• 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

More Shade To Protect The Monbulk Community From Skin Cancer

People in the Dandenong Ranges will be better protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays, thanks to grants from the Andrews Labor Government to install more sunshades in schools, public areas and sports clubs. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today urged schools, community organisations and sporting clubs in the Dandenong Ranges to apply for the sixth round of the School Shade Grants Program and the Community Shade Grants Program. The programs ensure more Victorians can access the shade they need to stay safe when enjoying the outdoors by building new shade, repairing existing shade or planting trees. Grants are also available to purchase sun protective items including hats and sunscreen. When used alongside other sun protection measures such as sunscreen and clothing, shade structures are the best defence and can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent. Through this program the Labor Government is supporting locals to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70. In 2019, melanoma was the fifth most common cancer in Victoria with 2,841 new cases diagnosed and sadly 270 deaths. The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with invasive melanoma was at 92 per cent in 2014-2018. The Government has invested $15.1 million towards the prevention and early detection of skin cancer. This includes $10 million for the Shade Grants Program – allowing around 1000 extra schools and community groups will be able to install much needed shade between 2019 and 2023. The program began in 2015 and has since awarded 1634 grants worth more than $14 million. The Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-24 has set an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer by 2025. To apply for a grant visit: health.vic.gov.au/public-health/preventive-health/skin-cancer-prevention School Shade Grant Program applications close on 27 August and Community Shade Grant Program applications close on 10 September. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We know how much Australians love the outdoors. These grants ensure locals can still enjoy the Dandenong Ranges’ great parks, sports fields and playgrounds while staying SunSmart.” “Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in Australia. That’s why this program is so important to the Dandenong Ranges community.” “More than ever, we want our kids to embrace the outdoors and stay active. These grants will help keep our kids safe in the sun and protect them from skin cancer later in life.”

More Shade To Protect The Monbulk Community From Skin Cancer

People in the Dandenong Ranges will be better protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays, thanks to grants from the Andrews Labor Government to install more sunshades in schools, public areas and sports clubs. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today urged schools, community organisations and sporting clubs in the Dandenong Ranges to apply for the sixth round of the School Shade Grants Program and the Community Shade Grants Program. The programs ensure more Victorians can access the shade they need to stay safe when enjoying the outdoors by building new shade, repairing existing shade or planting trees. Grants are also available to purchase sun protective items including hats and sunscreen. When used alongside other sun protection measures such as sunscreen and clothing, shade structures are the best defence and can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent. Through this program the Labor Government is supporting locals to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70. In 2019, melanoma was the fifth most common cancer in Victoria with 2,841 new cases diagnosed and sadly 270 deaths. The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with invasive melanoma was at 92 per cent in 2014-2018. The Government has invested $15.1 million towards the prevention and early detection of skin cancer. This includes $10 million for the Shade Grants Program – allowing around 1000 extra schools and community groups will be able to install much needed shade between 2019 and 2023. The program began in 2015 and has since awarded 1634 grants worth more than $14 million. The Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-24 has set an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer by 2025. To apply for a grant visit: health.vic.gov.au/public-health/preventive-health/skin-cancer-prevention School Shade Grant Program applications close on 27 August and Community Shade Grant Program applications close on 10 September. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We know how much Australians love the outdoors. These grants ensure locals can still enjoy the Dandenong Ranges’ great parks, sports fields and playgrounds while staying SunSmart.” “Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in Australia. That’s why this program is so important to the Dandenong Ranges community.” “More than ever, we want our kids to embrace the outdoors and stay active. These grants will help keep our kids safe in the sun and protect them from skin cancer later in life.”

Howzat! Community Cricket Program Now Open

Local cricket clubs and councils in Monbulk can now apply to develop or upgrade cricket facilities in the area, thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced applications have opened for the third innings of the Government’s $13.5 million Community Cricket Program. Since 2019, the Community Cricket Program has invested more than $2.8 million in 30 cricket infrastructure projects across Victoria. The third innings of the program bowls in a further $1.4 million for clubs and councils to develop or redevelop local cricket infrastructure from training nets through to female friendly and accessible change rooms. Other projects to have benefited from the program include $100,000 towards the construction of new nets at both Diggers Rest Recreation Reserve and Doug Dean Recreation Reserve in Delacombe. This initiative is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s investment of more than $1.1 billion in community sport and active recreation infrastructure since 2014. By helping clubs modernise their facilities, communities have the opportunity to cater for even more people keen to get involved in sports like cricket. For more information about the Community Cricket Program visit: sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We’re getting on with the job of creating better cricket facilities for our next generation, so they can emulate their Test, One Day, BBL and WBBL sporting heroes.” “We’re helping clubs and councils build or upgrade facilities for the local cricket community, opening up new opportunities for training, competition and player development.” “I encourage our local clubs, associations and councils to get together and see if the Community Cricket Program can make a difference in Monbulk."

Howzat! Community Cricket Program Now Open

Local cricket clubs and councils in Monbulk can now apply to develop or upgrade cricket facilities in the area, thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced applications have opened for the third innings of the Government’s $13.5 million Community Cricket Program. Since 2019, the Community Cricket Program has invested more than $2.8 million in 30 cricket infrastructure projects across Victoria. The third innings of the program bowls in a further $1.4 million for clubs and councils to develop or redevelop local cricket infrastructure from training nets through to female friendly and accessible change rooms. Other projects to have benefited from the program include $100,000 towards the construction of new nets at both Diggers Rest Recreation Reserve and Doug Dean Recreation Reserve in Delacombe. This initiative is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s investment of more than $1.1 billion in community sport and active recreation infrastructure since 2014. By helping clubs modernise their facilities, communities have the opportunity to cater for even more people keen to get involved in sports like cricket. For more information about the Community Cricket Program visit: sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We’re getting on with the job of creating better cricket facilities for our next generation, so they can emulate their Test, One Day, BBL and WBBL sporting heroes.” “We’re helping clubs and councils build or upgrade facilities for the local cricket community, opening up new opportunities for training, competition and player development.” “I encourage our local clubs, associations and councils to get together and see if the Community Cricket Program can make a difference in Monbulk."

