February 2020
Thursday, 27 February 2020 12:50

Citycentric Dan delivers scraps off the table

Labor’s bushfire recovery announcement today in East Gippsland will be seen for what it is by locals – totally underwhelming and insignificant.
“What we had announced today was just $2.5m for three projects in East Gippsland - $2m to rebuild the Buchan Caves (which the Government needs to do anyway), $300k for new sprinkler system at the Mallacoota Abalone Co-Operative and $250k for a masterplan for the Paynesville Foreshore (Squatters Row),” said local Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“Earlier this week I called for a $500m fund to be announced for bushfire impacted regions, given the Federal Government has committed $2 billion and the NSW State Government $1 billion. There’s a big gap between $500m and $2.5m
“When you break it down, we got funds for a master plan, a sprinkler system and works at Buchan they need to do anyway – it’s very disappointing.
“We already know the Squatters Row project is going to cost $7.5m. We have seen that costing some time ago, so any announcement for an updated and more detailed costing should have included funds for the project to follow on.
“Having the entire Labor Cabinet here we were expecting big things, but it’s just scraps off the table and reeks of a government that’s prepared to invest billions upon billions in the city and ignore the bush in a time of need.
“Locals were hoping for a large fund dedicated to bushfire impacted regions – as NSW has done with its $1 billion – but we get basically nothing. There is nothing for Lakes Entrance, nothing for Metung, nothing for Orbost or many other impacted towns and still no direct supports for business.
“No wonder they did not want to tell anyone they were visiting. So much for the Premier saying he ‘governs for all Victorians’ – he is city centric and does not care about the regions at all.
“He and his Ministers fly in under the radar and do not meet any of the local groups that wanted to discuss local issues – what a tokenistic waste of time this was,” said Mr Bull.
Caption; Local MP Tim Bull says today’s announcement by Daniel Andrews is extremely disappointing and underwhelming. Hopes were held for funding for many projects like Bullock Island, Lakes Entrance, but instead the region got scraps off the table.
Published in Media
Monday, 24 February 2020 13:23

Dedicated recovery fund needed

Word is the entire Victorian Labor Parliamentary team – from the Premier to backbenchers – will be in East Gippsland later this week. Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says a dedicated bush fire recovery fund must be announced.
“The visit was a commitment made during the fire period and I would expect some significant announcements to boost our economy from an infrastructure and tourism investment perspective.”
Mr Bull said there was a need to have a large over-arching recovery fund announced that would be dedicated largely to this region, from which projects could receive financial backing.
“When you think of the billions being spent in Melbourne, the fact that $2 billion has been allocated by the Commonwealth for fire recovery and $1 billion by the NSW Government - $500 million in Victoria for fire recovery is a reasonable ask, covering both East Gippsland and the North-east.
“That would allow for some of the more significant projects we need, to be completed.
“In Lakes Entrance this could include the Bullock Island redevelopment, new footbridge playground, walking trails or the Slipway Redevelopment; the Squatters’ Row upgrade in Paynesville; Rail Trail upgrades in the east around Orbost; Cape Conran boat ramp upgrade and a host of projects further east could also be accomplished.
“These are just a few of the many things that could be done, if we had a dedicated fund the community could have input into - that is what I am hoping will be announced,” he said.
Mr Bull also again stressed the need to support the business community.
“While we need this infrastructure investment for longer term outcomes, we also need immediate business assistance. At present there is nothing for those businesses that were decimated financially, only those that were directly fire impacted.
“I have put up a suggested scheme, working off BAS statements for the quarter, that would provide a direct cash injection to those businesses hardest hit and while I’m told it is under consideration, we need an announcement.
“Most businesses are ticking over again now, but when winter arrives and they do not have the summer nest egg, that’s when things will get tough. We need help before then.
“We also need the timber industry put back to work and an announcement on duck season. All these things contribute to our economic recovery,” he said.
Caption: State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, says the Squatters’ Row (Slip Road) upgrade should be one of the tourism projects funded as part of the bushfire recovery.
Published in Media
Thursday, 20 February 2020 14:48

Cricket grants now open

Cricket clubs across East Gippsland looking to upgrade their facilities or purchase new equipment can apply for two streams of funding from Cricket Australia. 
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull and current member of St Marys Nagle  Cricket Team is encouraging local cricket clubs to consider submitting applications to both the Community Cricket Program and Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund.
The $13.5 million Community Cricket Program provides a range of grant opportunities across two funding streams:
• Community Cricket Facilities (closes 13 March 2020)
• Metropolitan Cricket and Community Centres (EOI closes 31 May 2020)
More information about the program can be found at www.sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/community-cricket-program.  
Under the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund, clubs can apply for minor or major grants of up to $30,000 to assist with their grounds, pavilion upgrades and practice nets. 
Applications for this fund close on 22 March 2020, with further information available at https://www.cricketvictoria.com.au/grants/ 
“These grants are a great revenue stream for local cricket clubs to target for upgrades and renovations that provide inclusive and accessible environments to play cricket.” said Mr Bull.
“Several of our local cricket facilities have been commandeered during the recent bushfire response this summer, so it would be fantastic to see significant investment injected back into these clubs and communities.
“This initiative strengthens grassroots cricket across Victoria, ensuring that country cricket clubs remain the lifeblood of their local communities.
“I encourage all local cricket clubs to consider lodging an application.”
Caption: State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull pictured with St Marys Nagle Cricket team members is encouraging cricket clubs to consider submitting applications to both the Community Cricket Program and Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund.
Published in Media
Thursday, 13 February 2020 12:05

