Bull seeks additional V/Line service, again
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has written to the Minister for Public and Active Transport requesting a sixth weekday bus/coach service from Bairnsdale to Melbourne.
“There are currently five services each weekday, three trains and two with coaches that link up to the train services from Traralgon, but it is time we had a sixth,” he said.
“Between the early train that leaves at 6.14am and the service that leaves at 12.54pm, there is more than a six-hour gap and I am raising with the Minister for the second time, the need to have an additional early morning service that leaves Bairnsdale sometime between 8-9am, that links up to the train from Traralgon, that arrives in Melbourne just before 1pm.
“There is already a coach service that leaves Sale at 9.22am and one option is to have that commence in Bairnsdale and pick up passengers in Sale on the way through.
“It is not possible to get the train to leave from Bairnsdale as there isn’t time in the schedule for this to occur as the Government has not delivered the passing lanes required, but there is nothing stopping it initiating the coach service extension that presently commences in Sale.
“Currently, East Gippsland travellers only have the option of the early morning service or waiting for the next one at 12.54pm. With a growing population in the area, a service that left Bairnsdale just after 8am would fill a large gap.
“I would hope the new Minister looks positively at this request,” he said.
Caption: Nationals State MP, Tim Bull, is calling on the Minister for Public and Active Transport to introduce a sixth weekday V/Line service from Bairnsdale to Melbourne
Potholes galore need a funding boost
The deplorable state of East Gippsland’s roads will be back on the agenda when State Parliament resumes in February.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said it was alarming the number of road warning and traffic hazard signs that had been situated on our roadsides for an extended period of time, without repairs being done.
“What is also alarming is that just prior to Christmas a number of potholes were filled, but with Christmas traffic and without the permanent fix that was required, they are now, in many cases, just as bad as they originally were, if not worse.
“I met with Roads Minister Melissa Horne, pre-Christmas with Federal member, Darren Chester, and we outlined the dire need for significant investment.
“It is not a problem unique to East Gippsland, and those who have travelled around the state will notice a similar circumstance in other areas,” he said.
Mr Bull said the deterioration of the roads was the worst he could remember.
“The underlying problem is this Government has cut roads funding by 40 per cent over the past two years and the end result can only be one thing – worse roads.
“This Government fines motorists for not having roadworthy cars, but it is not providing car worthy roads.
“Because of the massive cost overruns on city projects, this Government has slashed our roads maintenance funding in the country, so we suffer from Labor not being able to manage money or major projects.”
Mr Bull said the only way to rectify the problem was a massive increase in roads funding in this year’s May Budget, however, with the State facing a $175 billion debt due to Labor’s mismanagement, he was concerned the investment required would not be made but would continue to take up the cause.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull (right) and Shadow Minister for Roads, Danny O’Brien, recently inspected a number of roads issues in the Gippsland East electorate.
Monday, 22 January 2024
Conran fish cleaning facility proposed
The push is on for fish cleaning facilities to be installed at Cape Conran after a less than ideal situation occurred over the Christmas holiday period.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said the lack of cleaning facilities resulted in many anglers cleaning their fish on the new finger jetty, which at times becomes quite congested with people retrieving and launching boats.
“What we need is a dedicated facility, and I have written to the Victorian Fisheries Authority to seek that outcome. The initial response has given me some optimism.
“There was also the issue of fish and gummy shark carcasses being washed up on the rocks near the jetty, which was unsightly and odorous, so the installation of the cleaning facilities can also carry the message to take the waste away for disposal.
“The facility at Cape Conran is much improved for the boating and fishing fraternity and this addition will remove some of the congestion on the new jetty and improve the cleanliness of the area.”
Mr Bull said he was still battling the Government on obtaining a completion date for the East Cape boardwalk.
“I was given a guarantee late last year that it would be finished by Christmas, but then the Government advised in November there had been a further hold up and it would be finished a ‘wee bit into the new year’.
“However, by mid-January it remains unopened and having been up there, it is clear there is still a fair bit of work to do.
“I have contacted Parks Victoria to seek an updated completion date as clearly it is not finished ‘a wee bit into the new year’.
“The problem is, this will be about the fifth date I have been given, but it is important to keep the pressure on,” he said.
Caption: Nationals’ Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, is calling for fish cleaning facilities to be installed at the popular West Cape boat ramp at Cape Conran.
Monday, 22 January 2024
Deteriorating roads mean compensation claims rise
Road compensation claims are skyrocketing with recent data showing a massive increase in vehicle damage compensation claims over the past three and a half years, due to poor road conditions.