More Secondary Teachers Upskilling In Maths And Science

Secondary school teachers across the state will have the opportunity to expand their teaching skills as part of a program to fast-track new maths or science teachers by 2023, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today opened expressions of interest for the second intake of the Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative, encouraging current teachers to take part and become in-field maths and science teachers by 2023. The initiative is being run in partnership with Deakin University and teachers taking part will experience 16 face-to-face course days as well as after-school virtual workshops between February 2022 and November 2022. The program is designed to build confidence and capability in teaching maths or science to help more students achieve their full potential. At the end of the program, teachers will receive a fully-funded graduate certificate in either maths or science through Deakin University – with credit points being able to be put towards a Master of Education. The certification will allow them to teach maths or science from years 7 to 10. The intake is limited to 75 places in maths and 25 places in science, with 50 places reserved for regional and rural participants. Quality learning opportunities for teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) disciplines will ensure Victoria has a strong supply of world-class professionals with the specialised skills to compete in the global knowledge economy. The Labor Government has invested $17.8 million for the Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative, which will provide around 270 out-of-field secondary teachers with further training in maths and science over two intakes. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re proud to invest our teachers to become specialists in maths and science to ensure all Victorian children have the best educational outcomes in science, maths and technology subjects.” “Improving maths and science teaching is vital to providing a solid foundation for every student to flourish – that’s why this initiative is a hallmark of our vision for Victoria as the Education State.” Download the media release

More Secondary Teachers Upskilling In Maths And Science

Secondary school teachers across the state will have the opportunity to expand their teaching skills as part of a program to fast-track new maths or science teachers by 2023, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today opened expressions of interest for the second intake of the Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative, encouraging current teachers to take part and become in-field maths and science teachers by 2023. The initiative is being run in partnership with Deakin University and teachers taking part will experience 16 face-to-face course days as well as after-school virtual workshops between February 2022 and November 2022. The program is designed to build confidence and capability in teaching maths or science to help more students achieve their full potential. At the end of the program, teachers will receive a fully-funded graduate certificate in either maths or science through Deakin University – with credit points being able to be put towards a Master of Education. The certification will allow them to teach maths or science from years 7 to 10. The intake is limited to 75 places in maths and 25 places in science, with 50 places reserved for regional and rural participants. Quality learning opportunities for teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) disciplines will ensure Victoria has a strong supply of world-class professionals with the specialised skills to compete in the global knowledge economy. The Labor Government has invested $17.8 million for the Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative, which will provide around 270 out-of-field secondary teachers with further training in maths and science over two intakes. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re proud to invest our teachers to become specialists in maths and science to ensure all Victorian children have the best educational outcomes in science, maths and technology subjects.” “Improving maths and science teaching is vital to providing a solid foundation for every student to flourish – that’s why this initiative is a hallmark of our vision for Victoria as the Education State.” Download the media release

Design Underway For Thomas Embling Hospital Upgrade

The Andrews Labor Government is one step closer to delivering expanded forensic mental health capacity at Thomas Embling Hospital with the design team for the massive expansion project now appointed. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced Guymer Bailey Architects and Aecom (Engineering) will help deliver the $349.6 million expansion of the Fairfield hospital, with work now underway on detailed designs which will implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The Royal Commission recommended codesign be put at the heart of new mental health infrastructure – with the experiences of patients, consumers, carers, clinicians and researchers to inform the best facilities for patients and the community. With growing demand for mental health beds in the justice system, this expansion will address critical bed shortages at the hospital – with an additional 82 secure mental health beds, including a dedicated 34-bed women’s precinct and a 48-bed medium security men’s facility, as well as clinical administration facilities and more car parking. The project will reduce wait times for mental health assessment and treatment, support the rehabilitation and recovery of patients in a safe and therapeutic environment, reduce incidents of mental health deterioration and self-harm, and increase access to services for female patients. Construction on the first stage of the Thomas Embling Hospital expansion is set to commence in mid-2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024, creating around 550 construction jobs. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested $3.8 billion to ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need, when they need it. As the single largest investment in mental health by any state government in the nation’s history, it will transform our mental health system from the ground up. Quotes attributable to the Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This landmark project will change the way forensic mental health services are delivered in Victoria – with more in-demand capacity to make sure Victorian forensic patients get the treatment they need immediately.” ”In response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission, we’re ensuring that Victorians most at risk can access mental health services in a secure and recovery-focused environment.” Download the media release

Design Underway For Thomas Embling Hospital Upgrade

The Andrews Labor Government is one step closer to delivering expanded forensic mental health capacity at Thomas Embling Hospital with the design team for the massive expansion project now appointed. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced Guymer Bailey Architects and Aecom (Engineering) will help deliver the $349.6 million expansion of the Fairfield hospital, with work now underway on detailed designs which will implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The Royal Commission recommended codesign be put at the heart of new mental health infrastructure – with the experiences of patients, consumers, carers, clinicians and researchers to inform the best facilities for patients and the community. With growing demand for mental health beds in the justice system, this expansion will address critical bed shortages at the hospital – with an additional 82 secure mental health beds, including a dedicated 34-bed women’s precinct and a 48-bed medium security men’s facility, as well as clinical administration facilities and more car parking. The project will reduce wait times for mental health assessment and treatment, support the rehabilitation and recovery of patients in a safe and therapeutic environment, reduce incidents of mental health deterioration and self-harm, and increase access to services for female patients. Construction on the first stage of the Thomas Embling Hospital expansion is set to commence in mid-2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024, creating around 550 construction jobs. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested $3.8 billion to ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need, when they need it. As the single largest investment in mental health by any state government in the nation’s history, it will transform our mental health system from the ground up. Quotes attributable to the Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This landmark project will change the way forensic mental health services are delivered in Victoria – with more in-demand capacity to make sure Victorian forensic patients get the treatment they need immediately.” ”In response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission, we’re ensuring that Victorians most at risk can access mental health services in a secure and recovery-focused environment.” Download the media release

