April 2020
Thursday, 30 April 2020 13:21

Flu vaccination in short supply

Not enough flu vaccinations are being supplied to rural areas like East Gippsland.
Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, is concerned that immunisation providers in East Gippsland are not receiving adequate supply of vaccinations to protect people over 65 years of age, who are considered among the most vulnerable in our community.
“The Federal Government has advised it has delivered the vaccinations to the State, but the State is providing them at a rate of 50 per week to local medical clinics when around 300 per week are required,” said Mr Bull.
“The message from medical professionals is, that now more than ever, the time to protect yourself from the flu.
“Dealing with both influenza and COVID-19 would potentially be life threatening and this is one easy way of eliminating risk.
“Those vulnerable community groups identified as most at risk are eligible to receive a free vaccination under the national program, including those over the age of 65.
“However, it is hard to protect yourself against the flu, if demand for the vaccination is higher than the supply received. 
“My office has received a number of calls from locals who are desperate to protect themselves against influenza but are unable to access the vaccine as the demand exceeds supply.
“We need the vaccine distributed to the immunisation providers in a timely manner.
“Our country medical practices are being drip fed supply and are being forced to create waiting lists and prioritise patients. This is not fair on the clinics or their patients. 
“While I am pleased to hear many locals are heeding medical advice to be vaccinated, we must have an ongoing supply to meet the demand as we face the additional threat of COVID-19 this year,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: Local MP Tim Bull, pictured receiving his annual flu shot, says the State Government needs to boost the supply of the flu vaccine to meet the demand.
Published in Media
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 13:51

New smartphone app protecting our communities

The Federal Government’s new COVIDSafe smartphone application is a critical step forward to save lives and better protect our community against the spread of coronavirus. 
The app will provide accurate information that will speed up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus. 
Participation is voluntary.
Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull said downloading the app would get us one step closer to getting back to normal life.
“I have downloaded the app because I think it is a step towards returning to some level of normality as better contact tracing will make it possible to quickly identify people who have come into contact with someone who’s tested positive for coronavirus,” said Mr Bull.
“Boosted contact tracing will mean outbreaks can be quickly identified and contained and give confidence that we can keep our community safe with relaxed restrictions.”
Information collected in the app cannot be accessed unless, and until, a person is diagnosed with COVID-19. 
Once the person who has tested positive agrees and uploads the data, it will only be accessed by the relevant state or territory public health officials.
The App can be downloaded from the App stores. For more information visit www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app
Caption: Local MP Tim Bull, has chosen to download the COVIDSafe app to assist contact tracing and protect against the spread of coronavirus.
Published in Media
Monday, 27 April 2020 09:48

Bushfires clean-up set for August finish

After a slow start, bushfire impacted property holders have been told all sites will be cleaned up by August and each property holder will have an approximate date of works within two weeks.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, raised the matter with the Premier’s office some weeks ago and again in Parliament this week.
“The expectations of prompt action were established when on January 19 the Minister said Grocon had been appointed and work would begin immediately. But three months later little had been done and no timeframe had been received,” said Mr Bull.
“Some families who lost their homes have 12 months to commence their re builds or their insurance policy may be voided and others who have cover for six months’ accommodation have used over half their entitlement, so they are becoming extremely anxious.
“Having pushed for quicker action on clean- ups and a schedule for impacted property holders, it is pleasing to get results.
“The other point I raised was around the level of use of local contractors and also the rates or pay that were being offered.
“I presented four case studies to Bushfire Recovery Victoria this week and to their credit they took these matters up immediately and I am advised they have been resolved, but I am awaiting a formal response.
“What prompted this was local contractors stating they had registered but not been contacted, while others who were fortunate to gain work, presented evidence of totally uneconomic pay rates.    
“What we have asked for is a guarantee that local contractors will get a fair go at the bushfire clean-up and be paid reasonably, said Mr Bull.
Caption: Local MP Tim Bull, pictured at a fire impacted property at Sarsfield, has been advised that the bushfire clean-up will be finished by the end of August and that landowners still waiting will shortly have a confirmed date for their clean-up.
Published in Media
Tuesday, 21 April 2020 15:06

