Labor’s city blowouts would fix our roads
The Victorian Labor Government’s plan to reduce speed limits on a number of rural roads without committing to increase spending and improve quality is an admission of failure according to Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull.
“The Labor Government really needs to release some more detail on what it is planning, including which roads it wants to reduce limits on, and committing to extensive community consultation, but we have heard nothing on these fronts.
“The Parliament of Victoria’s own inquiry into the road toll, which is less than 12 months old, found ‘there is no legislative obligation for roads to be built or maintained to a certain standard to increase safety for road users’.
“It also stated that speed limits on rural roads be reduced where an upgrade is ‘not possible’.
“When you add to this the road asset management budget has been cut to $617 million in this year’s Budget (this is to maintain all our country roads), what we are seeing is reduced funding and no obligation to maintain the roads to a standard,” said Mr Bull.
“What is hardest to take, is at the same time as maintenance funds are cut to just $617 million, we are seeing $52 billion being spent on four city-based transport projects.
“Even more infuriating is the $6 billion over runs on the West Gate Tunnel and Melbourne Metro projects. Labor’s cost blowouts from mismanagement of city projects would go a long way to fixing our roads,” said Mr Bull.
“The writing has been on the wall since 2014 when this government came to power, the first thing it did was axe the Country Roads and Bridges Program and oversaw a 23% cut in the country roads maintenance budget.
“What we are seeing now is the outcome of these actions and ongoing underinvestment. It is time the country got its fair share; if we upgrade the roads, build them to high standards and maintain them properly, we will not be having to look at these broadscale speed limit reductions due to the road surfaces being so poor.”
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said we are now paying the price for underinvestment in country roads. He says Labor’s city project cost blowouts would go a long way to fixing the problem.
Wednesday, January 19 2021
Stumping up to improve cricket facilities in East Gippsland
Applications are open for the next round of the Community Cricket Program that will provide opportunities for grass root cricket clubs to share in $13.5 million to develop and upgrade cricket facilities across Victoria.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, is encouraging all local cricket clubs in need of facility upgrades to consider applying.
The Community Cricket Program provides a range of grant opportunities for community clubs and councils to develop or redevelop local cricket infrastructure.
Sport and Recreation Victoria will provide matching funding of $2 for every $1 provided by the successful club in rural Victoria.
“Funding can be sought to improve or redevelop existing cricket infrastructure including training nets and wickets, ageing clubroom facilities and upgrades to improve change rooms accessibility,” Mr Bull said.
“As a cricketer myself, I am aware of a number of cricket facilities in my electorate could do with a facelift.
“Upgrades to degrading playing facilities will support player retention and increase both participation and enjoyment of the sport.
“Local cricket clubs have had little opportunity and means the past two years to raise the necessary funds to improve club facilities to meet the need of the expanding community.
“East Gippsland has a proud history of producing several elite and first grade cricket talent and it is due to the selfless dedication and commitment towards grassroot participation that ensures strong participation in our region,” he said.
For more information about the Community Cricket Program including how to apply visit sport.vic.gov.au. Applications close on 11 April 2022.
Monday, January 17 2021
RAT shortage should ease soon
The chronic shortage of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for Coronavirus is expected to ease in the coming weeks, but Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the State Government had to take responsibility for the shortage.
We have companies in Australia manufacturing these tests and they now have overseas markets to meet. In August our Health Minister, Martin Foley said “If you want to stake the welfare of Victorians on one Rapid Antigen Test, then you are a very brave public health official and you are putting the welfare of Victorians at risk.”
“While our Health Minister has now backflipped and thinks RATs are the best thing since sliced bread, our local manufacturers looked elsewhere and now have offshore markets to meet that they are committed to,” said Mr Bull.
"As one manufacturer said last week, they could have poured a lot of money into the local market, but governments were clear they were not going to use RATs, or change their policies.
“So it is a bit rich for Mr Foley, who refused these tests would play any significant role point blank and held off ordering RATs until Christmas Eve, to now say he wants to use them but also wants to blame the shortage on the Federal Government.
“He could have had a shed full in Victoria if he had ordered them earlier.
“The Victorian Liberal Nationals and I have been pushing for RATs to be adopted in a range of settings to get people back to work for well over 12 months,” Mr Bull said.