Landmark Agreement To Secure Highly Skilled Teachers

The Andrews Labor Government is partnering with three Victorian universities to provide real-life work experience to student teachers in the Wimmera, delivering a strong pipeline of skilled workers. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced a landmark agreement has been secured with Deakin, Federation and Australian Catholic Universities to provide an extra 60 placement opportunities for pre-service teachers in Horsham. The program will provide placements of up to 25 days and builds on the partner universities’ work to date in Horsham – expanding the number of available placements and increasing focus on specialist schools and inclusive education. A new Teaching Academy of Professional Practice will also be formed under the agreement to support schools hosting pre-service teachers – with Federation University in Horsham to become a hub for the school and university partners. The agreement runs from July 2021 to the end of 2022, giving the partner universities an opportunity to explore long-term support networks for rural and regional teachers’ education. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested $4.8 million in programs to support Victoria’s emerging teachers – including two new Teaching Academies of Professional Practice partnerships between schools and universities and further support for ten existing partnerships to be developed. The Budget also includes a $383.8 million investment in the skills and training sector to ensure more Victorians get the training they need for in-demand jobs. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re thrilled to be helping an extra 60 emerging teachers into schools across Horsham, where they will not only help our kids thrive but also receive the support they need to become great school teachers and leaders.” Quote attributable to Minister for Higher Education Gayle Tierney “This is a great example of government, universities and industry coming together on a solution that will contribute to Victoria’s pipeline of skilled workers and benefit our communities.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “Every Victorian child deserves access to top-quality education and that’s why we’re investing in programs that deliver excellent teachers to the classrooms that need them most.” Quote attributable to Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin “This partnership provides an exciting opportunity to develop our next generation of regional teachers – and we are proud to be joining with other universities and the Victorian Government on this ground-breaking initiative.” Download the media release

Landmark Agreement To Secure Highly Skilled Teachers

The Andrews Labor Government is partnering with three Victorian universities to provide real-life work experience to student teachers in the Wimmera, delivering a strong pipeline of skilled workers. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced a landmark agreement has been secured with Deakin, Federation and Australian Catholic Universities to provide an extra 60 placement opportunities for pre-service teachers in Horsham. The program will provide placements of up to 25 days and builds on the partner universities’ work to date in Horsham – expanding the number of available placements and increasing focus on specialist schools and inclusive education. A new Teaching Academy of Professional Practice will also be formed under the agreement to support schools hosting pre-service teachers – with Federation University in Horsham to become a hub for the school and university partners. The agreement runs from July 2021 to the end of 2022, giving the partner universities an opportunity to explore long-term support networks for rural and regional teachers’ education. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested $4.8 million in programs to support Victoria’s emerging teachers – including two new Teaching Academies of Professional Practice partnerships between schools and universities and further support for ten existing partnerships to be developed. The Budget also includes a $383.8 million investment in the skills and training sector to ensure more Victorians get the training they need for in-demand jobs. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re thrilled to be helping an extra 60 emerging teachers into schools across Horsham, where they will not only help our kids thrive but also receive the support they need to become great school teachers and leaders.” Quote attributable to Minister for Higher Education Gayle Tierney “This is a great example of government, universities and industry coming together on a solution that will contribute to Victoria’s pipeline of skilled workers and benefit our communities.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “Every Victorian child deserves access to top-quality education and that’s why we’re investing in programs that deliver excellent teachers to the classrooms that need them most.” Quote attributable to Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin “This partnership provides an exciting opportunity to develop our next generation of regional teachers – and we are proud to be joining with other universities and the Victorian Government on this ground-breaking initiative.” Download the media release

A New Workforce To Support Kids With Disability At School

Victorian students with disability and their families are a step closer to receiving more support to learn, contribute and participate fully in their schools and classrooms, thanks to a new workforce for schools supported by the Andrews Labor Government. Healthcare Associates has been appointed to provide the Disability Inclusion Facilitator Service as part of the Labor Government’s Disability Inclusion reform, which will transform support for students with disability in our schools. Australian Healthcare Associates manages a range of health, education and social services programs for governments across Australia – and through this new program, will provide trained facilitators to help schools and families work together to create a Disability Inclusion Profile to assist individual students with disability. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invested an unprecedented package of almost $1.6 billion to make sure Victorian students with disability are supported at school through the Disability Inclusion Package. This new approach puts the needs of the student at the heart of our response – shifting away from outdated practices to focus on what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. Support from the Facilitator Service can be requested by all government schools in the Barwon, Loddon Campaspe and Bayside Peninsula areas, and the five supported inclusion schools across Victoria, from Term 4 this year. These schools are in Year 1 of the five-year Disability Inclusion roll-out – with the program to reach all Victorian government schools progressively by 2025. Facilitators will lead Student Support Group meetings to help schools and families identify the strengths, needs and educational adjustments schools can make to fully support all students. For example, a student with a vision impairment in a mainstream school may benefit from accessible signage, printed materials in an alternative format, access to screen reader technology, or additional time provided for assessment tasks. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The facilitator workforce will enable schools to take a strengths-based approach to supporting students with disability, making sure they can get the great education they deserve.” “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.”

A New Workforce To Support Kids With Disability At School

Victorian students with disability and their families are a step closer to receiving more support to learn, contribute and participate fully in their schools and classrooms, thanks to a new workforce for schools supported by the Andrews Labor Government. Healthcare Associates has been appointed to provide the Disability Inclusion Facilitator Service as part of the Labor Government’s Disability Inclusion reform, which will transform support for students with disability in our schools. Australian Healthcare Associates manages a range of health, education and social services programs for governments across Australia – and through this new program, will provide trained facilitators to help schools and families work together to create a Disability Inclusion Profile to assist individual students with disability. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invested an unprecedented package of almost $1.6 billion to make sure Victorian students with disability are supported at school through the Disability Inclusion Package. This new approach puts the needs of the student at the heart of our response – shifting away from outdated practices to focus on what a child can achieve, rather than what they can’t. Support from the Facilitator Service can be requested by all government schools in the Barwon, Loddon Campaspe and Bayside Peninsula areas, and the five supported inclusion schools across Victoria, from Term 4 this year. These schools are in Year 1 of the five-year Disability Inclusion roll-out – with the program to reach all Victorian government schools progressively by 2025. Facilitators will lead Student Support Group meetings to help schools and families identify the strengths, needs and educational adjustments schools can make to fully support all students. For example, a student with a vision impairment in a mainstream school may benefit from accessible signage, printed materials in an alternative format, access to screen reader technology, or additional time provided for assessment tasks. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The facilitator workforce will enable schools to take a strengths-based approach to supporting students with disability, making sure they can get the great education they deserve.” “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.”

