Press Releases

Try fishing these holidays

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

School holidays have begun and I would encourage children and their families to get out and try catching a fish, maybe their first fish, as a fun holiday activity, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

Mr McCurdy said fishing is a great activity for the whole family and ‘ready to catch’ rainbow trout have been released in a number of North East lakes, in time for the school holidays.

Lakes which have been stocked include Foster’s Dam at Glenrowan, Lake Sambell at Beechworth, the Stanley Ditch Dam, the Arboretum Dam at Euroa, Upper Sandy Creek Dam, the Allan’s Flat Dredge Hole, Eildon Pondage Weir, and the Felltimber Creek Wetlands, Les Stone Park Lake, Yalumba Drive Lake and Racecourse Lake, all at Wodonga.

Fisheries Victoria have been stocking 60 lakes across the state throughout June as part of the Family Fishing Lakes program, Mr McCurdy said.

There are also a number of fishing spots in our local rivers and streams families might like to try, he added. Take a picnic and enjoy a fun day out in the great outdoors.

Having ready to catch trout stocked into local lakes provides a great opportunity for children and their families to get outdoors and enjoy the environment, and have a go at catching their first fish.

Rainbow trout are a great fish to be targeted by children because they are relatively easy to catch and take a variety of baits and lures.

I encourage Murray Valley residents to head out and make the most of our stocked lakes these school holidays.

Mr McCurdy said it was important anglers remembered trout cannot be taken from most rivers at this time of year and there was a daily bag limit of five trout, of which only two could exceed 35cm.

For more details refer to the Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide, which is available free of charge from most good fishing tackle shops, Department of Primary Industries offices or by ringing the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

For more about fish stocking and a full list of waters stocked with rainbow trout, visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/fishing,  Mr McCurdy concluded.   



 

Wangaratta and Rutherglen residents safely dispose of chemicals

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Residents of Wangaratta and Rutherglen diverted over 6207.5 of potentially harmful chemicals from landfill as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Detox Your Home chemical collection program, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

Mr McCurdy thanked residents of Wangaratta and Rutherglen for taking practical action to improve their local environment.

At the collection day held in May, 117 residents safely disposed of 3860 kg of paint, 570 kg of gas cylinders and 792 kg of used batteries, with the remainder being other harmful chemicals, he said.

This was a great result for the local environment.

Detox Your Home is funded by the Victorian Coalition Government through reinvestment of the landfill levy and administered in partnership with local councils across the State.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, praised residents who participate in the collection days, saying their actions are a valued contribution to the protection of the environment.

Detox Your Home ensures that dangerous materials stored in local homes are sorted, treated, recycled or disposed of properly, Mr Smith said.

After collection, the materials are supported immediately, according to their chemical properties, and then treated.

For example, 

  • some collected materials, such as paint, solvents and fuels, can be used for energy recovery, 
  • materials that make up fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent tubes are recycled; 
  • rechargeable and non-rechargeable household batteries are recycled; 
  • metal from chemical containers are recycled; and 
  • other hazardous materials that cannot be recycled are treated to render them non-hazardous and, once treated they are disposed of safely.

For more information about the Detox Your Home program or how to safely dispose of chemical waste, residents can call 1800 35 32 33 [toll free] or visit www.resourcesmart.vic.gov.au, Mr McCurdy concluded.            



 

Yarrawonga residents safely dispose of chemicals

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Yarrawonga residents diverted almost 1044 kg of potentially harmful chemicals from landfill through the Victorian Coalition Government’s Detox Your Home chemical collection program, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

Mr McCurdy thanked residents of Yarrawonga for taking practical action to improve their local environment.

Residents safely disposed of 729.5 kg of paint, 98.5 kg of gas cylinders and 98 kg of used batteries, with the remainder being other harmful chemicals at the collection day on June 2, he said.

This was a great result for the local environment.

Detox Your Home is funded by the Victorian Coalition Government through reinvestment of the landfill levy and administered in partnership with local councils across the State.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, praised residents who participate in the collection days, saying their actions are a valued contribution to the protection of the environment.

Detox Your Home ensures that dangerous materials stored in local homes are sorted, treated, recycled or disposed of properly, Mr Smith said.

After collection, the materials are supported immediately, according to their chemical properties, and then treated.

