Local emergency services should feature in budget
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull is hoping to see some key projects ticked off in next week’s State Budget.
“There is some important infrastructure that needs to be funded, in particular from a police and emergency services point of view,” he said.
“Funds are required for new fire stations at Metung and Lakes Entrance and the Orbost police station has long been in need of a large overhaul.
“I also visited Maffra police station last week and it’s clear that it requires replacement to meet current day policing needs,” he said.
“From a health services perspective, I am aware that both Bairnsdale and Maffra hospitals require significant improvement and will continue to work with management at both agencies in an attempt to bring those projects to fruition.
“You never get everything you want in a Budget, but it there is an expectation we get some of these projects ticked off,” he said.
“As we have seen in recent years, there is a high reliance on our emergency services in times of need and it is important we continue to invest in the facilities required.
“It is fair to say, some are in great need of upgrade and replacement, and I would hope we would see some of these needs being announced next week.”
Caption: Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull at Orbost Police Station, one of the local emergency service precincts he wants to see funded in this year’s state budget.
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Mallacoota modular housing gets green light
Two short term modular homes will be installed by Homes Victoria at Mallacoota by June 2022 with 10 public new homes to follow that will be a combination of social and affordable housing.
The need for both short and long-term housing at Mallacoota was raised in State Parliament last year by Nationals Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull after the matter was raised by the Mallacoota and District Recovery Association (MADRA).
“The government’s Big Housing Build will hopefully make a difference to housing availability in coming years, but the needs of homeless people are right here right now,” said Mr Bull.
“We saw modular homes brought in to house some bushfire victims while they were rebuilding, so I asked the Housing Minister to expand that concept to tackle the housing crisis more broadly, and I am pleased to say that while we could do with more, this is a good start.
Mr Bull said the modular homes were fully self-contained, cost effective and quick to instal.
“They are the perfect resolution to the problem of people being priced out of the property market and turning to rentals, which in turn is driving up the cost as demand soars.
“It is pleasing to see more rental options are slowly becoming available locally. Cost remains an issue, but it was not that long ago we basically had not rentals at all.
“Additionally, new subdivisions and new homes are gradually being released to the market, placing downwards pressure on costs.
“Unfortunately, Labor’s new windfall gains tax on property developers from July 2023 will result in those costs passed on to home buyers and make housing affordability even worse.”
Mr Bull said despite the pleasing signs, more action is needed to ease the pressure on the property market and subsequent stress on social housing and related services.
“The Nationals have committed to support local councils with planning flying squads and to free up government red tape to deliver 50,000 housing lots across regional Victoria.
“It is actions like this that will further assist housing availability and the current government should adopt this policy position to get more housing into the marketplace.
Caption: The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has welcomed the broader adoption of the modular housing concept to ease the housing crisis.
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
New campaign to expose East Gippsland’s worst roads
Following a city-based Labor MP saying complaints about the country roads network were an “imagined fantasy”, a new road safety campaign has been launched to find the worst roads in the state.
East Gippsland Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said he was expecting country roads right around the State to figure prominently after roads maintenance funding was cut by a whopping 23% in last year’s State Budget.
The three-month campaign to Vote for Victoria’s Worst Road asks motorists to submit first-hand condition reports via an online portal to list the most dangerous hazards risking lives on our roads every single day.
Victorians will then be asked to vote for the worst roads on the list, which will then be handed to Victoria’s Roads Minister to highlight priority areas for maintenance funds.
State Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the Great Alpine Road would be vying for the worst road in Victoria.
The Princes and Monaro highways could also take the cake, as both are notorious for having failing road surfaces, deep potholes and crumbling edges.
“All too often I hear from locals who are frustrated with just how rough and unsafe our neglected roads have become,” Mr Bull said.
“Only two weekends’ ago, one deep pothole on the Princes Highway near Stratford damaged six cars in one afternoon. This is absolutely unacceptable.
“I will continue to fight for better maintenance funding to repair these major transport and tourist networks in my electorate that will improve confidence for road users.
“This new road safety campaign is a crucial opportunity to highlight the worst of the neglect in our local area to make sure East Gippsland is a priority when funds are finally delivered for road upgrades.
“State Labor’s been in government for 19 of the past 23 years, but while it’s found $24 billion to fix budget blowouts on its poorly managed major projects, it’s spent less fixing and maintaining our roads.”
The State Labor Government carved nearly $200 million from road asset maintenance in last year’s State Budget alone, a 25 per cent cut down to $616 million.
Since 2014, Daniel Andrews has also axed the Country Roads and Bridges maintenance program and abolished a key joint parliamentary committee that had overseen road safety since 1967.
Shadow Minister for Roads Steph Ryan urged drivers to have their say to expose the problems.
“Properly maintained roads are safer roads,” Ms Ryan said.
“Fixing the maintenance backlog won’t be an easy task – as the Victorian Auditor-General says, poorly-maintained roads cost more to repair, cost motorists more in fuel and in vehicle repairs, on top of the safety risk.
“Only a change in Government in November will stop the waste and mismanagement, with a better managed budget delivering savings that can contribute to reversing Labor’s cuts.”
For submissions for Victoria’s worst road, visit the online portal at Vicsworstroad.vote
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, inspecting the failing road edges along Bengworden Road, one of many failing road surfaces in East Gippsland.
Wednesday, 20 April 2022
Fire inquiry findings cannot wait ‘til 2024
Important recommendations from a review of the 2019/20 bushfires that ravaged the region will not be acted on by the Andrews Labor Government until 2024, leaving East Gippslanders to endure two more summers before shortfalls are addressed.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, says the seriousness of the Inspector General of Emergency Management’s (IGEM) findings warrant a far quicker response.
Among many serious findings and observations made in the IGEM report were:
• The timber industry provides an important support capacity to fire management in Victorian forests with a skill set, knowledge base and operational experience in forest landscapes. The cessation of native forest harvesting by 2030 poses challenges for the fuel management program and bushfire response capacity across the state.
• There is a high level of dissatisfaction in some parts of the emergency management sector and the community in relation to fuel management.
• There is a lack of collective understanding of current and future personnel capacity requirements.
• Land managers and fire agencies responsible for roadside fuel management have inconsistent policy frameworks, objectives, budgeting arrangements and reporting regimes that has resulted in a lack of accountability and transparency for roadside fuel management
• The high volume of information and warnings issued via the VicEmergency platform made it difficult to ensure the accuracy and relevance of information to recipients and created situations where individuals may have received conflicting advice regarding the management of different fires in the area.
• The existing capacity (including surge capacity) across the Victorian emergency sector was challenged.
“The report also states in several areas that protection of human life should be at the forefront of fuel management controls, but unfortunately there is considerable communitysentiment that vegetation values are often given priority – the Government’s cessation of roadside clearing at Sarsfield being a prime example,” said Mr Bull“All of these critical issues should be addressed in the shortest possible timeframe, but here we have a government pushing not reviewing the Bushfire Code until 2024.“It has justified this by saying consultation will be open for the remainder of 2022 and 2023 but all it does is show how blasé this Government is on such an important issue.”
“East Gippslanders are all too familiar with the Andrews Government failings of managing its own public land to mitigate bushfire risk and minimise impact on human life, so we will have another two summers to endure before changes are made to protect the community and to achieve common sense outcomes,” he said.
Tuesday, April 19, 2022