MATER CHRISTI COLLEGE STUDENTS HONOURED IN PREMIER’S VCE AWARDS

Mater Christi College students have been recognised alongside the state’s best performing VCE students in the Premier’s VCE Awards. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today congratulated Lucy Fenton and Lillie Park Jenkinson on their outstanding achievement. • Lucy Fenton was recognised with an award in Outdoor and Environmental Studies. • Lillie Park Jenkinson was recognised with an award in History Revolutions. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at Premier's VCE Awards (education.vic.gov.au). Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “I congratulate the students from Mater Christi on these fantastic achievements. The success of these students is a credit to not only their hard work and abilities, but also to the support of their families, friends and school community.”

MATER CHRISTI COLLEGE STUDENTS HONOURED IN PREMIER’S VCE AWARDS

Mater Christi College students have been recognised alongside the state’s best performing VCE students in the Premier’s VCE Awards. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today congratulated Lucy Fenton and Lillie Park Jenkinson on their outstanding achievement. • Lucy Fenton was recognised with an award in Outdoor and Environmental Studies. • Lillie Park Jenkinson was recognised with an award in History Revolutions. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at Premier's VCE Awards (education.vic.gov.au). Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “I congratulate the students from Mater Christi on these fantastic achievements. The success of these students is a credit to not only their hard work and abilities, but also to the support of their families, friends and school community.”

Top Students Recognised In Premier’s VCE Awards

Victoria’s best performing VCE students have been recognised with Premier’s VCE Awards, celebrating their outstanding efforts and achievements in their final year of schooling amidst the challenges of 2020. Minister for Education James Merlino congratulated the high-achieving students, which include a young musician with her sights set on the world stage, a creative designer who won a competition creating an outfit she designed for vision-impaired teenagers, and a profoundly deaf student now studying to become a teacher for deaf children. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at education.vic.gov.au/vceawards. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “We’re delivering on our promise to build the Education State, making sure every Victorian student in every community across the state has the opportunity to achieve their best.” Download the media release

Top Students Recognised In Premier’s VCE Awards

Victoria’s best performing VCE students have been recognised with Premier’s VCE Awards, celebrating their outstanding efforts and achievements in their final year of schooling amidst the challenges of 2020. Minister for Education James Merlino congratulated the high-achieving students, which include a young musician with her sights set on the world stage, a creative designer who won a competition creating an outfit she designed for vision-impaired teenagers, and a profoundly deaf student now studying to become a teacher for deaf children. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at education.vic.gov.au/vceawards. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “We’re delivering on our promise to build the Education State, making sure every Victorian student in every community across the state has the opportunity to achieve their best.” Download the media release

 

Mental Health Building Blitz Begins In Geelong

Residents in Greater Geelong will soon have access to better local mental health support with a construction blitz now underway on two major projects thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Work on a new world-class 16-bed acute mental health facility at Barwon Health’s McKellar Centre will create and sustain more than 230 local construction jobs when Victorians need them most. It will also deliver on a key recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The facility’s frame will be constructed as individual modules off-site, then transported and completed on-site – reducing disruption to the operational hospital and local residents while construction is underway. Designed in consultation with people with lived experience of the mental health system, the facility will deliver more than 5,800 days of care – which equates to approximately 355 people each year. The facility will reduce pressure on University Hospital Geelong’s emergency department, delivering inpatient acute mental health services and community-based care in a contemporary, safe and high-quality hospital setting. Geelong-based Lyons Construction has also begun work on the $16 million Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services Community Hub in central Geelong, with construction on track to be completed in late 2022. Operated by Barwon Health, the five-storey hub will provide better access to treatment and support services for people experiencing mental ill-health and addiction – further supporting them on their recovery journey. The hub will consolidate existing services onto one contemporary, fit-for-purpose site. Clinicians will provide telephone, online, walk-in, at-home and outreach services over extended operating hours – and the facility will also include space clinicians and researchers to collaborate to improve mental health outcomes across the region. The Labor Government invested$3.8 billion in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to transform Victoria’s mental health system, in the single largest investment in mental health by any state government. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We know the system isn’t keeping up with demand. That’s why we are going to implement every single recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System – because lives depend on it.” Quote attributable to Member for Lara John Eren “When complete, more residents and their families in this region are going to be able to access the mental health treatment and support they need – close to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens “Integrated mental health treatment and support services will make a real difference in the Geelong region to help respond to the growing needs of the community – and we are proud to be getting it done.” Quote attributable to Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman “These important local mental health services will ensure members of our community experiencing mental ill-health have access to the support and care they need, close to home in the Greater Geelong region.” Quote attributable to Acting Member for Bellarine Gayle Tierney “These significant infrastructure projects are expected to create and sustain hundreds of local jobs, providing a boost to the local economy as we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”  Download the media release

Mental Health Building Blitz Begins In Geelong

Residents in Greater Geelong will soon have access to better local mental health support with a construction blitz now underway on two major projects thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Work on a new world-class 16-bed acute mental health facility at Barwon Health’s McKellar Centre will create and sustain more than 230 local construction jobs when Victorians need them most. It will also deliver on a key recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The facility’s frame will be constructed as individual modules off-site, then transported and completed on-site – reducing disruption to the operational hospital and local residents while construction is underway. Designed in consultation with people with lived experience of the mental health system, the facility will deliver more than 5,800 days of care – which equates to approximately 355 people each year. The facility will reduce pressure on University Hospital Geelong’s emergency department, delivering inpatient acute mental health services and community-based care in a contemporary, safe and high-quality hospital setting. Geelong-based Lyons Construction has also begun work on the $16 million Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services Community Hub in central Geelong, with construction on track to be completed in late 2022. Operated by Barwon Health, the five-storey hub will provide better access to treatment and support services for people experiencing mental ill-health and addiction – further supporting them on their recovery journey. The hub will consolidate existing services onto one contemporary, fit-for-purpose site. Clinicians will provide telephone, online, walk-in, at-home and outreach services over extended operating hours – and the facility will also include space clinicians and researchers to collaborate to improve mental health outcomes across the region. The Labor Government invested$3.8 billion in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to transform Victoria’s mental health system, in the single largest investment in mental health by any state government. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We know the system isn’t keeping up with demand. That’s why we are going to implement every single recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System – because lives depend on it.” Quote attributable to Member for Lara John Eren “When complete, more residents and their families in this region are going to be able to access the mental health treatment and support they need – close to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens “Integrated mental health treatment and support services will make a real difference in the Geelong region to help respond to the growing needs of the community – and we are proud to be getting it done.” Quote attributable to Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman “These important local mental health services will ensure members of our community experiencing mental ill-health have access to the support and care they need, close to home in the Greater Geelong region.” Quote attributable to Acting Member for Bellarine Gayle Tierney “These significant infrastructure projects are expected to create and sustain hundreds of local jobs, providing a boost to the local economy as we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”  Download the media release