For example, 

  • some collected materials, such as paint, solvents and fuels, can be used for energy recovery, 
  • materials that make up fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent tubes are recycled; 
  • rechargeable and non-rechargeable household batteries are recycled; 
  • metal from chemical containers are recycled; and 
  • other hazardous materials that cannot be recycled are treated to render them non-hazardous and, once treated they are disposed of safely.

For more information about the Detox Your Home program or how to safely dispose of chemical waste, residents can call 1800 35 32 33 [toll free] or visit www.resourcesmart.vic.gov.au, Mr McCurdy concluded 



 

National disaster assistance reform essential

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Reform of the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements is essential to provide fairness and transparency, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

Mr McCurdy said it is ludicrous that Rural City of Wangaratta farmers severely impacted by the floods earlier this year are not eligible for $25,000 clean-up  and recovery grants under the Commonwealth Government’s  National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements when neighbouring property owners in Indigo and Moira Shires are eligible.

Where is the justice in that, he asked.  It must be remembered these grants are not a general handout but only go to those people, within declared municipalities, who have been disaster affected and meet rigorous assessment criteria to determine eligibility.

I have received representations from farmers within the rural city who have suffered extensive damage to their properties as a result of the floods yet they can’t access the funding assistance available to their neighbours. The current arrangements are totally unjust and must be reformed, Mr McCurdy said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Peter Ryan, made a formal submission seeking national disaster assistance reform at a national emergency management meeting in Melbourne on Friday.

Mr Ryan said the current National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements don’t work which meant the Victorian Coalition Government can’t give communities straight answers  on when, where and why $25,000 clean-up grant are activated or not.

Four local government areas, including the Rural City of Wangaratta, have been rejected for Category C assistance under the NDRRA in the past month and all governments had recognised the need for reform. Victoria is keen to ensure reform is realised as promptly as possible, prior to the summer bushfire and cyclone season, Mr Ryan said.

The reform paper presented by Victoria called on the Commonwealth, States and Territories to agree to a common definition and set of activation criteria for Category C by November 2012 to provide communities with clarity.

Category C covers key community and economic recovery measures, including clean-up grants for primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations, but currently lacks an agreed definition and threshold for activation, leading to inconsistent and confusing outcomes for farmers and businesses. 

Mr Ryan said while the NDRRA is a Commonwealth determination all Governments, state and federal, have a big stake in supporting recovery after disasters. Our proposed measures provide an interim solution while the Council of Australian Governments undertakes a broader review of the NDRRA which will be completed in the next 12 to 18 months.

He indicated following the meeting that he will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government to achieve an appropriate outcome.

I will continue to make representations on behalf of the people within the rural city who have suffered extensive financial hardship as a result of the floods to see that this injustice is overturned and they receive the financial assistance available to others, Mr McCurdy concluded.   



 

Indigo receives boost to bushfire resilience

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy has approved bushfire resilience funding for Indigo as part of a joint project with Towong and Central Goldfields shire councils, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy said today.

Mr McCurdy, together with Member for Benambra, Bill Tilley, welcomed the funding, which is to help ensure planning, training and appropriate mitigation measures are in place to better protect the shires from bushfire threat.

He said Indigo, Towong and Central Goldfields are among 16 councils across Victoria to have received funding through an expression of interest process.  

In February the Victorian Coalition Government invited councils to share in $800,000 to support the new bushfire planning provisions introduced last year to increase the protection of communities from bushfires, he said.

The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recognised good strategic planning allows risks to be spread rather than having to be treated, facilitating regional growth and development in the most appropriate locations.

Indigo, Towong and Central Goldfields have  received $105,000 to help their communities better understand the need for bushfire planning provisions and the role they play in making communities more fire resilient, Mr McCurdy said. 

The project will ensure landowners are familiar with the requirements of building in bushfire areas, he said.  

The funding will also facilitate property inspections to verify whether landholders are maintaining their properties in a fire-ready condition. 

Property maintenance and vegetation management are important factors in reducing the risk of bushfire and planning permits issued in a Bushfire Management Overlay include a condition that bushfire mitigation measures must be maintained on a continuing basis.

Mr McCurdy said that the communities will also reap the benefits of other funded bushfire projects including CFA funding to assist landowners with planning permit applications, work towards a national standard for construction of community fire refuges, training for council officers and industry practitioners in bushfire building, planning



 

$60,000 boost to Wangaratta's bushfire resilience

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy has approved funding to the Rural City of Wangaratta to ensure planning, training and appropriate mitigation measures are in place to better protect the municipality from bushfire threat, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

Mr McCurdy and the Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, have welcomed this funding which will go toward ensuring future planning development in the municipality is more fire resilient, without imposing a burden on ratepayers.

