Items filtered by date: June 2019
Monday, 24 June 2019 17:04

Education Minister invited to visit

The State Education Minister has again been invited to visit East Gippsland schools for the first time – after five years in office.
A recent report based on NAPLAN data has shown a widening gap between city and country students in Victoria, with the performance of regional and rural schools as much as 20 points behind that of city schools.
Rather than commissioning yet another expensive report to find out why country students are falling behind their city cousins, in parliament last week Gippsland East MP Tim Bull issued an invitation to the Education Minister to instead get out and visit rural schools in East Gippsland.
“There are 50 schools in my electorate, but in the last five years, we have not had a single visit from the Minister for Education to any of them,” Mr Bull said.
“This is simply not good enough. 
“What he could actually do, that would be better than having bureaucrats talking to bureaucrats, is to visit our rural schools, like any one of the 50 in East Gippsland, and discuss first-hand with parents, teachers and students the challenges they face for our schools to provide a good education.
“Bairnsdale Secondary College has invited the minister on a number of occasions to see the decrepit state of the school buildings and commit to the second stage of its upgrade.
“Stage one of the Bairnsdale Secondary College upgrade was completed in 2014 under the Liberal-Nationals at a cost of $10 million, but has only received funding for the planning of Stage two in the 2019 - 2020 State budget. 
“The minister said in February 2015 he would come to the school when his diary permitted, but four years later his diary has not permitted a visit to East Gippsland and Bairnsdale, so I encourage him to come and visit our schools.
“The East Gippsland community wants to be listened to about the range of issue affecting country schools, to fix our broken education system with a ‘back to basics’ approach and to ensure we have adequate school facilities,” Mr Bull said.
Published in Media
Wednesday, 12 June 2019 18:04

New Bairnsdale fire station funding confirmed – Bull

Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull has announced that funding for the replacement of the Bairnsdale Fire Station has been confirmed.
Mr Bull said he asked the Minister why the new Bairnsdale fire station had not been funded when it was the top priority in the entire south east region in 2017, while lesser priorities had been funded in that time.
“To my delight the Minister advised in her response, some weeks after the question was asked, that funding has now been allocated, which came as good news to brigade members who were unaware,” Mr Bull said.
“Having lobbied hard for this outcome on behalf of our local CFA brigade members, this is a pleasing outcome and I thank them for their advocacy.
“It really is terrific news for Bairnsdale Fire Brigade members who have been squeezed for space for some time in the existing ninety two year old Fire Station. It is clearly not fit for purpose and has some serious safety issues with the Main Street traffic.
“The relocation has been discussed for some years now, we made a pre-election commitment to it so it’s good to get the go-ahead.
“What I will be pursuing when Parliament resumes is a specific time frame for when the station will be delivered to this community.”
Early last year land for the new Bairnsdale Fire Brigade station was secured at the rear of the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning offices in Main Street.
“Our Bairnsdale CFA members have been the custodians for more than ninety years of the great Australian tradition of volunteer firefighting at the current venue, but the move will be an exciting time in the brigade’s history,” Mr Bull said.
“A new station will help to keep that tradition alive with modern facilities that are safe and provide for the needs of today’s firefighting operations.”
Captain of the Bairnsdale Fire Brigade Aaron Lee has also welcomed this news.
“I’m indebted to the work of the CFA’s District 11staff to get the relocation to this stage and in particular the assistance we have received from Assistant Chief Officer Trevor Owen who has been a terrific supporter of this project,” Mr Lee said.  
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull pictured with Aaron Lee, Captain of the Bairnsdale Fire Brigade examining plans for the new fire station.
Published in Media
Friday, 07 June 2019 17:10

Major changes to Princes Highway barrier works

Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) has agreed to a number of changes to the Princes Highway road safety barrier project between Stratford and Bairnsdale.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull met with the Minister last week and today drove the road with the Chief Regional Roads Officer, the Regional Director and local Project Manager.
“I am very pleased to say a few changes have been agreed to, based on the community’s feedback and strong advocacy,” said Mr Bull.
“Due to the enormous amount of feedback to both my office and RRV, we have been able to get some significant changes, so I sincerely thank all who made the effort.”
 
The changes include:
• No side barriers to be installed on approximately 25 kilometres of road eastbound (where they were planned to go) allowing cars and trucks to get off the road when they pull over.
• More truck and car pull over areas to be installed where there are side road barriers.
• Increased visibility at driveways and intersections by removing some barriers already installed adjacent to these areas, and
• The old ripple strips that cause vibrations to be fixed.
“While locals will realise these changes are common sense, it was good to be able to drive the road, stop at locations where required and explain the concerns.
“The fact we will now not have these side barriers on more than half the eastbound trip where they were planned to go is significant and the road and driveway intersections will be made safer in relation to the visibility of traffic, with barriers being taken out to make the gaps bigger.
“Importantly we will also have more pull over areas for trucks, buses and cars that previously could simply not get off the road.
“I now look forward to these changes being implemented to the original designs that were presented to the public.”
Mr Bull said he also raised concerns over the road surface quality where what was previously shoulder quality road would now take heavy traffic loads.
“I was advised that ‘geotechnical investigations before construction found the road shoulder pavement was suitable for traffic’.
“This is different from the advice I have received from ex road workers and roads experts, so I guess time will tell on that one, but they have been told.”
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, with Chief Regional Roads Officer, Regional Director and local Project Manager on Friday.
Published in Media
Friday, 07 June 2019 14:52