Expert Forum Shapes Victoria’s Mental Health Workforce

Experts across Victoria’s mental health sector have been invited to have their say on how the state will develop a sustainable and diverse workforce to support the rebuild of the mental health system at a key online forum. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today welcomed attendees to the Mental Health Workforce Strategy Forum, championing the efforts of the mental health workforce and emphasising the crucial role the sector plays in helping shape the future workforce of Victoria’s mental health system. More than 100 representatives from clinical and community workforces, mental health representatives and peak bodies joined the forum to discuss ideas, innovation and solutions in addressing workforce challenges relating to wellbeing, supply, capability, and rural and regional issues. The forum is part of a direct response to the report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recommended a statewide Mental Health Workforce Strategy be delivered by the end of 2021. The strategy will provide a roadmap of workforce recommendations and initiatives to be implemented as part of the 10-year reform journey in rebuilding the state’s broken mental health system from the ground up. The strategy’s development will be guided by a special committee and chaired by Lyn Morgain, CEO of Oxfam Australia, who brings exceptional leadership to this important work from a background in community health and the NGO sector. The workforce strategy forum is the start of an ongoing conversation between the Andrews Labor Government and diverse sector stakeholders in working together to create a system that will nurture, grow and support the mental health workforce so that every Victorian gets the care they deserve. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support, including $206 million towards initial investment in workforce supports. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Our mental health workforce is critical to delivering high quality mental health treatment, care and support to Victorians – without their care and dedication, the system would not operate.” “The leadership of Lyn Morgain will be invaluable in helping shape the Mental Health Workforce Strategy to meet the needs of dedicated workers and the Victorians who seek their treatment, support and care.” Quote attributable to Mental Health Workforce Strategy Chairperson Lyn Morgain “Having a statewide strategy for our mental health workforce is one way we will ensure quality care and support is delivered everywhere for all Victorians”   Download the media release

Expert Forum Shapes Victoria’s Mental Health Workforce

Experts across Victoria’s mental health sector have been invited to have their say on how the state will develop a sustainable and diverse workforce to support the rebuild of the mental health system at a key online forum. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today welcomed attendees to the Mental Health Workforce Strategy Forum, championing the efforts of the mental health workforce and emphasising the crucial role the sector plays in helping shape the future workforce of Victoria’s mental health system. More than 100 representatives from clinical and community workforces, mental health representatives and peak bodies joined the forum to discuss ideas, innovation and solutions in addressing workforce challenges relating to wellbeing, supply, capability, and rural and regional issues. The forum is part of a direct response to the report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recommended a statewide Mental Health Workforce Strategy be delivered by the end of 2021. The strategy will provide a roadmap of workforce recommendations and initiatives to be implemented as part of the 10-year reform journey in rebuilding the state’s broken mental health system from the ground up. The strategy’s development will be guided by a special committee and chaired by Lyn Morgain, CEO of Oxfam Australia, who brings exceptional leadership to this important work from a background in community health and the NGO sector. The workforce strategy forum is the start of an ongoing conversation between the Andrews Labor Government and diverse sector stakeholders in working together to create a system that will nurture, grow and support the mental health workforce so that every Victorian gets the care they deserve. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support, including $206 million towards initial investment in workforce supports. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Our mental health workforce is critical to delivering high quality mental health treatment, care and support to Victorians – without their care and dedication, the system would not operate.” “The leadership of Lyn Morgain will be invaluable in helping shape the Mental Health Workforce Strategy to meet the needs of dedicated workers and the Victorians who seek their treatment, support and care.” Quote attributable to Mental Health Workforce Strategy Chairperson Lyn Morgain “Having a statewide strategy for our mental health workforce is one way we will ensure quality care and support is delivered everywhere for all Victorians”   Download the media release

Victoria’s Teaching Excellence Program Takes Shape

The Andrews Labor Government is encouraging Victoria’s best and brightest teachers to apply for the prestigious Teaching Excellence Program at the new Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the opening of applications for the Australian-first program of advanced professional learning for high-performing teachers across government, Catholic and independent schools. The Labor Government has invested $148.2 million over four years to establish the Academy – a new statutory authority which will support our best teachers to remain in the classroom and further develop their skills to become recognised as leaders in teaching excellence. The Teaching Excellence Program is a one-year program that will take up to 250 teachers in its first year, increasing to 500 per year once the Academy is fully operational, and advance their professional practice through research in learning and discipline-based content knowledge. The program will enable teachers to share their best ideas, experiences and resources, further raising the calibre and status of Victoria’s teaching workforce. The most exceptional graduates, or Academy Fellows, have the opportunity to become Master Teachers and undertake research fellowships to lead the design and delivery as the program continues. The program will start in Term 1, 2022. Teachers can apply at bastow.vic.edu.au/professional-learning. The Academy will open in the Treasury Precinct in January 2022, with the historic building to be transformed with flexible learning spaces and enhanced technology for contemporary professional learning. Further Academy campuses will be established in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton, ensuring rural and regional teachers can access high-quality professional development close to their schools. In addition to delivering the Teaching Excellent Program, the Academy builds on the work of the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership to deliver an expanded suite of leadership programs for government school leaders. The Academy forms part of the Labor Government’s commitment to building the Education State to ensure all Victorian students can access a great local school and receive an excellent education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This Australian-first program will ensure our best and brightest teachers can access specialised professional learning and development to take back and share with their colleagues and in their classrooms.” “Developing high-performing teachers is key to delivering long-term improvements in student outcomes, so this investment in our teachers is a profound investment in our students.” Download the media release

