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Farmland Turns To Habitat To Protect State Emblems

The Andrews Labor Government is expanding and protecting the habitat of Victoria’s critically endangered faunal emblems. Forty-one hectares of private land adjoining the Liwik Barring Landscape Conservation Area in Yellingbo has been purchased by the Labor Government – extending critical habitat for the Helmeted Honeyeater and Lowland Leadbeater’s Possum. The former farmland was purchased by the Government from a local landholder whose family has lived in the Yellingbo area since 1933, in a deal brokered by Trust for Nature. With Helmeted Honeyeater sightings already a regular occurrence at the edge of the property, the creation of habitat links will enable the species to move easily through the landscape. After nearing extinction in the late 1980s, the wild population of Helmeted Honeyeaters has increased to more than 250 thanks to efforts by the Victorian Government, landholders, private donation and community groups. The acquisition also extends habitat for Lowland Leadbeater’s Possums, currently only found within the Liwik Barring Landscape Conservation Area made possible by the $10 million of Government funding. The new habitat is funded through the Government’s Sustainability Fund, supporting projects, programs, services and technologies that will benefit Victoria environmentally, socially and economically. The Government is also investing $77 million in the Bush Bank program, which will restore natural environments across Victoria through millions of native plants and trees being planted including $30.9 million towards restoring native habitat on private land across Victoria. The Government has dedicated over $560 million in safeguarding Victoria’s previous biodiversity, more than any other Victorian Government. For information visit environment.vic.gov.au/liwik-barring-conservation-area. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “We’re regenerating our precious biodiversity, restoring native habitats and creating regional jobs while capturing carbon to help Victoria halve emissions by 2030.” “We’re working with regional communities, private landholders and Traditional Owners to create new habitats and bring our state emblems back from the point of extinction.” Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “This extension of habitat will allow our state emblems to thrive in the wild once again.” Quote attributable to Trust for Nature Area Manager Ben Cullen “After working with this landholder, the protection of this property for conservation will serve as a bridge between other areas of habitat in the region.” 220521 - Farmland Turns To Habitat To Protect State Emblems

Farmland Turns To Habitat To Protect State Emblems

The Andrews Labor Government is expanding and protecting the habitat of Victoria’s critically endangered faunal emblems. Forty-one hectares of private land adjoining the Liwik Barring Landscape Conservation Area in Yellingbo has been purchased by the Labor Government – extending critical habitat for the Helmeted Honeyeater and Lowland Leadbeater’s Possum. The former farmland was purchased by the Government from a local landholder whose family has lived in the Yellingbo area since 1933, in a deal brokered by Trust for Nature. With Helmeted Honeyeater sightings already a regular occurrence at the edge of the property, the creation of habitat links will enable the species to move easily through the landscape. After nearing extinction in the late 1980s, the wild population of Helmeted Honeyeaters has increased to more than 250 thanks to efforts by the Victorian Government, landholders, private donation and community groups. The acquisition also extends habitat for Lowland Leadbeater’s Possums, currently only found within the Liwik Barring Landscape Conservation Area made possible by the $10 million of Government funding. The new habitat is funded through the Government’s Sustainability Fund, supporting projects, programs, services and technologies that will benefit Victoria environmentally, socially and economically. The Government is also investing $77 million in the Bush Bank program, which will restore natural environments across Victoria through millions of native plants and trees being planted including $30.9 million towards restoring native habitat on private land across Victoria. The Government has dedicated over $560 million in safeguarding Victoria’s previous biodiversity, more than any other Victorian Government. For information visit environment.vic.gov.au/liwik-barring-conservation-area. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “We’re regenerating our precious biodiversity, restoring native habitats and creating regional jobs while capturing carbon to help Victoria halve emissions by 2030.” “We’re working with regional communities, private landholders and Traditional Owners to create new habitats and bring our state emblems back from the point of extinction.” Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “This extension of habitat will allow our state emblems to thrive in the wild once again.” Quote attributable to Trust for Nature Area Manager Ben Cullen “After working with this landholder, the protection of this property for conservation will serve as a bridge between other areas of habitat in the region.” 220521 - Farmland Turns To Habitat To Protect State Emblems

More Support For Victorians With Eating Disorders

More Victorians living with an eating disorder will receive the support they need to recover and live happy, healthy lives, thanks to record investment from the Andrews Labor Government. The Victorian Budget 2022/23 invests more than $20 million to deliver tailored support for people with an eating disorder, supporting almost 3,200 Victorians – expanding capacity to help more than 1,100 more than the number treated for eating disorders last year. Because of unprecedented global events in the past years and the pervasive impact of social media, we know young Victorians have suffered a surge of new eating disorders and relapses – a statistic that is sadly replicated worldwide. Victorians battling eating disorders respond best when mental health supports are provided early – and this investment will deliver a strong focus on early intervention and prevention, as well as expanding capacity at the acute end of the sector. An investment of more than $15.5 million will uplift eating disorder services across the state to deliver 15 extra mental health beds specifically to support eating disorders across Melbourne. This investment will also expand an integrated specialist model in eating disorder inpatient units across the state – delivering specialist multi-disciplinary mental health teams to give every Victorian presenting with an eating disorder the care they need, no matter where they live. The model will expand teams of doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and dietitians to four regional health services at Grampians Health, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health and Latrobe Regional Hospital – building on the successful model operating at the Alfred, Austin, Eastern, Monash, Melbourne and Royal Children’s hospitals. This year’s Budget also includes funding to develop a new statewide eating disorders strategy that means Victoria has a more systemic and coordinated response to support people living with eating disorders – as well as their carers, families and supporters. The $4.4 million investment will also provide more support to the Centre for Excellence in Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders Victoria, helping them deliver an extra 2,100 wellbeing checks, telehealth services to around 1,800 Victorians and continue delivering life-changing initiatives like their unique Peer Mentoring Program. The Program is the only one of its kind in Australia; supporting Victorians with an eating disorder after discharge from hospital or transitioning out of an intensive day program, giving participants that recovery is possible with one-on-one mentoring from lived experience employee who has recovered from an eating disorder. In the year since the Royal Commission’s final report was delivered, new services have opened and more Victorians than ever are getting the help they need – and the investment of $1.3 billion in this year’s Budget means work is underway on more than 90 per cent of recommendations. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We’re seeing a global increase in eating disorders – that’s why we’re taking action to intervene early and prevent these illnesses, as well as set Victorians experiencing acute eating disorders on the path to recovery.” “Eating disorders don’t discriminate – they can happen to anyone. This massive boost will deliver more hospital beds, more integrated care across the state and more support for the trusted services helping Victorians every day.” 220518 - More Support For Victorians With Eating Disorders

More Support For Victorians With Eating Disorders

More Victorians living with an eating disorder will receive the support they need to recover and live happy, healthy lives, thanks to record investment from the Andrews Labor Government. The Victorian Budget 2022/23 invests more than $20 million to deliver tailored support for people with an eating disorder, supporting almost 3,200 Victorians – expanding capacity to help more than 1,100 more than the number treated for eating disorders last year. Because of unprecedented global events in the past years and the pervasive impact of social media, we know young Victorians have suffered a surge of new eating disorders and relapses – a statistic that is sadly replicated worldwide. Victorians battling eating disorders respond best when mental health supports are provided early – and this investment will deliver a strong focus on early intervention and prevention, as well as expanding capacity at the acute end of the sector. An investment of more than $15.5 million will uplift eating disorder services across the state to deliver 15 extra mental health beds specifically to support eating disorders across Melbourne. This investment will also expand an integrated specialist model in eating disorder inpatient units across the state – delivering specialist multi-disciplinary mental health teams to give every Victorian presenting with an eating disorder the care they need, no matter where they live. The model will expand teams of doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and dietitians to four regional health services at Grampians Health, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health and Latrobe Regional Hospital – building on the successful model operating at the Alfred, Austin, Eastern, Monash, Melbourne and Royal Children’s hospitals. This year’s Budget also includes funding to develop a new statewide eating disorders strategy that means Victoria has a more systemic and coordinated response to support people living with eating disorders – as well as their carers, families and supporters. The $4.4 million investment will also provide more support to the Centre for Excellence in Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders Victoria, helping them deliver an extra 2,100 wellbeing checks, telehealth services to around 1,800 Victorians and continue delivering life-changing initiatives like their unique Peer Mentoring Program. The Program is the only one of its kind in Australia; supporting Victorians with an eating disorder after discharge from hospital or transitioning out of an intensive day program, giving participants that recovery is possible with one-on-one mentoring from lived experience employee who has recovered from an eating disorder. In the year since the Royal Commission’s final report was delivered, new services have opened and more Victorians than ever are getting the help they need – and the investment of $1.3 billion in this year’s Budget means work is underway on more than 90 per cent of recommendations. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We’re seeing a global increase in eating disorders – that’s why we’re taking action to intervene early and prevent these illnesses, as well as set Victorians experiencing acute eating disorders on the path to recovery.” “Eating disorders don’t discriminate – they can happen to anyone. This massive boost will deliver more hospital beds, more integrated care across the state and more support for the trusted services helping Victorians every day.” 220518 - More Support For Victorians With Eating Disorders

