• 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

Putting The Mental Health Of Victorians First

This has been the toughest year many of us have ever lived through. As we begin our state’s slow recovery, this year’s Budget invests in the health and wellbeing of our loved ones, by continuing the fundamental rebuild of Victoria's mental health system. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 includes $868.6 million to ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system. This includes funding the rollout of the interim recommendations from the Royal Commission into Mental Health, including $492 million to deliver 120 mental health beds in Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne. This is an addition to the 24 Hospital in the Home beds announced earlier this year, bringing the total to 144. An additional $18.9 million is provided for 35 acute treatments beds for public mental health patients in private health services. The Budget invests $21.4 million to support the statewide expansion of the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service, with individual, intensive and one-on-one support for Victorians as they rebuild their lives. Completion of the statewide rollout will deliver services in Albury-Wodonga, Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Broadmeadows, Box Hill, Clayton, Epping, Heidelberg, Mildura, Parkville, Shepparton and Warrnambool. As we begin the work to rebuild our system, learning from the lived experiences of Victorians is vital. It’s why $2.2 million will help design the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, a new centre dedicated to bringing together the experts on our mental health system – researchers, academics and those who’ve experienced it firsthand. A further $16 million will help those same Victorians use their own very real and personal experience to support and champion for others in need – with new training positions, education and opportunities for employment. This includes $7.3 million for a service designed and delivered by people with lived experience. The Budget also includes $8.7 million to establish a residential mental health service, specifically designed and delivered by those with lived experience. This service will deliver short-term care and support in a residential community setting, designed as a true alternative to acute hospital-based care. We’re supporting students and job seekers looking to pursue a career in the mental health sector into training opportunities. It includes $1.9 million for allied health, nursing and medical undergraduates to work part-time in community mental health settings while completing their studies. A further $3.1 million will support experienced general nurses to retrain as mental health nurses; and $7.7 million for specialist training roles in child and adolescent psychiatry to address the shortage of trained psychiatrists in these roles, including in regional areas. A further $7.7 million in funding is provided to begin to address workforce shortages in the mental health sector, to support future expansion of the workforce. This includes funding to increase the annual number of junior medical officer psychiatrist rotations, graduate nurses and postgraduate mental health nurse scholarships. State-owned facilities across Victoria will benefit from $20 million for upgrades and improvements. The Budget will also deliver an extra 19,000 hours for community mental health support. Supporting the mental health of our young people will remain critical as we begin our recovery, with this year’s Budget investing $47.8 million dedicated to early intervention support for young people – recognising that sometimes the most important help is the earliest help, as well as $7 million to support critical research into youth mental health and operations at the Orygen centre. Other key Budget investments include: $19.4 million to support mental health clinicians at the Victorian Fixed Threat Assessment Centre and deliver specialised services to meet the needs of people referred by the Centre $4.4 million to improve culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal Victorians $3.9 million for providing mental health and wellbeing support for asylum seekers $152 million to support and provide mental health services in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This year we’ve lived through a global pandemic – and all the stress and isolation it has brought – with a broken system. So now, more than ever, we need this investment in the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians.” “This Budget supports the recovery of our state and the fundamental rebuild of our system, delivering new beds, more staff and dedicated early support for young Victorians.” Download the media release

Putting The Mental Health Of Victorians First

This has been the toughest year many of us have ever lived through. As we begin our state’s slow recovery, this year’s Budget invests in the health and wellbeing of our loved ones, by continuing the fundamental rebuild of Victoria's mental health system. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 includes $868.6 million to ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system. This includes funding the rollout of the interim recommendations from the Royal Commission into Mental Health, including $492 million to deliver 120 mental health beds in Geelong, Epping, Sunshine and Melbourne. This is an addition to the 24 Hospital in the Home beds announced earlier this year, bringing the total to 144. An additional $18.9 million is provided for 35 acute treatments beds for public mental health patients in private health services. The Budget invests $21.4 million to support the statewide expansion of the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service, with individual, intensive and one-on-one support for Victorians as they rebuild their lives. Completion of the statewide rollout will deliver services in Albury-Wodonga, Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Broadmeadows, Box Hill, Clayton, Epping, Heidelberg, Mildura, Parkville, Shepparton and Warrnambool. As we begin the work to rebuild our system, learning from the lived experiences of Victorians is vital. It’s why $2.2 million will help design the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, a new centre dedicated to bringing together the experts on our mental health system – researchers, academics and those who’ve experienced it firsthand. A further $16 million will help those same Victorians use their own very real and personal experience to support and champion for others in need – with new training positions, education and opportunities for employment. This includes $7.3 million for a service designed and delivered by people with lived experience. The Budget also includes $8.7 million to establish a residential mental health service, specifically designed and delivered by those with lived experience. This service will deliver short-term care and support in a residential community setting, designed as a true alternative to acute hospital-based care. We’re supporting students and job seekers looking to pursue a career in the mental health sector into training opportunities. It includes $1.9 million for allied health, nursing and medical undergraduates to work part-time in community mental health settings while completing their studies. A further $3.1 million will support experienced general nurses to retrain as mental health nurses; and $7.7 million for specialist training roles in child and adolescent psychiatry to address the shortage of trained psychiatrists in these roles, including in regional areas. A further $7.7 million in funding is provided to begin to address workforce shortages in the mental health sector, to support future expansion of the workforce. This includes funding to increase the annual number of junior medical officer psychiatrist rotations, graduate nurses and postgraduate mental health nurse scholarships. State-owned facilities across Victoria will benefit from $20 million for upgrades and improvements. The Budget will also deliver an extra 19,000 hours for community mental health support. Supporting the mental health of our young people will remain critical as we begin our recovery, with this year’s Budget investing $47.8 million dedicated to early intervention support for young people – recognising that sometimes the most important help is the earliest help, as well as $7 million to support critical research into youth mental health and operations at the Orygen centre. Other key Budget investments include: $19.4 million to support mental health clinicians at the Victorian Fixed Threat Assessment Centre and deliver specialised services to meet the needs of people referred by the Centre $4.4 million to improve culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal Victorians $3.9 million for providing mental health and wellbeing support for asylum seekers $152 million to support and provide mental health services in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This year we’ve lived through a global pandemic – and all the stress and isolation it has brought – with a broken system. So now, more than ever, we need this investment in the mental health and wellbeing of Victorians.” “This Budget supports the recovery of our state and the fundamental rebuild of our system, delivering new beds, more staff and dedicated early support for young Victorians.” Download the media release

Building The Future Our Kids Deserve

With kids back in the classroom, the Andrews Labor Government wants to make sure our students have the gyms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. That includes delivering the biggest single boost to school infrastructure in the state’s history, bringing the total investment on improving and building new schools to more than $9 billion over the past five years. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests more than $3 billion in school upgrades, including $1.1 billion as part of the previously announced Building Works Package, with a further $1.9 billion to roll out the next phase of the school building boom. This extra $1.9 billion investment will support more than 6,400 in construction and supply chain jobs, including more than 4,830 jobs related to projects in metropolitan Melbourne and more than 1,570 jobs related to projects in regional Victoria. It includes $1.28 billion for 162 upgrades – targeted to schools most in need – with the architects to be appointed from January 2021 and construction work on every project to start within 16 months, creating a pipeline of work. More than $388.8 million of this investment will go toward improving facilities at 39 specialist schools – Victoria’s single largest investment ever in upgrading specialist schools. More than $85 million will expand seven existing schools – providing space for 1,175 extra students. And to ensure we can continue to meet future enrolment growth, more than $147 million has been allocated to acquire land for 11 new schools. The Budget will provide $122.4 million for a new vertical primary school in North Melbourne opening in 2023, and deliver a further four stages of new school projects, including at Clyde North Station Primary School, Preston High School, the new Benalla Campus of Wangaratta District Specialist School, and the new San Remo Campus of Wonthaggi Secondary College. The Budget also includes: $70 million for the Planned Maintenance Program to support upgrades and improvements at around 300 schools a further $50 million to fast-track shovel-ready projects at around 300 schools through the Minor Capital Works Fund an extra $20 million to build inclusive learning spaces and accessible playgrounds for students with disabilities through the Inclusive Schools Fund Victoria’s school building boom is the biggest in the country. More importantly, it’ll mean our kids have the classrooms – and the bright futures – they deserve. 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 – and 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 “This year, our kids have been learning long division at the dinner table and doing science experiments at the kitchen sink. As our state recovers, we want to give students the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve.” “This year has shown that a school is so much more than four walls and a roof. But by investing in new classrooms and new facilities, we’re making sure our school communities are stronger than ever.” “By investing in our schools, we’re investing in our kids’ future – and creating thousands of new jobs as we rebuild from this pandemic.” Download the media release