The rural city is one of 16 councils across Victoria to have received funding through an expression of interest process, Mr McCurdy said.  

In February the Victorian Coalition Government invited councils to share in $800,000 to support the new bushfire planning provisions introduced last year to increase the protection of communities from bushfires. 

The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recognised good strategic planning allows risks to be spread rather than having to be treated, facilitating regional growth and development in the most appropriate locations, he said.

Wangaratta has received $60,000 to help communities better understand the need for bushfire planning provisions and the role they play in making communities more fire resilient. The project will ensure landowners are familiar with the requirements of building in bushfire areas.  

The funding will also facilitate property inspections to verify whether landholders are maintaining their properties in a fire-ready condition. 

Property maintenance and vegetation management are important factors in reducing the risk of bushfire and planning permits issued in a Bushfire Management Overlay include a condition that bushfire mitigation measures must be maintained on a continuing basis.

Mr McCurdy said that the Wangaratta community would also reap the benefits of other funded bushfire projects including CFA funding to assist landowners with planning permit applications, work towards a national standard for construction of community fire refuges, training for council officers and industry practitioners in bushfire building, planning and design.



 

Impact of the Carbon Tax

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Murray Valley residents will pay more for food, energy and health care due to the Gillard Labor Government’s carbon tax, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

We will also see a stalling in jobs creation as a result of this tax, Mr McCurdy said. The impact to the local community should not be underestimated.

An independent report by Deloitte Access Economics estimates that the carbon tax will cost Victoria $7.7 billion by 2020, he said. The report also estimates the carbon tax will stifle the creation of an extra 35,000 Victorian jobs and potentially cost households an extra $1050.

Data shows there will be 37 fewer jobs created in Moira Shire by 2020, increasing to 70 fewer jobs created by 2030, as a result of the carbon tax, Mr McCurdy said.

There will be 19 fewer jobs created in Indigo by 2020, increasing to 32 by 2030.  Fortunately, the data indicates the impact on the Rural City of Wangaratta is not so severe in the short term, with predictions the rural city will see two less jobs created by 2020, and 24 fewer jobs created by 2030.

Small businesses, particularly in manufacturing and retail, are telling me that they will not be looking to employ people because of the cost burden on their business from the carbon tax, he said.

Mr McCurdy said the Victorian Coalition Government is working hard to reduce the cost burden on small business by cutting Workcover premiums by three per cent from July 1, but the Federal Government is adding another tax burden, that families cannot afford.

The Australian Retailers Association has also said that small and medium retailers are going to have no option but to pass the extra costs on to the consumer, as suppliers face increased energy costs. 

Local tourism is also likely to be impacted, with the Victorian Tourism Industry Council reporting many of its members will be forced to increase tariffs in response to rising energy costs, while both Qantas and Virgin have said domestic tickets will rise by around $3, he said.

The increase will also hit the State’s public hospitals hard, with the carbon tax bill to Victorian hospitals coming in at around $13.4 million, rising to $19 million by 2020.

Labor bats all these rising costs away saying households will be compensated with $10.10 a week, but that’s hardly enough to cope with an increase in basic necessities such as power, water and food.

Mr McCurdy said the Gillard Labor Government is short-changing Victorian families and businesses.

And for what result? Australia is responsible for about 1.3 per cent of global emissions and Europe 14 per cent.; yet the Australian carbon tax will raise more money in its first three months than the Europeans will have raised since they started their tax six years ago.  There are 400 million Europeans and just 22 million Australians, he said..

Victorians are shouldering a dramatically disproportionate burden, which will achieve little, Mr McCurdy concluded.         



 

Valuing diversity in volunteering

Monday, July 02, 2012

Volunteers play a critical role in our community, and come from all age groups and backgrounds, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

The  2011 Census showed 24.9 per cent of people in the Rural City of Wangaratta, 24.2 per cent of residents in the Moira Shire, and 30.7 per cent of residents in the Indigo Shire did voluntary work through an organisation or group in the year before the census, Mr McCurdy said.

Many charities and community groups would struggle to survive without volunteers, Mr McCurdy said, noting it is often volunteers delivering meals on wheels, officiating at junior sports events, operating our op shops, or filling sandbags in times of emergency.