Aboriginal Victorians To Lead Mental Health Reforms

A new mental health hub will give Aboriginal groups leadership to redesign how care is delivered to their communities across the state, as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s landmark reform agenda, transforming the way the mental health of Victorians is supported. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today launched the new Balit Durn Durn Centre in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO). The Balit Durn Durn Centre will work in collaboration with health services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to undertake research, provide workforce training and development, and share best practice in delivering culturally appropriate and tailored support. Mental healthcare is best driven from within communities that know their needs best – that’s why the Labor Government is supporting Victorian Aboriginal communities to develop their own informed care pathways that are informed by their connection to language, lore and cultural knowledge. The Centre will support the establishment and expansion of a highly skilled and professionally qualified workforce to meet growing demand for more Aboriginal clinical and therapeutic workers - delivering at least 30 multidisciplinary scholarships through RMIT and Deakin Universities by 2025. Thirteen scholarships have already been awarded so far in 2022, showing strong interest in the program and a strong desire for Aboriginal Victorians to work in community providing culturally informed and sensitive care. The new centre delivers on a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System which called for community leaders, organisations, people, families and carers to have their voices and experiences included in a redesign of the mental health system. The Labor Government’s record investments in the Victorian Budget 2021/22and 2022/23 have delivered more than $119.5 million to support new models of Aboriginal-led and culturally safe care, so all Aboriginal communities can access the support they need, when they need it – no matter where they live. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Aboriginal Victorians deserve to have a say in how their communities are cared for – and we’re putting community front and centre in redesigning our state’s mental health system.” Quote attributable to Acting Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ros Spence “We have an enormous reform agenda ahead of us and a strong commitment to making Aboriginal self-determination a reality so all Aboriginal people, their families and communities get the support they need to heal and live well.” 220517 - Aboriginal Victorians To Lead Mental Health Reforms

Aboriginal Victorians To Lead Mental Health Reforms

A new mental health hub will give Aboriginal groups leadership to redesign how care is delivered to their communities across the state, as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s landmark reform agenda, transforming the way the mental health of Victorians is supported. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today launched the new Balit Durn Durn Centre in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO). The Balit Durn Durn Centre will work in collaboration with health services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to undertake research, provide workforce training and development, and share best practice in delivering culturally appropriate and tailored support. Mental healthcare is best driven from within communities that know their needs best – that’s why the Labor Government is supporting Victorian Aboriginal communities to develop their own informed care pathways that are informed by their connection to language, lore and cultural knowledge. The Centre will support the establishment and expansion of a highly skilled and professionally qualified workforce to meet growing demand for more Aboriginal clinical and therapeutic workers - delivering at least 30 multidisciplinary scholarships through RMIT and Deakin Universities by 2025. Thirteen scholarships have already been awarded so far in 2022, showing strong interest in the program and a strong desire for Aboriginal Victorians to work in community providing culturally informed and sensitive care. The new centre delivers on a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System which called for community leaders, organisations, people, families and carers to have their voices and experiences included in a redesign of the mental health system. The Labor Government’s record investments in the Victorian Budget 2021/22and 2022/23 have delivered more than $119.5 million to support new models of Aboriginal-led and culturally safe care, so all Aboriginal communities can access the support they need, when they need it – no matter where they live. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Aboriginal Victorians deserve to have a say in how their communities are cared for – and we’re putting community front and centre in redesigning our state’s mental health system.” Quote attributable to Acting Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ros Spence “We have an enormous reform agenda ahead of us and a strong commitment to making Aboriginal self-determination a reality so all Aboriginal people, their families and communities get the support they need to heal and live well.” 220517 - Aboriginal Victorians To Lead Mental Health Reforms

Artists, Musicians, Performers Take Up Residency In Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is bringing expert theatre makers, musicians, performers, animators and artists to schools across Victoria, providing diverse and inspiring learning experiences for Victoria’s young minds. Celebrating 40 years in 2022, Creative Learning Partnerships place artists in residence at primary and secondary schools throughout Victoria, working with students from foundation to Year 10 on creative projects. Director and producer Ching Ching Ho is participating in this year’s program, working with Grade 3 students from Abbotsford Primary School on a creative bilingual project in Mandarin and English. Other schools are partnering with creatives on projects that explore culture, history, literacy, the environment and more, using creative disciplines including music, storytelling, theatre and costume making, and sculpture. Bellbrae Primary School will explore local bushland and fauna through drawing, collage and photography, Coburg Primary School will create artworks and costumes while learning about composting, and local Wadawurrung artist Billy Jay O’Toole will give Belmont High School students an insight into First People’s culture. The program has included a range of celebrated Australian artists including Hazel Edwards, prized author of Australian children’s book classic, There’s a Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake, who was an artist in residence through the 1980s and early 1990s. Artists will take up residence at schools in Abbotsford, the Surf Coast, Geelong, Broadmeadows, Cairnlea, Coburg, Melton, Niddrie, Dandenong, Phillip Island, Ballarat, Nerrina, East Gippsland, Bendigo, Horsham and Warrnambool. Delivered in partnership with the Department of Education and Training, Creative Learning Partnerships provide $315,000 in grants for projects at 19 schools across the state. Creative Learning Partnerships represents Creative Victoria’s longest running grants program with more than 1,500 creatives working at 1,200 schools, bringing creativity to the forefront of learning for 70,000 students since 1982. For more information on the program and for a list of recipients visit creative.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson “Bringing creativity into the classroom has boundless benefits for students, giving them new, skills, confidence and bringing the curriculum to life in new ways. It also provides inspiration and career development for artists.” “We’re creating rewarding jobs opportunities for Victorian creatives, while delivering inspiring educational environments that provide ongoing benefits to children across the state.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “For 40 years this program has offered exciting learning opportunities to inspire students, teachers and the whole school community – and we’re proud to support it for many more years to come.” Quote attributable to author Hazel Edwards “Creative Learning Partnerships inspire students, giving a sense of achievement, developing problem-solving skills, and enabling knowledge sharing across languages, creative disciplines and cultures. All while having fun!” 220517 - Artists, Musicians, Performers Take Up Residency In Schools

Artists, Musicians, Performers Take Up Residency In Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is bringing expert theatre makers, musicians, performers, animators and artists to schools across Victoria, providing diverse and inspiring learning experiences for Victoria’s young minds. Celebrating 40 years in 2022, Creative Learning Partnerships place artists in residence at primary and secondary schools throughout Victoria, working with students from foundation to Year 10 on creative projects. Director and producer Ching Ching Ho is participating in this year’s program, working with Grade 3 students from Abbotsford Primary School on a creative bilingual project in Mandarin and English. Other schools are partnering with creatives on projects that explore culture, history, literacy, the environment and more, using creative disciplines including music, storytelling, theatre and costume making, and sculpture. Bellbrae Primary School will explore local bushland and fauna through drawing, collage and photography, Coburg Primary School will create artworks and costumes while learning about composting, and local Wadawurrung artist Billy Jay O’Toole will give Belmont High School students an insight into First People’s culture. The program has included a range of celebrated Australian artists including Hazel Edwards, prized author of Australian children’s book classic, There’s a Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake, who was an artist in residence through the 1980s and early 1990s. Artists will take up residence at schools in Abbotsford, the Surf Coast, Geelong, Broadmeadows, Cairnlea, Coburg, Melton, Niddrie, Dandenong, Phillip Island, Ballarat, Nerrina, East Gippsland, Bendigo, Horsham and Warrnambool. Delivered in partnership with the Department of Education and Training, Creative Learning Partnerships provide $315,000 in grants for projects at 19 schools across the state. Creative Learning Partnerships represents Creative Victoria’s longest running grants program with more than 1,500 creatives working at 1,200 schools, bringing creativity to the forefront of learning for 70,000 students since 1982. For more information on the program and for a list of recipients visit creative.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson “Bringing creativity into the classroom has boundless benefits for students, giving them new, skills, confidence and bringing the curriculum to life in new ways. It also provides inspiration and career development for artists.” “We’re creating rewarding jobs opportunities for Victorian creatives, while delivering inspiring educational environments that provide ongoing benefits to children across the state.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “For 40 years this program has offered exciting learning opportunities to inspire students, teachers and the whole school community – and we’re proud to support it for many more years to come.” Quote attributable to author Hazel Edwards “Creative Learning Partnerships inspire students, giving a sense of achievement, developing problem-solving skills, and enabling knowledge sharing across languages, creative disciplines and cultures. All while having fun!” 220517 - Artists, Musicians, Performers Take Up Residency In Schools

