• State Member for Monbulk, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education

    As your State Member of Parliament, I am passionate about representing our local community. My office and staff are here to help you and your family. Please feel free to contact my office in Belgrave, or send through an email.

  • GETTING RID OF TWO MORE LEVEL CROSSINGS IN MELBOURNE’S EAST

    The Andrews Labor Government will build rail bridges to remove two more dangerous and congested level crossings in Melbourne’s East. Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan joined Member for Monbulk James Merlino to reveal designs for the Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale level crossing removals.

  • DELIVERING FOR MONBULK

    The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promises and delivering for the people of Monbulk, with major investments in local schools, roads, health and public transport in the Victorian Budget 2019/20.

  • MORE CAR PARKS AT BELGRAVE STATION A STEP CLOSER

    Geotechnical works will take place at Belgrave Station car park from next week, as the Andrews Labor Government gets on with building more spaces for passengers to park.

  • FREE TAFE KICKS OFF IN MONBULK

    Students and job seekers from Monbulk can now take up Free TAFE training under the Andrews Labor Government’s $172 million program to make 30 priority TAFE courses and 20 pre-apprenticeship courses tuition fee free from this year.

  • State Member for Monbulk, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education

    As your State Member of Parliament, I am passionate about representing our local community. My office and staff are here to help you and your family. Please feel free to contact my office in Belgrave, or send through an email.

Media Centre

Vouchers To Give Kids In Yarra Ranges & Knox a Sporting Chance

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with levelling the playing field with vouchers worth up to $200 each available for our state’s most vulnerable families to put towards the cost of their kids playing the sports they love. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today encouraged eligible families in Monbulk to take advantage of the $21 million Get Active Kids Voucher Program, which is rolling out up to 100,000 vouchers across four rounds from 1 March 2021. A Victorian first, the program provides sport vouchers to help kids from Victorian families with the cost of membership and registration fees, sports equipment and uniforms. To be eligible kids need to be 4 to 18 years old, a resident in Victoria, named on a current Australian Government Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card and also named on a valid Australian Government Medicare Card at the time of application. The program is also supporting sport clubs and active recreation providers broaden their memberships, providing them with additional revenue to help recover from the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Get Active Kids Voucher Program is part of the Get Active Victoria initiative, which is helping families to move more, every day with ideas, tips and tools to motivate and support people to be more active– like guided workout videos, articles and a free activity tracker. Get Active Victoria has something for everyone regardless of their level of activity or fitness. It’s part of a package that also includes the $24.2 million Active Schools Program, delivering more opportunities for kids to get more active both at school, home and in the community, because active kids are not just happy, healthy and resilient kids, but they are better able to focus in class. Applications for vouchers in round one of the program open 1 March 2021 and close 11 April 2021. To apply online or for more information about the program including dates for future rounds visit https://www.getactive.vic.gov.au/  Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “The Get Active Kids Voucher Program is a great opportunity for eligible families to get their kids in to local sport without breaking the budget.” “Grassroots sports clubs in Monbulk are the heart and soul of our community bringing people together and creating healthier, happier, and more united communities, our vulnerable kids deserve to be a part of this.”

Vouchers To Give Kids In Yarra Ranges & Knox a Sporting Chance

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with levelling the playing field with vouchers worth up to $200 each available for our state’s most vulnerable families to put towards the cost of their kids playing the sports they love. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today encouraged eligible families in Monbulk to take advantage of the $21 million Get Active Kids Voucher Program, which is rolling out up to 100,000 vouchers across four rounds from 1 March 2021. A Victorian first, the program provides sport vouchers to help kids from Victorian families with the cost of membership and registration fees, sports equipment and uniforms. To be eligible kids need to be 4 to 18 years old, a resident in Victoria, named on a current Australian Government Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card and also named on a valid Australian Government Medicare Card at the time of application. The program is also supporting sport clubs and active recreation providers broaden their memberships, providing them with additional revenue to help recover from the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Get Active Kids Voucher Program is part of the Get Active Victoria initiative, which is helping families to move more, every day with ideas, tips and tools to motivate and support people to be more active– like guided workout videos, articles and a free activity tracker. Get Active Victoria has something for everyone regardless of their level of activity or fitness. It’s part of a package that also includes the $24.2 million Active Schools Program, delivering more opportunities for kids to get more active both at school, home and in the community, because active kids are not just happy, healthy and resilient kids, but they are better able to focus in class. Applications for vouchers in round one of the program open 1 March 2021 and close 11 April 2021. To apply online or for more information about the program including dates for future rounds visit https://www.getactive.vic.gov.au/  Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “The Get Active Kids Voucher Program is a great opportunity for eligible families to get their kids in to local sport without breaking the budget.” “Grassroots sports clubs in Monbulk are the heart and soul of our community bringing people together and creating healthier, happier, and more united communities, our vulnerable kids deserve to be a part of this.”

Making Monbulk Government Schools Energy Efficient

Monbulk government schools are set to become greener and more environmentally sustainable while reducing their electricity costs, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced schools in 3 primary schools in Monbulk are among 171 government schools across Victoria that will receive solar power systems under the Greener Government School Buildings program. The 3 local schools receiving funding include Montrose Primary School, Mount Dandenong Primary School and Selby Primary School. The $8.8 million program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at schools and save them money by installing solar power systems. The program will contribute to the Labor Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. A solar power system is a strategic investment that can pay for itself over several years. This program will remove the upfront costs of installing a system that may otherwise discourage schools from pursuing this option. The Greener Government School Buildings program is established from the success of the pilot program rolled out across 42 schools in 2019. The solar power systems installed as part of the 2020-21 Greener Government School Buildings program are expected to see 6,974 kW of solar installed, with an estimated saving of $1.8 million per year and 10,200 tonnes of carbon emissions abated. By June 2022, in total the program is expected to see 8,200 kW of solar installed, with an estimated saving of $2 million per year and 11,500 tonnes of carbon emissions abated. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quote attributable to the Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We’re taking action to make these schools more sustainable and more energy efficient, so we can all do our bit for the environment.” “Not only will the environment benefit from this program, installing solar panel systems will help reduce power bills for our schools.” “This is a project that will make a big difference for our schools. It will cut emissions while at the same time cutting costs and that is good news for everyone.”

