darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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April 24, 2009

The need for increased fire prevention activity was high on the agenda during a meeting with Loch Sport residents and Gippsland community leaders on Thursday.

A delegation of business and community representatives from Loch Sport met with the Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester; State Member for Gippsland South, Peter Ryan; Wellington Shire Councillor Scott Rossetti and Police Inspector Mick McGinn.

Among a wide range of issues discussed at the meeting was the overwhelming support for continued fuel reduction burns, a blitz on cleaning up fire hazards on private and public property and the establishment of fire breaks to protect the town.

“It was a very positive and constructive meeting and I would like to congratulate all involved for their willingness to participate,” Mr Chester said.

“In the aftermath of the Black Saturday fires there is increased awareness of the need to reduce the fuel loads on private and public lands to provide increased safety for the community.

“In addition to fuel reduction burns there is strong support in the community for the establishment of fire breaks to help reduce the threat to lives and properties.”

Mr Chester said he was looking forward to working with Peter Ryan and Wellington Shire to further promote the interest of Loch Sport residents.

“Peter Ryan and Councillor Rossetti both gave undertakings to pursue the issues put forward by residents and I’m confident there will be some positive outcomes,” Mr Chester said.

“There is strong support for establishing a permanent police presence in the town and it is an issue which Peter and I will both following up on behalf of the community.

“Residents are also keen to see an increased effort with beautification and landscaping, which will help to increase the opportunities for locals and visitors to enjoy the magnificent surrounds.

“I believe there are real opportunities to improve the boating infrastructure in Loch Sport as part of a coordinated plan to improve infrastructure on the Gippsland lakes.

“I have already written to the State minister to seek funding for improved boating infrastructure and will be reporting back to the community in the weeks ahead.”

Mr Ryan welcomed the opportunity to discuss local issues between all three levels of government and stressed the need for ongoing community consultation.

“I am a strong believer in hearing first hand the practical ideas of local residents and it will certainly assist us in our effort to represent the needs of Loch Sport residents,” Mr Ryan said.

“Securing additional funding for local infrastructure is a critical issue and there is a need for all levels of government to invest in improved services and facilities in regional communities like Loch Sport.

“There is a great deal of uncapped potential and it is pleasing to see the community working hard to promote their town.”

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