Opening The Front Door To More Mental Health Support

The Andrews Labor Government is building a mental health system that works for all Victorians – helping people get the care they need immediately, in their own communities. The Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced that 30 Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs, opened in late 2021 in communities across Victoria, will continue to provide care until Mental Health Locals open across the state. Building Victoria’s mental health system from the ground up won’t happen overnight. It’s a reform that will take years to deliver – but the Labor Government has stepped in to make sure there is support available for Victorians who need it, as soon as they need it, while the work to build the system is underway. The Hubs were opened in October 2021 to support Victorians through the challenges of the pandemic – will continue until the service is expanded permanently. The Hubs have been extraordinarily successful, providing care to more than 1,600 people across the state in just the first seven months. The Hubs act as a ‘front door’ service to the mental health system, providing support without any eligibility criteria or the need for a GP referral, removing the barriers that too many Victorians face when they need support. In the coming months, this new approach to community care will be made permanent – delivering on the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s recommendation that more than 50 local services are established to give Victorians easy access to care without having to navigate the system while they’re in crisis. Building on the success of the Hubs, the first six of these Mental Health Locals will open this year to become an easy entry point to getting care with welcoming, inclusive and comfortable drop-in spaces, staffed by qualified mental health professionals, that meet the diverse needs of communities around the state. These services will provide care and support for adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health challenges – including people with co-occurring alcohol and drug addiction treatment and care needs. The first three new Local Services will open in the coming months in Benalla/Wangaratta/Mansfield, Latrobe City and Frankston, with the next three to open by the end of 2022 in Brimbank, Geelong/Queenscliff, and Whittlesea. The Labor Government will also open three new dedicated mental health hubs for children this year – which will start delivering tailored care to families struggling with mental health concerns in the Southern Melbourne, Brimbank-Melton, and Loddon areas in the coming months. The Victorian Budget 2022/23 delivered more than $1.3 billion to continue the Labor Government’s work to rebuild the mental health system – building on last year’s record investment of $3.8 billion and ensuring work is underway on implementing more than 90 per cent of the Royal Commission’s recommendations. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “The Royal Commission told us that too many Victorians find navigating the mental health system too hard – we’re removing barriers to getting that care, with services in communities across the state to provide care to everyone.” “Victorians across the state are getting the help they need through the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs – that’s why we’re keeping them open until mid-2023 while we get on and deliver permanent Local Services.” 220607 - Opening The Front Door To More Mental Health Support

Opening The Front Door To More Mental Health Support

The Andrews Labor Government is building a mental health system that works for all Victorians – helping people get the care they need immediately, in their own communities. The Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced that 30 Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs, opened in late 2021 in communities across Victoria, will continue to provide care until Mental Health Locals open across the state. Building Victoria’s mental health system from the ground up won’t happen overnight. It’s a reform that will take years to deliver – but the Labor Government has stepped in to make sure there is support available for Victorians who need it, as soon as they need it, while the work to build the system is underway. The Hubs were opened in October 2021 to support Victorians through the challenges of the pandemic – will continue until the service is expanded permanently. The Hubs have been extraordinarily successful, providing care to more than 1,600 people across the state in just the first seven months. The Hubs act as a ‘front door’ service to the mental health system, providing support without any eligibility criteria or the need for a GP referral, removing the barriers that too many Victorians face when they need support. In the coming months, this new approach to community care will be made permanent – delivering on the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s recommendation that more than 50 local services are established to give Victorians easy access to care without having to navigate the system while they’re in crisis. Building on the success of the Hubs, the first six of these Mental Health Locals will open this year to become an easy entry point to getting care with welcoming, inclusive and comfortable drop-in spaces, staffed by qualified mental health professionals, that meet the diverse needs of communities around the state. These services will provide care and support for adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health challenges – including people with co-occurring alcohol and drug addiction treatment and care needs. The first three new Local Services will open in the coming months in Benalla/Wangaratta/Mansfield, Latrobe City and Frankston, with the next three to open by the end of 2022 in Brimbank, Geelong/Queenscliff, and Whittlesea. The Labor Government will also open three new dedicated mental health hubs for children this year – which will start delivering tailored care to families struggling with mental health concerns in the Southern Melbourne, Brimbank-Melton, and Loddon areas in the coming months. The Victorian Budget 2022/23 delivered more than $1.3 billion to continue the Labor Government’s work to rebuild the mental health system – building on last year’s record investment of $3.8 billion and ensuring work is underway on implementing more than 90 per cent of the Royal Commission’s recommendations. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “The Royal Commission told us that too many Victorians find navigating the mental health system too hard – we’re removing barriers to getting that care, with services in communities across the state to provide care to everyone.” “Victorians across the state are getting the help they need through the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs – that’s why we’re keeping them open until mid-2023 while we get on and deliver permanent Local Services.” 220607 - Opening The Front Door To More Mental Health Support

Strengthening Our Mental Health Services

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting more Victorians through their mental health and drug and alcohol recovery journeys, upgrading vital services to get more people the care they need, when they need it. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Health Martin Foley today announced 31 Victorian mental healthcare and alcohol and drug services will share in $20 million from the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Facility Renewal Fund. Established in 2016 as part of the Labor Government’s work to improve access for Victorians to quality mental health, alcohol and drug treatment, the Fund will deliver 45 projects across the state including upgraded telehealth infrastructure, facility expansions, new clinical areas, waiting rooms and building refurbishment works. Projects include Albury Wodonga Health, which will see $997,400 to renovate resident accommodation buildings. Funding will deliver new activity and communal spaces, purpose built for both quiet one-on-one assessment, intervention and group activities. The Living Room Primary Health Service in Melbourne is receiving $500,000 to refurbish the facility's triage, clinical and drop in areas and alcohol and other drug counselling and therapeutic rooms. In Warrnambool, $124,500 is being invested to expand group work rooms and add a resource library at the Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre. To date, the program has funded more than 100 infrastructure and improvement projects at mental health and alcohol and other drug care facilities across the state. These vital upgrades are just one part of the Labor Government’s response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to reform, modernise, build service capacity and provide better models of care for Victorians experiencing mental ill health. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 delivered a record $3.8 billion to support mental health and wellbeing – the largest investment in the history of the state, and this year’s Budget built on that unprecedented investment with an extra $1.3 million to continue to work of rebuilding Victoria’s mental health system. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We’re investing more than ever to improve access to mental health and wellbeing care, because we know just how important it is that people get the support they need, as soon as they need it – close to their homes and existing support networks.” Quote attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “Through initiatives like this, we’re ensuring more Victorians experiencing mental health concerns or alcohol and drug addiction can access the care and treatment they need.”   220607 - Strengthening Our Mental Health Services