Making Monbulk Government Schools Energy Efficient

Monbulk government schools are set to become greener and more environmentally sustainable while reducing their electricity costs, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced schools in 3 primary schools in Monbulk are among 171 government schools across Victoria that will receive solar power systems under the Greener Government School Buildings program. The 3 local schools receiving funding include Montrose Primary School, Mount Dandenong Primary School and Selby Primary School. The $8.8 million program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at schools and save them money by installing solar power systems. The program will contribute to the Labor Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. A solar power system is a strategic investment that can pay for itself over several years. This program will remove the upfront costs of installing a system that may otherwise discourage schools from pursuing this option. The Greener Government School Buildings program is established from the success of the pilot program rolled out across 42 schools in 2019. The solar power systems installed as part of the 2020-21 Greener Government School Buildings program are expected to see 6,974 kW of solar installed, with an estimated saving of $1.8 million per year and 10,200 tonnes of carbon emissions abated. By June 2022, in total the program is expected to see 8,200 kW of solar installed, with an estimated saving of $2 million per year and 11,500 tonnes of carbon emissions abated. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quote attributable to the Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We’re taking action to make these schools more sustainable and more energy efficient, so we can all do our bit for the environment.” “Not only will the environment benefit from this program, installing solar panel systems will help reduce power bills for our schools.” “This is a project that will make a big difference for our schools. It will cut emissions while at the same time cutting costs and that is good news for everyone.”

Installing Solar Systems In Victorian Government Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is cutting energy bills for public schools and making them more environmentally sustainable. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 171 government schools across Victoria will receive solar power systems under the Greener Government School Buildings program. The $8.8 million program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at schools and save them money by installing solar power systems. The program will contribute to the Labor Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. A solar power system is a strategic investment that can pay for itself over several years. This program will remove the upfront costs of installing a system that may otherwise discourage schools from pursuing this option. The Greener Government School Buildings program is established from the success of the pilot program rolled out across 42 schools in 2019. By June 2022, in total the program is expected to see 8,200 kW of solar installed, with an estimated saving of $2 million per year and 11,500 tonnes of carbon emissions abated. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re taking action to make these schools more sustainable and more energy efficient, so we can all do our bit for the environment.” “Not only will the environment benefit from this program, installing solar panel systems will help reduce power bills for our schools.” Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio "By putting solar panels on the roofs of schools across Victoria, we are not only accelerating our transition to renewables, but we are also teaching students a real-life lesson about the importance of action on climate change." Download the media release

Installing Solar Systems In Victorian Government Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is cutting energy bills for public schools and making them more environmentally sustainable. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 171 government schools across Victoria will receive solar power systems under the Greener Government School Buildings program. The $8.8 million program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at schools and save them money by installing solar power systems. The program will contribute to the Labor Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. A solar power system is a strategic investment that can pay for itself over several years. This program will remove the upfront costs of installing a system that may otherwise discourage schools from pursuing this option. The Greener Government School Buildings program is established from the success of the pilot program rolled out across 42 schools in 2019. By June 2022, in total the program is expected to see 8,200 kW of solar installed, with an estimated saving of $2 million per year and 11,500 tonnes of carbon emissions abated. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re taking action to make these schools more sustainable and more energy efficient, so we can all do our bit for the environment.” “Not only will the environment benefit from this program, installing solar panel systems will help reduce power bills for our schools.” Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio "By putting solar panels on the roofs of schools across Victoria, we are not only accelerating our transition to renewables, but we are also teaching students a real-life lesson about the importance of action on climate change." Download the media release

Neighbourhood Battery Trial To Maximise Rooftop Solar

The Andrews Labor Government will support trials of neighbourhood-scale batteries to maximise the unprecedented uptake in rooftop solar and empower communities to take control of their energy. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced that the $3 million Neighbourhood Battery Initiative (NBI) was open, inviting applications for neighbourhood-scale battery projects from local investors, businesses, community groups and other interested parties. Neighbourhood-scale batteries can provide a range of benefits to electricity users, networks and Victorian communities. Importantly, they can play a valuable role in supporting residential solar systems by soaking up excess solar output during the day which can then be dispatched in the evening, when it is needed most. Victoria’s Solar Homes Program has seen record levels of rooftop solar systems installed. About 20 per cent of Victorian households have solar panels and that is expected to grow to 50 per cent by 2030. Neighbourhood-scale batteries could maximise the power generated by the hundreds of thousands of solar systems across the state. The NBI is part of the record $1.6 billion clean energy package announced in the 2020-2021 Victorian Budget. The package will deliver household and business energy efficiency initiatives, improve crucial grid infrastructure, drive down emissions and support more Solar Homes. A consultation paper that seeks feedback from stakeholders about the deployment of neighbourhood batteries will be released alongside the application guidelines via the Engage Victoria website. Applications for the NBI close on 11 April 2021. Find out more or submit an application at: www.energy.vic.gov.au/new-energy-technologies. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “Neighbourhood scale batteries are a new energy storage model that takes advantage of the massive popularity of rooftop solar by soaking up excess power during the day and dispatching it at night-time and when it’s needed.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “The Neighbourhood Battery Initiative is a great way to involve local communities in the transition to clean energy and maximise the growing number of rooftop solar systems in our area”

Neighbourhood Battery Trial To Maximise Rooftop Solar

The Andrews Labor Government will support trials of neighbourhood-scale batteries to maximise the unprecedented uptake in rooftop solar and empower communities to take control of their energy. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced that the $3 million Neighbourhood Battery Initiative (NBI) was open, inviting applications for neighbourhood-scale battery projects from local investors, businesses, community groups and other interested parties. Neighbourhood-scale batteries can provide a range of benefits to electricity users, networks and Victorian communities. Importantly, they can play a valuable role in supporting residential solar systems by soaking up excess solar output during the day which can then be dispatched in the evening, when it is needed most. Victoria’s Solar Homes Program has seen record levels of rooftop solar systems installed. About 20 per cent of Victorian households have solar panels and that is expected to grow to 50 per cent by 2030. Neighbourhood-scale batteries could maximise the power generated by the hundreds of thousands of solar systems across the state. The NBI is part of the record $1.6 billion clean energy package announced in the 2020-2021 Victorian Budget. The package will deliver household and business energy efficiency initiatives, improve crucial grid infrastructure, drive down emissions and support more Solar Homes. A consultation paper that seeks feedback from stakeholders about the deployment of neighbourhood batteries will be released alongside the application guidelines via the Engage Victoria website. Applications for the NBI close on 11 April 2021. Find out more or submit an application at: www.energy.vic.gov.au/new-energy-technologies. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “Neighbourhood scale batteries are a new energy storage model that takes advantage of the massive popularity of rooftop solar by soaking up excess power during the day and dispatching it at night-time and when it’s needed.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “The Neighbourhood Battery Initiative is a great way to involve local communities in the transition to clean energy and maximise the growing number of rooftop solar systems in our area”