Victoria’s Teaching Excellence Program Takes Shape

The Andrews Labor Government is encouraging Victoria’s best and brightest teachers to apply for the prestigious Teaching Excellence Program at the new Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the opening of applications for the Australian-first program of advanced professional learning for high-performing teachers across government, Catholic and independent schools. The Labor Government has invested $148.2 million over four years to establish the Academy – a new statutory authority which will support our best teachers to remain in the classroom and further develop their skills to become recognised as leaders in teaching excellence. The Teaching Excellence Program is a one-year program that will take up to 250 teachers in its first year, increasing to 500 per year once the Academy is fully operational, and advance their professional practice through research in learning and discipline-based content knowledge. The program will enable teachers to share their best ideas, experiences and resources, further raising the calibre and status of Victoria’s teaching workforce. The most exceptional graduates, or Academy Fellows, have the opportunity to become Master Teachers and undertake research fellowships to lead the design and delivery as the program continues. The program will start in Term 1, 2022. Teachers can apply at bastow.vic.edu.au/professional-learning. The Academy will open in the Treasury Precinct in January 2022, with the historic building to be transformed with flexible learning spaces and enhanced technology for contemporary professional learning. Further Academy campuses will be established in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton, ensuring rural and regional teachers can access high-quality professional development close to their schools. In addition to delivering the Teaching Excellent Program, the Academy builds on the work of the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership to deliver an expanded suite of leadership programs for government school leaders. The Academy forms part of the Labor Government’s commitment to building the Education State to ensure all Victorian students can access a great local school and receive an excellent education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This Australian-first program will ensure our best and brightest teachers can access specialised professional learning and development to take back and share with their colleagues and in their classrooms.” “Developing high-performing teachers is key to delivering long-term improvements in student outcomes, so this investment in our teachers is a profound investment in our students.” Download the media release

Supporting Our Senior Secondary Students To Succeed

The Victorian Government will continue to provide extra support to students in their final years of school, with the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process to continue in 2021 in light of continued disruptions to the school year. Once again, Victorian students have done a remarkable job adapting to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on schooling in 2021 – with coronavirus restrictions forcing students across the state back to remote learning and pushing back important school milestones. With so few Australians vaccinated, and the Delta variant causing unprecedented situations right around the country, the CED process will ensure that every student is assessed fairly, with any disruptions to learning throughout the year factored into their results. In a normal year, individual students are assessed for special consideration on a case by case basis – but the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will again use the CED process to finalise VCE results for each and every student completing one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 –4 sequence in 2021. Consistent with the approach in 2020, the process considers a range of data alongside exam results to calculate final VCE results - like the General Achievement Test (GAT), comparisons of performance across all assessments and schools and other learning data. The process will also include assessments of the individual impact of coronavirus on each student including school closures, direct impacts on student’ health, ongoing issues with remote learning and mental health challenges. All Year 12 VCAL students will also have access to individual consideration – with schools required to apply special consideration for all students who have been subject to significant disruptions. On advice from the Chief Health Officer that the current restrictions will continue until Tuesday 27 July, the GAT will be rescheduled to 12 August, pending further public health advice and logistical constraints on that date. The rescheduling of the GAT will allow schools time to organise logistics and put COVIDSafe protocols in place to make sure students and staff can participate safely with minimal disruption to their assessments. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Victorian students have done an amazing job adapting to another year of disruptions to their learning – and we’re making sure every student is assessed individually and fairly in their final years of school.” “The Delta variant of coronavirus is causing uncertainty right around Australia - but we want to make sure every student knows that no matter how much they’re impacted by the pandemic, we’re supporting them to succeed in VCE and VCAL.” Download the media release

Supporting Our Senior Secondary Students To Succeed

The Victorian Government will continue to provide extra support to students in their final years of school, with the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process to continue in 2021 in light of continued disruptions to the school year. Once again, Victorian students have done a remarkable job adapting to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on schooling in 2021 – with coronavirus restrictions forcing students across the state back to remote learning and pushing back important school milestones. With so few Australians vaccinated, and the Delta variant causing unprecedented situations right around the country, the CED process will ensure that every student is assessed fairly, with any disruptions to learning throughout the year factored into their results. In a normal year, individual students are assessed for special consideration on a case by case basis – but the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will again use the CED process to finalise VCE results for each and every student completing one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 –4 sequence in 2021. Consistent with the approach in 2020, the process considers a range of data alongside exam results to calculate final VCE results - like the General Achievement Test (GAT), comparisons of performance across all assessments and schools and other learning data. The process will also include assessments of the individual impact of coronavirus on each student including school closures, direct impacts on student’ health, ongoing issues with remote learning and mental health challenges. All Year 12 VCAL students will also have access to individual consideration – with schools required to apply special consideration for all students who have been subject to significant disruptions. On advice from the Chief Health Officer that the current restrictions will continue until Tuesday 27 July, the GAT will be rescheduled to 12 August, pending further public health advice and logistical constraints on that date. The rescheduling of the GAT will allow schools time to organise logistics and put COVIDSafe protocols in place to make sure students and staff can participate safely with minimal disruption to their assessments. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Victorian students have done an amazing job adapting to another year of disruptions to their learning – and we’re making sure every student is assessed individually and fairly in their final years of school.” “The Delta variant of coronavirus is causing uncertainty right around Australia - but we want to make sure every student knows that no matter how much they’re impacted by the pandemic, we’re supporting them to succeed in VCE and VCAL.” Download the media release

Construction Tenders Out For 10 New Government Schools

More students and their families will soon have access to a great education in their local area thanks to the Andrews Labor Government, with 13 new schools on track to open in 2023. Tenders for construction have been put out as part of a $491.6 million investment to build 10 of the 13 new schools, contributing to the Labor Government’s promise to opening 100 new schools across the state by 2026. The 10 schools, currently known by their interim names, include: Camms Road Primary School – Cranbourne West Hayes Hill Primary School – Donnybrook Holyoake Primary School – Manor Lakes Lollypop Creek Primary School – Werribee Merrifield West Secondary School – Mickleham Officer Rix Road Primary School – Officer Riverdale East Primary School – Tarneit Rockbank Murray Road Primary School – Thornhill Park Tarneit Missen House Primary School – Tarneit Wollert West Primary School – Wollert Also included in the 13 schools for 2023 are: A new campus for North Melbourne Primary School, which has already had a builder appointed, being Hansen Yuncken. Construction on the Molesworth Street site is due to start this year. Wollert East Secondary School in Wollert, which has already gone to tender and had ADCO appointed the builder Mount Ridley Special School in Craigieburn, which will have a builder appointed later in the year. Camms Road and Wollert West primary schools, which will include early learning centres on site, have been designed as Supported Inclusion Schools, providing accessible and inclusive education for all students. These schools include a greater emphasis on supporting students with disabilities to access specialist infrastructure and teaching expertise to ensure all Victorian children can attend a great local school. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has seen $1.6 billion invested to build new schools and improve existing schools to make sure our kids have the bright futures they deserve. In the past seven years, the Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. It is now ahead of schedule in its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 62 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are building modern new schools to ensure all Victorian students and their families have access to a great education close to home” “We look forward to securing builders for these brand new schools so we can get on with the job of opening 100 new schools by 2026 and giving our students the great education they deserve.” Download the media release