Strengthening Our Mental Health Services

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting more Victorians through their mental health and drug and alcohol recovery journeys, upgrading vital services to get more people the care they need, when they need it. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Health Martin Foley today announced 31 Victorian mental healthcare and alcohol and drug services will share in $20 million from the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Facility Renewal Fund. Established in 2016 as part of the Labor Government’s work to improve access for Victorians to quality mental health, alcohol and drug treatment, the Fund will deliver 45 projects across the state including upgraded telehealth infrastructure, facility expansions, new clinical areas, waiting rooms and building refurbishment works. Projects include Albury Wodonga Health, which will see $997,400 to renovate resident accommodation buildings. Funding will deliver new activity and communal spaces, purpose built for both quiet one-on-one assessment, intervention and group activities. The Living Room Primary Health Service in Melbourne is receiving $500,000 to refurbish the facility's triage, clinical and drop in areas and alcohol and other drug counselling and therapeutic rooms. In Warrnambool, $124,500 is being invested to expand group work rooms and add a resource library at the Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre. To date, the program has funded more than 100 infrastructure and improvement projects at mental health and alcohol and other drug care facilities across the state. These vital upgrades are just one part of the Labor Government’s response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to reform, modernise, build service capacity and provide better models of care for Victorians experiencing mental ill health. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 delivered a record $3.8 billion to support mental health and wellbeing – the largest investment in the history of the state, and this year’s Budget built on that unprecedented investment with an extra $1.3 million to continue to work of rebuilding Victoria’s mental health system. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We’re investing more than ever to improve access to mental health and wellbeing care, because we know just how important it is that people get the support they need, as soon as they need it – close to their homes and existing support networks.” Quote attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “Through initiatives like this, we’re ensuring more Victorians experiencing mental health concerns or alcohol and drug addiction can access the care and treatment they need.”   220607 - Strengthening Our Mental Health Services

Submissions Open For Mental Health Program Delivery

The Andrews Labor Government is making it easier for families to access care by investing in a new online parenting program to support families and children with emerging mental health and wellbeing needs. The free program will equip parents and carers of children, from birth to 11-years-old, with skills to respond positively and effectively to early mental health challenges, ensuring both children and parents are supported during early childhood development. The Labor Government is now seeking submissions to engage a service provider to design and deliver the new program. The successful provider(s) will work with the government to develop a program that is accessible, safe and inclusive for all Victorian families, including single parent families, families experiencing social and economic disadvantage, LGBTQI+ families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The delivery of this program is part of the government’s response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recognised the importance of evidence-based programs to support the mental health and wellbeing of parents, carers, children and families. This program builds on a $1 million investment last year to expand Triple P Positive Parenting Program statewide, supporting more than 20,000 Victorian families whose children are facing anxiety – whether that’s due to the pandemic or other triggers. The program consists of three online modules aimed at parents of children aged 0-16 experiencing anxiety, anger and depression. This in an important step in the Labor Government’s roll-out of supports for parents and families that meet their mental health and wellbeing needs at every level, across a range of services, across the entire state. This year’s Budget funding of $1.3 billion for brand-new initiatives means work is underway on more than 90 per cent of recommendations from the Royal Commission and builds on last year’s record investment of $3.8 billion. Submissions for program delivery close on Thursday 9 June 2022 – the service provider or consortium will be appointed in July 2022, with service delivery to commence by the end of 2022. These can be submitted at tenders.vic.gov.au/tender/view?id=238178 Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Parents have a lot on their plate and managing the complexity of children’s mental health can add significantly stress – this free program will make sure parents don’t face this journey on their own.” “Delivering an evidence-based mental health parenting program shows that we’re not only implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations, but we’re supporting Victorian children and families with the resources that suit them.” 220603 - Submissions Open For Mental Health Program Delivery

Submissions Open For Mental Health Program Delivery

The Andrews Labor Government is making it easier for families to access care by investing in a new online parenting program to support families and children with emerging mental health and wellbeing needs. The free program will equip parents and carers of children, from birth to 11-years-old, with skills to respond positively and effectively to early mental health challenges, ensuring both children and parents are supported during early childhood development. The Labor Government is now seeking submissions to engage a service provider to design and deliver the new program. The successful provider(s) will work with the government to develop a program that is accessible, safe and inclusive for all Victorian families, including single parent families, families experiencing social and economic disadvantage, LGBTQI+ families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The delivery of this program is part of the government’s response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recognised the importance of evidence-based programs to support the mental health and wellbeing of parents, carers, children and families. This program builds on a $1 million investment last year to expand Triple P Positive Parenting Program statewide, supporting more than 20,000 Victorian families whose children are facing anxiety – whether that’s due to the pandemic or other triggers. The program consists of three online modules aimed at parents of children aged 0-16 experiencing anxiety, anger and depression. This in an important step in the Labor Government’s roll-out of supports for parents and families that meet their mental health and wellbeing needs at every level, across a range of services, across the entire state. This year’s Budget funding of $1.3 billion for brand-new initiatives means work is underway on more than 90 per cent of recommendations from the Royal Commission and builds on last year’s record investment of $3.8 billion. Submissions for program delivery close on Thursday 9 June 2022 – the service provider or consortium will be appointed in July 2022, with service delivery to commence by the end of 2022. These can be submitted at tenders.vic.gov.au/tender/view?id=238178 Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Parents have a lot on their plate and managing the complexity of children’s mental health can add significantly stress – this free program will make sure parents don’t face this journey on their own.” “Delivering an evidence-based mental health parenting program shows that we’re not only implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations, but we’re supporting Victorian children and families with the resources that suit them.” 220603 - Submissions Open For Mental Health Program Delivery

Lived Experience Of Workers To Guide Government

The Andrews Labor Government is being guided by Victorians with lived and living experience working in mental health and wellbeing, inviting them to participate in a survey that will help shape and improve services across the state. The Lived and Living Experience Workforces EmployeeSurvey will gather information from workers about barriers and attitudes they find challenging in the workplace and is part of the Labor Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, to ensure lived experience is a central pillar of the future mental health system. Building a strong and supported workforce is key to effectively reforming Victoria’s mental health system, and the results from this survey will inform the Labor Government on how services can attract, support and retain these workforces, who we know play such an important role in ensuring the best quality care. The survey is open to employees in designated lived or living experience roles in mental health, alcohol and other drug (AOD) and harm reduction services until 10 June 2022 and participation is voluntary, and anonymous. Organisations that employ lived and living experience workforces will participate in a separate survey. The Government has invested more than $600 million in the mental health workforce to create more than 2,500 new workers in the system – delivering on the Royal Commission’s vision of a larger and highly skilled mental health workforce. This investment includes professional development grants, scholarships for tertiary qualifications, funding for peak mental health bodies to employ lived experience leads and adding the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work to the free TAFE list. This year’s Budget funding of $1.3 billion for new initiatives means work is underway on more than 90 per cent of recommendations from the Royal Commission and builds on last year’s record investment of $3.8 billion. To participate please visit artdconsultants.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8GoVWS2VlEal1L8 Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “The voices of lived and living experience workers are key in transforming our system. Listening and being responsive to these workforces will help us build a better mental health and wellbeing system for all Victorians.” “The Royal Commission into mental health recommended transformational sector reform – asking our workers for their experiences is the first step in delivering this for Victorians.” “A robust and resilient mental health and wellbeing system is founded on the workforce having our full support, which ultimately translates to all Victorians receiving the treatment, care and support they need.” 220603 - Lived Experience Of Workers To Guide Government

Lived Experience Of Workers To Guide Government

The Andrews Labor Government is being guided by Victorians with lived and living experience working in mental health and wellbeing, inviting them to participate in a survey that will help shape and improve services across the state. The Lived and Living Experience Workforces EmployeeSurvey will gather information from workers about barriers and attitudes they find challenging in the workplace and is part of the Labor Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, to ensure lived experience is a central pillar of the future mental health system. Building a strong and supported workforce is key to effectively reforming Victoria’s mental health system, and the results from this survey will inform the Labor Government on how services can attract, support and retain these workforces, who we know play such an important role in ensuring the best quality care. The survey is open to employees in designated lived or living experience roles in mental health, alcohol and other drug (AOD) and harm reduction services until 10 June 2022 and participation is voluntary, and anonymous. Organisations that employ lived and living experience workforces will participate in a separate survey. The Government has invested more than $600 million in the mental health workforce to create more than 2,500 new workers in the system – delivering on the Royal Commission’s vision of a larger and highly skilled mental health workforce. This investment includes professional development grants, scholarships for tertiary qualifications, funding for peak mental health bodies to employ lived experience leads and adding the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work to the free TAFE list. This year’s Budget funding of $1.3 billion for new initiatives means work is underway on more than 90 per cent of recommendations from the Royal Commission and builds on last year’s record investment of $3.8 billion. To participate please visit artdconsultants.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8GoVWS2VlEal1L8 Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “The voices of lived and living experience workers are key in transforming our system. Listening and being responsive to these workforces will help us build a better mental health and wellbeing system for all Victorians.” “The Royal Commission into mental health recommended transformational sector reform – asking our workers for their experiences is the first step in delivering this for Victorians.” “A robust and resilient mental health and wellbeing system is founded on the workforce having our full support, which ultimately translates to all Victorians receiving the treatment, care and support they need.” 220603 - Lived Experience Of Workers To Guide Government