More Mental Health Support For Victorian Students

Secondary students in Ovens Murray and Mallee will have better access to the school-based mental health support they need, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that the roll out of mental health practioners at 31 schools in the Ovens Murray and Mallee Areas will soon begin. The Mental Health Practioners initiative is a $51.2 million program which began in July 2019 and provides funding to schools to recruit a mental health practitioner. It will see qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses. Recruitment for mental health practitioners at schools in Ovens Murray and Mallee is now underway, with on-site roles to begin in Term 2.  A mental health coordinator will also be employed for each region to help oversee the recruitment and implementation process. Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and coordinate support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied and community health services. All government secondary schools will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements. In addition, all specialist schools with secondary aged students have received funding to recruit a school-based mental health practitioner, who will build provide wrap-around support to students and families. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 is investing $28.5 million for student mental health support as a boost to services in response to COVID-19. This is in addition to the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know many young Victorians are experiencing mental health challenges and this initiative will make it easier for them to access the support they need at school.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “This will ensure kids in regional Victoria will get access to the mental health support they need.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp “We know our students are at their most productive when they are happy and well supported and can focus on their learning.” Secondary schools included in the initiative: Ovens Murray Beechworth Secondary College Benalla P-12 College Blackburn English Language School Bright P-12 College Corryong College Mansfield Secondary College Mount Beauty Secondary College Myrtleford P-12 College Rutherglen High School Tallangatta Secondary College Wangaratta High School Wodonga Middle Years College (3 campuses) Wodonga Senior Secondary College Mallee Chaffey Secondary College Charlton College Cohuna Secondary College Irymple Secondary College Kerang Technical High School Manangatang P-12 College Merbein P-10 College Mildura Senior College Murrayville Community College Ouyen P-12 College Red Cliffs Secondary College Robinvale College Swan Hill College Tyrrell College Werrimull P-12 School Wycheproof P-12 College Download the media release

More Mental Health Support For Victorian Students

Secondary students in Ovens Murray and Mallee will have better access to the school-based mental health support they need, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that the roll out of mental health practioners at 31 schools in the Ovens Murray and Mallee Areas will soon begin. The Mental Health Practioners initiative is a $51.2 million program which began in July 2019 and provides funding to schools to recruit a mental health practitioner. It will see qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses. Recruitment for mental health practitioners at schools in Ovens Murray and Mallee is now underway, with on-site roles to begin in Term 2.  A mental health coordinator will also be employed for each region to help oversee the recruitment and implementation process. Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and coordinate support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied and community health services. All government secondary schools will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements. In addition, all specialist schools with secondary aged students have received funding to recruit a school-based mental health practitioner, who will build provide wrap-around support to students and families. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 is investing $28.5 million for student mental health support as a boost to services in response to COVID-19. This is in addition to the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know many young Victorians are experiencing mental health challenges and this initiative will make it easier for them to access the support they need at school.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “This will ensure kids in regional Victoria will get access to the mental health support they need.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp “We know our students are at their most productive when they are happy and well supported and can focus on their learning.” Secondary schools included in the initiative: Ovens Murray Beechworth Secondary College Benalla P-12 College Blackburn English Language School Bright P-12 College Corryong College Mansfield Secondary College Mount Beauty Secondary College Myrtleford P-12 College Rutherglen High School Tallangatta Secondary College Wangaratta High School Wodonga Middle Years College (3 campuses) Wodonga Senior Secondary College Mallee Chaffey Secondary College Charlton College Cohuna Secondary College Irymple Secondary College Kerang Technical High School Manangatang P-12 College Merbein P-10 College Mildura Senior College Murrayville Community College Ouyen P-12 College Red Cliffs Secondary College Robinvale College Swan Hill College Tyrrell College Werrimull P-12 School Wycheproof P-12 College Download the media release

More Support For Holocaust Education In Our Schools

More Victorian schools will get additional support to help teach students about the Holocaust and stamp out antisemitism, thanks to an expanded partnership between the Andrews Labor Government and Gandel Philanthropy. An additional 110 teaching teams at government secondary schools will undertake a professional learning program run by the Jewish Holocaust Centre before the end of 2022 – building on the forty government secondary schools undertaking the program this year, as announced in December 2020. Equal contributions from the Labor Government and Gandel Philanthropy will provide a total boost of $150,000 for the ten-step program, which involves virtual and face-to-face components, including staff from the Jewish Holocaust Centre visiting schools to support curriculum review and planning. The teaching teams will also be able to meet a Melbourne-based Holocaust survivor and hear first-hand their unique experience. This expansion builds on last year’s pledge to ensure Holocaust education in every secondary school, as well as new and updated teaching and learning resources to be developed in partnership with Victorian Jewish community organisations and Gandel Philanthropy. These new resources are now available to schools. The program uses these resources to help recognise the short and long-term causes and effects of prejudice, discrimination and, ultimately, genocide. It teaches students to become informed and active citizens, protect democracy, and value a diverse and inclusive society. The Labor Government has also increased Courage to Care funding, established a dedicated hotline to report racism for schools, students and parents, and established a new student advisory group to advise on how to address antiSemitism and look at what more we can do to make sure our schools are inclusive communities. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Anti-Semitism is on the rise both abroad and at home – you only have to look to the wicked bigotry we saw in the Grampians last month to see the evidence.” “The Jewish community has made, and continues to make, a profound contribution to our state. Anti-Semitism hurts the Jewish community deeply, and it offends all of us.” “All Victorians can be proud of the work Gandel Philanthropy does to talk to generations of students and help them understand the horrors of the Holocaust. It’s only through this sort of crucial work that we’ll ensure it never happens again.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “A much greater emphasis on the teaching of the Holocaust will have a big impact on our students’ understanding of how much damage anti-Semitic behaviour can cause.” “We are grateful to Gandel Philanthropy for their ongoing partnership in this important work in supporting our schools, so they can play their part in educating our children to value a diverse and inclusive society.” Quotes attributable to Chair of Gandel Philanthropy, Mr John Gandel AC “The Holocaust holds many valuable messages for today’s young generations, from learning what it means when people’s rights are eroded, or completely removed, simply because of their background, to finding out about the acts of humanity, compassion and sacrifice of people who stood up for the victims and the ostracised.” “Through proper, deep and effective Holocaust education we can ensure that our young people become a force for good in this world.” Download the media release

