Bullock Island work advances

Bullock Island work advances

Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas, last Thursday joined representatives from Lakes Entrance Fishing Limited and East Gippsland Shire Council to discuss the works being completed on the Bullock Island.
The Bullock Island masterplan received $1.87 million in funding through the  Building Works Package and is happening alongside the development of an on-water café, which earlier received an investment of $1.5 million announced during the lead up to the 2018 State Election.
A new amenities block has been completed on the western side of the island and a local consultant has been appointed to oversee design development of the recreational areas within the masterplan. 
The overall project will include upgraded parking access, fishing platforms and visitor facilities such as barbecues and connecting boardwalks.  
Construction of the Bullock Island on-water café will begin soon with a head contractor expected to be announced in coming weeks.
“Tenders closed yesterday, so we are getting very close,” Chair of Lakes Entrance Fishing Limited, Bruce Hammond, said last Thursday.
The combined projects are expected to generate up to 13 jobs during construction and six ongoing positions at the café when it is operational.
Bullock Island is responsible for producing around 3500 tonnes of seafood and contributes about $40 million to the Victorian economy each year.
Minister Thomas had not visited Lakes Entrance before and was impressed by the pristine waters and the opportunities for the Bullock Island project.
She felt that with COVID unpredictability and border closures, Victorians are seizing the opportunity to visit their own state and country Victoria is certainly full of surprises.
“The café is a new leap forward, it is combining the two main industries fishing and tourism. It allows visitors to see where their food comes from, which nowadays is important,” she said.
“These investments will help Bullock Island to capitalise on its unique maritime traditions, attracting thousands of new visitors by improving tourism infrastructure and at the same time, creating local jobs,” Ms Thomas said.
Both Bruce Hammond and Cr Arthur Allen acknowledged the Victorian Government’s ongoing support.
“It is great to see the minister coming down to see the before and hopefully she will visit to see the after,” Cr Allen said.
However, local MP, Tim Bull, said the visit was a token gesture after more than two years waiting for works to begin.
“It is pleasing to finally see some action on the Bullock Island Café. The policy was announced by the Liberal Nationals in 2018 and copied months later by the Labor candidate, but for too long this government did little to get it moving. Having raised the slow progress a number of times it is pleasing to finally see some progress,” Mr Bull said.
“On the overall Bullock Island upgrade itself, the Minister is simply re-announcing funds that were allocated and announced in May last year, nearly 12 months ago. The problem is Bullock Island needs over $20 million and we were disappointed they allocated less than$2 million a year ago and then come back this week to renounce it, rather than provide more funds.
“Sometimes I think they think we are too silly up here to realise, our memories aren’t that bad.”

IMAGE: problem is Bullock Island needs over $20 million and we were disappointed they allocated less than$2 million a year ago and then come back this week to renounce it, rather than provide more funds.


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