ANZAC Day 2023
It was once thought ANZAC Day would gradually become less relevant with the soldiers from WWI having passed and the veterans of subsequent conflicts ageing.
This was incorrect. Before the sun rises this ANCAC Day, there will be far more clattering in homes the length and breadth of this country than yesterday, or tomorrow, or on this day 20 years ago.
In increasing numbers each year, a growing civilian army rises to attend their local Cenotaph to pay respects to those who have served our country in all conflicts.
The reality is, ANZAC Day has had a rebirth of sorts and become more meaningful and relevant to the modern generation – and so it should.
It is right that with the passing and ageing of our servicemen and women, the wider community sees fit to show thanks for the sacrifices they made for us, and for the younger veterans of more recent conflicts who at the current time do us proud.
Like recent years, today’s parades throughout the nation will be attended in huge numbers. It is likely there are several reasons for this.
It seems young Australians have become more interested in our nation’s history and have a thirst to understand the lives and hardships of their forefathers, not only from a family perspective, but also their communities.
Technology developments have also provided readily accessible information as computer screens can provide an armchair insight into each battlefield.
In addition, the ease and cost of international travel has allowed more and more to walk the sacred ground their family members fought and died on.
In just a few weeks, I will be involved in taking a group of 14 Year 11 students from around the state to walk the Kokoda Trail in the footsteps of the Victorians from the 39th and 2/14th Battalions who were involved in some of the fiercest jungle fighting in history.
They will hear about Arthur Grassby, who, at age 16, sat nervously in a foxhole on the Kokoda plateau with around 100 mates as an enemy, greatly superior in both number and experience, closed in. He survived that defeat only to be wounded shortly after at the battle of Isurava, ending his war. Arthur’s great grandson will be on this trek.
They will also hear about John Metson, of Richmond. Shot through the ankle and unable to walk, he refused a stretcher and instead simply asked for his hands and knees to be bandaged so he could crawl.
With the Japanese closing in, eventually the group he was with had to leave the severely injured who took shelter at a small village called Sangai, while those who moved quicker tried to stay ahead of the enemy.
The plan was to return and retrieve Metson and his mates, but when they did, found the group had been discovered and executed.
For his “courage, tenacity and unselfishness”, Metson was posthumously awarded a British Empire Medal.
These students will be present for a dawn service at Isurava where the breaking sun rising through the mist will reveal the four commemorative pillars engraved with the words Courage, Mateship, Endurance, Sacrifice – words synonymous with the Kokoda campaign.
At Bomana War Cemetery, they will also kneel before the graves of a fallen soldier from their area and make a commitment to them to be the best they can be for the rest of their lives.
This ANZAC Day we should all take time to reflect and commemorate those who have given so much, so we can enjoy the freedoms we do today.
Lest We Forget
Firewood freeze as winter approaches
With the cooler weather fast approaching, Nationals Gippsland East MP Tim Bull, is encouraging those with solid fuel heating to consider participating in the domestic firewood collection season which opened this month, while also flagging concerns with availability of wood to commercial suppliers.
“Unfortunately, I have had commercial suppliers contact my office saying they cannot get access to their coupes due to the timber industry shutdown the State Government refuses to fix.
“Last sitting week, I raised this issue in Parliament and asked the Minister for Environment what she is doing to ensure Victorians will have access to firewood to heat their homes this winter.
“We knew the shutdown of the timber industry would have dire consequences in our communities, and now we are seeing some of the unintended consequences that will impact vulnerable people.
“I doubt whether many of these city-based Labor MP’s have seen a wood splitter or understand the ramifications of their war against the timber industry,” Mr Bull said.
“The result is contractors cannot fulfill their annual firewood orders for the elderly and others who cannot collect their own wood and it is a major concern with the colder months arriving quickly.
“Making matters worse is that the scarcity of commercially sold firewood is also driving up prices of what stocks remain. People on a fixed low income will unfairly be priced out of the market due to the demand.
“And it won’t be any better next year, as wood typically collected in one season needs to be stored and dried in preparation for the following winter.
“I have not yet had a response from the Minister after three weeks and it seems this Government has absolutely no idea no how to fix this mess they have created.
“If you are in the position to be able to collect firewood this season, please consider helping those who can’t do it themselves, as it may be one of the greatest gifts you can offer this winter,” Mr Bull said.
The public firewood collection for autumn is open until June 30 and a full list of firewood collection areas is available online at ffm.vic.gov.au/ firewood/find-a-firewoodcollection-area
Monday, 17 April, 2023
VicHealth ‘Jumpstarting’ junior motocross participation in the East
Bairnsdale and District Motorcycle Club is geared up to build a new junior motocross track for primary school aged participants, thanks to the VicHeath Jumpstart Grant.
Member for Gippsland East and former VicHealth Board member, Tim Bull, said $10,000 will go a long way in facilitating safe and fun participation in motocross at the Bairnsdale complex, by designing a fit-for-purpose jumps layout for the less experienced riders.
“The creation of a separate track for junior members will be a great asset to this very successful local club that will provide a safe and fun course to ride, while honing their skills.
“Sporting participation at grassroots levels is so important and having the environment to learn and practice safely under supervision, will only grow the sport locally.
“Motocross is an exhilarating spectator sport. It was fantastic attending the club recently to watch the action,” Mr Bull said.
Parent and Bairnsdale and District Motorcycle Club Secretary, Ginny Rickhuss, couldn’t contain her excitement about the announcement, which she says will broaden participation at the family focussed club.
“The new track will allow a greater range of abilities to be able to ride their motorbikes with age-appropriate motocross layout,” Mrs Rickhuss said.
Mr Bull congratulates the Bairnsdale and District Motorcycle Club for its commitment into growing the sport in East Gippsland and can’t wait to return to the club when the track work is completed.
For further information or to register for the VicHealth e-bulletin to hear about VicHealth grant rounds as soon as they are announced visit https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/funding.
Tuesday, 11 April, 2023
Road investment back on the radar
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull has yet again raised in State Parliament the need for greater investment in East Gippsland roads.
He told Parliament, “while I acknowledge the $2.6 million recently announced to repair a 1.8 kilometre horror stretch of the Great Alpine Road between Ensay and Swift’s Creek, `this is not even the tip of the iceberg in relation to what needs to be done.”
“This government cannot cut road maintenance funding and expect the situation on the ground to end any other way. The fact it has been a wet period would indicate an even bigger allocation is needed, but your own budget papers show a reduction.
“I could not start to mention the roads here in the chamber that need addressing in my area alone, as I would run out of time, but the lack of investment needs reversing.
“In a few months we will have a new Budget, the allocation to country roads must increase significantly.
“Our roads have suffered from the wet weather of recent years, but the problems existed before then due to lack of investment and lack of quality of construction which has seen new works fail within weeks.
“Deep potholes have had countless temporary fixes that fail quickly, rather than the permanent solution that is required.
“The previous Roads Minister touted in Parliament last year, Victorian roads are smoother and safer. East Gippslanders know this is a big porky pie and it must change.
“It’s time to invest in our roads to the levels required and ensure the standard of work is to a level that will survive the test of time and not fail within weeks or months of the work taking place.
“In many cases it is not the fault of the contractor. I have even had contractors tell me works will fail before they start, because the tenders do not allow them to do the work to the level they know is required.
“The Government must fix this and make the real investment that is needed,” Mr Bull said.
Monday, 3 April, 2023