Labor still won’t release fuel load maps

The Labor Government will not release fire fuel load maps for Victoria, including East Gippsland.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, asked the Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio in Parliament on Wednesday:
Fire-impacted communities in my electorate want you to release the fuel load maps that the Legislative Council required you to make public by 11 December last year. Given that we are still in the middle of a fire season and given the critical importance of this information to community safety, will you immediately release these maps?
The Minister commenced her response by stating:
“Look, what is very clear and needs to be understood is that fuel maps on their own can be absolutely incomplete in terms of the information they provide the community. Far from actually giving them assurances of where the risk is, they can actually have the opposite effect.”
The Minister then went on to state:
“They serve very little purpose in making people safer, (and) will simply be giving a match to arsonists.”
Mr Bull said he found this answer ridiculous and said he believed the real reason the Government was being so protective of releasing the maps is because they will show what almost everyone knows – we have record fuel loads in the bush.
“The reality is the Bushfires Royal Commission recommended we burn over 350,000 hectares per year, and we have in the past three years burnt just on 100,000ha on average.
“With a warmer and dryer environment, if we allow record fuel loads to build up, it will always end in tears. We must prepare better for summer and a major part of this is to have a look at where fuel loads are and what they are.
“This is not an afterthought, I addressed Parliament on the very same points last year.
“It should not be a battle between either side of politics, it should be something that we look at as a Parliament as a whole, to get things better and make it safer.
“As I said in Parliament last week, every year we race in and put out hundreds of lightning strikes in summer, which we need to do to protect communities.
“In normal circumstances these would simmer away for most of every summer. In putting them out we alter the balance of nature, but then do not restore it in the cooler months.
“We need to look at how we are doing things and the fuel load maps, apart from being handy for communities to have this information, would be a good start in community discussions,” he said.
Caption: State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull has asked the Environment Minster to release the fuel load maps for fire ravaged East Gippsland, with months of dangerous bushfire conditions still to come. 
Published in Media
Wednesday, 12 February 2020 17:32

Businesses need real help, not tokenism

With East Gippsland businesses struggling to stay afloat and in need of direct support after the fires, today’s State Government announcement of $10,000 to East Gippsland Shire to run a ‘business resilience program’ is laughable.
That is the view of Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who said he thought it must have been a misprint when the media release arrived.
“They have given $10,000 to the entire shire, which covers 21,000 square kilometres. I thought it might have been meant to be $100,000, but no, the decimal point is in the right position.
“Just last week in Parliament I said the business sector needs real support. I said mentoring, tax relief and rate subsidies were all fine, but more was needed – direct cash investments were needed.
“To have this announced a couple of days later when our businesses are crying out for real support is a slap in the face.
“In his statement, the Minister has said this money can be used to help businesses ‘plan for growth and share ideas’.
“It is time to stop with these tokenistic announcements to be seen to be doing something and get some real supports in place for our business sector,” Mr Bull said.
Lakes Entrance image courtesy of Visit Victoria Content Hub
Published in Media
Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:04

Roadside clearing must continue

Appropriate roadside clearing must continue in the coming months to ensure the unacceptable road closures and township isolations that occurred this bushfire season do not happen again.
This is the message from Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who spoke on the matter in State Parliament last week.
“To have the Princes Highway and Monaro Highway closed for over a month is something than cannot occur again. It brings our economy to its knees when this occurs,” said Mr Bull.
“We also cannot have communities isolated for weeks at a time, simply because we will not clear the roadsides appropriately.”
Mr Bull said that in recent weeks some terrific roadside clearing had taken place on the Princes Highway, but much more needed to be done to remove the situation where burnt trees can close the highway for long periods.
“We simply have to clear back at least one tree length on our major roads like the Princes and Monaro Highways and Great Alpine Road.
“Of equal importance are the coastal communities where there is one road in and out. If we clear them accordingly the roads will be open much quicker.
“It’s all about balance. We have some great National Parks in East Gippsland and these should be maintained, but we cannot have roads closed, and communities cut off for so long.
“Some freight businesses were losing $100,000 per week during the road closures and we had residents of coastal communities who could not return home.
“It also kills the tourism sector as people just cannot get to holiday destinations. Bemm River for instance lost a major fishing competition the local community was relying on because the participants could not get there. That is just one example.
“I have raised this matter in Parliament and also asked the Roads Minister to ensure she continues the work that our timber contractors have started.”
Caption: State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull says roadside clearing must continue to prevent lengthy road closures caused by bushfires.
Published in Media
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