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“Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, Nationals Candidate for Euroa Electorate Steph Ryan and Leader of The Nationals and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan”

MOUNT HOTHAM RECEIVES FUNDING FOR BETTER RECYCLING SYSTEM

Monday, September 15, 2014
Nationals Member for Benalla Bill Sykes, representing the Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith, today visited Mount Hotham Alpine Resort to announce $25,000 towards the installation of new recycling equipment.
The funding is part of the Victorian Government’s $600,000 Smarter Resources Smarter Business – Recycling program to assist Victorian businesses to increase the quality and quantity of their recyclables, whilst saving on waste management costs.
Dr Sykes said the new infrastructure had already seen greater sorting of valuable materials such as cardboard, aluminium and plastics.
“Since the installation of the compaction equipment earlier this year, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board estimates that 29 bales of cardboard, four bales of aluminium and eight bales of plastics have been collected,” Dr Sykes said.
“Through this funding, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort will be able to reduce its overall waste management costs as well as reduce the amount of recyclable items going to landfill.”
Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy also attended the event.
Mr McCurdy said, “This is another example of how the Victorian Government is investing in waste reduction projects to help businesses operate more effectively, reduce costs and care for the environment.”
The installation of public place recycling bins will allow more recyclables to be collected from visitors and local residents.
The Victorian Government’s $14 million Smarter Resources Smarter Business program has supported many Victorian businesses to operate in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.
This funding contributes to one of the goals outlined in the Victorian Government’s new waste policy Getting Full Value.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ANZAC DAY GALLIPOLI STUDY TOUR STUDENTS

Monday, September 15, 2014
Dear Editor

I write to congratulate students from north east Victoria who were successful in being selected to attend the 2015 Anzac Day Gallipoli tour.

Congratulations to Matthew Whitney from Euroa Secondary College, Oliver Sladdin from Mansfield Secondary College and Sarah Hodge from Mount Beauty Secondary College.

These three students will join 77 other Victorian young people and 14 teacher chaperones to represent Victoria at the 2015 Anzac Day Dawn Service at Gallipoli and tour key sites in Turkey.

As a tour leader on the 2014 Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Tour, which went to Gallipoli as well as Lemnos and the Western Front, this tour will be a fantastic experience for these students.

It is important that our younger generations experience and establish connections with our war history, including gaining an understanding of the Anzac spirit, and to share what they have learnt with family, friends and classmates.

Well done again and I look forward to hearing about their experiences after they return from this incredible tour.

Yours sincerely

Bill Sykes
Member for Benalla
Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries 
 
 

2500 MATURE TROUT FOR UPPER OVENS RIVER

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes and Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy today welcomed a successful application from the Australian Trout Foundation (ATF) to re-stock trout in the upper Ovens River from Porepunkah to Harrietville with 2500 mature trout.
Dr Sykes said, “This is good news and I am pleased that the number of trout approved for the re-stocking far exceeded the number requested in the application from ATF to Fisheries Victoria. Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) decided to stick with 2500 trout well above the requested number of 1500.”
Trout numbers in the Upper Ovens have been adversely impacted by recent natural disasters in north east Victoria, in particular floods and bushfires in 2013.
The Australian Trout Foundation’s submission demonstrated that the impact on trout numbers following floods and bushfires in 2013 was significantly higher compared with the Alpine fires of 2003 and 2006 and the 2010 floods.
Mr McCurdy said, “A re-stocking program is important as these rivers are renowned by anglers far and wide for trout fishing and recreational fishing is an important tourism and economic driver in this region.”
The one off re-stocking program will assist in the recovery of the trout fishery in the Upper Ovens and works alongside other publicly funded projects currently being undertaken on the Ovens River including a riparian re-vegetation project and an in-stream fish habitat restoration project.
The project will also complement the Alpine Shire’s Shared Trail project currently being undertaken as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s bushfire recovery works.
ATF member and Harrietville resident, Brian Eddy said, “Our submission for a one-off bushfire recovery stocking of the Upper Ovens from Porepunkah to Harrietville was approved by Fisheries and we are very hopeful of a release being undertaken in time for the Christmas holidays.”
The re-stocking of the river with mature trout will be an interim measure and it is aimed at giving a ‘kick start’ to the eventual long term natural recovery of the fishery.
The Victorian Coalition Government has also provided $880,000 for a three-year investigation into declined trout numbers in highland rivers. This represents the most significant investment into riverine trout research in decades.
The project involves acoustically tagging trout in the Delatite River, a three year brown trout stocking trial in the Upper Goulburn and Howqua rivers along with assessments of wild trout populations in 12 important rivers.
Dr Sykes said, “Volunteer anglers from local fishing clubs will assist by recording their trout catch and effort, to help fisheries managers monitor the performance from season to season and in different stretches.”
Mr McCurdy said, “The Coalition Government recognises the social and economic benefits of recreational fishing to Victoria and is committed to ensuring our state remains a top fishing destination.”
The $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative also provides funding for boating facility upgrades, more fish stockings, fish cleaning tables and increased fisheries education across the state.