Building The Future Our Kids Deserve

With kids back in the classroom, the Andrews Labor Government wants to make sure our students have the gyms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. That includes delivering the biggest single boost to school infrastructure in the state’s history, bringing the total investment on improving and building new schools to more than $9 billion over the past five years. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests more than $3 billion in school upgrades, including $1.1 billion as part of the previously announced Building Works Package, with a further $1.9 billion to roll out the next phase of the school building boom. This extra $1.9 billion investment will support more than 6,400 in construction and supply chain jobs, including more than 4,830 jobs related to projects in metropolitan Melbourne and more than 1,570 jobs related to projects in regional Victoria. It includes $1.28 billion for 162 upgrades – targeted to schools most in need – with the architects to be appointed from January 2021 and construction work on every project to start within 16 months, creating a pipeline of work. More than $388.8 million of this investment will go toward improving facilities at 39 specialist schools – Victoria’s single largest investment ever in upgrading specialist schools. More than $85 million will expand seven existing schools – providing space for 1,175 extra students. And to ensure we can continue to meet future enrolment growth, more than $147 million has been allocated to acquire land for 11 new schools. The Budget will provide $122.4 million for a new vertical primary school in North Melbourne opening in 2023, and deliver a further four stages of new school projects, including at Clyde North Station Primary School, Preston High School, the new Benalla Campus of Wangaratta District Specialist School, and the new San Remo Campus of Wonthaggi Secondary College. The Budget also includes: $70 million for the Planned Maintenance Program to support upgrades and improvements at around 300 schools a further $50 million to fast-track shovel-ready projects at around 300 schools through the Minor Capital Works Fund an extra $20 million to build inclusive learning spaces and accessible playgrounds for students with disabilities through the Inclusive Schools Fund Victoria’s school building boom is the biggest in the country. More importantly, it’ll mean our kids have the classrooms – and the bright futures – they deserve. 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 – and 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 “This year, our kids have been learning long division at the dinner table and doing science experiments at the kitchen sink. As our state recovers, we want to give students the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve.” “This year has shown that a school is so much more than four walls and a roof. But by investing in new classrooms and new facilities, we’re making sure our school communities are stronger than ever.” “By investing in our schools, we’re investing in our kids’ future – and creating thousands of new jobs as we rebuild from this pandemic.” Download the media release

A Better Vocational Education For School Students

The Andrews Labor Government will overhaul Victoria’s school-based vocational education with a new integrated end-of-school certificate – ensuring wherever they go to school, every student will be able to do both academic and vocational subjects. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests $38 million to develop a new single VCE integrated senior secondary certificate – meaning students no longer have to choose between doing VCE or VCAL – and fund new Jobs, Skills and Pathways Coordinators in government secondary schools. The move to an integrated certificate follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth that found the change would provide all Victorian students with the best opportunity to develop both academic and practical vocational skills. The investment will also create a new Foundation Pathways Certificate to support students in all settings to successfully transition after finishing school, particularly students with a disability and additional needs. The integrated certificate will be implemented progressively from 2023 and will be fully implemented by 2025. The Firth review, released today, also found more needed to be done to ensure young people had access to training that engages young people, delivers in-demand skills and leads to quality jobs. The Labor Government has accepted all recommendations of the review in-principle. The Coordinators will provide advice and support for students choosing vocational and applied learning programs, in addition to working with training providers and employers to ensure that students get the most out of their learning and training. This initiative will also reduce the administration burden on schools, so they can get on with the job of delivering high-quality teaching and supporting students in their vocational learning. To continue to support families in need and bridge the digital divide, the Budget also invests more than $24.5 million so students can keep the more than 71,000 mobile devices loaned to them during the coronavirus pandemic. An additional $31.6 million will support more families through the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund and State Schools Relief’s Affordable School Uniforms program. The Budget provides more than $37.5 million to continue to help schools adopt a whole-school-approach to Respectful Relationships and embed a sustained, universal approach to the prevention of family violence. Another $7.4 million will continue the Marrung strategy, including expanding the successful Koorie Literacy and Numeracy and Koorie Engagement Support Officer programs to help Aboriginal students stay engaged in their education. These initiatives build on $250 million announced recently for more than 4,100 tutors at schools across Victoria, to ensure students who have fallen behind or become disengaged in the wake of the pandemic get the support they need in 2021. We also know the difference a great teacher makes to the lives of their students. That’s why a further $32.8 million will extend the Primary Maths and Science Specialists initiative, to train 200 more primary school teachers as mathematics and science specialists and help more students achieve their potential in STEM. More than $20.5 million will continue to help build teacher capability and data literacy in schools through specialist teachers and data and evidence coaches. The Labor Government has already announced $10.8 million to give aspiring teachers the opportunity to build their experience in secondary and specialist schools, as part of a $15.4 million investment towards fast-tracking teacher training programs. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want our kids to be all they can. With a single VCE certificate, we’ll make it easier for kids to get a range of skills – both academic and vocational.” “Not only will this change give students greater flexibility in the subjects they choose – it will also give young Victorians more flexibility once they leave school, whether that’s work or study.” “While learning from home, thousands of students benefitted from borrowed laptops, iPads and dongles. We want to make those loans permanent for kids who need them.” Download the media release

A Better Vocational Education For School Students

The Andrews Labor Government will overhaul Victoria’s school-based vocational education with a new integrated end-of-school certificate – ensuring wherever they go to school, every student will be able to do both academic and vocational subjects. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests $38 million to develop a new single VCE integrated senior secondary certificate – meaning students no longer have to choose between doing VCE or VCAL – and fund new Jobs, Skills and Pathways Coordinators in government secondary schools. The move to an integrated certificate follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth that found the change would provide all Victorian students with the best opportunity to develop both academic and practical vocational skills. The investment will also create a new Foundation Pathways Certificate to support students in all settings to successfully transition after finishing school, particularly students with a disability and additional needs. The integrated certificate will be implemented progressively from 2023 and will be fully implemented by 2025. The Firth review, released today, also found more needed to be done to ensure young people had access to training that engages young people, delivers in-demand skills and leads to quality jobs. The Labor Government has accepted all recommendations of the review in-principle. The Coordinators will provide advice and support for students choosing vocational and applied learning programs, in addition to working with training providers and employers to ensure that students get the most out of their learning and training. This initiative will also reduce the administration burden on schools, so they can get on with the job of delivering high-quality teaching and supporting students in their vocational learning. To continue to support families in need and bridge the digital divide, the Budget also invests more than $24.5 million so students can keep the more than 71,000 mobile devices loaned to them during the coronavirus pandemic. An additional $31.6 million will support more families through the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund and State Schools Relief’s Affordable School Uniforms program. The Budget provides more than $37.5 million to continue to help schools adopt a whole-school-approach to Respectful Relationships and embed a sustained, universal approach to the prevention of family violence. Another $7.4 million will continue the Marrung strategy, including expanding the successful Koorie Literacy and Numeracy and Koorie Engagement Support Officer programs to help Aboriginal students stay engaged in their education. These initiatives build on $250 million announced recently for more than 4,100 tutors at schools across Victoria, to ensure students who have fallen behind or become disengaged in the wake of the pandemic get the support they need in 2021. We also know the difference a great teacher makes to the lives of their students. That’s why a further $32.8 million will extend the Primary Maths and Science Specialists initiative, to train 200 more primary school teachers as mathematics and science specialists and help more students achieve their potential in STEM. More than $20.5 million will continue to help build teacher capability and data literacy in schools through specialist teachers and data and evidence coaches. The Labor Government has already announced $10.8 million to give aspiring teachers the opportunity to build their experience in secondary and specialist schools, as part of a $15.4 million investment towards fast-tracking teacher training programs. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want our kids to be all they can. With a single VCE certificate, we’ll make it easier for kids to get a range of skills – both academic and vocational.” “Not only will this change give students greater flexibility in the subjects they choose – it will also give young Victorians more flexibility once they leave school, whether that’s work or study.” “While learning from home, thousands of students benefitted from borrowed laptops, iPads and dongles. We want to make those loans permanent for kids who need them.” Download the media release

