Rapid testing can assist with business shortages
Rapid testing for those who are unvaccinated should be considered to avoid workforce shortages in the region, says Nationals MP for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“I have been contacted by a number of business owners from across the electorate who have raised concerns over losing staff they cannot replace, due to vaccination status. In many cases it has put the future of the business in doubt.
“While we have hit over 95% first dose and over 75% fully vaccinated and this level of uptake is pleasing, there is still clearly a number who are choosing not get the jab.
“That is individual choice, but the impact is staff shortages in industries that were already facing struggles to obtain workers; hospitality and construction being at the forefront.
“To avoid these businesses going to the wall, I would like to think rapid testing on a regular basis could be permitted. It would keep people in employment and businesses open, at least in the short term,” he said.
Mr Bull said he supported vaccination and mandatory vaccination for those sectors that deal with the vulnerable in the community, but mandatory vaccination across all sectors was causing pain for businesses and individuals.
“We have rapid testing as an option that can be used to assist and New South Wales has already announced that from December 1, government regulations will not differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.
“Rather than this hard and fast rule of be vaccinated or you’re out of work and business owners suffer as well, alternatives must be considered,” he said.
Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Coast Guard seeking new home base
Coast Guard Paynesville is looking for a new permanent consolidated home.
Members recently met with local Nationals MP’s Tim Bull and Darren Chester to discuss options.
Commander Michael Doyle explained the flotilla currently has an office at the community centre, 300 metres from the vessel and a separate storage facility on a third site.
“We would preferably like to be consolidated on one waterfront site and want to advance discussions with the various agencies in relation to this,” he said.
The Paynesville Flotilla has in the vicinity of 100 call outs each year, the majority being over the warmer months when boating activity increases, but the needs are year-round.
Mr Bull said he would commence more in-depth discussions with the various local agencies, that included Gippsland Ports and East Gippsland Shire.
“It is a reasonable expectation for the volunteers to be seeking a suitable waterfront site and given the great job they do in responding to emergency situations, a waterfront site is preferable,” he said.
Mr Chester said apart from their emergency response service, the simple presence of the flotilla in Paynesville provided important peace of mind to local and visiting boaters, knowing they are there if required.
“They’re an important part of their community and if we can find them a consolidated base, it is the very least we can do,” he added.
Caption: Coast Guard Paynesville Commander, Michael Doyle and members Greg Marsh and Cheryl Daly with local State and Federal MP’s Tim Bull and Darren Chester, discussing their push for a consolidated new home.
Monday, October 18, 2021
Labor again abandons forest workers
The Andrews Government has completely abandoned forest workers in East Gippsland.
If it is not enough that they intend to end the industry by 2030 and destroy local economies, they have just passed a Bill to add a ‘strict liability’ clause to workers and companies.
‘Strict liability’ will mean that if an honest mistake is made, the accused will have to prove their innocence.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said it was not accepted practice and meant penalties of more than $20,000 to an individual worker or more than $100,000 for a contractor or VicForests may apply.
“The unfairness of this is, we are now punishing one sector if an honest mistake is made. Imagine if a police car was in an unintended accident and they were charged?
“In the Legislative Council debate, Resources Minister Jaala Pulford replied with inconsistencies and misinformation when questioned by Coalition members,” said Mr Bull.
This Bill is being rushed through despite the impending substantial changes to the Code of Practice for Timber Production not being released.
The Australian Law Reform Commission has issued a number of principles, to be considered when applying “strict liability”. This Legislation does not satisfy any.
Mr Bull said the Bill passed on the slimmest of margins with the support of the Labor-voting independents Andy Meddick of the Animal Justice Party, Fiona Patten and the Greens, despite pleas from the timber workers, CFMEU and the Liberals and Nationals.
“It is interesting when you have the CFMEU and the Liberal Nationals Coalition on the same side recognising the issues here.
“Labor and the Greens will stop at nothing to do whatever they can to hurt our forestry sector and people in our regional communities like Orbost, Heyfield, Bairnsdale and Swift’s Creek should remember this come election time next year.
“I am very proud to say that the Liberals and Nationals and the majority of the crossbenchers stood firm,” he said.
Monday, October 11, 2021
Local health services set for improvements
Several East Gippsland Health Services have been funded for infrastructure upgrades.
Gippsland East, Nationals MP, Tim Bull said he had been advised by the Minister of funding for works to be undertaken across several facilities.
“While our population continues to grow steadily, ongoing investment in our medical centres is critical and while major works are required in a number of locations, this removes some of the projects off the waiting list,” he said.
Among the works funded are:
Bairnsdale Regional Health Service
* Redesign of the car park area to remove commercial traffic from Hospital entrances and improve mobility access
Bairnsdale Regional Health Service - Consulting Suites and Administration
* Update and reconfigure the bathrooms within the Administration and Consulting suites
Buchan Bush Nursing Centre
* Upgrade motor vehicle to provide staff with safe transportation
* Install solar panel system to enhance energy efficiency and reduce costs over the long term
Cann Valley Bush Nursing Centre
* Security to building and staff during and after hours
Dargo Bush Nursing Centre
* Remodelling of bathroom and replacement of existing flooring to improve infection prevention and control and staff and client safety
Ensay Bush Nursing Centre
* To prevent ember attack from bush fires a sprinkler system will be installed
Gelantipy District Bush Nursing Centre
* Acquisition of a telehealth hub comprehensive examination toolkit, providing observation, patient data storage and live-streaming services
Gippsland Lakes Community Health - Lakes Entrance Campus
* Renewable failover solar installation
Omeo District Health
* Full refurbishment and reconfiguration of Transition Care Program unit, to bring the space into compliance with program guidelines
* Reconstruct West Courtyard Garden at Lewington House residential aged care facility, to create a safe, dementia friendly outdoor space
Orbost Regional Health - Orbost Regional Health entrance and reception
* Improve accessibility and safety for the aged and disabled to the main entrance and reception area
Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre
* Contribution to equipment and capital improvements to support patient care and safety during regular operation of service and emergencies.
* Improvements to ergonomics and technology, including new computers, video conferencing hardware for telehealth and standing desks for staff
Monday, October 11, 2021