Media Centre

Celebrating The Class Of 2021

The wait is finally over for almost 65,000 VCE and VCAL students across Victoria, with the release of results and Australian Tertiary Admission Rankings (ATAR) this morning. Minister for Education James Merlino today celebrated students’ results and achievements – completing their final years of schooling amidst the challenges of a global pandemic and remote learning. This year, 50,723 students will graduate with their VCE – a completion rate of 98 per cent of students, while another 14,066 students will receive their VCAL. VCE results are available for students who registered to access their results online via the joint results website from 7:00am today. Victoria’s top-performing VCE students were recognised for their outstanding academic achievements, with 13,935 students receiving at least one study score of 40 or more out of 50. The 40+ high achievers list will be released on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority website from 12:05am on Friday, 17 December. The release of VCE and VCAL results and ATARs means Year 12 students can plan their next step – whether it’s university study, TAFE or further training, or getting straight into the workforce. In recognition of the unique – and in many cases profound – impact coronavirus has had on schools and individual VCE students across Victoria, the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process has run as it did in 2020, making sure the only thing that counts towards students’ scores is their effort and hard work. Students were also able to submit a Student Statement to be taken into account during this process, outlining the individual impact the pandemic has had on their physical or mental health and their VCE studies. Special consideration was also available for final year VCAL students, with each school making a balanced judgement about the level of impact on each student and adjusting assessment activities or marks to reflect this. Students are reminded that while their scores are a reflection of two years of hard work, their marks don’t define them – there are many pathways and opportunities to achieve their goals, no matter how challenging their final years of school have been. The Andrews Labor Government has delivered unprecedented support for students and school communities throughout the pandemic – with $480 million to deliver the Tutor Learning Initiative in 2021 and 2022, ensuring students from Prep to Year 12 have the individual support they need to catch up on their learning. Every government secondary school student in Victoria now also has access to vital mental health support at school, with the rollout of the Labor Government’s $51.2 million Mental Health Practitioners program now complete a year earlier than planned – making sure students have the support they need as the state emerges from the pandemic. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “VCE and VCAL graduates are impressive every year – but the Class of 2021, completing their final years of school during a global pandemic, are particularly inspiring. Congratulations to every single student right across Victoria.” “I thank teachers, school staff and families, whose support through the last two, difficult years has played a huge role in the success of this year’s VCE and VCAL students.” “Whether it’s a university course, TAFE, an apprenticeship or getting straight into the workforce, I wish our Year 12s the very best with whatever comes next after a fun and relaxing summer break.” Download the media release

Celebrating The Class Of 2021

The wait is finally over for almost 65,000 VCE and VCAL students across Victoria, with the release of results and Australian Tertiary Admission Rankings (ATAR) this morning. Minister for Education James Merlino today celebrated students’ results and achievements – completing their final years of schooling amidst the challenges of a global pandemic and remote learning. This year, 50,723 students will graduate with their VCE – a completion rate of 98 per cent of students, while another 14,066 students will receive their VCAL. VCE results are available for students who registered to access their results online via the joint results website from 7:00am today. Victoria’s top-performing VCE students were recognised for their outstanding academic achievements, with 13,935 students receiving at least one study score of 40 or more out of 50. The 40+ high achievers list will be released on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority website from 12:05am on Friday, 17 December. The release of VCE and VCAL results and ATARs means Year 12 students can plan their next step – whether it’s university study, TAFE or further training, or getting straight into the workforce. In recognition of the unique – and in many cases profound – impact coronavirus has had on schools and individual VCE students across Victoria, the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process has run as it did in 2020, making sure the only thing that counts towards students’ scores is their effort and hard work. Students were also able to submit a Student Statement to be taken into account during this process, outlining the individual impact the pandemic has had on their physical or mental health and their VCE studies. Special consideration was also available for final year VCAL students, with each school making a balanced judgement about the level of impact on each student and adjusting assessment activities or marks to reflect this. Students are reminded that while their scores are a reflection of two years of hard work, their marks don’t define them – there are many pathways and opportunities to achieve their goals, no matter how challenging their final years of school have been. The Andrews Labor Government has delivered unprecedented support for students and school communities throughout the pandemic – with $480 million to deliver the Tutor Learning Initiative in 2021 and 2022, ensuring students from Prep to Year 12 have the individual support they need to catch up on their learning. Every government secondary school student in Victoria now also has access to vital mental health support at school, with the rollout of the Labor Government’s $51.2 million Mental Health Practitioners program now complete a year earlier than planned – making sure students have the support they need as the state emerges from the pandemic. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “VCE and VCAL graduates are impressive every year – but the Class of 2021, completing their final years of school during a global pandemic, are particularly inspiring. Congratulations to every single student right across Victoria.” “I thank teachers, school staff and families, whose support through the last two, difficult years has played a huge role in the success of this year’s VCE and VCAL students.” “Whether it’s a university course, TAFE, an apprenticeship or getting straight into the workforce, I wish our Year 12s the very best with whatever comes next after a fun and relaxing summer break.” Download the media release