More Support For Holocaust Education In Our Schools

More Victorian schools will get additional support to help teach students about the Holocaust and stamp out antisemitism, thanks to an expanded partnership between the Andrews Labor Government and Gandel Philanthropy. An additional 110 teaching teams at government secondary schools will undertake a professional learning program run by the Jewish Holocaust Centre before the end of 2022 – building on the forty government secondary schools undertaking the program this year, as announced in December 2020. Equal contributions from the Labor Government and Gandel Philanthropy will provide a total boost of $150,000 for the ten-step program, which involves virtual and face-to-face components, including staff from the Jewish Holocaust Centre visiting schools to support curriculum review and planning. The teaching teams will also be able to meet a Melbourne-based Holocaust survivor and hear first-hand their unique experience. This expansion builds on last year’s pledge to ensure Holocaust education in every secondary school, as well as new and updated teaching and learning resources to be developed in partnership with Victorian Jewish community organisations and Gandel Philanthropy. These new resources are now available to schools. The program uses these resources to help recognise the short and long-term causes and effects of prejudice, discrimination and, ultimately, genocide. It teaches students to become informed and active citizens, protect democracy, and value a diverse and inclusive society. The Labor Government has also increased Courage to Care funding, established a dedicated hotline to report racism for schools, students and parents, and established a new student advisory group to advise on how to address antiSemitism and look at what more we can do to make sure our schools are inclusive communities. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Anti-Semitism is on the rise both abroad and at home – you only have to look to the wicked bigotry we saw in the Grampians last month to see the evidence.” “The Jewish community has made, and continues to make, a profound contribution to our state. Anti-Semitism hurts the Jewish community deeply, and it offends all of us.” “All Victorians can be proud of the work Gandel Philanthropy does to talk to generations of students and help them understand the horrors of the Holocaust. It’s only through this sort of crucial work that we’ll ensure it never happens again.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “A much greater emphasis on the teaching of the Holocaust will have a big impact on our students’ understanding of how much damage anti-Semitic behaviour can cause.” “We are grateful to Gandel Philanthropy for their ongoing partnership in this important work in supporting our schools, so they can play their part in educating our children to value a diverse and inclusive society.” Quotes attributable to Chair of Gandel Philanthropy, Mr John Gandel AC “The Holocaust holds many valuable messages for today’s young generations, from learning what it means when people’s rights are eroded, or completely removed, simply because of their background, to finding out about the acts of humanity, compassion and sacrifice of people who stood up for the victims and the ostracised.” “Through proper, deep and effective Holocaust education we can ensure that our young people become a force for good in this world.” Download the media release

Designs Released For Centre To Boost Student Excellence

High-achieving VCE students are one step closer to getting a ‘head start’ on their university education with the appointment of a builder for a new $27.5 million state-of-the-art learning centre. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Southern Metropolitan Nina Taylor today also released the designs for the Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES) facility in South Yarra. CHES will improve educational outcomes for high-achieving secondary school students across Victoria by offering first year university-level courses and select VCE subjects accompanied by an enhancement and enrichment program. This ‘head start’ allows our most capable students to undertake a study that contributes to their ATAR whilst gaining university credits. Figurehead Constructions has been appointed to build the facility with the centre to be built on Chapel Street, South Yarra on land sold to the Victorian Government by the Melbourne High School Foundation. Works will start in the coming months and include an auditorium, technology-rich learning spaces and tertiary standard science and design labs at the state-of-the-art centre. Construction is expected to be complete by mid-2022, with a range of programs available from this time and the full suite available from the start of 2023. Students will remain enrolled at their chosen secondary school and be able to undertake a course at CHES as part of their VCE program. Courses will be delivered both in person and virtually to support access for rural and regional students. In the past five years, the Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Designs are available here: schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/schools/Pages/CentreforHigherEducationStudies Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The Centre for Higher Education Studies will provide new challenges for high-achieving VCE students and allow them to get a head start on their university education.” Quote attributable to the Member for Southern Metropolitan Nina Taylor “We are proud to be delivering this Centre as part of our commitment to nurture and support education of all levels as we build the Education State.” Download the media release

Designs Released For Centre To Boost Student Excellence

High-achieving VCE students are one step closer to getting a ‘head start’ on their university education with the appointment of a builder for a new $27.5 million state-of-the-art learning centre. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Southern Metropolitan Nina Taylor today also released the designs for the Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES) facility in South Yarra. CHES will improve educational outcomes for high-achieving secondary school students across Victoria by offering first year university-level courses and select VCE subjects accompanied by an enhancement and enrichment program. This ‘head start’ allows our most capable students to undertake a study that contributes to their ATAR whilst gaining university credits. Figurehead Constructions has been appointed to build the facility with the centre to be built on Chapel Street, South Yarra on land sold to the Victorian Government by the Melbourne High School Foundation. Works will start in the coming months and include an auditorium, technology-rich learning spaces and tertiary standard science and design labs at the state-of-the-art centre. Construction is expected to be complete by mid-2022, with a range of programs available from this time and the full suite available from the start of 2023. Students will remain enrolled at their chosen secondary school and be able to undertake a course at CHES as part of their VCE program. Courses will be delivered both in person and virtually to support access for rural and regional students. In the past five years, the Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Designs are available here: schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/schools/Pages/CentreforHigherEducationStudies Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The Centre for Higher Education Studies will provide new challenges for high-achieving VCE students and allow them to get a head start on their university education.” Quote attributable to the Member for Southern Metropolitan Nina Taylor “We are proud to be delivering this Centre as part of our commitment to nurture and support education of all levels as we build the Education State.” Download the media release

Community Environmental Grants Open For Monbulk

Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP is encouraging community groups in the Yarra Ranges to help protect the environment, with grants of up to $50,000 now available for conservation projects or habitat restoration. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio has announced the $7.4 million Community Environment Grants package, which will fund small and large-scale projects dedicated to preserving Victoria’s biodiversity and waterways. Community and Traditional Owners groups, volunteer organisations and schools from across Monbulk are welcome to apply for grants through three different streams, which include: Community Volunteer Action Grants – to protect and enhance the natural environment, boost volunteer participation and address threats to biodiversity on public and private land.  Aboriginal Community Caring for Country Grants – to support Aboriginal communities and organisations to access and care for Country. A further two streams will open later this year, including the Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants – opening in March – which supports the next generation of Victorians to protect biodiversity through action that improves and restores habitat for native plants and animals. The Victorian Landcare Grants will open in April to support groups to undertake on-ground and natural environment improvement works. For more information and to apply, visit environment.vic.gov.au/grants. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We have so many wonderful community groups in the Yarra Ranges dedicated to protecting and enhancing our precious biodiversity – these grants ensure their good work can continue.” “Communities and volunteers in the Yarra Ranges play such an important role to ensure Victoria’s natural environment remains healthy for years to come.” “This is an opportunity to invest in projects with clear conservation outcomes and I encourage all eligible community groups and organisations to apply.”

Community Environmental Grants Open For Monbulk

Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP is encouraging community groups in the Yarra Ranges to help protect the environment, with grants of up to $50,000 now available for conservation projects or habitat restoration. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio has announced the $7.4 million Community Environment Grants package, which will fund small and large-scale projects dedicated to preserving Victoria’s biodiversity and waterways. Community and Traditional Owners groups, volunteer organisations and schools from across Monbulk are welcome to apply for grants through three different streams, which include: Community Volunteer Action Grants – to protect and enhance the natural environment, boost volunteer participation and address threats to biodiversity on public and private land.  Aboriginal Community Caring for Country Grants – to support Aboriginal communities and organisations to access and care for Country. A further two streams will open later this year, including the Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants – opening in March – which supports the next generation of Victorians to protect biodiversity through action that improves and restores habitat for native plants and animals. The Victorian Landcare Grants will open in April to support groups to undertake on-ground and natural environment improvement works. For more information and to apply, visit environment.vic.gov.au/grants. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We have so many wonderful community groups in the Yarra Ranges dedicated to protecting and enhancing our precious biodiversity – these grants ensure their good work can continue.” “Communities and volunteers in the Yarra Ranges play such an important role to ensure Victoria’s natural environment remains healthy for years to come.” “This is an opportunity to invest in projects with clear conservation outcomes and I encourage all eligible community groups and organisations to apply.”