Victorians to mark ANZAC Day from home

ANZAC Day will look very different in 2020 as Victorians stay at home to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
Even though all public services have been cancelled, we can still remember, reflect and commemorate from home.
The national dawn service, to be held at the Australian War Memorial, will be broadcast live, although no veterans or members of the public will be present.
There is also a push, supported by the RSL, for Australians to unite in recognising all armed services personnel by standing outside at home with a light at 6am for a minute’s silence.
This will give us all a chance to commemorate ANZAC Day respectfully at home – from the end of the driveway or on the balcony.
We must never forget the sacrifices of our past servicemen and women and those who continue to serve our nation.
Reflecting on the challenges and successes of our past servicemen and women, and those who continue to serve today, it’s a timely reminder to stay strong and united at times of hardship and to continue to support one another.
I urge all Victorians to stay home and take part in the ‘Light up the Dawn’ initiative this ANZAC Day by raising a torch, candle or the light on your phone and observing a minutes silence at dawn on April 25.
Published in Media
Thursday, 16 April 2020 08:31

Government must clarify boating rules

Conflicting messaging has resulted in Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, asking the government to urgently clarify if kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing and off the beach sailing are allowable (or not), under the Coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Bull said as recently as Tuesday, he was told by government representatives that no boating in any shape or form was allowed.
He said it was a message he has relayed on to large numbers on constituents over the past fortnight.
However, without any new directives being released, Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton yesterday stated on radio that these activities were not illegal at all.
“It’s confusing to get such conflicting advice and the community loses confidence when what seemed hard and fast rules are contradicted and changed without any publicity,” said Mr Bull.
“It is the very reason that earlier this week I called for a review of all rules and some clarity and reasoning put in around them.
“Even now the Better Boating Victoria website (see link) still says that no form of recreational boating is allowed and specifically mentions kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing. It says you will be fined if you partake.”
“Over the past fortnight I have been contacted by a large number of people asking about kayaking and paddle boarding specifically and have told them it is banned - as that is what we have been clearly told.
“It seems another case of the left hand not knowing what the right one is doing. People are genuinely trying to do the right thing they just want accurate information.
“I am also hearing via social media that off the beach yachts (not powered) are ok as well.
“That is a big movement if true as there are several thousand of those in Victoria.
“If that has been changed as well, someone needs to let the Victorian community know and explain how long it has been the case,” he said.
Image of kayaking on Bottom Lake at Mallacoota courtesy of Visit Victoria Content Hub
Published in Media
Tuesday, 14 April 2020 15:25

Review of measures is timely

Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has written to the government seeking a review of the COVID-19 exercise and recreation restrictions.
“Over the past fortnight I have been contacted by many constituents in relation to what they describe as conflicting advice and ambiguous interpretations and seeking clarity,” said Mr Bull.
“We all need to work together on this and get the balance right for our communities.
“This is not a criticism of the decision makers, they have had to make tough calls in a difficult time. It is about a timely review of the measures, to see if what we have is the best fit and how our restrictions compare with other states.”
Mr Bull said he believed people generally were very keen to do the right thing and are not looking for loopholes.
“Some examples of areas where I believe a review of measures should be considered are golf and fishing.
“Both are important pastimes that greatly assist the mental health of people and large numbers have contacted my office on this. I have had many say this is how they clear the mind and keep on top of their mental health challenges.
“These activities are permitted in every other state and territory of Australia under restriction (including numbers, local area, social distancing rules, etc) and I believe should be reviewed in Victoria.
“All other states have deemed them important for mental health and recreation reasons, so we should weigh that up.”
Mr Bull said it was hard to explain why tennis is OK, but golf is not.
“Boating, kayaking and paddle boarding are other examples. They are also allowed in every other state and territory under restriction (numbers, local area, social distancing). It is difficult to justify how surfing is allowed, but paddle boarding and kayaking are not. What is the reasoning and can it be reconsidered? 
“Hunting is another area where different guidelines exist across the jurisdictions, so let’s try and get some uniformity here as well and have a discussion on the Coronavirus risks of all these activities and whether they should be allowed in our local area by assessing the seemingly low risk against the psychological benefits.
“I assume many of these measures were put in place to remove the temptation of Easter travel and I support both the State and Federal Governments’ approach in relation to the strong messaging around Easter travel, but with Easter now past, we should be assessing the measures that are in place in other states and territories and their effectiveness.”
“Similarly, if measures are to remain in place, let’s provide the community with the reasoning behind the determinations and why they differ in Victoria, so the community can understand the rationale,” he said.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has written to the government seeking a review of some of the COVID-19 exercise and recreation restrictions.
Published in Media
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