SYKES SPEAKS ON BILL TO BETTER PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF DOGS AND CATS

Monday, September 08, 2014

Sykes speaks on Bill to better protect the wellbeing of dogs and cats
• New laws to stamp out dog and cat breeders with animal cruelty convictions
• Stronger powers for RSPCA, and new mandatory record keeping for pet shops
• Victorian Coalition government crackdown on illegal puppy farms continues
Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes in Parliament this week spoke in support of tough new laws to crackdown on cruel and illegal dog and cat breeders and force them out of business.
The Bill seeks to amend the Domestic Animals Act 1994 to enhance the regulatory scheme for domestic animal businesses, including dog and cat breeders and pet shops.
People with animal cruelty convictions would be banned from owning, managing or registering a domestic animal business for 10 years under legislation introduced into Parliament this week.
Dr Sykes said, “I have a very strong commitment to protecting the wellbeing of the animals in our care.
“Under the Coalition’s strong action, the days of people returning to domestic animal businesses after being convicted of an animal cruelty offence will be stamped out.
“The Victoria Coalition has also authorised significantly greater powers for the RSPCA, which take effect this week, to help welfare officers raid and shut down cruel and illegal breeding operations.
“This is very sound and enables the protection of dogs and cats.”
Dr Sykes said RSPCA President Hugh Wirth has acknowledged that the changes made through this legislation are needed to deliver a good outcome for the wellbeing of our pets and dogs and cats.
“We have endorsement and it is common sense,” he said.
Local councils will be able to force the shutdown of any domestic animal business registered to a person convicted of animal cruelty in the last ten years and refuse new registrations in the future.
Dr Sykes said, “Pet shops will no longer be able to do dodgy deals with backyard breeders and pet shops will be required to keep detailed records on every individual dog and cat they have for sale. These records will be used as evidence, where necessary, to prosecute illegal puppy and kitten breeding operations.
“This will allow for the tracing to the property of origin for dogs, cats and animals in pet shops which is a simple principle that is applied in the livestock industry and it is common-sense that it should be applied in this legislation.”
The Victorian Coalition Government has given serious attention to stamping out rogue dog and cat breeders.
Dr Sykes concluded, “In summary this is another piece of common-sense legislation introduced into this Parliament by the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security.”