 

Schools Celebrated For Sustainability Leadership

The Andrews Labor Government is recognising the leadership of Victorian students, teachers, schools and communities in combatting climate change and saving resources by embracing sustainability. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today presented the ResourceSmart School Awards to primary and secondary students, teachers and volunteers from across Victoria. This year’s finalists demonstrate the power of student-led initiatives – from campaigning to ban fruit stickers, creating kitchen gardens to feed those in need, developing sustainable products to sell and building solar lights for kids living without power. ResourceSmart School of the Year award went to Brentwood Secondary College which generates 40 per cent of its electricity using renewable energy, promotes co-mingled recycling, composting onsite and community-based tree planting. Secondary Teacher of the Year went to Beaconhills College teacher Clare Tuohy for her work to establish a community garden to feed people in need, as well as co-ordinating students to make solar-powered lights for underprivileged students in Bangladesh. ResourceSmart Schools is sustainability education to Victorian schools to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and act on climate change. Since 2008, over 1,400 Victorian schools have participated, saving a total of 118,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. In 2021, the schools participating in the program reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15,075 tonnes, and cut energy costs by $4.3 million throughout the school year. The awards categories recognise students, teachers and school volunteers, as well as curriculum leadership and community leadership. Winners of this year’s awards were announced at an awards ceremony at the MCG on 2 June 2022, ahead of World Environment Day. For information about this year’s winners please visit sustainability.vic.gov.au/resourcesmart-schools-awards Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “Congratulations to all the schools that entered this year’s awards, and for showcasing your incredible achievements. Your sustainable thinking and action are helping Victoria halve our emissions by 2030.” “Victorian students are some of the most passionate environmental advocates in the country, and the quality of entries in this year’s awards really demonstrate how acting now will create a better future.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Climate empowerment starts in the classroom. We’re celebrating students, teachers and schools who are quelling climate anxiety by learning and acting, inspiring contributions to our goal of net-zero by 2050.” 220602 - Schools Celebrated For Sustainability Leadership_0

Schools Celebrated For Sustainability Leadership

The Andrews Labor Government is recognising the leadership of Victorian students, teachers, schools and communities in combatting climate change and saving resources by embracing sustainability. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today presented the ResourceSmart School Awards to primary and secondary students, teachers and volunteers from across Victoria. This year’s finalists demonstrate the power of student-led initiatives – from campaigning to ban fruit stickers, creating kitchen gardens to feed those in need, developing sustainable products to sell and building solar lights for kids living without power. ResourceSmart School of the Year award went to Brentwood Secondary College which generates 40 per cent of its electricity using renewable energy, promotes co-mingled recycling, composting onsite and community-based tree planting. Secondary Teacher of the Year went to Beaconhills College teacher Clare Tuohy for her work to establish a community garden to feed people in need, as well as co-ordinating students to make solar-powered lights for underprivileged students in Bangladesh. ResourceSmart Schools is sustainability education to Victorian schools to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and act on climate change. Since 2008, over 1,400 Victorian schools have participated, saving a total of 118,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. In 2021, the schools participating in the program reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15,075 tonnes, and cut energy costs by $4.3 million throughout the school year. The awards categories recognise students, teachers and school volunteers, as well as curriculum leadership and community leadership. Winners of this year’s awards were announced at an awards ceremony at the MCG on 2 June 2022, ahead of World Environment Day. For information about this year’s winners please visit sustainability.vic.gov.au/resourcesmart-schools-awards Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “Congratulations to all the schools that entered this year’s awards, and for showcasing your incredible achievements. Your sustainable thinking and action are helping Victoria halve our emissions by 2030.” “Victorian students are some of the most passionate environmental advocates in the country, and the quality of entries in this year’s awards really demonstrate how acting now will create a better future.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Climate empowerment starts in the classroom. We’re celebrating students, teachers and schools who are quelling climate anxiety by learning and acting, inspiring contributions to our goal of net-zero by 2050.” 220602 - Schools Celebrated For Sustainability Leadership_0

Stronger Agriculture Education For Victorian Students

The Andrews Labor Government is investing in Victoria’s agriculture workforce of the future, with an extra investment in agriculture education in secondary schools supporting more students to embark on a career in the primary industries. Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas today announced applications are now open for the Labor Government’s $5.5 million Secondary Schools Agriculture Fund which will support schools, industry groups and community organisations to inspire students into local agricultural careers. The Fund will support Victorian schools and the sector to raise awareness of the opportunities available in agriculture, uplift agriculture teaching capability and offer more opportunities within schools for students to develop the skills they need to transition into modern careers in agriculture. Funding will be available for a range of agriculture education activities like designing programs, engaging with local industry, purchasing equipment and other needs schools have in order to deliver quality agriculture studies. This boost will help meet the growing demands of the local agriculture sector – seeking innovative young workers with digital, business and marketing skills, as well as food and fibre entrepreneurs who can take products to international markets. The SSAF is part of the Labor Government’s $50 million commitment over four years to the Agricultural College Modernisation Program, helping more Victorians pursue exciting careers in agriculture. This program also supports the Government’s $277.5 million investment in the biggest reform to the senior secondary system since the inception of the VCE – a transformation that will set young Victorians up for brighter futures in vocational education and training, no matter what their dreams and goals are. Applications for the Secondary Schools Agriculture Fund: Schools and Place-based streamare now open, and will close on 24 June. For more information, visit vic.gov.au/secondary-schools-agriculture-fund. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The future of Victoria’s nation-leading agriculture sector is bright – and we’re proud to be supporting more Victorian students to get involved in the modern, growing industry while they’re still at school.” “This program is all about making sure our students have real-world opportunities to make the most of existing and emerging agriculture and horticulture career pathways.” Quote attributable to Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas “We want to attract the best and brightest young innovators who are keen to get into our agriculture sector – developing the food and fibre industry’s leaders of tomorrow and setting them up for exciting careers.” 220531 - Stronger Agriculture Education For Victorian Students

Stronger Agriculture Education For Victorian Students

The Andrews Labor Government is investing in Victoria’s agriculture workforce of the future, with an extra investment in agriculture education in secondary schools supporting more students to embark on a career in the primary industries. Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas today announced applications are now open for the Labor Government’s $5.5 million Secondary Schools Agriculture Fund which will support schools, industry groups and community organisations to inspire students into local agricultural careers. The Fund will support Victorian schools and the sector to raise awareness of the opportunities available in agriculture, uplift agriculture teaching capability and offer more opportunities within schools for students to develop the skills they need to transition into modern careers in agriculture. Funding will be available for a range of agriculture education activities like designing programs, engaging with local industry, purchasing equipment and other needs schools have in order to deliver quality agriculture studies. This boost will help meet the growing demands of the local agriculture sector – seeking innovative young workers with digital, business and marketing skills, as well as food and fibre entrepreneurs who can take products to international markets. The SSAF is part of the Labor Government’s $50 million commitment over four years to the Agricultural College Modernisation Program, helping more Victorians pursue exciting careers in agriculture. This program also supports the Government’s $277.5 million investment in the biggest reform to the senior secondary system since the inception of the VCE – a transformation that will set young Victorians up for brighter futures in vocational education and training, no matter what their dreams and goals are. Applications for the Secondary Schools Agriculture Fund: Schools and Place-based streamare now open, and will close on 24 June. For more information, visit vic.gov.au/secondary-schools-agriculture-fund. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The future of Victoria’s nation-leading agriculture sector is bright – and we’re proud to be supporting more Victorian students to get involved in the modern, growing industry while they’re still at school.” “This program is all about making sure our students have real-world opportunities to make the most of existing and emerging agriculture and horticulture career pathways.” Quote attributable to Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas “We want to attract the best and brightest young innovators who are keen to get into our agriculture sector – developing the food and fibre industry’s leaders of tomorrow and setting them up for exciting careers.” 220531 - Stronger Agriculture Education For Victorian Students