In data released by the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, it detailed there were 80 claims in 2020/21, 188 claims in 2021/2022 and 463 claims in 2022/23 – but the alarming statistic is that six months into the current financial year there’s 1532 claims - with only six of the more than 2,000 claims over the period deemed payable.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said the statistics paint a stark picture and demonstrate a systemic issue in road maintenance and driver compensation.
“Motorists are being forced to drive on substandard roads and the Allan Labor Government is leaving them with the bill for damaged vehicles,” Mr Bull said.
“Since 2020, Labor has slashed road maintenance by 45 per cent, including a 25 per cent cut in this year's budget. It is never going to end any other way.
“Labor can blame the rain and make other excuses, but the reality is, when you cut roads funding where the roads weren’t great anyway, it is only going to end one way.
“The deteriorating road conditions have a direct correlation with the rise in vehicle compensation claims. The proof is there for all to see.
“It is clear to everyone the neglect of road maintenance and serious funding cuts which are the underlying cause, yet it was not long ago, Labor MP Vicky Ward, stood up in Parliament stating complaints about our roads by Nationals MP’s were an ‘imagined fantasy’.
“Vehicle damage claims have been set at a minimum of $1580, which eliminates the most common claim - a damaged rim and blown tyre from hitting a pothole, so you could imagine what the real figure is, if these are excluded.
“This issue is broader than vehicle damage and compensation – it’s a serious road safety issue, and my constituents deserve to drive on safe roads.
"Our cars are required to be roadworthy, so it’s about time out roads are maintained to a standard that is car worthy,” he said.
Monday, 15 January 2024
Minister forced to backflip to help the blind
In a significant step towards inclusivity and safe access, Victorians who’ve experienced total vision loss will soon be eligible for an Accessibility Parking Permit.
This is following representations made by Local MP and Shadow Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Tim Bull, who said it was outrageous people who are blind or have low vision were previously excluded from accessible parking.
He said changes to the scheme in Victoria in 2021 resulted in this cohort being excluded.
Accessible Parking Permits allow bearers access to marked parking bays that are strategically located near to shopping centres, hospitals and medical centres, and other key places of importance.
“The 2021 exclusion made no sense. Anyone with half a brain can appreciate how difficult negotiating busy traffic environments would be for those whose sight is significantly compromised,” Mr Bull said.
“Thankfully commonsense has prevailed and Labor has backflipped on this decision.
“After strenuously lobbying for the immediate expansion of the Victorian Accessible Parking Scheme, the Minister has now advised me that our state will recognise people with total vision loss in the eligibility criteria, now aligning our parking system with other states and territories in the country.”
However, Mr Bull said the fight was not over.
“While I am pleased with the reinstatement of permit eligibility for people who’ve experienced total vision loss, I am disappointed the Allan Labor Government has failed to recognise the daily challenges of people who have low vision generally, they should also be afforded access to this permit system,” he said.
Monday, 8 January 2024
Car parks gone in Bairnsdale CBD
The removal of multiple convenient car parks adjacent to Coles supermarket in Bairnsdale by Public Transport Victoria (PTV), without prior consultation, has sparked community concerns. These parking spaces have made way for an expanded bus stop on Main Street, which is larger than the space it was replacing.
Nationals State MP, Tim Bull, expressed concern over the loss of nearby parking for supermarket shoppers stating the lack of forewarning regarding the substantial reduction in accessible CBD parking spaces, is disappointing and a step in the wrong direction.
"My office received numerous complaints from both the local community and Coles supermarket employees, prompting me to raise this issue with the Minister for Public and Active Transport," Mr Bull stated.
Acknowledging the bus stop's relocation for public safety reasons, Mr Bull noted that Coles had been assured by PTV that there would be no overall parking deficit, with the former bus stop area to be repurposed for public parking.
"However, PTV expanded the area by taking up more space than initially indicated, making way for approximately five bus bays.
“Rarely have I witnessed any more than two buses at the stop simultaneously.”
Mr Bull confirmed he had corresponded with the Minister, seeking assurances that there would be no net loss of parking, as initially pledged by PTV.
"Accessible parking is vital for ensuring customers' safe access and the continuous prosperity of local businesses. This issue is particularly critical during periods of high demand for parking, such as the current season," Mr Bull said.
He anticipates a response from the minister and intends to advocate for PTV to honour its commitment by restoring the much-needed parking spaces in our town.
Tuesday, 2 January 2024