Items filtered by date: May 2020
Thursday, 28 May 2020 15:54

Golden tag initiative must recommence

With overnight travel restrictions being lifted Monday, Nationals Gippsland East MP Tim Bull is seeking the re-opening of the Golden Tag recreational fishing incentive to bring visitors back to the East Gippsland region.
Mr Bull proposed the initiative to reinvigorate post-fire tourism and worked with Government on its implementation, which saw several hundred tagged fish released into waterways. Lucky anglers that catch one of the tagged fish receive $2,000.
“East Gippsland lost its tourist season after the fires ran right through January and this was one way government could provide an incentive to get people back to the area,” said Mr Bull.
“A number of fish were caught pre-COVID, but with travel restrictions in place, it was suspended by Fisheries Victoria, which was completely understandable in the circumstances.
“However, now fishing is permitted and travel restrictions are being lifted from June 1, we need to get it open again.
“There will be a lot of people keen to get away and enjoy the outdoors after being housebound and I would argue East Gippsland needs them more than any other area.
“We have been on the receiving end of three years of drought, then the fires and now COVID and the business and tourism sector is struggling. Having this initiative restored will hopefully get those anglers who are weighing up options, to come our way.
“I will be contacting both the Minister and Fisheries Victoria office seeking its recommencement as soon as possible,” he said.
Caption: Local MP Tim Bull, wants the Golden Tag incentive re opened to encourage visitors back to the East Gippsland Region
Published in Media
Monday, 25 May 2020 16:40

If barriers are here to stay it’s time to fix the design

Yet another truck accident on the Princes Highway between Stratford and Bairnsdale today has reinforced calls for an audit of the road.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said Safe Freight Networks Australia, which represents the heavy vehicle (trucking) industry has sought the audit citing:
• The centre barriers are too close to the moving traffic lane and a greater distance between barriers and traffic lane is required
• The surface is rough and extremely uneven resulting in trailers and prime movers being tossed around from side to side.
• Because of the unevenness of the road and lack of separation, livestock trailers are striking the barrier and causing injuries to cattle and other damage.
“The Safe Freight Alliance has stated ‘it is not opposed to the barriers, but believes the job is not done to a standard that meets the need of the industry or is fit for purpose’ and go on to state ‘the roads are our driver’s workplace and if this type of environment would be in any other part of the business, a workplace Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) would be applied to this section of highway’,” said Mr Bull.
“There are a number of local freight companies and individual truckies who contact my office every time there is an accident and say ‘when are they going to listen.’
“You just cannot go on defending the indefensible when experienced drivers are telling you it is not right.
“The authorities will say it was another head on avoided and while that is technically correct, we have to start looking into the reasons why trucks are continuously hitting the barriers on this stretch and not in other locations.
“Drivers who have not had an accident will tell you almost to the person, it is not a safe stretch of road for them,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: A  section of centre barrier near Cann River that has one metre of separation between the barrier and the traffic lane, a much safer and more spacious design to that between Bairnsdale and Stratford.
Published in Media
Monday, 25 May 2020 14:17

Payroll tax relief to drive business confidence in East Gippsland

Small and medium sized businesses in East Gippsland will save hundreds of thousands of dollars under The Nationals’ plan for further payroll tax relief.
The call to immediately implement temporary payroll tax relief measures for all businesses across East Gippsland on the first $10 million of annual payroll will help get locals back on their feet after the coronavirus pandemic.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said this would deliver a payroll tax saving of up to $485,000 for businesses in 2020-21 – just the incentive a business needs to help get Victorians back to work.
“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs and is a disincentive for business to hire,” said Mr Bull.
“Shutdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus have saved lives, but it’s smashed our local businesses, jobs and the local economy.
“A lot of Victorian businesses are on life support at the moment. They need a heart-starter to get them back in the game and our payroll tax cut would do just that.”
The Andrews Labor Government’s temporary assistance in raising the payroll tax threshold to $3 million ends on 30 June 2020.
Under The Nationals’ plan, the threshold would be raised to $10 million in annual payroll and extended to 30 June 2021. For larger businesses, payroll tax would be payable on each dollar of payroll paid in excess of $10 million.
“Rebuilding our local economies is paramount to get Victoria back to work and back in business. Businesses are the real drivers of our economy, not governments,” said Mr Bull.
“Only when small and medium businesses are back in business, creating more jobs for Victorians, will our state’s economy be headed in the right direction.”
Published in Media
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 15:49