Bigger And Better Angliss Hospital Another Step Closer

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with delivering a major expansion of the Angliss Hospital in Upper Ferntree Gully, with the design phase for the massive project now underway. Minister for Health Martin Foley today announced architectural firm Silver Thomas Hanley has been appointed to design the $112 million expansion, which includes a new multi-storey building. Operated by Eastern Health, the state-of-the-art project will deliver a new 32-bed inpatient unit, four operating theatres, a new central sterile supply department and spaces for outpatient services. The expansion will significantly increase surgery capacity and capabilities at the hospital, meaning less time on waiting lists and better access to world-class healthcare and facilities for families in Knox and the Yarra Ranges. With the region served by Eastern Health projected to grow to more than 1.1 million people by 2036, including one in five aged 65 years or older, increased capacity at the Angliss Hospital will ensure that it’s able to meet both current and future demand. At the peak of construction, the project is expected to create and sustain around 330 construction jobs, providing a major boost to the local economy. Delivered by the Victorian Health Building Authority (VHBA) in partnership with Eastern Health, site preparation works are scheduled to start in late 2022, with construction on the new multi-storey building expected to start in late 2023. The expansion builds on previous Labor Government investments at the Angliss Hospital, including $20 million in 2018 to build a new 14-bed Intensive Care Unit and refurbish the adult short stay unit and paediatric emergency area. The Labor Government has invested more than $158 billion in Victoria’s health system since coming into office – ensuring all Victorians have access to the care, treatment and support they need to stay happy, healthy and well. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “Healthcare workers at the Angliss Hospital go to work every day to give local patients the very best care. We’re standing with them and continuing to invest in a world-class hospital to deliver first-class care.” “With the design phase underway, a bigger and better Angliss Hospital is now another step closer for families in Melbourne’s outer east.” Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “This is a vital expansion that will ensure the Angliss Hospital is able to meet the needs of the growing local community.” 220530 - Bigger And Better Angliss Hospital Another Step Closer

Bigger And Better Angliss Hospital Another Step Closer

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with delivering a major expansion of the Angliss Hospital in Upper Ferntree Gully, with the design phase for the massive project now underway. Minister for Health Martin Foley today announced architectural firm Silver Thomas Hanley has been appointed to design the $112 million expansion, which includes a new multi-storey building. Operated by Eastern Health, the state-of-the-art project will deliver a new 32-bed inpatient unit, four operating theatres, a new central sterile supply department and spaces for outpatient services. The expansion will significantly increase surgery capacity and capabilities at the hospital, meaning less time on waiting lists and better access to world-class healthcare and facilities for families in Knox and the Yarra Ranges. With the region served by Eastern Health projected to grow to more than 1.1 million people by 2036, including one in five aged 65 years or older, increased capacity at the Angliss Hospital will ensure that it’s able to meet both current and future demand. At the peak of construction, the project is expected to create and sustain around 330 construction jobs, providing a major boost to the local economy. Delivered by the Victorian Health Building Authority (VHBA) in partnership with Eastern Health, site preparation works are scheduled to start in late 2022, with construction on the new multi-storey building expected to start in late 2023. The expansion builds on previous Labor Government investments at the Angliss Hospital, including $20 million in 2018 to build a new 14-bed Intensive Care Unit and refurbish the adult short stay unit and paediatric emergency area. The Labor Government has invested more than $158 billion in Victoria’s health system since coming into office – ensuring all Victorians have access to the care, treatment and support they need to stay happy, healthy and well. Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “Healthcare workers at the Angliss Hospital go to work every day to give local patients the very best care. We’re standing with them and continuing to invest in a world-class hospital to deliver first-class care.” “With the design phase underway, a bigger and better Angliss Hospital is now another step closer for families in Melbourne’s outer east.” Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “This is a vital expansion that will ensure the Angliss Hospital is able to meet the needs of the growing local community.” 220530 - Bigger And Better Angliss Hospital Another Step Closer

A New Partnership To Support Students With Disability

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure Victorian students with disability are better supported by their teachers and peers through a new partnership with Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott AO and Get Skilled Access. The new partnership will design and deliver a series of Abilities Awareness in Schools resources to promote disability awareness among students and staff as part of the Labor Government’s landmark Disability Inclusion reforms. The resources will include videos featuring Dylan Alcott and others with lived experience of disability – exploring topics to build students’ understanding of disability and improve their confidence to interact with classmates with disability. It will target students of all ages in mainstream primary and secondary schools. The resources, which will start to roll-out from Term 3 this year, will also see the delivery of workshops and new evidence-based resources for teachers and staff, helping them foster school environments inclusive for all students. The Government’s Australian-first $1.6 billion Disability Inclusion reform has started rolling out in classrooms across Victoria – putting the needs of each individual student at the heart of our response and shifting the focus towards what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. As part of this new approach, new facilitators are helping schools and families work together to identify each student’s unique strengths and how to best support their learning and participation – meaning schools will be able to better plan and adjust support for students throughout all stages of their education. The record investment is also doubling the number of students receiving extra support in the classroom to 55,000 – and is expected to create up to 1,730 jobs across the state by 2025. All government schools across the Barwon, Loddon Campaspe and Bayside Peninsula areas are already benefitting from the reform, with Outer Eastern Melbourne, Central Highlands and Mallee to join the program this year with more regions will be added each year until the reform is complete across Victoria in 2025. The Victorian Budget 22/23 alsoincluded $326 million to deliver upgrades for 36 special schools – meaning every government special school will have had a major upgrade since we were elected in 2014. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We can always do more to support students with disability at school – with these new resources from Get Skilled Access, we’re building our school communities’ understanding of disability to make every single Victorian school an inclusive one.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our kids are far more than their diagnosis. We’re rolling out our nation-first Disability Inclusion reform to completely change the way we support children in our schools – focusing on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t.” Quotes attributable to Australian of the Year and Get Skilled Access founder Dylan Alcott AO “My purpose as Australian of the Year, and everyday after, is to help people change their perceptions of disability and lift their expectations of what they think people with disability can do. That’s why the Abilities Awareness in Schools partnerships is important, it will build inclusive school cultures which is how we can improve perceptions and lift expectations.” 220526 - A New Partnership To Support Students With Disability

A New Partnership To Support Students With Disability

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure Victorian students with disability are better supported by their teachers and peers through a new partnership with Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott AO and Get Skilled Access. The new partnership will design and deliver a series of Abilities Awareness in Schools resources to promote disability awareness among students and staff as part of the Labor Government’s landmark Disability Inclusion reforms. The resources will include videos featuring Dylan Alcott and others with lived experience of disability – exploring topics to build students’ understanding of disability and improve their confidence to interact with classmates with disability. It will target students of all ages in mainstream primary and secondary schools. The resources, which will start to roll-out from Term 3 this year, will also see the delivery of workshops and new evidence-based resources for teachers and staff, helping them foster school environments inclusive for all students. The Government’s Australian-first $1.6 billion Disability Inclusion reform has started rolling out in classrooms across Victoria – putting the needs of each individual student at the heart of our response and shifting the focus towards what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. As part of this new approach, new facilitators are helping schools and families work together to identify each student’s unique strengths and how to best support their learning and participation – meaning schools will be able to better plan and adjust support for students throughout all stages of their education. The record investment is also doubling the number of students receiving extra support in the classroom to 55,000 – and is expected to create up to 1,730 jobs across the state by 2025. All government schools across the Barwon, Loddon Campaspe and Bayside Peninsula areas are already benefitting from the reform, with Outer Eastern Melbourne, Central Highlands and Mallee to join the program this year with more regions will be added each year until the reform is complete across Victoria in 2025. The Victorian Budget 22/23 alsoincluded $326 million to deliver upgrades for 36 special schools – meaning every government special school will have had a major upgrade since we were elected in 2014. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We can always do more to support students with disability at school – with these new resources from Get Skilled Access, we’re building our school communities’ understanding of disability to make every single Victorian school an inclusive one.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our kids are far more than their diagnosis. We’re rolling out our nation-first Disability Inclusion reform to completely change the way we support children in our schools – focusing on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t.” Quotes attributable to Australian of the Year and Get Skilled Access founder Dylan Alcott AO “My purpose as Australian of the Year, and everyday after, is to help people change their perceptions of disability and lift their expectations of what they think people with disability can do. That’s why the Abilities Awareness in Schools partnerships is important, it will build inclusive school cultures which is how we can improve perceptions and lift expectations.” 220526 - A New Partnership To Support Students With Disability