He said volunteering groups from across regional Victoria will be invited to take part in the Regional Victoria VolunteerFest to be held in Horsham on July 26 and 27 2012.

VolunteerFest, funded through the Coalition Government’s $400,000 Valuing Diversity in Volunteering Program, is the major regional/rural volunteering forum for 2012/13, Mr McCurdy said.

It is one of a four-year program of events and will have a specific focus on regional volunteering issues and opportunities.

Presented by the Department of Planning and Community Development in partnership with Horsham Volunteers, the VolunteerFest will include presentations, panel discussions and workshops.

Keynote speaker is Vivian Hutchinson, a community activist and social entrepreneur from New Zealand, who will speak on Active Citizenship.

 Other topics include Connections, Compliance, Communities: The New Face of Volunteering in Regional Victoria, with Ross Wyatt of Netbalance; Engaging New Migrant Communities in Regional Volunteering with Rae Talbot, Yarrilinks; and Youth Mentoring Programs, facilitated by Tim Shaw, Wimmera Southern Mallee Learning and Employment Network.

The Valuing Diversity in Volunteering program, which continues until 2014, celebrates the wealth of diversity of Victorian volunteers and promotes volunteering across various population groups, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Mr McCurdy said

More than 1.5 million Victorians make a significant contribution to local communities as volunteers across a range of sectors, in emergency services, in health and ageing, in education, social justice, heritage and culture, and in sport and recreation.

They come from all walks of life, various cultural and language backgrounds, old and young, and people of different abilities and all have an important role to play. They are the lifeblood of the community.

Victoria’s Volunteering Portal, www.volunteer.vic.gov.au  has more than 3500 diverse volunteering opportunities on offer, from more than 500 organisations across Victoria, from fire fighting, floods recovery and lifesaving, to pre-school care, adult education, sport and recreation, health, arts, heritage, tourism and local government.

The portal also shares the stories of volunteers from across the State, he said.

The Victorian Coalition Government allocated more than $5 million over four years in 2011 in recognition of the vital role of volunteering in building strong communities, Mr McCurdy concluded.



 

Women encouraged to get on board

Monday, July 02, 2012

Women have made great strides in taking leadership roles over recent decades, but there is still a long way to go in terms of involvement in corporate boards, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.

The number of women on the top 200 Australian corporate boards is just 14 per cent, Mr McCurdy said. Government and not-for-profit boards are better, but not much better!

Sadly, Australia is not the enlightened country it could be, and should be, when it comes to leadership diversity, and there is a dearth of women on boards, and even fewer women chairs.  So, whilst there is much to celebrate, there remains much to do, he said. 

Women in rural and regional areas make an enormous contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of their communities, yet their contribution is largely undervalued, and we need to encourage women to join decision-making boards and committees, Mr McCurdy said.

Increasing the variety of people serving on boards offers an opportunity to tap into a rich pool of talented candidates, bringing new voices, experiences and approaches to the decision-making process and adding depth to existing skills and ideas, and, bringing the board closer to properly representing stakeholders.

Greater diversity expands the networks available to your group, helps to reach your ‘audience’, increases the profile of your group and makes for better governance, he said. With women making up 51 per cent of the population, having women on boards makes them more relevant to the whole community.

Our Community, the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and the Alcoa Foundation recently launched a new book to help get more women into leadership positions in Australia. Get on a Board [Even Better – Become the Chair] is designed for women considering a role on a community, Government or corporate board.

Designed to inspire and empower more women to take the leap into the board arena, the book examines the board lifecycle, from first consideration of such a role, through finding the right board, getting the gig, honing your performance, and, finally, moving on.

It includes tips, insights and tricks for aspiring board members and many insights for men and boards as well on making their structures more welcoming to women.

The book was produced as part of the joint Advancing Diversity and Women in Australia project, which will also involve a regional training program for women aspiring to board roles, supported through the Alcoa Foundation.

Our Community is the leading provider of information and training for community organisations in Australia and has long been involved in the campaign to create more opportunities for leadership positions for women.

The Alcoa Foundation has a proud history or supporting the advancement of community leadership in Australia through the provision of grants, volunteers and expert support. More information about the project, and the book, can be found online, at www.ourcommunity.com.au/books/getonaboard , Mr McCurdy concluded.   



 

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