Victorian Students Confirmed As NAPLAN Highest Achievers

Victorian students have achieved outstanding results in this year’s NAPLAN in the face of unprecedented challenges, with the detailed breakdown of results confirming the state is the best-performing jurisdiction in Australia. The NAPLAN 2021 National Report released today shows Victoria had the highest number of students performing at or above the national minimum standard of any state or territory on 13 of the 20 NAPLAN measures – with the ACT the next-best jurisdiction with 5. Victoria has also improved on its results since 2019 in half of the assessed measures – including the critically important foundational Reading skills in both Year 3 and Year 5 – despite the challenges of the pandemic. The results show the Andrews Labor Government’s investments in the Education State are paying off. Students in Year 5 began Prep as the reforms began, and are now seeing the benefits of six years of dedicated investment – with primary school results improving in eight out of the 10 measures. These improvements are expected to be reflected in secondary school results in the coming years as Victorian students see the benefits of targeted investment in every student and every school across the state. The report shows that, while many Victorian students and families have faced profound challenges over the past two years, fears of a loss of learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have not eventuated. Those predicted to be most affected by remote learning, including Koorie, rural and regional students, had better reading results at the primary level this year than in 2019. Koorie students improved in reading from 2019 to 2021 in Years 3, 5 and 7, and rural and regional primary students also improved their reading levels in Years 3 and 5. The final NAPLAN results also indicate that more Victorian students than ever before are performing highly – with the percentage of Year 3 students scoring in the top two bands for Reading rising from 58 per cent in 2019 to 61.9 per cent in 2021. For Year 5 students, this figure rose from 40.4 per cent to 44.8 per cent. There is still work to do, particularly in numeracy, in every jurisdiction across Australia – and maths will be a strong area of focus for schools throughout 2022.The Labor Government’s Tutor Learning Initiative is providing students with individualised support to help them thrive at school. Overall, the final NAPLAN results show the Labor Government’s record investment in school infrastructure, a fairer funding model and unprecedented support for student wellbeing during the pandemic is delivering better learning outcomes for Victorian students. This includes $480 million for the Tutor Learning Initiative over two years, $217.8 million in mental health support for schools – including $200 million for a new School Mental Health Fund – and $24.5 million in the Victorian Budget 2020-21 to support students and their families to bridge the digital divide with devices and internet access. Since coming to government, the Labor Government has invested more than $22.2 billion in schools, including almost $1.3 billion in equity funding this year alone to improve student learning. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These results show that our investment in the Education State is paying off – not just improving students’ school outcomes, but setting them up with the skills they need to succeed into their adult lives.” “I thank every teacher, tutor, principal, family and everyone else who supported Victorian students through 2021 – our nation-leading results show despite the pandemic’s challenges, our kids are learning better than ever before.” Download the media release

Victorian Students Confirmed As NAPLAN Highest Achievers

Victorian students have achieved outstanding results in this year’s NAPLAN in the face of unprecedented challenges, with the detailed breakdown of results confirming the state is the best-performing jurisdiction in Australia. The NAPLAN 2021 National Report released today shows Victoria had the highest number of students performing at or above the national minimum standard of any state or territory on 13 of the 20 NAPLAN measures – with the ACT the next-best jurisdiction with 5. Victoria has also improved on its results since 2019 in half of the assessed measures – including the critically important foundational Reading skills in both Year 3 and Year 5 – despite the challenges of the pandemic. The results show the Andrews Labor Government’s investments in the Education State are paying off. Students in Year 5 began Prep as the reforms began, and are now seeing the benefits of six years of dedicated investment – with primary school results improving in eight out of the 10 measures. These improvements are expected to be reflected in secondary school results in the coming years as Victorian students see the benefits of targeted investment in every student and every school across the state. The report shows that, while many Victorian students and families have faced profound challenges over the past two years, fears of a loss of learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have not eventuated. Those predicted to be most affected by remote learning, including Koorie, rural and regional students, had better reading results at the primary level this year than in 2019. Koorie students improved in reading from 2019 to 2021 in Years 3, 5 and 7, and rural and regional primary students also improved their reading levels in Years 3 and 5. The final NAPLAN results also indicate that more Victorian students than ever before are performing highly – with the percentage of Year 3 students scoring in the top two bands for Reading rising from 58 per cent in 2019 to 61.9 per cent in 2021. For Year 5 students, this figure rose from 40.4 per cent to 44.8 per cent. There is still work to do, particularly in numeracy, in every jurisdiction across Australia – and maths will be a strong area of focus for schools throughout 2022.The Labor Government’s Tutor Learning Initiative is providing students with individualised support to help them thrive at school. Overall, the final NAPLAN results show the Labor Government’s record investment in school infrastructure, a fairer funding model and unprecedented support for student wellbeing during the pandemic is delivering better learning outcomes for Victorian students. This includes $480 million for the Tutor Learning Initiative over two years, $217.8 million in mental health support for schools – including $200 million for a new School Mental Health Fund – and $24.5 million in the Victorian Budget 2020-21 to support students and their families to bridge the digital divide with devices and internet access. Since coming to government, the Labor Government has invested more than $22.2 billion in schools, including almost $1.3 billion in equity funding this year alone to improve student learning. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These results show that our investment in the Education State is paying off – not just improving students’ school outcomes, but setting them up with the skills they need to succeed into their adult lives.” “I thank every teacher, tutor, principal, family and everyone else who supported Victorian students through 2021 – our nation-leading results show despite the pandemic’s challenges, our kids are learning better than ever before.” Download the media release