“Mr Foley wants to play the blame game, but he is just as guilty as anyone, his comments are on the record for all to see – he completely ruled out and refused to order the very thing he is now blaming a shortage of on the Federal Government.”
Mr Bull said he was sympathetic to businesses and workers who were able to continue to work on the back of a negative RAT result, but could not get access to the tests.
“In the past week I’ve heard from freight drivers and those in manufacturing businesses who need access to these tests. They are not interested in the State’s blame game, they just want to know when they will be able to access the RATs. Hopefully that will be before the end of the month.”
Caption: Rapid Antigen Tests have sold out at local outlets
Monday, January 17 2021
State telling porkies on fire rebuild
The State Government’s claim it has re-opened every recreation site impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires, is blatantly dishonest, says Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull.
The Government reports it has “reinstated 100% of recreation sites”, but this is just not true.
They should have them reinstated and reopened - but reality is, they are a long way off.
Mr Bull said it was incredible the State was patting itself on the back for its post fire recovery works, when two years on there is still so much to be done.
“These Melbourne MPs and bureaucrats must think we are all stupid. We live here, we are still seeing the closed signs on our tourist infrastructure.”
Parks Victoria’s own website states the following (two years on from the fires):
• Cape Conran Boardwalk rebuild has not yet started (the Minister said it will be finished by Christmas, but work has not commenced)
• The Thurra River Bridge has a completion date of late 2023 (four years after the fire). As a result, Thurra River campground will not be open until then.
• Rebuild of the cabins lost through fire at Cape Conran has not yet started
• Tenders to replace jetties at Genoa River Fire Trail and Gravelly Point have still not been released.
• Wingan Inlet boardwalk is not yet completed despite assurances it would be open by Easter last year.
• Sandy Point toilet not rebuilt
• South West Arm Toilet not rebuilt.
• Genoa River toilet and jetty under construction but not yet finished.
• Wilderness Coast Walk remains closed for a large portion between Shipwreck Creek and Bemm River.
• Cicada Trail still closed
• Wingan Inlet Rapids Walk still closed
• Mt Everard Walk still closed
• Gale Hill Track still closed.
Mr Bull said this was simply not good enough, particularly when the DELWP annual report shows it has substantially increased the number of senior executives in its ranks while cutting vital field staff over the past financial year.
“The Department’s own annual report shows there has been a steady erosion in numbers of frontline staff employed to deliver vital services on the ground.
“And what is their response. We will put out a statement telling everyone all the recreation areas are reinstated – unfortunately, they are not open – far from it,” Mr Bull said.
Monday, 10 January 2022
Last chance for $250 Power Saving Bonus
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull is concerned eligible residents may miss out on a one off $250 payment from the State Government with applications closing on January 31, 2022.
The $250 Power Saving Bonus is a one-off rebate for Victorian electricity account holders who hold a Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card or receive payments under one of the following concession programs:
• Centrelink pensioner concession
• Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy
• Department of Veterans Affairs pensioner concession
Mr Bull said he wanted to ensure those who were eligible for this rebate didn’t miss out.
“I’m concerned that the Andrews Labor Government has done a terrible job advertising this payment, particularly to those who don’t access social media,” Mr Bull said.
“That combined with the decision to make applications online-only is very disappointing, with many elderly residents unable to apply because they simply do not have a computer.
“Having sent letters to all Gippsland East constituents aged 65 years last year to inform locals about the initiative, I would like to remind those who haven’t already applied, to check your eligibility and apply.
“My office has already assisted hundreds of households to receive this support and my staff will be on standby to assist those who haven’t already applied.
“I would also like to extend my gratitude to those community organisations, family members and neighbours who have also assisted friends and loved ones to lodge their applications.
“While I’ve sent letters to senior East Gippslanders, it is important to stress this support is available for residents receiving payments through the above concession programs.
“If think you know someone who may be eligible for this payment, please ensure they are aware of the Power Saving Bonus.” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said those who were unsure about their eligibility can find more information about the Power Saving Bonus, including how to apply, by visiting the Victorian Energy Compare website at https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au or by calling his office.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, reminds those eligible who have not already accessed the $250 Power Saving Bonus, need to apply before the January 31 deadline.
Monday, January 10 2022