood Industry Victoria to discuss ‘future management of the Gippsland Lakes’.
“This would indicate her meeting with SIV did not discuss this specific matter and it also confirms what the licence holders have been saying – that they were not consulted at all.
“Whilst I understand this compulsory buy-out is going ahead and respect there are differing views in the community, this isn’t about revisiting the “for and against” arguments – we are now past that point – this is simply about common courtesy,” he said.
The Liberal Nationals also had a policy to reduce commercial fishing through a voluntary buy out, forming this policy after discussions with the commercial and recreational sector representatives.
Mr Bull said he would continue to work with those families exiting the industry to secure what will hopefully be a fair exit package and was pleased the Minister finally met with commercial fishers last week.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has criticised Victoria’s Fishing and Boating Minister for not consulting with Gippsland Lakes commercial fishing licence holders, prior to announcing the compulsory buy back of their licences.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Published in Media
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