Construction Tenders Out For 10 New Government Schools

More students and their families will soon have access to a great education in their local area thanks to the Andrews Labor Government, with 13 new schools on track to open in 2023. Tenders for construction have been put out as part of a $491.6 million investment to build 10 of the 13 new schools, contributing to the Labor Government’s promise to opening 100 new schools across the state by 2026. The 10 schools, currently known by their interim names, include: Camms Road Primary School – Cranbourne West Hayes Hill Primary School – Donnybrook Holyoake Primary School – Manor Lakes Lollypop Creek Primary School – Werribee Merrifield West Secondary School – Mickleham Officer Rix Road Primary School – Officer Riverdale East Primary School – Tarneit Rockbank Murray Road Primary School – Thornhill Park Tarneit Missen House Primary School – Tarneit Wollert West Primary School – Wollert Also included in the 13 schools for 2023 are: A new campus for North Melbourne Primary School, which has already had a builder appointed, being Hansen Yuncken. Construction on the Molesworth Street site is due to start this year. Wollert East Secondary School in Wollert, which has already gone to tender and had ADCO appointed the builder Mount Ridley Special School in Craigieburn, which will have a builder appointed later in the year. Camms Road and Wollert West primary schools, which will include early learning centres on site, have been designed as Supported Inclusion Schools, providing accessible and inclusive education for all students. These schools include a greater emphasis on supporting students with disabilities to access specialist infrastructure and teaching expertise to ensure all Victorian children can attend a great local school. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has seen $1.6 billion invested to build new schools and improve existing schools to make sure our kids have the bright futures they deserve. In the past seven years, the Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. It is now ahead of schedule in its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 62 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are building modern new schools to ensure all Victorian students and their families have access to a great education close to home” “We look forward to securing builders for these brand new schools so we can get on with the job of opening 100 new schools by 2026 and giving our students the great education they deserve.” Download the media release

Have Your Say On Education Reform

Victorians are being encouraged to have their say on the Andrews Labor Government’s major reforms of school-based vocational education and senior secondary education. The reforms will see the integration of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) into the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). This will give Victorian students high-quality, practical skills that delivers a pathway to Victoria’s most in-demand jobs. A new foundation certificate will be established from 2023 to support students in all settings to successfully transition to entry level VET or employment after finishing school, particularly students with a disability and additional needs. Victorians can have their say on the new certificate designs, on what units students are going to do as part of their certificate and on what the certificates will be called. The Labor Government is keen for community feedback on how to best support all students to complete a two-year certificate, the impact of mandating a minimum number of units, and ensuring forms of assessment will best support student learning. The Government is keen to hear from students, parents, caregivers, schools, TAFEs, universities and other service providers, peak bodies, industry, employers and the wider community through the Engage Victoria website. The move to the new certificates follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth. They will be complemented by broader reforms to the senior secondary system, which will improve the quality of, and access to, vocational and applied learning pathways for all students. The reforms are supported by a $38 million investment announced in the Victorian Budget 2020/21. To participate and give feedback on Senior Secondary Pathways Reform, go to https://engage.vic.gov.au/consultation-senior-secondary-reform. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want an education system that ensures our kids succeed. With a single VCE certificate that incorporates vocational and applied learning, we can ensure all kids gain the skills needed for the job they want.” “As we continue to invest in the economy of the future – we need a VET trained workforce. These changes will support more students to graduate with the skills they need for Victoria’s growing industries.” “We look forward to hearing from students, families, employers and educators on how to best support them as we make these crucial reforms.” Download the media release

Have Your Say On Education Reform

Victorians are being encouraged to have their say on the Andrews Labor Government’s major reforms of school-based vocational education and senior secondary education. The reforms will see the integration of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) into the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). This will give Victorian students high-quality, practical skills that delivers a pathway to Victoria’s most in-demand jobs. A new foundation certificate will be established from 2023 to support students in all settings to successfully transition to entry level VET or employment after finishing school, particularly students with a disability and additional needs. Victorians can have their say on the new certificate designs, on what units students are going to do as part of their certificate and on what the certificates will be called. The Labor Government is keen for community feedback on how to best support all students to complete a two-year certificate, the impact of mandating a minimum number of units, and ensuring forms of assessment will best support student learning. The Government is keen to hear from students, parents, caregivers, schools, TAFEs, universities and other service providers, peak bodies, industry, employers and the wider community through the Engage Victoria website. The move to the new certificates follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth. They will be complemented by broader reforms to the senior secondary system, which will improve the quality of, and access to, vocational and applied learning pathways for all students. The reforms are supported by a $38 million investment announced in the Victorian Budget 2020/21. To participate and give feedback on Senior Secondary Pathways Reform, go to https://engage.vic.gov.au/consultation-senior-secondary-reform. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want an education system that ensures our kids succeed. With a single VCE certificate that incorporates vocational and applied learning, we can ensure all kids gain the skills needed for the job they want.” “As we continue to invest in the economy of the future – we need a VET trained workforce. These changes will support more students to graduate with the skills they need for Victoria’s growing industries.” “We look forward to hearing from students, families, employers and educators on how to best support them as we make these crucial reforms.” Download the media release