Helping Families Juggling It All

This year, parents have had to juggle work and childcare and kids learning from home. Even now with kids back at school and kinder, we know that balancing act isn’t easy. It’s why the Victorian Budget 2020/21 will deliver a $773.8 million investment in early childhood education, including $169.6 million to help cover the cost of kinder for up to 100,000 Victorian families. The Andrews Labor Government will also increase the availability of before and after school care – reducing the burden for parents and making it easier for women to return to work. Under this investment, subsidies will be offered to early childhood services providing funded kindergarten programs – meaning free kinder for four-year-olds and eligible three-year-olds attending a participating sessional kinder. Families with children enrolled in kinder programs at a long day care centre will also benefit from a saving of around $2,000 in fees. And for those families that have kids attending unfunded three-year-old programs in sessional kindergartens, there will also be reduced fees. The Budget also invests an extra $302 million to continue the roll-out of our landmark three-year-old kinder reform, which started in six regional local government areas this year and expands to a further 15 areas in 2021 – and then to the rest of the state in 2022. A further $38.5 million will be invested in the Building Blocks grants program, which offers early childhood providers funding towards building, expanding, improving and creating more inclusive early learning facilities. This additional boost is expected to create up to 1,500 additional kindergarten places, build more inclusive facilities for young Victorians of all abilities and provide services with IT grants. An extra $30 million will go towards the Refurbishment and Minor Works grant program, which will support the delivery of minor capital works projects at Victoria’s kinders. This new program will create more than 180 jobs in construction and associated industries, while giving our kids the best start in life. It’s part of the Labor Government’s $5 billion investment over the decade to provide up to 15 hours of funded kindergarten each week for three-year-old children – creating more than 6,000 early childhood teacher and educator jobs across the state. A new $81.6 million initiative will establish up to 400 new outside school hours care services at government schools, increasing the availability of before and after school care options for families. Grants of up to $75,000 will be available to start these new programs, which will be available to both government and non-government students. The Budget also includes almost $6.2 million for early intervention specialist support to help parents and kids struggling as a result of the pandemic. This includes a new $1.5 million family group program to help vulnerable kids transition to school and $3.8 million for outreach and wraparound services to support vulnerable children, including those in public housing communities, to participate in early learning. Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “It’s been a difficult year for many families, balancing learning and working from home. This support will reduce the burden on parents and better support kids – at their kinder program, and as they move into school.” “This investment will create jobs and help more Victorians – particularly women – return to the workforce as we rebuild from the pandemic.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Hundreds of schools will be able to establish before and after school care programs for students, giving parents more flexibility as they manage that daily juggle.” Download the media release 

Helping Families Juggling It All

This year, parents have had to juggle work and childcare and kids learning from home. Even now with kids back at school and kinder, we know that balancing act isn’t easy. It’s why the Victorian Budget 2020/21 will deliver a $773.8 million investment in early childhood education, including $169.6 million to help cover the cost of kinder for up to 100,000 Victorian families. The Andrews Labor Government will also increase the availability of before and after school care – reducing the burden for parents and making it easier for women to return to work. Under this investment, subsidies will be offered to early childhood services providing funded kindergarten programs – meaning free kinder for four-year-olds and eligible three-year-olds attending a participating sessional kinder. Families with children enrolled in kinder programs at a long day care centre will also benefit from a saving of around $2,000 in fees. And for those families that have kids attending unfunded three-year-old programs in sessional kindergartens, there will also be reduced fees. The Budget also invests an extra $302 million to continue the roll-out of our landmark three-year-old kinder reform, which started in six regional local government areas this year and expands to a further 15 areas in 2021 – and then to the rest of the state in 2022. A further $38.5 million will be invested in the Building Blocks grants program, which offers early childhood providers funding towards building, expanding, improving and creating more inclusive early learning facilities. This additional boost is expected to create up to 1,500 additional kindergarten places, build more inclusive facilities for young Victorians of all abilities and provide services with IT grants. An extra $30 million will go towards the Refurbishment and Minor Works grant program, which will support the delivery of minor capital works projects at Victoria’s kinders. This new program will create more than 180 jobs in construction and associated industries, while giving our kids the best start in life. It’s part of the Labor Government’s $5 billion investment over the decade to provide up to 15 hours of funded kindergarten each week for three-year-old children – creating more than 6,000 early childhood teacher and educator jobs across the state. A new $81.6 million initiative will establish up to 400 new outside school hours care services at government schools, increasing the availability of before and after school care options for families. Grants of up to $75,000 will be available to start these new programs, which will be available to both government and non-government students. The Budget also includes almost $6.2 million for early intervention specialist support to help parents and kids struggling as a result of the pandemic. This includes a new $1.5 million family group program to help vulnerable kids transition to school and $3.8 million for outreach and wraparound services to support vulnerable children, including those in public housing communities, to participate in early learning. Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “It’s been a difficult year for many families, balancing learning and working from home. This support will reduce the burden on parents and better support kids – at their kinder program, and as they move into school.” “This investment will create jobs and help more Victorians – particularly women – return to the workforce as we rebuild from the pandemic.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Hundreds of schools will be able to establish before and after school care programs for students, giving parents more flexibility as they manage that daily juggle.” Download the media release 

Help Where It’s Needed: Supporting Victorians With Disability

As our state recovers stronger and fairer, we need to make sure every Victorian has the support they need. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest an unprecedented extra $1.9 billion to make sure Victorians with disability are supported – including our youngest Victorians. A nearly $1.6 billion record investment will transform support for students with disability in Victorian government schools – 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 schools will benefit from the change, providing access to students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted support – such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours. A world-leading pilot successfully run in more than 100 schools will now be rolled out across the state, providing an innovative approach to identify and respond to the needs of students with disability. This new approach puts the needs of the student at the heart of our response – shifting away from current practices and focusing on what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. A new facilitator role will be established to help schools and families work through this new approach. This investment also includes $102.8 million to deliver new resources and support to build the skills and knowledge of our incredible school staff in delivering inclusive education for every student. In addition to this, the Andrews Labor Government will invest an extra $223.3 million over the next four years to support Victorians with a disability who are not eligible for the NDIS. As part of this, $5 million has been allocated to provide coordination supports for Victorians with complex needs including continuing the Government’s Intensive Support Team for a further two years, which has already helped more than 1,300 Victorians with complex needs who have found difficulty in navigating the NDIS or receiving an appropriate plan. Younger people living with disability who are ineligible for the NDIS will also be afforded the independence they deserve with another $41.9 million through our Home and Community Care Program for Younger People. A strong, inclusive and fair future for our state depends on achieving a strong, inclusive and fair future for people with disability, which is why we will work the sector, community organisations and Victorians with disability to develop Victoria's new Disability Plan. As part of this, more than $7 million has been allocated for 3,150 extra publicly-funded autism assessments over the next four years, to improve access to early intervention and support. This also builds on the important work being done through the Labor Government’s Victorian Autism Plan, released last year. The Government has already made significant investments in the sector in response to the pandemic with $17 million to ensure all Victorians with disability get the help they need, when they need it. This includes $2.9 million allocated for infection control training for disability service providers. Another $2.7 million will continue the work of COVID-19 Disability Liaison Officers in our health services, assisting with access and support to testing and treatment for people with disability. On top of this, $850,000 will continue the COVID-19 Disability Advocacy Outreach Initiative to provide greater outreach support to diverse and hard to reach groups for a further six months. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is the biggest change in disability support in our schools Victoria has ever seen, and it will make a difference in classrooms and to kids across the state.” “Because every student – including those with the most complex of needs – deserves a great education.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Disability Luke Donnellan “We’re making sure Victorians with a disability and the dedicated people who care for them have the support they need.” “Building a fairer Victoria means looking after our most vulnerable and making sure they have the independence, care and support they deserve.” Download the media release