Helping High-Ability Students Strive For Success

More high-ability students at every government school in Victoria will have support to excel at school and reach their full potential, with more funding for the Andrews Labor Government’s Student Excellence Program. The Victorian Budget 2022/23 invests an extra $37 million to make sure high-achieving students at every school have access to programs that challenge them to extend themselves – and to boost the capacity of schools and teachers to deliver these extension programs and support every student to achieve their best. The package includes $11.2 million to expand the Victorian High-Ability Program, supporting up to 57,000 government school students in Years 5 to 8 to participate in intensive online extension and enrichment programs across English and mathematics – opening the program up to an extra 9,000 high-achieving students statewide. A further $6.4 million will continue the successful Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series – delivering engaging extension activities and excursions for 100,000 students from Prep to Year 12 who are performing a year or more ahead of the expected curriculum through universities, tech schools and other expert education organisations. These activities include something for every student’s interests and talents – with programs in subjects as diverse as robotics, biomimicry, food sustainability, screenwriting, nutrition, app creation, philosophy and neuroscience. The package will also deliver $15.3 million directly to schools to purchase resources, develop new in-school initiatives or continue existing high-ability programs and support every school to have a High-Ability Practice Leader, coordinating programs and identifying and supporting high-achieving students. The Student Excellence Program was designed to ensure advanced and high-ability students are empowered to reach their full potential by challenging them – making sure they are not at risk of disengaging from their education. The Labor Government is also supporting students who need extra assistance with their learning through the $480 million Tutor Learning Initiative – giving every child the individual support they need to thrive at school. On top of the Student Excellence Program, the Government is also delivering the Centre for Higher Education Studies, to open in 2023 – boosting outcomes for high-achieving secondary school students by offering first year university-level courses and select VCE subjects accompanied by an enhancement and enrichment program. This ‘head start’ will allow Victoria’s most capable students to undertake a study that contributes to their ATAR while gaining university credits that will set them up for the future – with applications for the inaugural intake to CHES to open in the coming months. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’ve built a public school system that works for every student – whether they need more support with their learning, or to be pushed to extend themselves, we’re making sure all Victorian kids achieve their full potential.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every government school in every corner of Victoria has access to the Student Excellence Program – making sure all our students’ talents, passions and achievements are supported and celebrated.” 220524 - Helping High-Ability Students Strive For Success

Helping High-Ability Students Strive For Success

More high-ability students at every government school in Victoria will have support to excel at school and reach their full potential, with more funding for the Andrews Labor Government’s Student Excellence Program. The Victorian Budget 2022/23 invests an extra $37 million to make sure high-achieving students at every school have access to programs that challenge them to extend themselves – and to boost the capacity of schools and teachers to deliver these extension programs and support every student to achieve their best. The package includes $11.2 million to expand the Victorian High-Ability Program, supporting up to 57,000 government school students in Years 5 to 8 to participate in intensive online extension and enrichment programs across English and mathematics – opening the program up to an extra 9,000 high-achieving students statewide. A further $6.4 million will continue the successful Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series – delivering engaging extension activities and excursions for 100,000 students from Prep to Year 12 who are performing a year or more ahead of the expected curriculum through universities, tech schools and other expert education organisations. These activities include something for every student’s interests and talents – with programs in subjects as diverse as robotics, biomimicry, food sustainability, screenwriting, nutrition, app creation, philosophy and neuroscience. The package will also deliver $15.3 million directly to schools to purchase resources, develop new in-school initiatives or continue existing high-ability programs and support every school to have a High-Ability Practice Leader, coordinating programs and identifying and supporting high-achieving students. The Student Excellence Program was designed to ensure advanced and high-ability students are empowered to reach their full potential by challenging them – making sure they are not at risk of disengaging from their education. The Labor Government is also supporting students who need extra assistance with their learning through the $480 million Tutor Learning Initiative – giving every child the individual support they need to thrive at school. On top of the Student Excellence Program, the Government is also delivering the Centre for Higher Education Studies, to open in 2023 – boosting outcomes for high-achieving secondary school students by offering first year university-level courses and select VCE subjects accompanied by an enhancement and enrichment program. This ‘head start’ will allow Victoria’s most capable students to undertake a study that contributes to their ATAR while gaining university credits that will set them up for the future – with applications for the inaugural intake to CHES to open in the coming months. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’ve built a public school system that works for every student – whether they need more support with their learning, or to be pushed to extend themselves, we’re making sure all Victorian kids achieve their full potential.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every government school in every corner of Victoria has access to the Student Excellence Program – making sure all our students’ talents, passions and achievements are supported and celebrated.” 220524 - Helping High-Ability Students Strive For Success

Victoria To Host Nation’s Largest Skills Championship

The Andrews Labor Government has secured hosting rights for the nation’s largest trades and skills competition, reinforcing Victoria’s reputation as the skills and training capital. Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney today announced Victoria will host the WorldSkills Australia National Championships in Melbourne in 2023 – with regional competitions to begin across the state this year. WorldSkills is the nation’s largest trades and skills competition and gives hundreds of apprentices, trainees and students (including VET in Schools participants) the chance to showcase their talent across more than 50 disciplines including carpentry, hairdressing, cyber security and health services. There will be a special focus on school-aged participants through the VETiS (VET in Schools) competitions, supported by the Labor Government’ $277.5 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2022/23 to deliver the biggest reform to the senior secondary system since the VCE’s inception – setting young Victorians up for brighter futures. From 2023, the new VCE Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate will replace the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) – with more VET pathways giving every student the chance to do an apprenticeship or traineeship in an in-demand trade while completing their schooling. National winners will join the Skillaroos team and represent Australia at the international WorldSkills competition in France in 2024. WorldSkills Australia National Championships began in 1982 and is held biannually – with Victoria last hosting in 2016. To find out more visit www.worldskills.org.au. Since 2014, the Labor Government has made a record $3.2 billion investment to rebuild TAFE and support universities and higher education to ensure Victorians have access to high quality education and rewarding career pathways. Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney “Victoria is the skills and training capital – so it’s no surprise that we will be hosting the next WorldSkills Australia National Championships, celebrating apprentices, trainees and students from Victoria and across the nation.” “Our TAFE and training system is producing world-class workers and I’m looking forward to seeing them shine and showcase their skills on a national and international stage.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is the Olympics for VET – I’m thrilled that talented Victorian school students will be able to showcase their skills, reinforcing our investment in better VET and career pathways for kids across the state.” 220523 - Victoria To Host Nation’s Largest Skills Championship

Victoria To Host Nation’s Largest Skills Championship

The Andrews Labor Government has secured hosting rights for the nation’s largest trades and skills competition, reinforcing Victoria’s reputation as the skills and training capital. Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney today announced Victoria will host the WorldSkills Australia National Championships in Melbourne in 2023 – with regional competitions to begin across the state this year. WorldSkills is the nation’s largest trades and skills competition and gives hundreds of apprentices, trainees and students (including VET in Schools participants) the chance to showcase their talent across more than 50 disciplines including carpentry, hairdressing, cyber security and health services. There will be a special focus on school-aged participants through the VETiS (VET in Schools) competitions, supported by the Labor Government’ $277.5 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2022/23 to deliver the biggest reform to the senior secondary system since the VCE’s inception – setting young Victorians up for brighter futures. From 2023, the new VCE Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate will replace the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) – with more VET pathways giving every student the chance to do an apprenticeship or traineeship in an in-demand trade while completing their schooling. National winners will join the Skillaroos team and represent Australia at the international WorldSkills competition in France in 2024. WorldSkills Australia National Championships began in 1982 and is held biannually – with Victoria last hosting in 2016. To find out more visit www.worldskills.org.au. Since 2014, the Labor Government has made a record $3.2 billion investment to rebuild TAFE and support universities and higher education to ensure Victorians have access to high quality education and rewarding career pathways. Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney “Victoria is the skills and training capital – so it’s no surprise that we will be hosting the next WorldSkills Australia National Championships, celebrating apprentices, trainees and students from Victoria and across the nation.” “Our TAFE and training system is producing world-class workers and I’m looking forward to seeing them shine and showcase their skills on a national and international stage.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is the Olympics for VET – I’m thrilled that talented Victorian school students will be able to showcase their skills, reinforcing our investment in better VET and career pathways for kids across the state.” 220523 - Victoria To Host Nation’s Largest Skills Championship