Free Transport Extension For Shepparton Students

Shepparton students will continue to receive free bus travel in 2022 as they transition to their new world-class secondary college, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. The free bus travel extension will be available to Greater Shepparton Secondary College (GSSC) students who currently use the School Bus Program as well as those new to the program. Government secondary school students currently travelling on public transport to the new college site will also continue to have ticket costs fully reimbursed through the Conveyance Allowance Program in 2022. In addition, GSSC students who live within 4.8km of the new college will be eligible for the free bus travel ─ an added benefit which will support an estimated 55 per cent of students. The School Bus Program started in 2020, with over 1,600 GSSC students using the program in 2021. The extension of the program into 2022 is expected to assist more than 1,700 GSSC students. Construction of Greater Shepparton Secondary College is now entering its final months with the new college on track to open in time for the start of the 2022 school year. Lifting education outcomes in Shepparton is a key focus for the Victorian Government with $140 million already invested into the Shepparton Education Plan. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Extending the free bus travel program for the first operational year of the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College is our way of continuing the support for students and their families during this transitional period.” “This new college is one of the most important education projects ever seen in this region and we want to ensure that the children and young people of Shepparton and Mooroopna have the best opportunities to access and enjoy these facilities.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp “We are delivering transformational change and investing in Greater Shepparton’s young people to boost their educational outcomes and improve their opportunities in life.” Download the media release

Free Transport Extension For Shepparton Students

Shepparton students will continue to receive free bus travel in 2022 as they transition to their new world-class secondary college, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. The free bus travel extension will be available to Greater Shepparton Secondary College (GSSC) students who currently use the School Bus Program as well as those new to the program. Government secondary school students currently travelling on public transport to the new college site will also continue to have ticket costs fully reimbursed through the Conveyance Allowance Program in 2022. In addition, GSSC students who live within 4.8km of the new college will be eligible for the free bus travel ─ an added benefit which will support an estimated 55 per cent of students. The School Bus Program started in 2020, with over 1,600 GSSC students using the program in 2021. The extension of the program into 2022 is expected to assist more than 1,700 GSSC students. Construction of Greater Shepparton Secondary College is now entering its final months with the new college on track to open in time for the start of the 2022 school year. Lifting education outcomes in Shepparton is a key focus for the Victorian Government with $140 million already invested into the Shepparton Education Plan. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Extending the free bus travel program for the first operational year of the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College is our way of continuing the support for students and their families during this transitional period.” “This new college is one of the most important education projects ever seen in this region and we want to ensure that the children and young people of Shepparton and Mooroopna have the best opportunities to access and enjoy these facilities.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp “We are delivering transformational change and investing in Greater Shepparton’s young people to boost their educational outcomes and improve their opportunities in life.” Download the media release

FUNDING TO SUPPORT LANDCARE VOLUNTEERS IN MONBULK

The Victorian Government has announced more support for environmental volunteering and local communities by providing funding for vital Landcare jobs in Monbulk. The funding will deliver 80 Landcare facilitator jobs across the state for the next three years. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP said this includes a facilitator for the Yarra Ranges Landcare Network. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 is investing $52 million over four years to continue targeted action to improve biodiversity through grants and direct involvement by the community to protect threatened species, improve habitats and reduce threats to biodiversity. This includes $13 million to continue the successful Victorian Landcare Program, ensuring that Landcare facilitator roles are supported. A variety of organisations in rural, regional and urban areas receive funding to employ Landcare facilitators, who give support to their local environmental groups. Facilitators support around 650 Landcare and environmental volunteer groups and networks across the state to plan and deliver on-ground natural resource management works that engage local communities, build community capacity and encourage diverse participation. In Monbulk, Yarra Ranges Landcare Network support our local environment through regular events and projects such as planting local indigenous plants, Yarra4Life, Junior Landcare and much more. These actions contribute to the delivery of Protecting Victoria’s Environment - Biodiversity 2037 and Victorians Volunteering for Nature - Environmental Volunteering Plan. The Victorian Government has demonstrated further support through opening the $2.55 million 2021 Victorian Landcare Grants and by inviting nominations for the 2021 Victorian Landcare Awards to recognise the outstanding work of individuals and groups. For more information visit https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/landcare/VLFP Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP  “This funding recognises the crucial role that Landcare jobs play in the Dandenong Ranges. These positions empower our environmental volunteers and landholders to continue their valuable environmental work.” “We are committed to strengthening and building Landcare and environmental volunteering to ensure it continues to deliver real, on the ground results and meets the Dandenong Ranges’ current and future environmental needs.”  “This funding will help volunteer groups to boost their capacity and continue delivering the environmental projects that make such a different to the Dandenong Ranges’ environment.”

FUNDING TO SUPPORT LANDCARE VOLUNTEERS IN MONBULK

The Victorian Government has announced more support for environmental volunteering and local communities by providing funding for vital Landcare jobs in Monbulk. The funding will deliver 80 Landcare facilitator jobs across the state for the next three years. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP said this includes a facilitator for the Yarra Ranges Landcare Network. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 is investing $52 million over four years to continue targeted action to improve biodiversity through grants and direct involvement by the community to protect threatened species, improve habitats and reduce threats to biodiversity. This includes $13 million to continue the successful Victorian Landcare Program, ensuring that Landcare facilitator roles are supported. A variety of organisations in rural, regional and urban areas receive funding to employ Landcare facilitators, who give support to their local environmental groups. Facilitators support around 650 Landcare and environmental volunteer groups and networks across the state to plan and deliver on-ground natural resource management works that engage local communities, build community capacity and encourage diverse participation. In Monbulk, Yarra Ranges Landcare Network support our local environment through regular events and projects such as planting local indigenous plants, Yarra4Life, Junior Landcare and much more. These actions contribute to the delivery of Protecting Victoria’s Environment - Biodiversity 2037 and Victorians Volunteering for Nature - Environmental Volunteering Plan. The Victorian Government has demonstrated further support through opening the $2.55 million 2021 Victorian Landcare Grants and by inviting nominations for the 2021 Victorian Landcare Awards to recognise the outstanding work of individuals and groups. For more information visit https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/landcare/VLFP Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP  “This funding recognises the crucial role that Landcare jobs play in the Dandenong Ranges. These positions empower our environmental volunteers and landholders to continue their valuable environmental work.” “We are committed to strengthening and building Landcare and environmental volunteering to ensure it continues to deliver real, on the ground results and meets the Dandenong Ranges’ current and future environmental needs.”  “This funding will help volunteer groups to boost their capacity and continue delivering the environmental projects that make such a different to the Dandenong Ranges’ environment.”