Help Where It’s Needed: Supporting Victorians With Disability

As our state recovers stronger and fairer, we need to make sure every Victorian has the support they need. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest an unprecedented extra $1.9 billion to make sure Victorians with disability are supported – including our youngest Victorians. A nearly $1.6 billion record investment will transform support for students with disability in Victorian government schools – 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 schools will benefit from the change, providing access to students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted support – such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours. A world-leading pilot successfully run in more than 100 schools will now be rolled out across the state, providing an innovative approach to identify and respond to the needs of students with disability. This new approach puts the needs of the student at the heart of our response – shifting away from current practices and focusing on what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. A new facilitator role will be established to help schools and families work through this new approach. This investment also includes $102.8 million to deliver new resources and support to build the skills and knowledge of our incredible school staff in delivering inclusive education for every student. In addition to this, the Andrews Labor Government will invest an extra $223.3 million over the next four years to support Victorians with a disability who are not eligible for the NDIS. As part of this, $5 million has been allocated to provide coordination supports for Victorians with complex needs including continuing the Government’s Intensive Support Team for a further two years, which has already helped more than 1,300 Victorians with complex needs who have found difficulty in navigating the NDIS or receiving an appropriate plan. Younger people living with disability who are ineligible for the NDIS will also be afforded the independence they deserve with another $41.9 million through our Home and Community Care Program for Younger People. A strong, inclusive and fair future for our state depends on achieving a strong, inclusive and fair future for people with disability, which is why we will work the sector, community organisations and Victorians with disability to develop Victoria's new Disability Plan. As part of this, more than $7 million has been allocated for 3,150 extra publicly-funded autism assessments over the next four years, to improve access to early intervention and support. This also builds on the important work being done through the Labor Government’s Victorian Autism Plan, released last year. The Government has already made significant investments in the sector in response to the pandemic with $17 million to ensure all Victorians with disability get the help they need, when they need it. This includes $2.9 million allocated for infection control training for disability service providers. Another $2.7 million will continue the work of COVID-19 Disability Liaison Officers in our health services, assisting with access and support to testing and treatment for people with disability. On top of this, $850,000 will continue the COVID-19 Disability Advocacy Outreach Initiative to provide greater outreach support to diverse and hard to reach groups for a further six months. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is the biggest change in disability support in our schools Victoria has ever seen, and it will make a difference in classrooms and to kids across the state.” “Because every student – including those with the most complex of needs – deserves a great education.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Disability Luke Donnellan “We’re making sure Victorians with a disability and the dedicated people who care for them have the support they need.” “Building a fairer Victoria means looking after our most vulnerable and making sure they have the independence, care and support they deserve.” Download the media release

Building The Future Our Kids Deserve

With kids back in the classroom, the Andrews Labor Government wants to make sure our students have the gyms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. That includes delivering the biggest single boost to school infrastructure in the state’s history, bringing the total investment on improving and building new schools to more than $9 billion over the past five years. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests more than $3 billion in school upgrades, including $1.1 billion as part of the previously announced Building Works Package, with a further $1.9 billion to roll out the next phase of the school building boom. This extra $1.9 billion investment will support more than 6,400 in construction and supply chain jobs, including more than 4,830 jobs related to projects in metropolitan Melbourne and more than 1,570 jobs related to projects in regional Victoria. It includes $1.28 billion for 162 upgrades – targeted to schools most in need – with the architects to be appointed from January 2021 and construction work on every project to start within 16 months, creating a pipeline of work. More than $388.8 million of this investment will go toward improving facilities at 39 specialist schools – Victoria’s single largest investment ever in upgrading specialist schools. More than $85 million will expand seven existing schools – providing space for 1,175 extra students. And to ensure we can continue to meet future enrolment growth, more than $147 million has been allocated to acquire land for 11 new schools. The Budget will provide $122.4 million for a new vertical primary school in North Melbourne opening in 2023, and deliver a further four stages of new school projects, including at Clyde North Station Primary School, Preston High School, the new Benalla Campus of Wangaratta District Specialist School, and the new San Remo Campus of Wonthaggi Secondary College. The Budget also includes: $70 million for the Planned Maintenance Program to support upgrades and improvements at around 300 schools a further $50 million to fast-track shovel-ready projects at around 300 schools through the Minor Capital Works Fund an extra $20 million to build inclusive learning spaces and accessible playgrounds for students with disabilities through the Inclusive Schools Fund Victoria’s school building boom is the biggest in the country. More importantly, it’ll mean our kids have the classrooms – and the bright futures – they deserve. 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 – and 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 Premier Daniel Andrews  “This year, our kids have been learning long division at the dinner table and doing science experiments at the kitchen sink. As our state recovers, we want to give students the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve.” “This year has shown that a school is so much more than four walls and a roof. But by investing in new classrooms and new facilities, we’re making sure our school communities are stronger than ever.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “By investing in our schools, we’re investing in our kids’ future – and creating thousands of new jobs as we rebuild from this pandemic.”

Building The Future Our Kids Deserve

With kids back in the classroom, the Andrews Labor Government wants to make sure our students have the gyms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. That includes delivering the biggest single boost to school infrastructure in the state’s history, bringing the total investment on improving and building new schools to more than $9 billion over the past five years. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests more than $3 billion in school upgrades, including $1.1 billion as part of the previously announced Building Works Package, with a further $1.9 billion to roll out the next phase of the school building boom. This extra $1.9 billion investment will support more than 6,400 in construction and supply chain jobs, including more than 4,830 jobs related to projects in metropolitan Melbourne and more than 1,570 jobs related to projects in regional Victoria. It includes $1.28 billion for 162 upgrades – targeted to schools most in need – with the architects to be appointed from January 2021 and construction work on every project to start within 16 months, creating a pipeline of work. More than $388.8 million of this investment will go toward improving facilities at 39 specialist schools – Victoria’s single largest investment ever in upgrading specialist schools. More than $85 million will expand seven existing schools – providing space for 1,175 extra students. And to ensure we can continue to meet future enrolment growth, more than $147 million has been allocated to acquire land for 11 new schools. The Budget will provide $122.4 million for a new vertical primary school in North Melbourne opening in 2023, and deliver a further four stages of new school projects, including at Clyde North Station Primary School, Preston High School, the new Benalla Campus of Wangaratta District Specialist School, and the new San Remo Campus of Wonthaggi Secondary College. The Budget also includes: $70 million for the Planned Maintenance Program to support upgrades and improvements at around 300 schools a further $50 million to fast-track shovel-ready projects at around 300 schools through the Minor Capital Works Fund an extra $20 million to build inclusive learning spaces and accessible playgrounds for students with disabilities through the Inclusive Schools Fund Victoria’s school building boom is the biggest in the country. More importantly, it’ll mean our kids have the classrooms – and the bright futures – they deserve. 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 – and 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 Premier Daniel Andrews  “This year, our kids have been learning long division at the dinner table and doing science experiments at the kitchen sink. As our state recovers, we want to give students the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve.” “This year has shown that a school is so much more than four walls and a roof. But by investing in new classrooms and new facilities, we’re making sure our school communities are stronger than ever.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “By investing in our schools, we’re investing in our kids’ future – and creating thousands of new jobs as we rebuild from this pandemic.”

Fast-Tracking Professionals Into Teaching Careers

Teacher training programs will be fast tracked to fill hard-to-staff positions in schools and early childhood services – giving kids better teachers and helping people get new skills and a new career. Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt today announced a new $15.49 million initiative to give 500 aspiring school teachers and 76 early childhood teachers the opportunity to boost their skills through accelerated Initial Teacher Education university programs. The initiative will help schools employ local teachers to work in hard-to-staff roles in outer-metropolitan, rural and regional locations, in areas such as STEM, languages, applied learning and specialist education. It will also help early childhood educators become teachers as part of the roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. Aspiring school teachers with a bachelor’s degree will be able to complete their Masters of Teaching in 18-24 months through either an employment-based model – combining paid on-the-job training at a local school with studying – or through a hybrid model that combines intensive study with pracical classroom experience. Diploma-qualified early childhood educators will also be able to trim the three-year Bachelor of Early Childhood Education down to 18 months. The first graduates from this initiative will be ready to work as qualified teachers in local government secondary, specialist schools and early childhood services in 2022. This investment in initial teacher education removes barriers for educators interested in upskilling, but who could not otherwise afford not to do so. Aspiring school teachers can earn more than $47,000 per year while they learn on-the-job. Students completing the hybrid program will be eligible for a $15,000 stipend to support their intensive study in their first year. Financial support packages will also be available for participating early childhood educators valued at $30,000 to cover course fees and materials, as well as helping with living expenses while they study. Students will be supported to continue working part-time as educators while they study, potentially earning around $20,000 per year. In addition, early childhood services will receive direct funding for each student to provide wraparound support and mentoring to support educators while they train to become teachers. The Government will partner with Deakin University, the University of Melbourne, Australian Catholic University, Federation University Australia and Monash University to deliver the accelerated Masters of Teaching in 2021. Deakin University will also offer the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education course in 2021. For information, visit vic.gov.au/teachthefuture. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We all know the difference a great teacher can make, which is why we’re fast-tracking graduates into classrooms where they are needed most. This initiative will give aspiring teachers the opportunity to be paid while they train for local jobs, as well as delivering a pipeline of teachers for schools in outer-metropolitan, rural and regional areas.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “This investment will remove financial barriers for educators ready to take the next step in their career, and help to ensure there are more teachers across the state to help deliver Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.” Download the media release 

