Today’s State Budget is a good news story for regional and rural Victoria.
“No other political party in Australia involves its members as broadly in policy development as The Nationals,” says 34 year old Traralgon small business owner, Brenton Wight.
“That’s the great thing about The Nationals; from branch meeting conversations your ideas and priorities are taken to State Council meetings and State Conferences, and can end up becoming Party policy,” he says.
“You don’t have to know everything about politics to contribute to The Nationals, you just need to have an idea for change and the Party provides you with a platform to do something about it, it’s as simple as that,” he says.
After only seven years with The Nationals Brenton has been able to offer his skills to the Party through numerous leadership roles including Chair of the Nationals Marketing Committee, State Council representative and Senior Vice President.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to work amongst some real community champions and make lasting change to your region. I have been able to network a lot of new contacts through my affiliation with The Nationals as well as discuss important issues with leading industry stakeholders and government decision makers.”
“The Nationals provide strong advocacy for regional Victoria, allowing our regional voice to have the strength of a united party behind it,” Brenton says.
An added layer of protection has been provided to the Gippsland coastal and lakes region with a state-of-the-art $2.2 million jet-powered boat joining the Gippsland water police fleet.
Electronic features include infra-red imaging equipment, radar and side-scan sonar which are used during search and rescue operations, particularly in darkness or poor light.
It can carry up to six personnel for short patrols or four personnel during longer operations.
The vessel, ‘VP09’, was officially handed over today by the Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who said the acquisition had provided the region with a valuable resource.
“Whether performing general police duties, helping our local fishing boats, passing yachts
or bigger vessels that get in to trouble, or taking part in a major search and rescue operation, Gippsland’s water police play a vital role,” Mr Bull said.
“This new high-speed boat will provide Gippsland’s water police with even greater capacity to perform their critical work.”
The 14.9-metre vessel is an aluminium catamaran which can cruise at 32 knots (nearly 60 km/hour) and has a range of up to 600 nautical miles (nearly 1,100km).
Fitted with jets rather than propellers, it can operate in shallow water making it ideal for Gippsland’s lakes and rivers.
The new vessel will help the Paynesville-based water police unit, whose area stretches from Inverloch to Gabo Island on the NSW border, improve its search and rescue capacity and response times in the area.
“Any time of the day or night, the water police can be called out to assist those experiencing trouble on the water,” Mr Bull said.
“Now, with the acquisition of VP-09, Victoria Police’s ability to serve the Gippsland coastal and lakes region has greatly improved.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has a clear law and order agenda and is on target to deliver 1,700 additional police by November this year, investing $602 million.
“The purchase of this vessel is another step in support of the Coalition Government’s law and order agenda to build a better and safer Victoria.”
The Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll statewide road show, which recognises the exceptional achievements of Aboriginal Victorians past and present, officially opened at Ballarat Library today.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Tim Bull said the Honour Roll, now in its third year, is part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
“It is a privilege to open the road show because it provides an opportunity to share the powerful stories of the inductees with the Victorian community and to encourage further nominations from across the state,” Mr Bull said.
“The Honour Roll recognises the achievements of Aboriginal Victorians past and present who have been high achievers in the fields of art, sport, education, health, community service and military service.
“I encourage Ballarat residents to visit the library to have a close look at the Honour Roll, which is normally on display in the Victorian Parliament, and to learn more about the lives and achievements of those who have been inducted.”
Mr Bull spoke at the opening ceremony about Valmai Heap, a posthumous 2013 Honour Roll inductee, who was the first Aboriginal person employed by Museum Victoria and who later went on to become Administrator at the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative in the 1980s.
“Valmai Heap was a role model for women of all ages and I know that through her story Victorians will be inspired to build a stronger community.”
The Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll will be at Ballarat Library until 21 March and will then travel to Traralgon, Bendigo, Dandenong and Echuca over an eight-week period.
The closing date for 2014 nominations is Friday 23 May 2014 and more information is available at www.dpc.vic.gov.au/vihr
Member for Rodney Paul Weller opened the Rushworth Public Park Reserve at the weekend following a redevelopment made possible by a $390,000 investment from the Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
In Rushworth on Saturday representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Weller said the Victorian Coalition Government was proud to invest $390,000 in the project, worth a total of $584,000.
“This project will restore community pride in the reserve and boost the local economy,” Mr Weller said.
“The project has replaced the ageing kitchen and servery, upgraded the social club rooms, constructed a new multi-use community building with change rooms and accessible toilets, and added disability car parking.”
Mr Weller said Rushworth had a proud history but the rundown facilities were in desperate need of renewal.
“By restoring the building and bringing it up to the latest standards, the project has improved access to the reserve and made the building more sustainable,” he said.
“Local sporting clubs and user groups will immediately benefit from the new facilities, which will be easier to maintain, reduce the workload for volunteers and encourage more residents to hire the club rooms for social events and celebrations.”