EILDON STOCKED WITH CATCHABLE TROUT

Monday, September 08, 2014
The Eildon Pondage has been stocked with ready-to-catch trout today as part of the Goulburn Fishing Festival.
Nationals Member for Benalla Bill Sykes released 500 rainbow trout into the pondage this morning with help from families enjoying the festival’s free activities.
Dr Sykes said the trout stocked were catchable size and complemented 500 similar sized rainbow trout and 600 much larger ex-brood trout, all around 2 kilograms each, which were stocked in the weeks prior to the festival.
“The Eildon Pondage is well known among land-based anglers for its trophy size trout, all of which are grown at Fisheries Victoria’s Snobs Creek hatchery nearby,” Dr Sykes said.
“Free tours of the hatchery are on offer today as part of the Goulburn Fishing Festival, which is celebrating the season opening of trout fishing in Victorian rivers and the wide range of freshwater fishing opportunities in this district.
“Other festival activities today include a trade expo at the Eildon Community Centre, cooking demonstrations, food tastings, fishing workshops, free fishing instruction for beginners and children’s activities such as face painting, colouring and a jumping castle.”
Dr Sykes said the Coalition Government was proud to support the Goulburn Fishing Festival, which attracted visitors to the region and boosted the local economy.
Member for Seymour, Cindy McLeish said, “Improving recreational fishing opportunities delivers significant social and economic value to regional communities which is why we continue to invest in projects that support and grow fishing opportunities.”
The stocking of trout into the Eildon Pondage has been funded by recreational fishing licence fees and the Coalition’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative.
“The Coalition Government is committed to improving recreational fishing opportunities in Victoria. Through our Recreational Fishing Initiative we are investing in projects, such as today’s stocking of trout, that will improve recreational fishing across the state,” Dr Sykes said.
“We have also announced $890,000 this week for an investigation into the causes of declined wild trout numbers in highland rivers, to assist population recovery of the fish and improve recreational fishing.
“A number of local fishers have raised this matter with me and I am pleased that the Victorian Coalition Government is supportive of this investigation by providing funding for the project.”
For more information about fish stocking in Victoria visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/fisheries  


SYKES CONTRIBUTES TO BENALLA RURAL CITY'S DRAFT 2014 ROADSIDE VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN

Friday, September 05, 2014
Dear Editor
I recently made a submission to Benalla Rural City’s Draft 2014 Roadside Vegetation Management Plan which was released in July and open for public comment until 25 August 2014.
In my submission I emphasised that the primary purpose of roads is the safe and effective transport of people and product.
I noted that it is therefore essential that roads and roadsides are managed to achieve this outcome.
Other considerations such as protection and enhancement of native vegetation and habitat must not compromise achievement of the primary outcomes of safe and efficient transport of people and product.
If you would like more information on Benalla Rural City’s Draft 2014 Roadside Vegetation Management Plan, visit http://www.benalla.vic.gov.au/ and click on ‘latest news’.
Yours sincerely,

Bill Sykes
Member for Benalla
Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries

COALITION BOOSTING WASTE INFRASTRUCTURE IN STRATHBOGIE SHIRE

Friday, September 05, 2014
Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes and candidate for Euroa electorate, Steph Ryan have announced $141,500 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Rural and Regional Transfer Station Upgrade Fund to improve waste and recycling infrastructure in Strathbogie Shire.
Dr Sykes said this funding will help Strathbogie Shire upgrade their waste management transfer stations to increase the recycling that would otherwise be sent to landfill. Strathbogie Shire will contribute $141,500 to three projects.
Projects are;
• Avenel Transfer Station/Resource Recovery Facility - $47,500 – to reconfigure infrastructure and construct a shed, hardstands and additional skip bays to accommodate large bulk bins;
• Euroa Transfer Station/Resource Recovery Facility - $44,500 – to relocate infrastructure and construct a shed, hardstands and additional skip bays and roofed shelter; and
• Nagambie Transfer Station/Resource Recovery Facility - $49,500 – to relocate infrastructure and construct a shed, hardstands, roofed shelter and additional skip bays.
“These projects will give Strathbogie Shire communities better access to facilities and help boost local recycling efforts,” he said.
“Critically though, this investment from the Coalition Government will remove an estimated 40 tonnes of material from landfill.
“I look forward to seeing the positive environmental and social benefits this funding will deliver for our local communities.”
Steph Ryan said these projects will help to minimise landfill and make it easier for locals to engage in recycling.
“The upgraded facilities at Avenel, Euroa and Nagambie will help communities to better access recycling facilities and make it more efficient for Strathbogie Shire to collect and recover materials.”
Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said thirty-one transfer stations and resource recovery centres across rural and regional Victoria will benefit from the $2.25 million in Victorian Coalition Government funding.
“Collectively it is estimated that once the upgrades are implemented, these transfer stations across the state will recover an additional 4,600 tonnes of materials each year, bringing recovery levels up to more than 18,000 tonnes a year,” Mr Smith said.
“That’s around 460 less rubbish trucks that will be sent to landfills each year. These rural and regional councils will use the funding to implement practical and significant improvements to the facilities that will see waste from resources separated and valuable materials recovered.
“In contrast, under the watch of the previous Labor Government, Victoria’s waste system was near breaking point. The former Labor government contemplated these reforms but could not deliver them.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to working in partnership with councils, community and business to maximise the economic return from our waste, which in turn supports a healthy environment and economy for all Victorians,” Mr Smith said.
Waste is a strong contributor to job creation and economic growth in our great state, and in this term the Victorian Coalition Government has invested over $40 million in the waste and resource recovery industry in line with the Coalition Government’s Getting Full Value: Victoria’s Waste and Resource Recovery Policy.
For more information go to www.sustainability.vic.gov.au  