 

Date Set For Mental Health Royal Commission Final Report

The final report and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will be tabled on Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 prior to an historic joint sitting of the Victorian Parliament. The Parliament will hear directly from Chair, Penny Armytage AM, Professor Patrick McGorry AO and a member of the Victorian community with lived experience of mental illness. This joint sitting will be held at the Royal Exhibition Building to ensure all members of parliament can attend adhering to CovidSafe rules. It will also enable those witnesses and participants in the commission to attend this significant event. As the nation continues to deal with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this joint sitting ensures the report is given the dedicated attention it deserves. Thousands of courageous Victorians have contributed to this once-in-a-generation report. It is only through the stories they’ve so generously shared that we can truly understand how to fix our broken mental health system. That is what the Royal Commission’s report will deliver. And it’s up to us to listen. The Andrews Labor Government will deliver on every single recommendation from the final report. Work is already underway in response to the interim recommendations of the Royal Commission. We’ve begun the journey to rebuild our mental health system, and the final report will provide us with a comprehensive blueprint to complete it. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 includes $868.6 million - the biggest mental health investment in the history of the state - to ensure Victorians have the support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system. This includes $492 million for 120 mental health beds in Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne, on top of the 24 Hospital in the Home beds announced earlier this year. Work has begun to deliver these beds. The interim report recommended the creation of 170 new beds state-wide, and the Labor Government will deliver 179. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’re facing a watershed moment in Victoria’s history. This report will change lives, and it’ll save lives.” “The thousands of Victorians who have so bravely and so generously shared their personal stories deserve our full, undivided attention - and they deserve our help.” Quotes attributable to the Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This is an historic opportunity for a special sitting of parliament which highlights just how important this moment is. We know that our mental health system is broken, and this report will deliver the blueprint for delivering the biggest social reform in a generation.” Download the media release

Date Set For Mental Health Royal Commission Final Report

The final report and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will be tabled on Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 prior to an historic joint sitting of the Victorian Parliament. The Parliament will hear directly from Chair, Penny Armytage AM, Professor Patrick McGorry AO and a member of the Victorian community with lived experience of mental illness. This joint sitting will be held at the Royal Exhibition Building to ensure all members of parliament can attend adhering to CovidSafe rules. It will also enable those witnesses and participants in the commission to attend this significant event. As the nation continues to deal with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this joint sitting ensures the report is given the dedicated attention it deserves. Thousands of courageous Victorians have contributed to this once-in-a-generation report. It is only through the stories they’ve so generously shared that we can truly understand how to fix our broken mental health system. That is what the Royal Commission’s report will deliver. And it’s up to us to listen. The Andrews Labor Government will deliver on every single recommendation from the final report. Work is already underway in response to the interim recommendations of the Royal Commission. We’ve begun the journey to rebuild our mental health system, and the final report will provide us with a comprehensive blueprint to complete it. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 includes $868.6 million - the biggest mental health investment in the history of the state - to ensure Victorians have the support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system. This includes $492 million for 120 mental health beds in Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne, on top of the 24 Hospital in the Home beds announced earlier this year. Work has begun to deliver these beds. The interim report recommended the creation of 170 new beds state-wide, and the Labor Government will deliver 179. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We’re facing a watershed moment in Victoria’s history. This report will change lives, and it’ll save lives.” “The thousands of Victorians who have so bravely and so generously shared their personal stories deserve our full, undivided attention - and they deserve our help.” Quotes attributable to the Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This is an historic opportunity for a special sitting of parliament which highlights just how important this moment is. We know that our mental health system is broken, and this report will deliver the blueprint for delivering the biggest social reform in a generation.” Download the media release

Designs And Tender Released For Eighth Vertical School

Victoria will soon have another new vertical government school to address population growth across the inner city – thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt today unveiled the innovative designs by ARM Architecture for the vertical North Melbourne Hill Primary School (interim name) at Molesworth Street, with the project now also out to tender. The designs showcase a range of world-class facilities spanning multiple levels, and will include general purpose classrooms, breakout spaces, gymnasium, kitchen garden and library. The plans include a large flexible outdoor space with universal access, play equipment, seating and a tiered amphitheatre for events and performances. A tree-lined laneway will be built to the south of the school as part of a broader redevelopment of North Melbourne. This laneway will have separate access to the kindergarten, school and the sports courts, while the local community will be able to access the outdoor play space after school hours. A kindergarten for three- and four-year-old children will be built on level five of the vertical school with plans for two children’s rooms and outdoor learning, complete with sandpit and cubby. The delivery of the kindergarten is part of the Labor Government’s promise to build  a kindergarten on-site or next door to every new Victorian primary school, reducing the burden of the dreaded ‘double-drop off’ for parents and making the transition to school easier for students. Construction works will start mid-year on the school and it will open to students in 2023. The project has been funded by the Labor Government with more than $36 million invested in the Victorian Budget 2020-21, a further $5 million delivered from the Infrastructure Planning and Acceleration Fund and $2.15 million for planning in the Victorian Budget 2018/19. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in excess of 1,600 school upgrades – creating 10,000-plus construction jobs – and is ahead on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026. Designs for the new school can be viewed at schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/schools/Pages/NorthMelbourneHill Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re rolling out eight vertical government schools to make sure there are enough school places for young Victorians across the inner city.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “The new state-of-the-art kinder will boost capacity as we roll out our landmark Three-Year-Old kinder reforms and make the transition to school even easier for local students.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt “We are delivering new schools right across the inner city so that every child can access a great local school.”

Designs And Tender Released For Eighth Vertical School

Victoria will soon have another new vertical government school to address population growth across the inner city – thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt today unveiled the innovative designs by ARM Architecture for the vertical North Melbourne Hill Primary School (interim name) at Molesworth Street, with the project now also out to tender. The designs showcase a range of world-class facilities spanning multiple levels, and will include general purpose classrooms, breakout spaces, gymnasium, kitchen garden and library. The plans include a large flexible outdoor space with universal access, play equipment, seating and a tiered amphitheatre for events and performances. A tree-lined laneway will be built to the south of the school as part of a broader redevelopment of North Melbourne. This laneway will have separate access to the kindergarten, school and the sports courts, while the local community will be able to access the outdoor play space after school hours. A kindergarten for three- and four-year-old children will be built on level five of the vertical school with plans for two children’s rooms and outdoor learning, complete with sandpit and cubby. The delivery of the kindergarten is part of the Labor Government’s promise to build  a kindergarten on-site or next door to every new Victorian primary school, reducing the burden of the dreaded ‘double-drop off’ for parents and making the transition to school easier for students. Construction works will start mid-year on the school and it will open to students in 2023. The project has been funded by the Labor Government with more than $36 million invested in the Victorian Budget 2020-21, a further $5 million delivered from the Infrastructure Planning and Acceleration Fund and $2.15 million for planning in the Victorian Budget 2018/19. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in excess of 1,600 school upgrades – creating 10,000-plus construction jobs – and is ahead on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026. Designs for the new school can be viewed at schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/schools/Pages/NorthMelbourneHill Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re rolling out eight vertical government schools to make sure there are enough school places for young Victorians across the inner city.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “The new state-of-the-art kinder will boost capacity as we roll out our landmark Three-Year-Old kinder reforms and make the transition to school even easier for local students.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt “We are delivering new schools right across the inner city so that every child can access a great local school.”