Fast-Tracking Professionals Into Teaching Careers

Teacher training programs will be fast tracked to fill hard-to-staff positions in schools and early childhood services – giving kids better teachers and helping people get new skills and a new career. Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt today announced a new $15.49 million initiative to give 500 aspiring school teachers and 76 early childhood teachers the opportunity to boost their skills through accelerated Initial Teacher Education university programs. The initiative will help schools employ local teachers to work in hard-to-staff roles in outer-metropolitan, rural and regional locations, in areas such as STEM, languages, applied learning and specialist education. It will also help early childhood educators become teachers as part of the roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. Aspiring school teachers with a bachelor’s degree will be able to complete their Masters of Teaching in 18-24 months through either an employment-based model – combining paid on-the-job training at a local school with studying – or through a hybrid model that combines intensive study with pracical classroom experience. Diploma-qualified early childhood educators will also be able to trim the three-year Bachelor of Early Childhood Education down to 18 months. The first graduates from this initiative will be ready to work as qualified teachers in local government secondary, specialist schools and early childhood services in 2022. This investment in initial teacher education removes barriers for educators interested in upskilling, but who could not otherwise afford not to do so. Aspiring school teachers can earn more than $47,000 per year while they learn on-the-job. Students completing the hybrid program will be eligible for a $15,000 stipend to support their intensive study in their first year. Financial support packages will also be available for participating early childhood educators valued at $30,000 to cover course fees and materials, as well as helping with living expenses while they study. Students will be supported to continue working part-time as educators while they study, potentially earning around $20,000 per year. In addition, early childhood services will receive direct funding for each student to provide wraparound support and mentoring to support educators while they train to become teachers. The Government will partner with Deakin University, the University of Melbourne, Australian Catholic University, Federation University Australia and Monash University to deliver the accelerated Masters of Teaching in 2021. Deakin University will also offer the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education course in 2021. For information, visit vic.gov.au/teachthefuture. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We all know the difference a great teacher can make, which is why we’re fast-tracking graduates into classrooms where they are needed most. This initiative will give aspiring teachers the opportunity to be paid while they train for local jobs, as well as delivering a pipeline of teachers for schools in outer-metropolitan, rural and regional areas.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “This investment will remove financial barriers for educators ready to take the next step in their career, and help to ensure there are more teachers across the state to help deliver Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.” Download the media release 

MONBULK COLLEGE SHARES IN $6.59 MILLION MAINTENANCE FUNDS BOOST

Monbulk College students will be among those at 108 schools across the state to benefit from having maintenance works carried out at their school, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced that Monbulk College will share in $6.59 million of Planned Maintenance Program funding for essential work to grounds and classrooms such as fixing roofs and windows, painting, resurfacing floors and replacing windows, as well as repairing landscaping like pathways and stairs. Monbulk College will receive $10,000 for high priority works identified in the school's Specialist Assessment which will address the school's roof plumbing issues. It adds to $6.3 million allocated to 109 schools in September under the same program. The Planned Maintenance Program provides funding for vital maintenance works based on need. Works are determined via an evaluation system designed to provide up-to-date information on the condition of school infrastructure and create a more timely and targeted allocation of PMP funding. Last year, every Victorian school shared in $515 million as part of the single largest boost to school maintenance ever undertaken. This funding is ensuring existing buildings at Victoria’s 1,500 state schools are safe, modern and properly maintained. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “These works will deliver high quality learning facilities for the students at Monbulk College.” “This investment is delivering on our priority to ensure that every Victorian school is well maintained and safe so that every student can learn in the best possible environment.”

MONBULK COLLEGE SHARES IN $6.59 MILLION MAINTENANCE FUNDS BOOST

Monbulk College students will be among those at 108 schools across the state to benefit from having maintenance works carried out at their school, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced that Monbulk College will share in $6.59 million of Planned Maintenance Program funding for essential work to grounds and classrooms such as fixing roofs and windows, painting, resurfacing floors and replacing windows, as well as repairing landscaping like pathways and stairs. Monbulk College will receive $10,000 for high priority works identified in the school's Specialist Assessment which will address the school's roof plumbing issues. It adds to $6.3 million allocated to 109 schools in September under the same program. The Planned Maintenance Program provides funding for vital maintenance works based on need. Works are determined via an evaluation system designed to provide up-to-date information on the condition of school infrastructure and create a more timely and targeted allocation of PMP funding. Last year, every Victorian school shared in $515 million as part of the single largest boost to school maintenance ever undertaken. This funding is ensuring existing buildings at Victoria’s 1,500 state schools are safe, modern and properly maintained. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “These works will deliver high quality learning facilities for the students at Monbulk College.” “This investment is delivering on our priority to ensure that every Victorian school is well maintained and safe so that every student can learn in the best possible environment.”

 

Literacy Champion Wins Top Education Excellence Award

A secondary school teacher improving literacy rates in VCE students has taken out Victoria’s top public education prize, honoured by the Andrews Labor Government as one of 14 Victorian Education Excellence Awards winners. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the winners of the 2020 education excellence awards as part of a special online ceremony, recognising inspirational teachers, principals and education support staff who improve schools and support children and young people. Five individual awards, six team awards and three specialist awards were given, with winners chosen from a shortlist of 41 finalists. The award’s top prize, the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education, went to Mordialloc College teacher Andrew McConchie for driving improvements in reading and writing through the introduction of a whole-school literacy program, which saw improved VCE English and NAPLAN results. Andrew also won the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award. Princes Hill Primary School principal Esme Capp won the Outstanding Primary Principal Award for her work in using research to improve teaching outcomes, while Camberwell High School principal Jill Laughlin won the Outstanding Secondary Principal Award for her work in becoming a STEM school leader one of three P-TECH (Pathways in Technology) schools in Victoria, specialising in cybersecurity. Kangaroo Flat Primary School, Swan Hill Primary School, Cobram Primary School, River Gum Primary School and Preston High School were also honoured for education excellence. Winners in all categories are awarded professional development grants of up to $25,000 to support their work in schools. Andrew McConchie also received a further $20,000 grant as the winner of the Lindsay Thompson Award. The live-streamed awards ceremony was co-hosted by The Project’s Gorgi Coghlan and included live crosses to the 41 finalists. From 2021, the Outstanding Secondary Principal Award will be renamed the Colin Simpson Outstanding Secondary Principal Award to honour the one of the Victoria’s most outstanding and influential secondary principals. Colin was the founding principal of Richmond High School and a long-serving principal of the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. He was regarded as one of Australia’s leading arts educators. More information about the awards and winners is available at www.education.vic.gov.au/veea  Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This year’s winners have shown excellence and dedication in improving the educational outcomes for Victorian students and are well deserving of this recognition.” “We are building the Education State, where every student can access a great local school and get a great education. This includes having great teachers at the forefront of our classrooms to help young people thrive.” 2020 Victorian Education Excellence Award winners Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education: Andrew McConchie (Mordialloc College) Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Primary Teacher: Ben Clark (Antonio Park Primary School) Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Secondary Teacher: Mitch Crowley (Hazel Glen College) Outstanding Business Manager Award: Matthew Smitten (Bacchus Marsh Primary School) Outstanding Primary Teacher Award: Averil Mitchell (Hampton Park Primary School) Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award: Andrew McConchie (Mordialloc College) Outstanding Primary Principal Award: Esme Capp (Princes Hill Primary School) Outstanding Secondary Principal Award: Jill Laughlin (Camberwell High School) Dr Lawrie Shears Excellence in Global Teaching and Learning Award: Richmond West Primary School Outstanding Education Support Team Award: Latrobe Valley Flexible Learning Option Outstanding Inclusive Education Award: Kangaroo Flat Primary School Outstanding Koorie Education Award: Swan Hill Primary School Outstanding School Improvement Award: Cobram Primary School Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students – Primary: River Gum Primary School Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students – Secondary: Preston High School Download the media release

