Slow fire response slammed
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull has slammed the Andrews Labor Government in Parliament over its slow bushfire recovery response, citing 17 of the many locations that remain closed after the fires 16 months ago.
Mr Bull told Parliament this work should have been completed pre-Christmas, but even now, in May, there are jobs where tenders have not been released and no dates for completion made available to communities.
“When we have the Premier come down and the minister come down and say, ‘We’re going to help you with your economic recovery. We’re going to walk with you’ – well we want the work done,” he told parliament.
“These are areas that are important tourism infrastructure. There was nothing stopping this government providing a Treasurer’s advance to Parks Victoria to get this work done.
“We want time frames on the areas that have not been reopened and have not been rebuilt.”
Mr Bull then went on to list the areas that have not been rebuilt or re-opened, stating:
• Thurra River bridge that blocks off access to the Thurra River campground and Point Hicks, not rebuilt, no time frame;
• The Mueller River campground, not reopened;
• Cape Conran boardwalk, not reopened;
• The Cape Conran cabins that were damaged by the fires, I know the Minister announced they were going to be rebuilt, but they have not been started, 16 months later;
• The Wingan Inlet boardwalk has not been started; I was told that that would be done over the summer months;
• The Wingan Inlet rapids walk, closed;
• McKenzie River Rainforest Walk, closed;
• Fairy Dell picnic area, closed;
• Access to Clinton Rocks, closed;
• Genoa River day visitor area and jetty, closed;
• Gravelly Point day area and jetty, closed;
• Wilderness Coast Walk between Cape Howe and Bemm River, closed;
• Double Creek walk and day visitor area, closed;
• Genoa Falls visitor area, closed;
• Cann River Bushland Reserve, closed;
• Maramingo Creek reserve, closed;
• Little Cabbage Tree Creek Falls, closed.
“Sixteen months, and we do not have completion dates on the vast majority of these jobs.
“Our communities want time frames and the thing is, this is not a comprehensive list.
“This is only some of the stuff that has not been rebuilt 16 months on. So, I encourage the Minister to get busy and get these jobs started, but in the next fortnight at least provide my communities with a time frame of when these works are going to be completed.
“Many of these works are not undertaken by Parks, but rather contractors, so simply get the tenders out into the market place, so we can progress things,” Mr Bull told the Chamber.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, at McKenzie River Rainforest Walk, one of the many Parks Victoria tourist attractions that remain closed after the fires 16 months ago.
Thursday, 6 May 2021
East Gippsland’s small businesses to benefit from Liberal Nationals Local Business Action Plan
Jobs will be the centrepiece of an elected O’Brien Liberal Nationals Government with the announcement of the biggest reform to payroll tax in a generation.
Under the Liberal Nationals Local Business Action Plan, around 15,000 Victorian small businesses will be removed from the payroll tax system – a system which is a tax on jobs.
Small businesses in East Gippsland pay too much tax – and the bigger they grow, the more Victorians they employ, the more they pay. The Local Business Action Plan means a saving of up to $43,650 each year on payroll tax for small business.
Under the plan, an O’Brien Liberal Nationals Government will increase the threshold at which a business is liable to pay payroll tax to $1.6 million.
The current payroll tax threshold in Victoria ($650,000, scheduled to increase to $700,000 in 2022-23), is the worst of any Australian state or territory.
Our reform will make Victoria the most competitive state for small business payroll tax.
The Liberal Nationals payroll tax reform plan ensures:
1. Businesses won’t pay a cent of payroll tax until their wages bill is greater than $1.6 million
This takes approximately 15,000 businesses out of the payroll tax system entirely.
2. No business will pay the full rate (4.85%) of payroll tax until their wages bill reaches $2 million
Payroll tax would be phased in gradually between $1.6 million and $2 million – ensuring no business is hit with a sudden tax hike as they employ more Victorians.
3. All businesses, regardless of their total wages bill, subtract $800,000 from their assessable payroll when determining tax liability
All Victorian businesses will have certainty that under a Liberal Nationals government, they will pay less payroll tax.
|Under Labor*||Under the Liberal Nationals||Saving|
|Payroll of $800,000||$4,850||$0||$4,850|
|Payroll of $1.6 million||$43,650||$0||$43,650|
|Payroll of $2.5 million||$87,300||$82,450||$4,850|
* baseline of $700,000 payroll tax threshold as scheduled under Labor policy from 2022-23
While the Andrews Labor Government has no plan for small business recovery, the Victorian Liberal Nationals will remove tax, reduce fees and rally behind small business.
Comments attributable to the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Small Business, Michael O’Brien:
“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs, and the Liberal Nationals will cut this tax to create more Victorian jobs.
“Under Labor, Victoria has the worst small business payroll tax in the country. The Liberal Nationals will turn this around and make this state the best place to start and grow a small business.
“An O’Brien Liberal Nationals government will unashamedly be a government for small business jobs. While Labor focuses on unions and the big end of town, we will continue to bat for small business and the millions of jobs the sector creates.
“Small businesses are proud of their independence. They are the jobs engine room of our economy and employ more Australians than big business.
“Only an O’Brien Liberal Nationals government will slash payroll tax for small business to create more jobs to get Victorians back to work.”
Comments attributable to Tim Bull:
“As we emerge from the health crisis caused by COVID-19, our state faces the worst economic crisis in our lifetime.
“Our local small businesses are fundamental to keeping East Gippsland strong and supporting our local economy. They hate payroll tax as it’s a tax and handbrake on employing people.
“We will continue to fight for small businesses in East Gippsland and will be relentless in creating the most attractive state in our country for small business to start up, grow and employ Victorians.”
Wednesday, 5 May 2021
Hospital funding guarantees sought
A plan to syphon key elements of Bairnsdale Regional Health Service funding through Latrobe Regional Hospital has prompted local Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, to seek further detail and assurances from the State Government.
“The State has announced what it is terming a ‘formal partnership approach’ between Bairnsdale and Latrobe and last year directed Bairnsdale’s elective surgery catch up funding and Better At Home program funding be allocated to Latrobe for distribution,” said Mr Bull.
“What I am seeking from the Government is that this is not a precedent for more of our local health funding to be put through Latrobe and distributed at their determination, or for any changes to board structures or weakening of our local BRHS governance.
“I have had discussions with leadership of the BRHS this week and they too are seeking some guarantees and certainty around governance and future funding arrangements.”
Mr Bull said that while it was clear hospital amalgamations were being pursued in the western part of the state, he would write to the Health Minister seeking assurances our local health services would remain just that – local.
“I am all for partnerships that bring benefits to our region, but when we start to see out local hospital funding streams being put through our larger regional hospital and issued at their agreement and discretion, it brings forth some concerns that warrant explanation.
“I will continue to liaise and work with our local hospital board to ensure we maintain our local decision making processes and are not disadvantaged by any new funding arrangements.”
“If we learned anything from the COVID pandemic, it’s that centralised health systems are not effective – local people need to be able to deliver local solutions for better local health outcomes,” he said.