East Gippsland CFA volunteers not consulted on Bill

Daniel Andrews has pushed ahead with his plan to tear apart the CFA, pushing his divisive Bill through the parliament without the standard consultation period.
Daniel Andrews Government shut down consultation with local communities by preventing the usual two week consultation period and allowing just one day for debate, before forcing its CFA Bill to a vote in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
The Bill passed, with the support of Labor and the Greens.
Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull said The Nationals would continue the fight to protect our volunteers in Parliament’s upper house.
“The Bill mischievously combines the CFA restructure and cancer compensation into the one piece of legislation, when they should be dealt with separately.
“I support presumptive rights legislation for our volunteer and career firefighters, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of tearing apart our CFA and the two issues should not be in the same legislation.
“I also believe the presumptive legislation, in the form proposed by Labor, is flawed. It should be the same for career and volunteer fire fighters, but under Daniel Andrews’ proposal it is not, it will be harder for volunteers.
“As a couple of CFA volunteers said to me this week – ‘same fire, same smoke, same cancer’.
“The Liberal Nationals introduced a bill for presumptive rights cancer legislation into the Parliament in May 2018, but Daniel Andrews and Labor voted this bill down as they wanted to combine it with the CFA restructure, so when we vote against the restructure they can say we voted against the cancer legislation, when we in fact support this element.
Since Daniel Andrews was elected in 2014, more than 3,500 volunteers have left Victoria’s CFA with the major reason being they don’t like the restructure he is proposing.
“We need our local volunteers and the tens of thousands across the state to protect our homes, families and communities and to provide vital surge capacity at our times of greatest need,” Mr Bull said.
“Surge capacity is the additional manpower provided by metro based CFA volunteers when we have fires in country areas. The volunteers will be pushed out when career fighters take over control of many stations that are currently CFA.
“This will impact on our surge capacity, the support they provided in times of need. The career firefighters will not provide this support, having to stay at their own stations.
“Labor has shut down the voice of our CFA volunteers by refusing to consult with them on this flawed legislation that will reduce the number of CFA volunteers in Victoria, and negatively impact community safety.”
Published in Media
Friday, 07 June 2019 08:54

Time for Labor to step up on MID funding

Gippsland Nationals MP’s have called on the Andrews Labor Government to stump up its share of the final stage of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) modernisation project.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull and Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said the project is a critical one for the local economy and with federal funding on the table the state should have funded the project in last week’s state budget.
Speaking in Parliament this week, Mr O’Brien said the MID2030 Phase 2 project, worth $62 million, would modernise the remaining sections of the MID, saving about 10GL of water, improving on farm productivity and reducing nutrient run-off into the Gippsland lakes.
“This is a no-brainer of a project and has been supported by both side of politics for some time.
“When in government The Nationals delivered on Phase 1A and it was pleasing that the Labor Government contributed to Phase 1B which is now almost completed.
“It was great that Darren Chester and the Federal Nationals have put $31 million on the table which is half the cost, well in excess of their previous contribution to this project, but we saw nothing from Labor in the state budget.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said the MID was a critical economic asset for Gippsland and production was growing through both the expansion of horticulture, particularly in areas around Newry and Boisdale, and dairy.
“The MID is one of Australia’s safest irrigation areas and can be relied on to deliver year after year, but modernising our channels and supply systems will save water and produce enormous efficiencies for our farmers.
“It’s also an important environmental project, reducing wastage and nutrient run-off into our local rivers and lakes.
“I’m disappointed Labor didn’t fund its share in the budget and call on the Andrews Government to now get behind this project.”
The Nationals made a commitment of funding to phase 2 of MID 2030 at last year’s election.
Caption: Gippsland Nationals MP’s Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien with Shadow Minister for Water, Steph Ryan are calling on State Labor to provide funding for the final stage of modernisation of the Macalister Irrigation District.
Published in Media
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 13:07

CFA volunteers sold out to appease Fire Fighters Union

Immediately following the Federal election, the Andrews Labor Government has re-introduced legislation that will break up the CFA. 
With an electorate that has fifty CFA Brigades safeguarding lives and property in one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull has condemned the Fire Rescue Victoria legislation.
“Our heart and soul CFA volunteers in East Gippsland and across the Victoria don’t like it at all. When this first came in I was inundated with legitimate concerns and that is why we opposed the legislation first time around,” said Mr Bull.
“And again Mr Andrews has been mischievous in putting the cancer compensation in the same bill that gives the United Firefighters Union control of firefighting operations.
“They could have easily separated these issues and when we tried to introduce a separate bill on the cancer compensation, the same as theirs, they rejected it.
“We support the cancer compensation, but not the break-up of the CFA and they should not be in the same legislation.
The bill seeks to create Fire Rescue Victoria, staffed only by career firefighters. Under the changes, the CFA will become a volunteer-only body, but paid staff will be contracted back to the organisation. 
“This is little different to Daniel Andrews’ first plan to merge the CFA and the MFB because the union will still have the power to dictate to volunteers by setting the conditions those staff work under.”
The bill also hands control of the state’s 35 integrated stations to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), sidelining volunteers in those stations and putting the state’s surge capacity at risk.
“In major bushfires, our brigades rely on help from volunteers in those integrated stations to provide extra support,” said Mr Bull.
“We live in one of the most fire-prone parts of the state and without that support, I really worry that we won’t be able to get the help we need in the event of a big fire.”
“Since 2014, the CFA has lost 3534 operational volunteers and local Brigades report to me that our volunteers are also dropping out because they feel undervalued and resent their concerns being so arrogantly dismissed,” said Mr Bull.
“I won’t stop fighting for our CFA volunteers. They don’t deserve to be treated in this way.”
Published in Media
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