Minister says roads are good, but reality tells us differently
The Monaro Highway, a critical freight route in and out of East Gippsland, is the latest in the local roads network requiring urgent attention with local Nationals MP, Tim Bull, saying “just like many others, it is falling to bits”.
This comes on the back of Roads and Road Safety Minister, Ben Carroll, spruiking in Parliament last week about the success of the State’s road maintenance program.
“Mr Carroll was on very good terms with himself as he stood and attempted to tell the Parliament, what a good job he was doing, saying the Andrews Government was delivering ‘smoother and safer journeys for motorists’.
This brought comments from several country MP’s of ‘Where Ben, in Melbourne?’
Mr Bull said the Monaro Highway was the latest in a long list of roads that needed attention, not just in East Gippsland, but across rural Victoria.
“The trouble is, when we do get some works being done, they are regularly failing within months of installation, as the tenders go out for lower quality works than what is required.
“I actually think the Minister is believing what his advisers are telling him, so I will be inviting him up for an Easter holiday in East Gippsland and he can take a look for himself.
“I have had long time freight drivers telling me the roads are the worst they have seen them, and motorists are asking ‘If a car needs to be roadworthy, shouldn’t the road be car worthy?’
“One of the first things this Government did in coming to office was cut roads funding when it axed the Country Roads and Bridges Program which the Liberals and Nationals will reinstate.
“I am also delighted that in last week’s re-shuffle the Nationals picked up the roads portfolio. My colleague Steph Ryan, who now has that portfolio, has a real understanding of the investment needed in our country roads network.”
Caption: Examples of the deteriorating road surface on the Monaro Highway, captured by local Garry Brownlie.
Monday, 28 February 2022
Minister must come clean on brumby culling program
Following reports of brumby carcasses being found in the East Gippsland bush, local Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has asked the Environment Minister to come clean on the details of the program.
Speaking in State Parliament, Mr Bull said there were local companies that relied on brumby sightseeing and a wider interest in the community. He called on the Minister to advise:
* How many brumbies have been culled in this term of government as of February 1, 2022 and
* Has the program concluded, or will it continue over the course of this year?
“Minister D’Ambrosio has advised pre-Christmas she did not wish to reveal the location of brumby culling due to the need to protect those undertaking the work.
“So, I am not asking for that, I am asking for general information like how many have been culled, has the program concluded, or is it continuing?
“These are all things the Minister should be able to answer, and it is happening in our area, so we have right to know and not be treated like mushrooms.”
Mr Bull said he had received reports from locals who have come across brumby carcasses including foals alongside mares and mares in foal.
“In some cases, it is remote country which would indicate they were aerially shot, and we know that does often not result in instant death.
“I am on the record many times as saying I do not support this, but rather a program of capture and rehoming combined with more work done into fertility controls we see in the United States to keep mustang numbers in balance.
“My great concern is this government is embarking on an eradication campaign and is doing this without having the courtesy of informing the communities that have an affinity with the brumbies.”
Photo credit: Felicity Clay Photography
Monday, February 14, 2021
Minister ducking from season announcement
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said 2022 will hopefully see the return of a full duck season in Victoria.
Victoria has not seen a full duck season since 2018 with the season shortened to 64 days in 2019, 38 days in 2020 and just 20 days in 2021.
Mr Bull said an appropriately regulated and conducted duck season represents a sustainable activity that delivers tremendous economic benefit to regions like East Gippsland.
“Duck shooting is an immensely popular recreational activity in Gippsland that sees shooters inject enormous amounts of revenue into our economy,” Mr Bull said.
“It’s an activity that brings families and friends together out in nature with the added economic benefits of supporting our local business and tourism sectors.
“Over the past four years we have seen the State Labor Government chase inner-city green votes at the expense of those who enjoy a legal recreational activity and the regions that benefit from it.
“Those who participate in duck season understand better than anyone the need to ensure waterfowl numbers and habitats are preserved so that duck season can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. Anyone can see the valuable work organisations like Field and Game Australia do to preserve and protect our wetlands in East Gippsland.
Photo credit: Visit Victoria
Friday, February 18, 2022
$9.9m aerodrome upgrade heads big East Gippy spend
East Gippsland has received $28 million in the Black Summer Bushfire Grants announced today with many key projects funded, including a $9.9 million upgrade to the Bairnsdale Aerodrome.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said among other things, this will enable larger planes to land to assist with emergency services in times of need, promote tourism and open the options for an air service to the region.
“Originally, we were told we were to receive $4.5 million under the funding model, but having objected to this, along with my Federal colleague Darren Chester, we are delighted to get close to $29 million – which we should as the most impacted region in Victoria, and I thank Darren for his advocacy.
“Of course, not every application has been funded and we will work with those who missed out, overall this is an incredible result for the region,” he said.