Turning The Sod At The New San Remo Campus

Students on the Bass Coast are one step closer to getting the modern learning facilities they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale today turned the first sod on the new junior campus of Wonthaggi Secondary College in San Remo, marking the start of construction. When complete, the school will include a range of world-class facilities, including an administration building and library, modern classrooms, separate specialist and innovation buildings, a competition-grade gym, spaces to cater for food technology, music and performing arts, a football oval, and outdoor sports courts. The new campus will be located on Potters Hill Road in San Remo with SJ Higgins appointed as the builder. The campus will open in 2022 and adds to the two existing campuses, including the new McBride Senior Campus that opened in 2020. Community consultation to rename Wonthaggi Secondary College also opened today, with members of the public able to have their say on a new name that reflects the school’s unique identity, inspires local pride, and makes the school easily locatable across its three campuses. Discussions with the local community will also continue throughout the year on the names of the three campuses. In the 2019-20 State Budget, this school shared in $624.8 million allocated for new schools to plan and build the new campus at San Remo. In 2020, the school received a further $5 million in funding. In the 2020-21 State Budget, the school received at least $25.76 million. In the past five years, the Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026. Members of the local community are invited to have their say on the school’s new name over the next three weeks by visiting the Engage Victoria website: engage.vic.gov.au/school-naming-wonthaggi-secondary-college Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We said we would build a junior secondary campus of this school so students right across Phillip Island and the Bass Coast could have a school that is close to home and that is exactly what we will deliver.” Quote attributable to Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale “Today marks the next step in delivering on our commitment to build a new school in the Bass Coast, delivering the modern learning facilities students deserve.” Download the media release

Turning The Sod At The New San Remo Campus

Students on the Bass Coast are one step closer to getting the modern learning facilities they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale today turned the first sod on the new junior campus of Wonthaggi Secondary College in San Remo, marking the start of construction. When complete, the school will include a range of world-class facilities, including an administration building and library, modern classrooms, separate specialist and innovation buildings, a competition-grade gym, spaces to cater for food technology, music and performing arts, a football oval, and outdoor sports courts. The new campus will be located on Potters Hill Road in San Remo with SJ Higgins appointed as the builder. The campus will open in 2022 and adds to the two existing campuses, including the new McBride Senior Campus that opened in 2020. Community consultation to rename Wonthaggi Secondary College also opened today, with members of the public able to have their say on a new name that reflects the school’s unique identity, inspires local pride, and makes the school easily locatable across its three campuses. Discussions with the local community will also continue throughout the year on the names of the three campuses. In the 2019-20 State Budget, this school shared in $624.8 million allocated for new schools to plan and build the new campus at San Remo. In 2020, the school received a further $5 million in funding. In the 2020-21 State Budget, the school received at least $25.76 million. In the past five years, the Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026. Members of the local community are invited to have their say on the school’s new name over the next three weeks by visiting the Engage Victoria website: engage.vic.gov.au/school-naming-wonthaggi-secondary-college Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We said we would build a junior secondary campus of this school so students right across Phillip Island and the Bass Coast could have a school that is close to home and that is exactly what we will deliver.” Quote attributable to Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale “Today marks the next step in delivering on our commitment to build a new school in the Bass Coast, delivering the modern learning facilities students deserve.” Download the media release

Supporting Our Local Creative Sector And Workers

Victoria’s nation-leading creative industries will receive more support as creative workers and businesses continue to re-activate the sector with new projects and collaborations – including in the Yarra Ranges. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today called out to local creative workers and businesses to explore Creative Victoria’s 2021 grants programs, now open for applications. The following grants are available for Victorian creative workers, collectives and small businesses working in all creative fields:  Creative Workers Fund: Support for the creation or presentation of new creative projects or products, professional or skills development, community collaborations and COVIDSafe ways to connect with audiences or new markets.  Creators Fund: Support for intensive research, development and experimentation across any creative discipline. Activities can include cross-industry collaborations. Thanks to a new partnership with the Sidney Myer Fund, this round of the program offers the largest funding pool to date. The Sidney Myer Fund’s generous contribution of $100,000 has increased the Creators Fund to $1 million, which will enable up to 10 additional grants.  Building Audiences Fund: Support for new marketing projects designed to build new audiences or re-establish audiences following the pandemic. In addition, the Music Works Grants program is focused on reactivating the music industry, with grants available for the creation and release of new music, professional development, initiatives to connect with audiences and live music events in regional and outer-metropolitan areas. These grants programs are part of the Andrews Labor Government’s investment of more than $220 million in the Victorian Budget 20/21 to support the creative sector to reactivate and rebuild. Applications are encouraged from First Peoples, regionally based creatives and businesses, culturally and linguistically diverse people and Deaf and Disabled applicants. In addition to project grants, most programs also provide additional support to cover access costs for the creatives involved and to make activities accessible for all. Full program guidelines are available on the Creative Victoria website along with application tips. Creative Victoria staff are available to answer questions from those interested in applying. Applications close from mid-February – check the website for program specific dates and information at creative.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “These programs are about supporting local creatives so they can create new work and get back to doing what they do best.” “No matter your creative discipline or career stage, I encourage creatives across the Monbulk community to find out more about these programs and apply.”