Major Upgrades For Special Schools Across Victoria

Students with special needs should have the same opportunities as every other student in Victoria – and it’s only the Andrews Labor Government that’s investing to give every student in Victoria the great education they deserve. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Ashwood School to announce it is one of 36 special schools sharing in $326 million of major upgrades through the Victorian Budget 2022/23. This investment means that since the Labor Government was elected in 2014, every single one of the 82 special schools in every corner of Victoria has received funding for a major upgrade. These upgrades are delivering the fit-for-purpose classrooms and amenities, accessible sporting facilities, assembly spaces, music rooms and sensory areas every student deserves. Ashwood School will receive $9.7 million to upgrade the school – replacing outdated portable classrooms with permanent facilities and modernising the school’s sporting facilities, including an upgrade to the oval. The Labor Government has repeatedly stepped in to give Victorians with disability the support they deserve after being left behind by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth’s neglect has ranged from NDIS plans shrinking by an average of $1,800, to a huge increase in Victorians forced to take their plans through the long and costly Administrative Appeals Tribunal, to a lack of support to get vaccinated or access RATs during the pandemic. This year’s Budget delivers an investment of more than $700 million to support people with disability right across the state – building a community that works for every Victorian, no matter what their needs are. That support includes better special schools, more accessible public transport, courses in Auslan at Free TAFE, more support for the Victorian Disability Plan and an investment of $135 million for tailored support for Victorians who aren’t eligible for the NDIS. The Labor Government’s $1.8 billion investment in new schools and school upgrades in this year’s Budget will create almost 3,900 additional jobs in construction and related industries – with more than 3,100 jobs in metropolitan Melbourne and 750 in regional Victoria. The Government is well ahead of schedule in its work to deliver 100 new schools by 2026 – with 75 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024, including Endeavour Hills Specialist School which opened this year, and Mount Ridley Special School in Craigieburn – opening its doors in 2023. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We owe it to every Victorian child to give them the very best opportunities in life – and that starts with making sure every student has the facilities they need to learn and grow, no matter what school they attend.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our approach is all about giving families with special needs children the choice of what works best for them. By upgrading every single special school in Victoria alongside our huge mainstream school improvements, we’re making that choice one that is based on the wellbeing of every child – not the condition of the classrooms.” 220508 - Major Upgrades For Special Schools Across Victoria

Major Upgrades For Special Schools Across Victoria

Students with special needs should have the same opportunities as every other student in Victoria – and it’s only the Andrews Labor Government that’s investing to give every student in Victoria the great education they deserve. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Ashwood School to announce it is one of 36 special schools sharing in $326 million of major upgrades through the Victorian Budget 2022/23. This investment means that since the Labor Government was elected in 2014, every single one of the 82 special schools in every corner of Victoria has received funding for a major upgrade. These upgrades are delivering the fit-for-purpose classrooms and amenities, accessible sporting facilities, assembly spaces, music rooms and sensory areas every student deserves. Ashwood School will receive $9.7 million to upgrade the school – replacing outdated portable classrooms with permanent facilities and modernising the school’s sporting facilities, including an upgrade to the oval. The Labor Government has repeatedly stepped in to give Victorians with disability the support they deserve after being left behind by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth’s neglect has ranged from NDIS plans shrinking by an average of $1,800, to a huge increase in Victorians forced to take their plans through the long and costly Administrative Appeals Tribunal, to a lack of support to get vaccinated or access RATs during the pandemic. This year’s Budget delivers an investment of more than $700 million to support people with disability right across the state – building a community that works for every Victorian, no matter what their needs are. That support includes better special schools, more accessible public transport, courses in Auslan at Free TAFE, more support for the Victorian Disability Plan and an investment of $135 million for tailored support for Victorians who aren’t eligible for the NDIS. The Labor Government’s $1.8 billion investment in new schools and school upgrades in this year’s Budget will create almost 3,900 additional jobs in construction and related industries – with more than 3,100 jobs in metropolitan Melbourne and 750 in regional Victoria. The Government is well ahead of schedule in its work to deliver 100 new schools by 2026 – with 75 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024, including Endeavour Hills Specialist School which opened this year, and Mount Ridley Special School in Craigieburn – opening its doors in 2023. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We owe it to every Victorian child to give them the very best opportunities in life – and that starts with making sure every student has the facilities they need to learn and grow, no matter what school they attend.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our approach is all about giving families with special needs children the choice of what works best for them. By upgrading every single special school in Victoria alongside our huge mainstream school improvements, we’re making that choice one that is based on the wellbeing of every child – not the condition of the classrooms.” 220508 - Major Upgrades For Special Schools Across Victoria

Young Victorians Learning To Love Our Wildlife

The next generation of Victorians are learning to care for the state’s precious and unique wildlife, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today celebrated that every Victorian primary school has received a series of five storybooks about the state’s native animals. Produced by Zoos Victoria, the books use age-appropriate language to tell the story of endangered Victorian species, emphasising hope for their future and inspiring the next generation of conservationists to care for our unique environment. Pippa the Mountain Pygmy-possum, Hope the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Slink the Alpine She-oak Skink and Obie the Orange-bellied Parrot have been written and illustrated by Zoos Victoria Education Officer Kate Rijs. Gyack the Corroboree Frog also includes artwork provided by Shane Herrington, Wolgalu Man and Discovery Ranger. The Labor Government is helping more primary and secondary students visit the Melbourne and Werribee Zoos and Healesville Sanctuary – boosting physical and emotional health and wellbeing through the $112.9 million Positive Start program. In addition, almost 200,000 people visited Victoria’s zoos in the Easter school holidays, amplified by the Government’s Kids Visit Free program which gives young Victorians the opportunity to connect with nature and wildlife. Teaching all Victorians to value nature is an important part of the Government’s plan to halt the decline of our native plants and animals, Biodiversity 2037. The Government has invested over $560 million in protecting biodiversity since 2014 – more than any other in Victorian history. An e-version of each will be available through the Zoos Victoria website during Term 2. The Zoos Victoria books are free and produced in partnership with PETstock. Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “Teaching the next generation of Victorians to value our unique wildlife is central to protecting and strengthening the state’s precious biodiversity.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know the pandemic has been challenging for all Victoria’s kids – these programs give them an opportunity to get out and learn about nature in the zoo and in the classroom.” Quote attributable to Member for Footscray Katie Hall “It’s fantastic to see kids across Victoria learning about the animals that make our state so special. Quotes attributable to Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray “Zoos Victoria is committed to ensuring we have a future rich in wildlife and investing in our youngest conservationists is an important part of that mission.” 220507 - Young Victorians Learning To Love Our Wildlife

Young Victorians Learning To Love Our Wildlife

The next generation of Victorians are learning to care for the state’s precious and unique wildlife, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today celebrated that every Victorian primary school has received a series of five storybooks about the state’s native animals. Produced by Zoos Victoria, the books use age-appropriate language to tell the story of endangered Victorian species, emphasising hope for their future and inspiring the next generation of conservationists to care for our unique environment. Pippa the Mountain Pygmy-possum, Hope the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Slink the Alpine She-oak Skink and Obie the Orange-bellied Parrot have been written and illustrated by Zoos Victoria Education Officer Kate Rijs. Gyack the Corroboree Frog also includes artwork provided by Shane Herrington, Wolgalu Man and Discovery Ranger. The Labor Government is helping more primary and secondary students visit the Melbourne and Werribee Zoos and Healesville Sanctuary – boosting physical and emotional health and wellbeing through the $112.9 million Positive Start program. In addition, almost 200,000 people visited Victoria’s zoos in the Easter school holidays, amplified by the Government’s Kids Visit Free program which gives young Victorians the opportunity to connect with nature and wildlife. Teaching all Victorians to value nature is an important part of the Government’s plan to halt the decline of our native plants and animals, Biodiversity 2037. The Government has invested over $560 million in protecting biodiversity since 2014 – more than any other in Victorian history. An e-version of each will be available through the Zoos Victoria website during Term 2. The Zoos Victoria books are free and produced in partnership with PETstock. Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “Teaching the next generation of Victorians to value our unique wildlife is central to protecting and strengthening the state’s precious biodiversity.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know the pandemic has been challenging for all Victoria’s kids – these programs give them an opportunity to get out and learn about nature in the zoo and in the classroom.” Quote attributable to Member for Footscray Katie Hall “It’s fantastic to see kids across Victoria learning about the animals that make our state so special. Quotes attributable to Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray “Zoos Victoria is committed to ensuring we have a future rich in wildlife and investing in our youngest conservationists is an important part of that mission.” 220507 - Young Victorians Learning To Love Our Wildlife