Items filtered by date: May 2019
Tuesday, 21 May 2019 08:49

State budget must heed local priorities

Next week’s state budget is an opportunity for the Andrews Labor government to make good on its promise to govern for all Victorians, by supporting projects that are priorities for the residents of East Gippsland.
According to Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull the projects that he advocated in favour of at the last state election remain urgent priorities.
“Whilst I am fully appreciative of the fact that not everything being asked for will be delivered, it would be pleasing to have some of our priority projects funded,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull has championed the $15 million stage two redevelopment of the Bairnsdale Secondary College, tabling a petition in the parliament in its support last year and making numerous representations.
Other projects or funding requirements of importance include:
• A rate subsidy for drought affected farmers
• $633 million state-wide to replace all V/Line long haul carriages, including on the Bairnsdale line;
• Funding for a new respite centre in Bairnsdale 
• $2.2 million to build a new Bairnsdale Fire Station; 
• $200,000 for the Paynesville Foreshore Development Plan; 
• $35 million boost to the Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme; 
• An additional $10,000 per year for two years for each of our six Bush Nursing Centres, while a review into long-term funding is undertaken.
Mr Bull said he would also like to see the review of council rates to be progressed with a focus on the unfairness of farm rates.
“These projects are very important to the people of East Gippsland, they fit in with local needs and aspirations and our plan to grow our regional areas.
“The Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has obtained $31 million for Phase 2 of the Macalister Irrigation District modernisation project and $2 million for the Bonang Road from the Commonwealth, so it’s now up to the Andrews government to commit to its share of these projects too,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, is calling on the Andrews Government to match the Liberal Nationals’ funding promises.
Published in Media
Tuesday, 21 May 2019 08:40

Solar rebates on hold

East Gippslanders planning to take advantage of the $1.3 billion solar rebate scheme have been left in limbo after the Andrew’s Labor Government halted it without warning.
“The rebate abruptly ceased on April 12, the government stating the funding has ‘capped out’ – which means they aren’t prepared to spend the money,” said Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“Householders who were intending to install solar panels between April 13 and July 1 have been told they now simply miss out all together on the rebate if they have not already applied for it.” 
Many solar panel customers and electricians in East Gippsland have been caught out as there was no forewarning of the program closure.
In Parliament recently, Minister D’Ambrosio was questioned about the suspension of the scheme, but provided no detail for the reason in her response other than to refer to quotas.
Mr Bull said it was baffling why the scheme had ceased, leaving Victorian people confused as to why they cannot access the rebate they were planning for and depending on.
“The government’s self-imposed caps were flexible, meaning they were able to increase the caps as they saw fit based on demand, but not anymore it seems.
“It appears some home owners had approached their solar installation company and were to apply for the rebate after installation. Now, they have been left out of pocket and unable to receive the rebate due to this change.”
Mr Bull met with Independent Specialist Energy Advisor Paul Guest from Guest Energy who had already flagged concerns with the program. 
“I was verbally advised by the call centre employee at Solar Victoria that the cap was not absolute and unlikely to be applied, and as long as the householder met the eligibility criteria before the end of the financial year they would still satisfy the criteria for the rebate,” said Mr Guest.
“Whilst the initial intent of the program can be commended, the execution, roll out and resourcing of the program has been less than ideal. To have a program such as this abruptly stop then restart a couple of months later is an extremely disappointing position for a government entity to take.” 
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull discusses with Energy Advisor Paul Guest the impact of the sudden halt to the solar rebate scheme which has left some householders and solar installers out of pocket.
Published in Media
Monday, 20 May 2019 10:05

Air conditioned carriages - at last

The long haul carriages in service on the Bairnsdale line that form part of V Line’s classic N set locomotives have received their long awaited air-conditioning upgrade.
“Having pushed for this for some time and raised it in Parliament on several occasions, I am pleased Public Transport Victoria has confirmed the works have finally been completed,” Mr Bull said.
 “The upgrades have increased the cooling capacity of the air-conditioning units by 30 per cent which will help the system achieve a set temperature of 23 degrees, even in temperatures above 35 degrees.
“I have been asking about progress with the air-conditioning upgrade since its trial was first announced back in 2016 and I would like to thank the many passionate and dedicated train travellers who have assisted me in lobbying the State Government to obtain this outcome.
“What we really need though is the new long haul trains as the Liberal Nationals committed to providing in the lead up to the state election. 
“These are trains that are capable of speeds up to 200km/h with the extra leg room, accessible toilets, food service, on-board Wi-Fi and mobile phone charging suited to the requirements of long distance travel on the Bairnsdale line.
““The current V/Locity trains are an improvement, but they are not a permanent solution and I have had several complaints about the lack of a buffet car on most services.
 “We can be thankful that next summer we won’t suffer from unbearable carriages on hot days, but the Andrews Government must not think it has overcome fundamental problems with the old, unreliable and slow trains with an air-con fix and stop gap older generation V/Locity trains,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, says the Bairnsdale line’s carriages have finally received an air-conditioning upgrade, but it doesn’t fix the fundamentals. 
Published in Media
Friday, 10 May 2019 14:09

