Labor crashing on licence testing
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, says the State Government’s response to the licence testing dilemma impacting our region’s youth, has been appalling.
“When many country MP’s, including myself, raised this several weeks ago, we were told at the time that moves were afoot for online L Plate testing to be done at home as it is in other states, and the backlog of P Plate testing would also be addressed.
“However, here we are several weeks later and nothing has been done and we’ve had complete silence from the Minister.
“All that is said is that there is an exemption system in place if the licence is essential, but what they fail to understand is that having your licence is essential in most cases in the country where there is no public transport networks.
“Our mature teenagers not only need their licences to get to work, but also to apply for jobs. Our city based Labor MP’s don’t seem to understand that,” said Mr Bull.
“The exemption process is also flawed.
“As an example we have one young woman, just turned 18, who lives in a rural area and has to travel over 30 kilometres to her job. There is no public transport in her area and she is relying on her parents that have their own business that requires travel.
“She applied for an exemption multiple times, but each time was refused. She is the classic case of a young person having a go that should be eligible,” said Mr Bull.
“The crazy thing about this is under the current level of restrictions you can sit in an office to work, but cannot sit in an office to do your L Plate test and you can be in a car with two others to travel to and from work, but you can’t be in a car with two others to do your Probationary test.
“What we are asking for is in line with the current restriction levels, but because this blanket rule has been made, it is preventing common sense outcomes.
“I raised this over two months ago in the Parliament. The Minister has one month to reply and as yet no response, which I will be raising with the Speaker’s Office this week,” said Mr Bull.
Caption: Henry Moors, pictured with Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull is, one of many locals awaiting to sit his Learner permit driving test. Unnecessary restrictions are causing huge delays for those wanting to obtain their L and P plates.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
EES extension sought for Fingerboards proposal
Labor leaves sole traders in limbo
East Gippsland sole traders who run their business from home continue to be overlooked by the State Government for financial support to help them stay afloat, as harsh coronavirus restrictions smash their incomes.
The Government’s latest business support package again fails to provide any funds for Victorians running their own business from home as a sole trader.
“Strict eligibility criteria on today’s token $3000 grant will stop many accessing desperately-needed support,” said Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“Only sole traders working from a permanent commercial location and in an industry that will be restricted or closed under the Second Step of the Roadmap can apply.
“Many, who are on the verge of shutting their doors permanently, were given hope when the Premier flagged a support package, but the criteria means they will miss out.”
The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia says the Andrews Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is “economically and socially reckless” and will only cause more hardship for businesses.
“I will be back at Parliament this week and will be standing up on behalf of our sole traders, a number who have contacted the office expressing their anger,” said Mr Bull.
“Small businesses are at the heart of a strong local economy and they need more help, not false hope.”
Monday, September 14, 2020
When step is made businesses must be able to viably function
With the anticipated move for regional Victoria to move to Step Three restrictions this week, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull is seeking reasonable operating procedures for local pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes.
“When we had hospitality open last time, establishments were allowed to have 20 patrons per room, provided they had the floor space. Businesses embraced this, policed it well and it worked.
“However, there is concern that while the move to Step Three has been mooted for this week, the commentary is that ‘hospitality will open for predominately outdoor seated service only’.
“This won’t work for many. There are numerous local pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes that simply do not have outdoor seated dining options, so we need to have the ability for these businesses to cater for a set number of patrons inside, as they did successfully last time.
“I’ve asked the Government to rectify this in their decision making before they announce the changes, which are anticipated for later this week,” said Mr Bull.
Kylie Tabone, from the Grand Terminus Hotel in Bairnsdale, said they do not have the ability to open the bistro outdoor seating only.
“Ideally as a first step we just want to go back to what we had, 20 people in the bar area to allow for social distancing and 20 in the bistro area. It worked well last time,” she said.
Russell Bates, from the Marlo Hotel, agreed, saying pubs like his that had multiple large indoor areas, should be able to utilise them as a means of safely catering for customers and being viable.
“If we were limited to outdoor service only, it would be a massive restriction to us being able to operate and each day would be very weather dependent. We need more security than that,” he said.
Mr Bull said there were a large number of hospitality industry businesses that would be unviable if the restriction was limited to ‘predominantly outdoor seated service only’.
He has called on the Government to rectify this and make it known to the sector as a matter of priority what the guidelines will be.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Marlo-Conran pathway a good start
A shared bicycle / pedestrian pathway from Marlo to Cape Conran will be a popular tourist attraction for the region.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull said the pathway, which will be part of the tourism upgrades he has called for in the area, is a great start, but there is much more that can be done.
“To have confirmation that our lobbying has been effective and the pathway will be built, along with potable water connection, is good news, but I am looking forward to seeing more fire recovery investment in the area.
“As is well known, three of the cabins in Conran were destroyed by fire and they need to be replaced with upgraded facilities as a matter of urgency, while those remaining cabins that were spared fire impact, should also be renovated as well.
“It is very unique area and anything that is done must fit in with the natural environment, but the fire has delivered an opportunity to build back better,” he said.
“I am advised that the partial opening of the camp ground area was planned for the September school holidays had COVID allowed this, but by now it should all be ready to be opened when restrictions ease - it’s been eight months.
“As soon as it is safe to lift restrictions and we can welcome back visitors to our area from other parts of regional Victoria (or the city when restrictions permit), we need to have all those sites open.
“There will be a lot of people with cabin fever looking for a break who want to get into the outdoors and we need to be able to welcome them to our area. Our economy is relying on it,” he said.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Statement on Kmart Bairnsdale situation – Tim Bull MP
There is uncertainty with many in the Bairnsdale community around the pending move of Woolworths into the Kmart store announced late last week.
I was made aware of this on Thursday night (September 3).
It was pleasing to see Kmart management issue an immediate statement that it wishes to maintain a presence in Bairnsdale and is exploring potential sites for relocation this week.
Since Friday and over the weekend, I have been involved in discussions with the council, local real estate agents and potential landlords and discussions are well advanced.
Kmart management arrives in Bairnsdale this week and we look forward to working together to achieve a suitable relocation and save these jobs.
Monday, September 7, 2020