COALITION BOOSTING WASTE INFRASTRUCTURE IN POREPUNKAH

Friday, September 05, 2014
Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes and Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy have announced $75,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Rural and Regional Transfer Station Upgrade Fund to improve waste and recycling infrastructure for Porepunkah.
Dr Sykes said this funding will help Alpine Shire upgrade their waste management transfer stations to increase the recycling that would otherwise be sent to landfill. Alpine Shire will contribute $100,000 to the project.
“This will give the Porepunkah community better access to facilities and help boost local recycling efforts,” he said.
“Critically though, this investment from the Coalition Government will remove an estimated 50 tonnes of material from landfill.
“I look forward to seeing the positive environmental and social benefits this funding will deliver for our local community.”
Mr McCurdy said the scope of the project will be to reconfigure the Porepunkah Transfer Station site and construct a shed for recyclables, storage and re-sale.
“The project will help the community to better access recycling facilities and make it more efficient for Alpine Shire to collect and recover materials.”
Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said thirty-one transfer stations and resource recovery centres across rural and regional Victoria will benefit from the $2.25 million in Victorian Coalition Government funding.
“Collectively it is estimated that once the upgrades are implemented, these transfer stations across the state will recover an additional 4,600 tonnes of materials each year, bringing recovery levels up to more than 18,000 tonnes a year,” Mr Smith said.
“That’s around 460 less rubbish trucks that will be sent to landfills each year.
“These rural and regional councils will use the funding to implement practical and significant improvements to the facilities that will see waste from resources separated and valuable materials recovered.
“In contrast, under the watch of the previous Labor Government, Victoria’s waste system was near breaking point. The former Labor government contemplated these reforms but could not deliver them.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to working in partnership with councils, community and business to maximise the economic return from our waste, which in turn supports a healthy environment and economy for all Victorians,” Mr Smith said.
Waste is a strong contributor to job creation and economic growth in our great state, and in this term the Victorian Coalition Government has invested over $40 million in the waste and resource recovery industry in line with the Coalition Government’s Getting Full Value: Victoria’s Waste and Resource Recovery Policy.
For more information go to www.sustainability.vic.gov.au  