• Bairnsdale Airport Runway Upgrade $9,962,715
• Construction of the Gippsland Agricultural Recovery and Resilience Centre $984,650
• Mallacoota Bowling Club Community Hub $85,000
• Mallacoota Emergency Services Facility $2,570,000
• Omeo Golf Club Upgrade Project $128,780
• Mallacoota Mudbrick Pavilion Upgrade $493,628
• Twin Rivers Community Hub / Men's Shed Association Building Project $150,000
• Raymond Island Community Hall Extension $146,800
• Mallacoota & District Tool Library Project $124,899
• Cann River- Mick Baum Park Skate Park Redevelopment $561,000
• Swifts Creek Community Hall Upgrade $878,040
• East Gippsland Timber Milling Project $520,560
• Operation Phoenix - The rebuild of the Mallacoota Gun Club - Stage 2 $276,277
• Mount Taylor Mountain Bike Park Skills Park and Facilities Improvements $360,030
• Omeo Recreation Reserve Netball & Tennis Court Upgrade $659,000
• Bemm River Footpath Development $1,027,253
• Orbost Tennis Club/Community Hub $324,266
• Swifts Creek Bush Nurse Centre Recovery $158,126
• Emergency Telecommunications Installation in Remote Tamboon $209,195
• Creating a vibrant community hub - upgrading Lake Tyers Beach Hall. $400,000
• Club Terrace Community Facility Project $751,250
• Miva Miva accessible cottages for the frail impacted by the bushfires $2,150,000
• The Buchan Caves Hotel Emergency Generator $73,888
• Emergency Telecommunications Installation in Remote Bundara Valley $202,056
• East Gippsland Hub for Learners $420,500
• Outward Bound Snowy River Base Camp and ‘Recalibrate’ Program Development $443,375
• Internally Displaced People: 2019-20 Bushfires, an iterative analysis $671,872
• Claim the Past - Recover the Future $1,051,951
• Embedding resilience in community fire response $299,524
• East Gippsland Community Bus Project $89,236
• After the fires: Supporting communities to recover and build resilience $570,864
• Connection breeds resilience - farmers breakfast and workshops $32,000
• Pottery/Sculpture Open Art Studio Space $43,091
• Safe, Healthy and Resilient Communities – Emergency Preparedness $448,912
• Development of a Community Bushfire Defence and Response Facility $91,283
• Community-led recovery & resilience through music in Far East Gippsland $456,480
• Music Changes Lives for the Better: Building Community Sense of Belonging $318,546
Caption: State Nationals MP is delighted with the $9.9m upgrade to the Bairnsdale Aerodrome and the funding of a host of other projects and programs.
Monday, February 14, 2022
City banks to call shots for rural communities
State-owned schools, health services and organisations have been directed to close accounts with smaller regional banks and transfer funds to Commonwealth, Westpac or NAB banks.
The new Victorian Government purchasing contract requires large state-funded organisations to forgo accounts with smaller banking institutions in favour of one of the major players in the banking sector.
East Gippsland Nationals State MP, Tim Bull says this move is reeks of an Andrews Government’s city-centric centralisation and urges the State to reverse this decision that moves local money out of town.
“Many state-owned organisations have large accounts with their local community bank, which is crucial to supporting employment, community sporting groups and also offer great banking services to East Gippslanders,” Mr Bull said.
“This mandate comes at the expense of our local banks that have put so much back into our local communities.
“The Andrews Government has already closed many big bank branches in our smaller rural and regional townships, making banking services harder to access for customers in East Gippsland.
“If the Andrews Government had any clue about how regional and rural communities operate, Andrews would see the value these smaller financial institutions offer to regional Victorians.
“Local banking is essential for our regional communities; it provides our residents with vital services and supports local jobs,” Mr Bull said.
Minister should apologise to East Gippsland businesses
In a classic case of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted, Parks Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, has today finally announced 30 new staff to help repair infrastructure damaged during the bushfires - two years ago!
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who has been highly critical of the slow government response and calling for more resources for 18 months, said it was astounding it has taken two years for the penny to drop with this city-centric government.
Minister D’Ambrosio said the new staff will be engaged to build new steps, boardwalks, benches and other park infrastructure, but why did she not put these staff on 22 months ago – it beggars belief.
“These areas needed to be rebuilt in the 12 months after the fires, we are now more than 24 months on with so much not done and they are finally realising they need to pull their fingers out.
“These are public facilities our businesses and communities rely on for visitation and the State Government has let us down badly. This announcement is an admission they completely dropped the ball and should come with an apology to the people of East Gippsland,” said Mr Bull.
“As I have been saying for well over 18 months, they have not applied the resources required and that is why we still have boardwalk rebuilds not started and tourist attractions and walks not open.
“In a time when we needed boots on the ground, the DELWP annual report last year showed more office jobs had been created and front-line staff were reduced,” he said.
Mr Bull said it was also a disgrace that every business in East Gippsland was open but the DELWP office in Bairnsdale remained closed in the peak holiday season when people want to book camp sites and make enquiries in a range of areas.
Friday, 4 February 2022