Give us a break to keep highway open

Victoria’s Environment and Roads Ministers have been asked to continue tree clearing work on the Princes Highway East that commenced over the fire clean-up period.
Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, is backing a proposal by local communities and forest firefighters for the creation of a strategic fire break on the Princes Highway. 
“Over the January period local freight companies were losing over $100,000 per week due to the highway being closed by fallen trees and the impact on the wider economy was enormous,” said Mr Bull.
“Locations like Bemm River and Cann River were running out of food and had to receive airlifts, farmers could not get through to starving stock meaning we had to airlift in hay and many other businesses suffered huge financial losses from this road closure.
“The Princes Highway originally had about 5-15 metres cleared on either side, but this has not been maintained and roadside vegetation has encroached to a stage where there is canopy touch over the top of much of the road.
“What we need is a decent fire break on both sides of the road.
“I appreciate concerns for the preservation of the forest and the habitat it provides, but it is about balance, we cannot afford to have a national highway and our major transport link closed for weeks on end.
“The closure of the Princes Highway after the bushfires crippled us financially as it did so just a few years ago when hundreds to trees fell in a violent storm, some directly on to vehicles.
“After an event like we have just had, it endangers the lives of those who had to re-open the road and even when the road surface is cleared, roadside trees have to be individually assessed before the road is declared safe and this can take weeks.
“That is why I have asked the responsible Ministers to start listening to the experienced forest firefighters who don’t want to see a repeat of the destruction of last summer’s fires and give us the strategic fire break we need.” 
  
Caption: Local MP Tim Bull, has asked the Environment and Roads Ministers to continue tree clearing work on the Princes Highway East, to avoid a repeat of the emergency works that were carried out by Australian Defence Force personnel earlier this year. 
Published in Media
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 15:17

Stop re-announcing planning money and build our new secondary college

The Andrews Labor Government must think we are fools in East Gippsland.
In its media release on November 19, 2018 it stated:
Labor will invest $1.4 million for the school (Bairnsdale Secondary College) to undertake a masterplan towards redevelopment of the school and urgent works.
In its media statement today, May 18, 2020 it says:
The Victorian Government is providing $1.26 million to prepare a master plan for the school’s (Bairnsdale Secondary College) future development. This will prepare for a modernisation, as well as urgent early works.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says the commentary is concerning on a number of fronts.
• If this is the same money, why has $140,000 been shaved off the original commitment?
• If it was “urgent” works in 2018, why has it not been done after 16 months?
• Why has the promised master planning not even commenced in the past 16 months?
“When the announcement was made in 2018, I was critical of it as at the time I had already seen detailed plans by the school council for the completion of the re development, said Mr Bull.
“The Liberal Nationals Coalition funded and completed the $10m stage one when in Government and committed to stage two ($12.5 million) prior to the 2014 election – the plans were done then.
“Now here we are in 2020 and the Government is re-announcing for the umpteenth time, that it intends to do a master plan.
“Today the state announced funding for 10 new schools across the state, this is a slap in the face to the Bairnsdale Secondary College community.
“We are not fools Mr Andrews. If you want to get serious about our drought, bushfire and Coronavirus recovery, fund this school like you should have done six years ago,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: Local Nationals MP Tim Bull is calling on the Andrews Labor government to stop regurgitating old masterplan and urgent upgrades announcements and get on with stage two of the Bairnsdale Secondary College redevelopment.
Published in Media
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 15:10

Stop dithering and get on with rebuild

Almost six months after the fires destroyed our public infrastructure and campgrounds at locations like Cape Conran, Thurra River, Wingan Inlet, Shipwreck Creek and Buchan Caves – they remain closed and the State Government is only this week advertising for positions for the clean-up.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio (responsible for Parks Victoria) and Tourism Minister, Martin Pakula had dropped the ball on the public land clean up.
“Minister D’Ambrosio seemed able to find significant amounts of money to contract shooters to kill our brumbies - which was not supported by the community - but isn’t that keen to get our public infrastructure fixed,” he said.
“What we have heard today from Minister Pakula is the jobs will be advertised over the next month. By the time appointments are made and they get to work it will likely be July – seven months after the fires.
“Local groups, including business groups, were hoping to have these locations up and running by Easter, but on this timeframe, they will be lucky to be operational by the September school holidays.
“There just seems to be no understanding or urgency from this city centric government as to the importance of these areas to our tourism and economy,” said Mr Bull.
“What have they been doing for the past five months? It is time Mr Pakula, as Tourism Minister, lit a fire under his Ministerial colleague to get some action fast tracked on getting these destinations repaired or rebuilt and re-opened.
“To quote the publican at Marlo Hotel, he said ‘when Conran is open I do well and it allows me to employ more locals’.
“It’s a fairly simple message.”
Image of the sand dunes at Thurra River courtesy of Visit Victoria Content Hub.
Published in Media
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