COALITION BOOSTING WASTE INFRASTRUCTURE IN FALLS CREEK

Friday, September 05, 2014
Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes and Liberal Member for Benambra, Bill Tilley have announced $75,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Rural and Regional Transfer Station Upgrade Fund to improve waste and recycling infrastructure for Falls Creek.
Dr Sykes said this funding will help Falls Creek Alpine Resort upgrade their waste management transfer station to increase the recycling that would otherwise be sent to landfill. Falls Creek Alpine Resort will contribute $110,000 to the project.
“This will give the Falls Creek community better access to facilities and help boost local recycling efforts,” he said.
“Critically though, this investment from the Coalition Government will remove an estimated 300 tonnes of material from landfill.
“I look forward to seeing the positive environmental and social benefits this funding will deliver for our local community.”
Mr Tilley said the scope of the project will be to reconfigure and relocate the Falls Creek Waste Transfer Station site as well as the construction of a shed, hardstand and purchase of a conveyor.
“The project will help the community to better access recycling facilities and make it more efficient for Falls Creek Resort Management to collect and recover materials.”
Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said thirty-one transfer stations and resource recovery centres across rural and regional Victoria will benefit from the $2.25 million in Victorian Coalition Government funding.
“Collectively it is estimated that once the upgrades are implemented, these transfer stations across the state will recover an additional 4,600 tonnes of materials each year, bringing recovery levels up to more than 18,000 tonnes a year,” Mr Smith said.
“That’s around 460 less rubbish trucks that will be sent to landfills each year.
“These rural and regional councils will use the funding to implement practical and significant improvements to the facilities that will see waste from resources separated and valuable materials recovered.
“In contrast, under the watch of the previous Labor Government, Victoria’s waste system was near breaking point. The former Labor government contemplated these reforms but could not deliver them.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to working in partnership with councils, community and business to maximise the economic return from our waste, which in turn supports a healthy environment and economy for all Victorians,” Mr Smith said.
Waste is a strong contributor to job creation and economic growth in our great state, and in this term the Victorian Coalition Government has invested over $40 million in the waste and resource recovery industry in line with the Coalition Government’s Getting Full Value: Victoria’s Waste and Resource Recovery Policy.
For more information go to www.sustainability.vic.gov.au  

3KM WILD DOG BUFFER ZONE TO BE REMOVED

Thursday, September 04, 2014
Nationals Member for Benalla and Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries Bill Sykes has welcomed the announcement by the Victorian Agriculture Minister, Peter Walsh, that the 3km buffer zone for wild dog control will be abolished.
The zone is the area or Crown Land abutting freehold where wild dog controllers concentrate their efforts. Doggers can operate outside the zone with permission, but its abolition will remove this requirement.
“Many farmers in my electorate from areas including Ovens Valley, Cheshunt, Barjarg, Mansfield and Eildon have advocated through my office for the removal of the buffer zone and it is something myself and other rural MP's have advocated for.
"There are times when controllers identify the best chance of trapping a problem dog is outside this zone and its removal takes away a level of restrictive red tape.
“It is very pleasing Minister Walsh has now confirmed the zone will be removed, making it easier for trappers and farmers to control the scourge of wild dogs.
“Now that we have merged DPI and DSE, there is no longer a need for trappers to apply to their own department for permission to bait in these areas, which is a great outcome,” he said.
Member for Benambra, Bill Tilley said, “Wild dogs are a problem in parts of the Benambra Electorate particularly around Tallangatta. The abolishment of the 3 kilometre wild dog buffer zone and the other measures that are now in place puts all stakeholders in a strong position to control these pest animals.”
Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh, said the Coalition Government has introduced Local Area Work Plans which allow farmers to work with the department to identify areas, including crown land, where wild dog control is needed.
“Once the plans have been approved, baiting and trapping of wild dogs on Crown Land outside the buffer zone will be permitted, and means individual permits are no longer required.
“Trappers will also have the flexibility to apply to undertake work in other crown land regions if an outbreak occurs,” he said.
Mr Walsh said this change will be signed off within weeks, and comes on top of a list of policy issues and actions achieved by this government including:
• Re-introduction of Lanes traps at the request of doggers and local community members after they were banned by Labor.
• Introduction of the wild dog and fox bounty and then doubled the wild dog bounty in January 2013 to $100, which has seen over 1200 pelts handed in.
• Established and grown community baiting programs with many landholders now participating.
• Maintained 72 hour trap checking for doggers (rather than move to 24 hour checking as was to occur under Labor) to allow doggers more flexibility to go about their business.
• Allowed farmers to undertake dog control measures outside their boundary as part of their co-ordinated baiting programs - with the intention to grow this in more areas.
• Introduced aerial baiting, which was opposed by Labor
• Provided iPads to the doggers so data can be entered in the field, removing the need for doggers to spend time in offices and this allowing more time in the field.
• Now employing contractor and casual staff to provide more flexibility to the dog control program. This is forming the basis of a transition plan with some of the contractors/casuals being employed aged in their 30’s and 40’s.