Supporting Our Local Creative Sector And Workers

Victoria’s nation-leading creative industries will receive more support as creative workers and businesses continue to re-activate the sector with new projects and collaborations – including in the Yarra Ranges. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today called out to local creative workers and businesses to explore Creative Victoria’s 2021 grants programs, now open for applications. The following grants are available for Victorian creative workers, collectives and small businesses working in all creative fields:  Creative Workers Fund: Support for the creation or presentation of new creative projects or products, professional or skills development, community collaborations and COVIDSafe ways to connect with audiences or new markets.  Creators Fund: Support for intensive research, development and experimentation across any creative discipline. Activities can include cross-industry collaborations. Thanks to a new partnership with the Sidney Myer Fund, this round of the program offers the largest funding pool to date. The Sidney Myer Fund’s generous contribution of $100,000 has increased the Creators Fund to $1 million, which will enable up to 10 additional grants.  Building Audiences Fund: Support for new marketing projects designed to build new audiences or re-establish audiences following the pandemic. In addition, the Music Works Grants program is focused on reactivating the music industry, with grants available for the creation and release of new music, professional development, initiatives to connect with audiences and live music events in regional and outer-metropolitan areas. These grants programs are part of the Andrews Labor Government’s investment of more than $220 million in the Victorian Budget 20/21 to support the creative sector to reactivate and rebuild. Applications are encouraged from First Peoples, regionally based creatives and businesses, culturally and linguistically diverse people and Deaf and Disabled applicants. In addition to project grants, most programs also provide additional support to cover access costs for the creatives involved and to make activities accessible for all. Full program guidelines are available on the Creative Victoria website along with application tips. Creative Victoria staff are available to answer questions from those interested in applying. Applications close from mid-February – check the website for program specific dates and information at creative.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “These programs are about supporting local creatives so they can create new work and get back to doing what they do best.” “No matter your creative discipline or career stage, I encourage creatives across the Monbulk community to find out more about these programs and apply.”

New $250 Power Saving Bonus To Support Vulnerable Victorians

Victorians from low-income households can now access a one-off $250 payment to help with their energy bills, thanks to the Victorian Government’s new Power Saving Bonus. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced the new $250 Power Saving Bonus will be available to eligible concession cardholders in Monbulk between 1 February 2021 and 31 January 2022, providing immediate energy bill relief to those who need it most. The bonus is available to all pensioner concession cardholders and some health care cardholders who visit the Victorian Energy Compare website. This website is designed to help consumers take charge of their energy costs by finding the best energy deal available. Seven out of ten people save money by using the website, with typical annual household savings of $330 on energy bills in the first year alone. Electricity bills are the top cost of living issue for consumers and about 20 per cent of Victorian households requested financial assistance with their energy bills last year due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). The bonus is available to anyone with a gas or electricity account who holds a pensioner concession card or receives JobSeeker, Austudy, Abstudy or Youth Allowance. To ensure the bonus is accessible to those who need it most, including those from marginalised communities and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the Victorian Government has enlisted the support of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and the Consumer Policy Research Centre. The Power Saving Bonus is part of an unprecedented $797 million household energy affordability package that was announced in the recent State Budget. Eligible cardholders can access the Power Saving Bonus at compare.energy.vic.gov.au or, if assistance is required, by calling 1800 000 832. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “For those on low-incomes, energy bills are often the biggest drain on household budgets, so we are providing immediate support with the Power Saving Bonus. It is part of our commitment to make energy fairer for Victorians” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “The Power Saving Bonus is the Government’s latest initiative to provide energy bill relief for households who need it most.” “Victorian Energy Compare is saving households hundreds of dollars on energy bills every year. I encourage everyone in Monbulk to visit the site and find a better deal on their gas and electricity” make it that much easier to enjoy nature and catch-up with loved ones, including our four-footed friends.”

New $250 Power Saving Bonus To Support Vulnerable Victorians

Victorians from low-income households can now access a one-off $250 payment to help with their energy bills, thanks to the Victorian Government’s new Power Saving Bonus. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced the new $250 Power Saving Bonus will be available to eligible concession cardholders in Monbulk between 1 February 2021 and 31 January 2022, providing immediate energy bill relief to those who need it most. The bonus is available to all pensioner concession cardholders and some health care cardholders who visit the Victorian Energy Compare website. This website is designed to help consumers take charge of their energy costs by finding the best energy deal available. Seven out of ten people save money by using the website, with typical annual household savings of $330 on energy bills in the first year alone. Electricity bills are the top cost of living issue for consumers and about 20 per cent of Victorian households requested financial assistance with their energy bills last year due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). The bonus is available to anyone with a gas or electricity account who holds a pensioner concession card or receives JobSeeker, Austudy, Abstudy or Youth Allowance. To ensure the bonus is accessible to those who need it most, including those from marginalised communities and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the Victorian Government has enlisted the support of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and the Consumer Policy Research Centre. The Power Saving Bonus is part of an unprecedented $797 million household energy affordability package that was announced in the recent State Budget. Eligible cardholders can access the Power Saving Bonus at compare.energy.vic.gov.au or, if assistance is required, by calling 1800 000 832. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “For those on low-incomes, energy bills are often the biggest drain on household budgets, so we are providing immediate support with the Power Saving Bonus. It is part of our commitment to make energy fairer for Victorians” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “The Power Saving Bonus is the Government’s latest initiative to provide energy bill relief for households who need it most.” “Victorian Energy Compare is saving households hundreds of dollars on energy bills every year. I encourage everyone in Monbulk to visit the site and find a better deal on their gas and electricity” make it that much easier to enjoy nature and catch-up with loved ones, including our four-footed friends.”

Getting Creatives Back To Work At Kallista Primary School

The Andrews Labor Government through its Working for Victoria initiative is providing a boost for workers in creative industries with the first 37 creative professionals starting their work with kids in 32 government schools across Victoria. Working for Victoria will fund new jobs for more than 150 artists and other creative professionals through the Creative Workers in Schools program. This week Shelley Matulick started working with Kallista Primary School to increase the literacy of students in digital mediums and recognise the need to become active makers in addition to passive consumers. The program will introduce students to the entire gamut of filmmaking skills, including planning, research, writing briefs and scripts, interviewing, camera skills, lighting, sound recording, editing and music production. Animators, circus performers, designers, fashion designers, filmmakers, landscape architects, musicians, podcasters, poets, puppeteers, sculptors, theatre makers, and visual artists are amongst the first creative workers to begin their six month placements in Term 1. Creative professionals will work with teachers and students on curriculum-aligned creative projects that respond to schools learning priorities in the arts. Students from prep through to Year 10 will learn new creative skills across a range of subjects. The program builds on the success of the Government’s long-running creative education programs which have seen artists and students work on projects including theatre shows inspired by history lessons, STEMbased digital games and song writing and filmmaking projects supporting the English curriculum. Expressions of Interest are now open for schools and creative workers to apply to the Creative Workers in Schools program for projects and placements commencing in Term 2. EOIs close 5pm, 22 February 2021. For more information visit rav.net.au/creative-workers-in-schools. Working for Victoria is matching thousands of Victorians with employers that need workers including those who have lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since launching last April, the $500 million initiative has created more than 12,000 jobs for Victorian workers. To register for Working for Victoria go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “This is a win-win for creative workers and kids – we’re creating local jobs for workers in one of the industries most affected by the pandemic and giving local kids an opportunity to gain new creative skills.” “We’re backing and supporting people when they need it most and fighting for every local job."