Labor’s Transport Department priorities wrong

Daniel Andrews has ordered that the Department of Transport hire 6 Deputy Secretaries at up to $448,000 each - more than $2.6 million, meanwhile one in five Bairnsdale train services arrives late. 
Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull has criticised the Department of Transport for its move to hire more senior bureaucrats at a time when services on the Bairnsdale line can’t achieve acceptable punctuality targets.
“The Bairnsdale line only achieved 79.6% of its punctuality target in March 2019,” said Mr Bull.
“Regular users of the Bairnsdale line tell me they are having to travel the day before and incur additional accommodation costs to be sure they can attend appointments or reliably connect with the next leg of their journey.
“Everywhere I go, I am inundated with feedback from people who have missed appointments and special occasions as a result of our unreliable train services.
“Many of these travellers are older folk who are attending specialist medical appointments in Melbourne, which is stressful enough without the added worry that they won’t get there on time.
“With one in five train services from Bairnsdale arriving late, train travellers cannot confidently schedule appointments until that improves significantly.
“Labor’s priorities are all wrong,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, says that Labor needs to get Bairnsdale trains running on time before hiring more senior bureaucrats. 
Published in Media
Wednesday, 08 May 2019 09:12

Respite centre a high priority

Funds to establish a respite centre for families caring for those with special needs in East Gippsland was requested in State Parliament this week.
Gippsland East Nationals MP and Shadow Minister for Disability, Tim Bull, has requested government support to partner with local service provider, Noweyung, to establish what he called a “high priority” for the region.
Speaking in Parliament last Thursday, Mr Bull said the nearest respite facilities for special needs children were in Sale and Traralgon, away from local family and support networks.
“If you are planning on heading east to take a break as many do, families from Bairnsdale have to head in the wrong direction (west) to Sale or Traralgon before they leave and if you live further east in Lakes Entrance or Orbost it is worse.
“Noweyung has been very proactive in planning for a respite centre and that is coming to the pointy end, so I ask the Minister to join with Noweyung to provide funding support,” Mr Bull told Parliament.
“Our special school enrolment has grown to over 120 and those families need support outside school hours, as do those caring for adults with additional needs.”
Mr Bull said Noweyung had funds to contribute to the project, but needed government support to bring its plans to fruition.
The Minister has one month to respond to Mr Bull’s request.
Caption: Local Nationals MP and Shadow Minister for Disability Tim Bull, meets with Noweyung Life Members John and Liz Hansen, Noweyung CEO Mike Amor and parents Shane and Linda Pendergast to discuss plans for a new disability respite centre.
Published in Media
Friday, 03 May 2019 14:49

Labor rates review misses mark

The rates review announced by the Labor State Government this week has missed the boat in relation to specifically reviewing farm rates, according to Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“The terms of reference indicate the review will consider current rates and charges, current rating exemptions and concessions and the autonomy of councils to provide rates.
“The Nationals promised pre-election a review that specifically looked into farm rates and in particular the unfair significant increases in that sector.
“Labor’s Local Government Minister, Adem Somyurek, was asked in Parliament this week to explain why a review into rates fails to address the number one issue facing farmers.
“The Minister made the bizarre claim that the rates cap “stops rates increasing”, but what we have seen in some councils is 30% increases in the farm rate category, while the overall council rate increase fits within the 2.5% rate cap rise as other rating sectors have limited, or no, increases – this is unfair.
“We had a chance with this rate review to specifically address this in the terms of reference, but it has not occurred.
“Two weeks ago VFF President David Jochinke, who I spoke with on the issue this week, confirmed the peak farmer’s representative body ‘was not consulted during the development of the terms of reference for this review’.
Mr Bull said he would push to have strong farmer representation in the review’s public hearings and hope the recommendations would address the situation, despite the non-specific terms of reference.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Minister’s response showed Labor was out of touch with country Victoria.
“The Andrews Labor Government has completely missed the point of this rates review if it thinks its failed rates cap has been a success.
“Farmers who saw their rates rise by 30 per cent last year will completely disagree with the Minister’s bizarre claim,” Mr Walsh said.
On the East Gippsland Shire’s draft budget which projects a 12% overall farm rate increase, Mr Bull said he’d been in productive discussions with the CEO and Mayor and was hopeful of an adjustment between the draft budget and final budget.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, is critical that the Labor Government’s rates review does not address unfair farm rates increases.  
Published in Media
Page 1 of 2