Literacy Champion Wins Top Education Excellence Award

A secondary school teacher improving literacy rates in VCE students has taken out Victoria’s top public education prize, honoured by the Andrews Labor Government as one of 14 Victorian Education Excellence Awards winners. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the winners of the 2020 education excellence awards as part of a special online ceremony, recognising inspirational teachers, principals and education support staff who improve schools and support children and young people. Five individual awards, six team awards and three specialist awards were given, with winners chosen from a shortlist of 41 finalists. The award’s top prize, the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education, went to Mordialloc College teacher Andrew McConchie for driving improvements in reading and writing through the introduction of a whole-school literacy program, which saw improved VCE English and NAPLAN results. Andrew also won the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award. Princes Hill Primary School principal Esme Capp won the Outstanding Primary Principal Award for her work in using research to improve teaching outcomes, while Camberwell High School principal Jill Laughlin won the Outstanding Secondary Principal Award for her work in becoming a STEM school leader one of three P-TECH (Pathways in Technology) schools in Victoria, specialising in cybersecurity. Kangaroo Flat Primary School, Swan Hill Primary School, Cobram Primary School, River Gum Primary School and Preston High School were also honoured for education excellence. Winners in all categories are awarded professional development grants of up to $25,000 to support their work in schools. Andrew McConchie also received a further $20,000 grant as the winner of the Lindsay Thompson Award. The live-streamed awards ceremony was co-hosted by The Project’s Gorgi Coghlan and included live crosses to the 41 finalists. From 2021, the Outstanding Secondary Principal Award will be renamed the Colin Simpson Outstanding Secondary Principal Award to honour the one of the Victoria’s most outstanding and influential secondary principals. Colin was the founding principal of Richmond High School and a long-serving principal of the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. He was regarded as one of Australia’s leading arts educators. More information about the awards and winners is available at www.education.vic.gov.au/veea  Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This year’s winners have shown excellence and dedication in improving the educational outcomes for Victorian students and are well deserving of this recognition.” “We are building the Education State, where every student can access a great local school and get a great education. This includes having great teachers at the forefront of our classrooms to help young people thrive.” 2020 Victorian Education Excellence Award winners Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education: Andrew McConchie (Mordialloc College) Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Primary Teacher: Ben Clark (Antonio Park Primary School) Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Secondary Teacher: Mitch Crowley (Hazel Glen College) Outstanding Business Manager Award: Matthew Smitten (Bacchus Marsh Primary School) Outstanding Primary Teacher Award: Averil Mitchell (Hampton Park Primary School) Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award: Andrew McConchie (Mordialloc College) Outstanding Primary Principal Award: Esme Capp (Princes Hill Primary School) Outstanding Secondary Principal Award: Jill Laughlin (Camberwell High School) Dr Lawrie Shears Excellence in Global Teaching and Learning Award: Richmond West Primary School Outstanding Education Support Team Award: Latrobe Valley Flexible Learning Option Outstanding Inclusive Education Award: Kangaroo Flat Primary School Outstanding Koorie Education Award: Swan Hill Primary School Outstanding School Improvement Award: Cobram Primary School Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students – Primary: River Gum Primary School Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students – Secondary: Preston High School Download the media release

Inclusive Education: Making Sure Our Kids Can Be Their Best

As our state recovers stronger and fairer, we need to make sure every Victorian has the support they need. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest an unprecedented nearly $1.6 billion to make sure students with disability are supported in the classroom through an Australian first Disability Inclusion package. The record investment will transform support for students with disability in Victorian government schools – 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 schools will benefit from the change, enabling them to better support students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted support – such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours. A world-leading pilot in more than 100 schools will now be rolled out across the state, to identify and respond to the needs of students with disability. This new approach puts the needs of the student at the heart of our response – shifting away from current practices and focusing on what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. For students, this will mean more opportunities to promote their own strengths, interests and learning needs, and the support they need at school. With additional funding, schools will be able to better plan and adjust support for students throughout all stages of their schooling. New facilitator roles will be established to help schools and families work together through this new approach. Facilitators will bring their expertise and knowledge into classrooms to support students and schools – which will be critical in the move towards the new approach. This investment also includes $102.8 million to deliver new resources and support to build the skills and knowledge of our incredible school staff in delivering inclusive education for every student. This will include more than 100 extra staff to provide on-the-ground implementation support and program delivery for schools. The Disability Inclusion package will transform support for students with a disability in Victorian government schools, to ensure every student at every ability can thrive as we continue to build the Education State. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our kids are far more than their diagnosis. This will completely change the way we support children in our schools – focussing on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t.” “We will work with schools and families through each step, making sure students are at the heart of every decision that is made. This is the biggest change in disability support in our schools Victoria has ever seen, and it will make a difference in classrooms and to kids across the state.” Quote attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan “This package will mean so much to Victorian students with a disability, their schools and their families – ensuring they get the support they deserve.” Download the media release

Inclusive Education: Making Sure Our Kids Can Be Their Best

As our state recovers stronger and fairer, we need to make sure every Victorian has the support they need. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest an unprecedented nearly $1.6 billion to make sure students with disability are supported in the classroom through an Australian first Disability Inclusion package. The record investment will transform support for students with disability in Victorian government schools – 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 schools will benefit from the change, enabling them to better support students who may have previously been ineligible for targeted support – such as those with autism, dyslexia or complex behaviours. A world-leading pilot in more than 100 schools will now be rolled out across the state, to identify and respond to the needs of students with disability. This new approach puts the needs of the student at the heart of our response – shifting away from current practices and focusing on what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. For students, this will mean more opportunities to promote their own strengths, interests and learning needs, and the support they need at school. With additional funding, schools will be able to better plan and adjust support for students throughout all stages of their schooling. New facilitator roles will be established to help schools and families work together through this new approach. Facilitators will bring their expertise and knowledge into classrooms to support students and schools – which will be critical in the move towards the new approach. This investment also includes $102.8 million to deliver new resources and support to build the skills and knowledge of our incredible school staff in delivering inclusive education for every student. This will include more than 100 extra staff to provide on-the-ground implementation support and program delivery for schools. The Disability Inclusion package will transform support for students with a disability in Victorian government schools, to ensure every student at every ability can thrive as we continue to build the Education State. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our kids are far more than their diagnosis. This will completely change the way we support children in our schools – focussing on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t.” “We will work with schools and families through each step, making sure students are at the heart of every decision that is made. This is the biggest change in disability support in our schools Victoria has ever seen, and it will make a difference in classrooms and to kids across the state.” Quote attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan “This package will mean so much to Victorian students with a disability, their schools and their families – ensuring they get the support they deserve.” Download the media release

Brand New School Ready For Eynesbury Students

Families living in Melbourne’s west will soon have access to the new state-of-the-art primary school they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Melton Steve McGhie today officially opened and toured the brand new Eynesbury Primary School ahead of students commencing in Term 1, 2021. The school is one of 14 new schools and campuses opening in 2021 under the Labor Government’s school building boom. The school’s facilities will feature two learning neighbourhoods and include a modern arts, science and food technology building and an administration building. Students will be able to stay active with outdoor play courts, a performing arts and physical education building and a sports field. Eynesbury Primary School will also have a kindergarten next door, ending the dreaded double drop-off for local families. Its first principal is Phillip Coloca, who is quickly becoming part of the Eynesbury community. The school was named with consideration given to factors including public interest, relevance to the local area, and the consideration of local indigenous languages. It is the first new primary school to be built in the suburb of Eynesbury. The new school shared in $624.8 million in the 2019-20 Victorian Budget allocated for new schools. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria, which not only supports a stronger education future but continues to help Victoria’s economy rebound from the COVID crisis.” Quote attributable to Member for Melton Steve McGhie “I’m excited that the community’s vision for a new primary school in Eynesbury has become a reality and students will get to attend a brand-new school with first-rate facilities.” Download the media release

Brand New School Ready For Eynesbury Students

Families living in Melbourne’s west will soon have access to the new state-of-the-art primary school they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Melton Steve McGhie today officially opened and toured the brand new Eynesbury Primary School ahead of students commencing in Term 1, 2021. The school is one of 14 new schools and campuses opening in 2021 under the Labor Government’s school building boom. The school’s facilities will feature two learning neighbourhoods and include a modern arts, science and food technology building and an administration building. Students will be able to stay active with outdoor play courts, a performing arts and physical education building and a sports field. Eynesbury Primary School will also have a kindergarten next door, ending the dreaded double drop-off for local families. Its first principal is Phillip Coloca, who is quickly becoming part of the Eynesbury community. The school was named with consideration given to factors including public interest, relevance to the local area, and the consideration of local indigenous languages. It is the first new primary school to be built in the suburb of Eynesbury. The new school shared in $624.8 million in the 2019-20 Victorian Budget allocated for new schools. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria, which not only supports a stronger education future but continues to help Victoria’s economy rebound from the COVID crisis.” Quote attributable to Member for Melton Steve McGhie “I’m excited that the community’s vision for a new primary school in Eynesbury has become a reality and students will get to attend a brand-new school with first-rate facilities.” Download the media release