Getting Creatives Back To Work At Kallista Primary School

The Andrews Labor Government through its Working for Victoria initiative is providing a boost for workers in creative industries with the first 37 creative professionals starting their work with kids in 32 government schools across Victoria. Working for Victoria will fund new jobs for more than 150 artists and other creative professionals through the Creative Workers in Schools program. This week Shelley Matulick started working with Kallista Primary School to increase the literacy of students in digital mediums and recognise the need to become active makers in addition to passive consumers. The program will introduce students to the entire gamut of filmmaking skills, including planning, research, writing briefs and scripts, interviewing, camera skills, lighting, sound recording, editing and music production. Animators, circus performers, designers, fashion designers, filmmakers, landscape architects, musicians, podcasters, poets, puppeteers, sculptors, theatre makers, and visual artists are amongst the first creative workers to begin their six month placements in Term 1. Creative professionals will work with teachers and students on curriculum-aligned creative projects that respond to schools learning priorities in the arts. Students from prep through to Year 10 will learn new creative skills across a range of subjects. The program builds on the success of the Government’s long-running creative education programs which have seen artists and students work on projects including theatre shows inspired by history lessons, STEMbased digital games and song writing and filmmaking projects supporting the English curriculum. Expressions of Interest are now open for schools and creative workers to apply to the Creative Workers in Schools program for projects and placements commencing in Term 2. EOIs close 5pm, 22 February 2021. For more information visit rav.net.au/creative-workers-in-schools. Working for Victoria is matching thousands of Victorians with employers that need workers including those who have lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since launching last April, the $500 million initiative has created more than 12,000 jobs for Victorian workers. To register for Working for Victoria go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “This is a win-win for creative workers and kids – we’re creating local jobs for workers in one of the industries most affected by the pandemic and giving local kids an opportunity to gain new creative skills.” “We’re backing and supporting people when they need it most and fighting for every local job."

Ramlegh Park Primary School Opens Its Doors

Families across Clyde North will have access to a great local school close to home as Ramlegh Park Primary School opened its doors. Minister for Education James Merlino joined  Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale today officially open the new school and welcomed its first students. The school will cater for 525 students and includes two learning neighbourhoods, administration building, outdoor play courts, performing arts and physical education building as well as a sports field. Ramlegh Park Primary School has more than 400 students starting this year, including more than 130 Prep students, and is one of 14 new schools opening in 2021. A kindergarten has been built next door which will open in Term 1, 2021 with space for 99 kids. It will deliver both sessional and integrated kindergarten programs for three- and four-year-olds. Every new Victorian primary school opening from 2021 will have a kindergarten on-site or next door, reducing the burden on parents and ending the dreaded double drop off. This includes all 10 primary schools opening this year. Ramlegh Park Primary School is one of 14 new schools opening in 2021. In the past five years, the Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. For more information on the Labor Government’s school building boom, visit www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The first day of school is a big day every year – but particularly after the year we had last year. I thank every teacher, student and parent for their efforts last year and wish them well for the year ahead.” “We’re building new schools across the state so every child has a great local school and a best start in life – wherever they live.” Quote attributable to Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale “Every child deserves access to a great local school close to home. That is why, as our community grows, we need to open new schools just like Ramlegh Park Primary.”   Download the media release

Ramlegh Park Primary School Opens Its Doors

Families across Clyde North will have access to a great local school close to home as Ramlegh Park Primary School opened its doors. Minister for Education James Merlino joined  Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale today officially open the new school and welcomed its first students. The school will cater for 525 students and includes two learning neighbourhoods, administration building, outdoor play courts, performing arts and physical education building as well as a sports field. Ramlegh Park Primary School has more than 400 students starting this year, including more than 130 Prep students, and is one of 14 new schools opening in 2021. A kindergarten has been built next door which will open in Term 1, 2021 with space for 99 kids. It will deliver both sessional and integrated kindergarten programs for three- and four-year-olds. Every new Victorian primary school opening from 2021 will have a kindergarten on-site or next door, reducing the burden on parents and ending the dreaded double drop off. This includes all 10 primary schools opening this year. Ramlegh Park Primary School is one of 14 new schools opening in 2021. In the past five years, the Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. For more information on the Labor Government’s school building boom, visit www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The first day of school is a big day every year – but particularly after the year we had last year. I thank every teacher, student and parent for their efforts last year and wish them well for the year ahead.” “We’re building new schools across the state so every child has a great local school and a best start in life – wherever they live.” Quote attributable to Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale “Every child deserves access to a great local school close to home. That is why, as our community grows, we need to open new schools just like Ramlegh Park Primary.”   Download the media release

Cranbourne West Secondary College Opens Its Doors

Families across Cranbourne will have access to a great local school close to home as Cranbourne West Secondary College officially opened its doors. More than one million students return to schools across the state this week – including 84,000 preps –as 14 new schools open their doors as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s school building boom. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Cranbourne Pauline Richards today officially open the new Cranbourne West Secondary College and welcomed its first students. The school will cater for up to 1100 mainstream and 100 specialist students once all stages are complete and includes a new learning community, visual arts building, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) building, an administration building, sports field and two outdoor play courts. As a supported inclusion school, additional facilities are included in the design to accommodate students with additional needs, such as; wider corridors, more spaces for consultation classrooms, a project/kitchen space for students with special eating requirements and a fitness room for therapeutic use. Cranbourne West Secondary College has 187 students starting this year, and is one of 14 new schools opening in 2021. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. For more information on the Victorian Government’s school building boom, visit www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The first day of school is a big day every year – but particularly after the year we had last year. I thank every teacher, student and parent for their efforts last year and wish them well for the year ahead.” “We’re building new schools across the state so every child has a great local school and a best start in life – wherever they live.” Quote attributable to Member for Cranbourne Pauline Richards “Every student in Cranbourne deserves access to a great local school close to home and that is exactly what we are delivering." Download the media release

Cranbourne West Secondary College Opens Its Doors

Families across Cranbourne will have access to a great local school close to home as Cranbourne West Secondary College officially opened its doors. More than one million students return to schools across the state this week – including 84,000 preps –as 14 new schools open their doors as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s school building boom. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Cranbourne Pauline Richards today officially open the new Cranbourne West Secondary College and welcomed its first students. The school will cater for up to 1100 mainstream and 100 specialist students once all stages are complete and includes a new learning community, visual arts building, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) building, an administration building, sports field and two outdoor play courts. As a supported inclusion school, additional facilities are included in the design to accommodate students with additional needs, such as; wider corridors, more spaces for consultation classrooms, a project/kitchen space for students with special eating requirements and a fitness room for therapeutic use. Cranbourne West Secondary College has 187 students starting this year, and is one of 14 new schools opening in 2021. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs. The Government is now ahead of schedule on its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. For more information on the Victorian Government’s school building boom, visit www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The first day of school is a big day every year – but particularly after the year we had last year. I thank every teacher, student and parent for their efforts last year and wish them well for the year ahead.” “We’re building new schools across the state so every child has a great local school and a best start in life – wherever they live.” Quote attributable to Member for Cranbourne Pauline Richards “Every student in Cranbourne deserves access to a great local school close to home and that is exactly what we are delivering." Download the media release