Snail pace fire recovery has camping areas still close
With the September school holidays having arrived, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said it is a disgrace many of the region’s popular camping parks were not open, or only partially opened due to snail pace fire recovery works.
“Here we are nine months after the fire and we do not have some of our most popular camping destinations open for business and being able to accept visitors.
“The disappointing element of this is that COVID provided the perfect timeframe for the State Government to do the work and make sure we were back at full capacity.
“It is disgraceful that after nine months we have only had some tenders recently go to the market place.
“There was much talk from members of the Government earlier this year that they would get us back on our feet quickly. If it was damage to public infrastructure on the Yarra River it would have been rebuilt within weeks,” said Mr Bull.
“Cape Conran is only partially open and popular destinations like Wingan Inlet are not open at all. This impacts on towns like Orbost and Cann River which need all the help they can get at the moment.
“The fact that some of the works are not due to be completed until 2021 after the Christmas holidays – and more than 12 months after the fires – it just not good enough.
“The State Government needs to have a works blitz in our region and make sure we are fully operational with all parks open and all infrastructure rebuilt prior to the Christmas holidays.”
Caption: Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, with Federal Nationals MP, Darren Chester, in front of the burnt-out East Cape boardwalk at Cape Conran which is not planned to be rebuilt until after the Christmas school holidays in 2021. There is no reason work cannot be completed in the three months before Christmas.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Licence testing resumes today
Having raised the matter of driver licence testing in Parliament for the third time on Friday, Nationals Member from Gippsland East, Tim Bull, received an undertaking from the Minister it would resume today.
“It was pleasing that within a couple of hours of making my contribution about the ridiculous situation that had seen testing banned in regional areas, the Minister came to see me to say it would resume on Monday in country areas.
“The point I made was that people in country areas can sit in front of a computer and work, but a person could not sit in front of a computer at VicRoads to complete their Learner Permit test.
“Similarly, three people can travel to work in one car, but three people can not be in a car to do a Probationary Licence test. It just made no sense and what we were asking for, has been allowable under the restriction levels all the way through.
“The Government was saying for weeks there were exemptions for priority cases, but I had one young girl who needed to travel 31 kilometres to get to her work, but was knocked back on the exemption twice.
“There just seemed to be little recognition of the importance of obtaining a licence for our rural teenagers, who need to not only get to work, but apply for a job,” said Mr Bull.
“We just do not have the public transport options that our city cousins do.
“The challenge now will be dealing with the backlog of tens of thousands, but the good news is, that as of today, licence testing will resume for people in rural and regional Victoria.”
Monday, September 21, 2020
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