Upgrading Elmore Primary School Brick By Brick

This year, Elmore families have done an incredible job in supporting students to learn from home. As kids get back into the classroom, we want to make sure they have the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve. The Andrews Labor Government has built and upgraded more schools than any other government in our state’s history, and the Victorian Budget 2020/21 continues that record of investment. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan today announced Elmore Primary School will receive $1.198 million to upgrade and modernise the school. This investment builds on the $1.18 billion as part of the Building Works Package announced earlier this year, which is creating space for more than 21,000 extra students in Victoria’s education system and creating around 1,600 local construction jobs. Across Victoria, the Labor Government is delivering 1,460 school upgrades – investing in new classrooms, fixing old buildings and delivering the learning spaces our kids deserve. The Labor Government’s unprecedented $7.2 billion investment in Victorian school infrastructure is not only creating 7,500 jobs – it is ensuring that every child has a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an investment in our kids and their future. Because every child, no matter where they go to school, deserves access to state-of-the-art facilities.” “Schools are the heart of our communities, so it makes sense that we’re investing in upgrades to support local jobs to drive our economic recovery.” Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan "Families in Elmore have done a phenomenal job in supporting students to learn from home. As kids return to their classrooms, we want to make Elmore Primary School better than before.” “Not only will this make sure our kids are getting a great education – it’ll create new local jobs.” Download the media release

Upgrading Elmore Primary School Brick By Brick

This year, Elmore families have done an incredible job in supporting students to learn from home. As kids get back into the classroom, we want to make sure they have the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve. The Andrews Labor Government has built and upgraded more schools than any other government in our state’s history, and the Victorian Budget 2020/21 continues that record of investment. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan today announced Elmore Primary School will receive $1.198 million to upgrade and modernise the school. This investment builds on the $1.18 billion as part of the Building Works Package announced earlier this year, which is creating space for more than 21,000 extra students in Victoria’s education system and creating around 1,600 local construction jobs. Across Victoria, the Labor Government is delivering 1,460 school upgrades – investing in new classrooms, fixing old buildings and delivering the learning spaces our kids deserve. The Labor Government’s unprecedented $7.2 billion investment in Victorian school infrastructure is not only creating 7,500 jobs – it is ensuring that every child has a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an investment in our kids and their future. Because every child, no matter where they go to school, deserves access to state-of-the-art facilities.” “Schools are the heart of our communities, so it makes sense that we’re investing in upgrades to support local jobs to drive our economic recovery.” Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan "Families in Elmore have done a phenomenal job in supporting students to learn from home. As kids return to their classrooms, we want to make Elmore Primary School better than before.” “Not only will this make sure our kids are getting a great education – it’ll create new local jobs.” Download the media release

New McKinnon Secondary College Campus Takes Shape

McKinnon families are a step closer to having vibrant new facilities, with construction reaching its highest point at McKinnon Secondary College’s new campus. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos today toured the school’s new campus which is on track to open in 2022. The new campus includes a four-storey building with contemporary learning spaces and a gymnasium for students to stay active. The new campus will accommodate 1100 students. The four-storey building will incorporate modernised learning spaces, shared community facilities and areas for gathering and celebrating the achievements of students. The new campus will help meet the growing demand for enrolments at the school and alleviate the pressure on its existing campus. The new campus will be one of seven vertical schools and campuses rolled out by the Andrews Labor Government since 2017. More than $4 million was invested to fund planning and early works on the site in the Victorian Budget 2018/19. The build will be completed as part of the $624 million for new schools allocated in the Victorian Budget 2019/20. The Labor Government’s unprecedented $7.2 billion investment is not only creating 7,500 jobs but improving, upgrading and building 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Melbourne’s population is booming and we’re rolling out seven vertical schools to make sure there are enough school places for young Victorians across the inner city.” “State-of-the-art projects like McKinnon Secondary College’s new campus and the other vertical schools will make sure our children have access to the facilities they deserve.” Quote attributable to Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos “McKinnon Secondary College is a great local school and this new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria.” Download the media release

New McKinnon Secondary College Campus Takes Shape

McKinnon families are a step closer to having vibrant new facilities, with construction reaching its highest point at McKinnon Secondary College’s new campus. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos today toured the school’s new campus which is on track to open in 2022. The new campus includes a four-storey building with contemporary learning spaces and a gymnasium for students to stay active. The new campus will accommodate 1100 students. The four-storey building will incorporate modernised learning spaces, shared community facilities and areas for gathering and celebrating the achievements of students. The new campus will help meet the growing demand for enrolments at the school and alleviate the pressure on its existing campus. The new campus will be one of seven vertical schools and campuses rolled out by the Andrews Labor Government since 2017. More than $4 million was invested to fund planning and early works on the site in the Victorian Budget 2018/19. The build will be completed as part of the $624 million for new schools allocated in the Victorian Budget 2019/20. The Labor Government’s unprecedented $7.2 billion investment is not only creating 7,500 jobs but improving, upgrading and building 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Melbourne’s population is booming and we’re rolling out seven vertical schools to make sure there are enough school places for young Victorians across the inner city.” “State-of-the-art projects like McKinnon Secondary College’s new campus and the other vertical schools will make sure our children have access to the facilities they deserve.” Quote attributable to Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos “McKinnon Secondary College is a great local school and this new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria.” Download the media release

Fitzroy Gasworks School Campus A Step Closer For Families

Families living in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs are a step closer to having a vibrant new senior secondary college campus, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Richmond Richard Wynne today toured the construction site of the new senior school campus at Fitzroy Gasworks and announced Chris Millard as the new campus principal. The state-of-the-art vertical campus will accommodate senior students from Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College and is one of 14 new schools and campuses set to open in 2022 under the Labor Government’s school building boom. Watpac Construction has been appointed to build the new campus. Once complete, it will include general learning spaces, an arts and performance space, a digital design and technology hub, a wood and metalwork hub, and access to a rooftop terrace outdoor court and activity space. The new campus will host senior programs in VCE, VET and VCAL studies for students in years 10-12. Both schools already have an established partnership in place for their senior secondary subjects, where they share teachers, facilities and students across the two schools. Chris Millard, who has been working as Senior Programs Leader for both schools, will begin his new role as campus principal in 2021. He will oversee the continued joint provision of the senior secondary programs and manage the campus when it opens in 2022. The Fitzroy Gasworks is an important part of Fitzroy North’s heritage – with the school campus part of plans to re-energise the former industrial site. The Gasworks site will serve the community well due to its proximity to public transport, open space and established community facilities. The new school campus shared in $624.8 million in the Victorian Budget 2019/20 allocated for new schools. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria, which not only support a stronger education future but continue to help Victoria’s economy rebound from the COVID crisis.” Quote attributable to Member for Richmond Richard Wynne “Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College already have a strong partnership in place and this new campus at Fitzroy Gasworks, led by Chris Millard, will broaden educational opportunities for their students.” Download the media release

Fitzroy Gasworks School Campus A Step Closer For Families

Families living in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs are a step closer to having a vibrant new senior secondary college campus, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Richmond Richard Wynne today toured the construction site of the new senior school campus at Fitzroy Gasworks and announced Chris Millard as the new campus principal. The state-of-the-art vertical campus will accommodate senior students from Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College and is one of 14 new schools and campuses set to open in 2022 under the Labor Government’s school building boom. Watpac Construction has been appointed to build the new campus. Once complete, it will include general learning spaces, an arts and performance space, a digital design and technology hub, a wood and metalwork hub, and access to a rooftop terrace outdoor court and activity space. The new campus will host senior programs in VCE, VET and VCAL studies for students in years 10-12. Both schools already have an established partnership in place for their senior secondary subjects, where they share teachers, facilities and students across the two schools. Chris Millard, who has been working as Senior Programs Leader for both schools, will begin his new role as campus principal in 2021. He will oversee the continued joint provision of the senior secondary programs and manage the campus when it opens in 2022. The Fitzroy Gasworks is an important part of Fitzroy North’s heritage – with the school campus part of plans to re-energise the former industrial site. The Gasworks site will serve the community well due to its proximity to public transport, open space and established community facilities. The new school campus shared in $624.8 million in the Victorian Budget 2019/20 allocated for new schools. The Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $7.2 billion in Victorian school infrastructure, which is delivering more than 1,460 school upgrades and 100 new schools by 2026 – ensuring every child can access a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new campus is yet another great example of the school building boom that is happening right across Victoria, which not only support a stronger education future but continue to help Victoria’s economy rebound from the COVID crisis.” Quote attributable to Member for Richmond Richard Wynne “Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College already have a strong partnership in place and this new campus at Fitzroy Gasworks, led by Chris Millard, will broaden educational opportunities for their students.” Download the media release

Delivering More Mental Health Support For Young Victorians

Construction of a new $11.9 million Youth Prevention and Recovery Care centre in Melbourne’s north west is underway, bringing community-based treatment one step closer for young people with mental illness. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Sheena Watt today turned the first sod on the 20-bed YPARC centre in Parkville, which once complete, will provide care for 200 young people each year. Designed to increase access to safe, flexible and responsive short and medium-term mental health services, the new YPARC centre will help fill the transitional gap between community and hospital-based care. With recovery-focused treatment and around-the clock clinical care, the state-of-the-art facility will provide support for young people aged 16-25. The facility is designed to create a welcoming and home-like environment with private bedrooms complete with ensuite bathrooms. A communal kitchen, dining and living areas, breakout spaces and an outdoor garden will provide ample space for leisure, recreational activities and family visits. The YPARC centre will be located alongside Orygen and in close proximity to The Royal Melbourne Hospital, ensuring young people have easy access other support services if needed. Designed and delivered by the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority (VHHSBA), the new facility is one of 25 Prevention and Recovery Care centres (PARCs) across Melbourne and regional Victoria, providing treatment and support for people who are unwell or recovering from mental illness. The program is part of the Victorian Government’s $325.7 million commitment to mental health outlined in the 10-year Mental Health Plan. Building Engineering has been appointed to build the new YPARC centre, which is expected to be completed in 2021. Quotes attributable to the Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Young Victorians deserve to be given the very best chance to reach their full potential. This new YPARC centre in Parkville means young people in Melbourne’s inner north and west experiencing mental illness can access the care they need close to their existing support networks and community.” “We are committed to implementing every recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and delivering lifesaving reforms for Victorians.” Quote attributable to the Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt “This new facility will offer a unique opportunity for recovery focused treatment, closer to their home, friends and family - and our important mental health workforce will have a more modern place to provide care.” Download the media release

Delivering More Mental Health Support For Young Victorians

Construction of a new $11.9 million Youth Prevention and Recovery Care centre in Melbourne’s north west is underway, bringing community-based treatment one step closer for young people with mental illness. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Sheena Watt today turned the first sod on the 20-bed YPARC centre in Parkville, which once complete, will provide care for 200 young people each year. Designed to increase access to safe, flexible and responsive short and medium-term mental health services, the new YPARC centre will help fill the transitional gap between community and hospital-based care. With recovery-focused treatment and around-the clock clinical care, the state-of-the-art facility will provide support for young people aged 16-25. The facility is designed to create a welcoming and home-like environment with private bedrooms complete with ensuite bathrooms. A communal kitchen, dining and living areas, breakout spaces and an outdoor garden will provide ample space for leisure, recreational activities and family visits. The YPARC centre will be located alongside Orygen and in close proximity to The Royal Melbourne Hospital, ensuring young people have easy access other support services if needed. Designed and delivered by the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority (VHHSBA), the new facility is one of 25 Prevention and Recovery Care centres (PARCs) across Melbourne and regional Victoria, providing treatment and support for people who are unwell or recovering from mental illness. The program is part of the Victorian Government’s $325.7 million commitment to mental health outlined in the 10-year Mental Health Plan. Building Engineering has been appointed to build the new YPARC centre, which is expected to be completed in 2021. Quotes attributable to the Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Young Victorians deserve to be given the very best chance to reach their full potential. This new YPARC centre in Parkville means young people in Melbourne’s inner north and west experiencing mental illness can access the care they need close to their existing support networks and community.” “We are committed to implementing every recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and delivering lifesaving reforms for Victorians.” Quote attributable to the Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt “This new facility will offer a unique opportunity for recovery focused treatment, closer to their home, friends and family - and our important mental health workforce will have a more modern place to provide care.” Download the media release

New Family Counselling Service For LGBTIQ+ Victorians

The Victorian Government is investing $2.5 million for a new specialised counselling service for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people and their families. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Equality Martin Foley today announced the funding and invited community organisations to apply to run the service. Evidence shows LGBTIQ+ Victorians are more likely to experience mental health issues than other Victorians – and the added stresses of the pandemic have made support and connection with family more important than ever. The new LGBTIQ+ counselling service will build on the $1.18 million of support the Victorian Government has already provided directly to organisations offering services to LGBTIQ+ Victorians in response to the pandemic. This includes $450,000 for Switchboard Victoria, Thorne Harbour Health and Drummond Street Services to support the increased demand for counselling and support services for LGBTIQ+ individuals and their families. Over the past five years, the Victorian Government has created a more inclusive Victoria by reforming legislation to remove discrimination, building the Victorian Pride Centre and providing strong support for and investment in LGBTIQ+ organisations, community events and festivals. The release of the tender comes as work continues on the first whole-of-government LGBTIQ+ Strategy, which will set the framework for Victorian Government action to improve outcomes for LGBTIQ+ people across the state. The tender for the LGBTIQ+ Family Counselling and Support Service - developed in consultation with LGBTIQ+ communities and organisations, Fairer Victoria and the Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Ro Allen - can be found at: www.tenders.vic.gov.au/ Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We know that LGBTIQ+ Victorians are far more likely to experience mental health issues due to social stigma and discrimination and for some the pandemic has made this hard - which is why we are delivering more specialist counselling and support services.” Quote attributable to Minister for Equality Martin Foley “We have made great strides towards equality in Victoria in recent years. But there is more to do to achieve equality of outcomes for LGBTIQ+ Victorians. This program is another step along that path.” Quote attributable to the Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Ro Allen “It’s so important for LGBTIQ+ organisations and individuals to get the targeted support we need during this pandemic and beyond, so that we can live happily and healthily and demonstrate our trademark strength.” Download the media release here

New Family Counselling Service For LGBTIQ+ Victorians

The Victorian Government is investing $2.5 million for a new specialised counselling service for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people and their families. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Equality Martin Foley today announced the funding and invited community organisations to apply to run the service. Evidence shows LGBTIQ+ Victorians are more likely to experience mental health issues than other Victorians – and the added stresses of the pandemic have made support and connection with family more important than ever. The new LGBTIQ+ counselling service will build on the $1.18 million of support the Victorian Government has already provided directly to organisations offering services to LGBTIQ+ Victorians in response to the pandemic. This includes $450,000 for Switchboard Victoria, Thorne Harbour Health and Drummond Street Services to support the increased demand for counselling and support services for LGBTIQ+ individuals and their families. Over the past five years, the Victorian Government has created a more inclusive Victoria by reforming legislation to remove discrimination, building the Victorian Pride Centre and providing strong support for and investment in LGBTIQ+ organisations, community events and festivals. The release of the tender comes as work continues on the first whole-of-government LGBTIQ+ Strategy, which will set the framework for Victorian Government action to improve outcomes for LGBTIQ+ people across the state. The tender for the LGBTIQ+ Family Counselling and Support Service - developed in consultation with LGBTIQ+ communities and organisations, Fairer Victoria and the Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Ro Allen - can be found at: www.tenders.vic.gov.au/ Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We know that LGBTIQ+ Victorians are far more likely to experience mental health issues due to social stigma and discrimination and for some the pandemic has made this hard - which is why we are delivering more specialist counselling and support services.” Quote attributable to Minister for Equality Martin Foley “We have made great strides towards equality in Victoria in recent years. But there is more to do to achieve equality of outcomes for LGBTIQ+ Victorians. This program is another step along that path.” Quote attributable to the Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Ro Allen “It’s so important for LGBTIQ+ organisations and individuals to get the targeted support we need during this pandemic and beyond, so that we can live happily and healthily and demonstrate our trademark strength.” Download the media release here