Sprucing Up More Schools Across Victoria

As the school year draws to a close, the Andrews Labor Government is supporting more Victorian schools to complete small but vital upgrades through the Minor Capital Works Fund. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 63 schools will share in more than $18.6 million to fast-track their highest priority project through this year’s second round of the Labor Government’s $90 million fund. The fund builds on the Labor Government’s extensive investment in government school facilities to improve learning spaces as well as the condition and character of schools – making sure every student and staff member has a safe and comfortable place to teach and learn. Some of the funded projects include 27 projects to refurbish school toilets - improving amenity, cleanliness and hygiene, 12 projects to upgrade, refurbish and modernise school buildings, and eight projects to repair, replace or maintain watertight roofs. The fund will also see six schools receive fencing upgrades for safety and security, six exterior upgrades supporting better outdoor learning, play and sport, three projects to upgrade existing ovals and one service upgrade to electrical infrastructure. More than 300 Victorian government schools have already received $70 million through the first round of the Minor Capital Works Fund to upgrade toilet amenities and roofs, improve playgrounds, refurbish classrooms and upgrade ovals. In the past seven years, the Labor Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating more than 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. With 62 schools opening between 2019 and 2024, the Government is well ahead in its work to open 100 new schools by 2026, ensuring every Victorian child has access to a great local school. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every student should have the best local school facilities, no matter where they live. That’s why we’re investing in hundreds of small, but important projects, that will make a big difference for schools and create local jobs for Victorians.” “Whether it’s upgrading toilets or building a new fence – this is all about making sure our students have the facilities they need to learn in a safe and comfortable environment.” Download the media release

Sprucing Up More Schools Across Victoria

As the school year draws to a close, the Andrews Labor Government is supporting more Victorian schools to complete small but vital upgrades through the Minor Capital Works Fund. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 63 schools will share in more than $18.6 million to fast-track their highest priority project through this year’s second round of the Labor Government’s $90 million fund. The fund builds on the Labor Government’s extensive investment in government school facilities to improve learning spaces as well as the condition and character of schools – making sure every student and staff member has a safe and comfortable place to teach and learn. Some of the funded projects include 27 projects to refurbish school toilets - improving amenity, cleanliness and hygiene, 12 projects to upgrade, refurbish and modernise school buildings, and eight projects to repair, replace or maintain watertight roofs. The fund will also see six schools receive fencing upgrades for safety and security, six exterior upgrades supporting better outdoor learning, play and sport, three projects to upgrade existing ovals and one service upgrade to electrical infrastructure. More than 300 Victorian government schools have already received $70 million through the first round of the Minor Capital Works Fund to upgrade toilet amenities and roofs, improve playgrounds, refurbish classrooms and upgrade ovals. In the past seven years, the Labor Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating more than 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. With 62 schools opening between 2019 and 2024, the Government is well ahead in its work to open 100 new schools by 2026, ensuring every Victorian child has access to a great local school. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every student should have the best local school facilities, no matter where they live. That’s why we’re investing in hundreds of small, but important projects, that will make a big difference for schools and create local jobs for Victorians.” “Whether it’s upgrading toilets or building a new fence – this is all about making sure our students have the facilities they need to learn in a safe and comfortable environment.” Download the media release

More Support And Relief For Mental Health Carers

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting the selfless Victorians who care for a loved one with mental illness or in psychological distress, with a funding boost for mental health carers. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced the Labor Government is investing $16.8 million to help Victorian carers, either financially or with relief and respite from their caring roles. The support includes $8.8 million for the Mental Health Carer Support Fund to help more carers pay for expenses related to their caring role and support their own health – whether it’s respite from their caring responsibilities, food and bills for their own family, or supporting their personal wellbeing through exercise or counselling. Victoria’s peak body for mental health carers, families and supporters – Tandem - will continue to be funded to administer the Carer Support Fund on the Government’s behalf. The carers package also includes $8 million which will go directly to Tandem, helping to expand its successful programs and activities and deliver more support and advocacy for Victorians caring for a loved one with mental illness. Tandem will also continue to manage the Mental Health Carer Participation Register, which supports mental health carers to use their lived experience and knowledge of the mental health system to co-design services in partnership with the Labor Government. The investment will also support greater engagement with a diverse range of families, carers and supporters to ensure they can contribute to the design of services that will support them and their loved ones. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support, including $92.6 million to provide dedicated help for families and carers. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Mental health carers are quiet, often unsung heroes in our community – and it’s only right that we give back to them, whether that’s time for themselves or extra support to put food on the table for their own families.” “This investment will make sure Tandem can continue its invaluable work supporting and advocating for those who care for people with mental health concerns.” Download the media release

More Support And Relief For Mental Health Carers

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting the selfless Victorians who care for a loved one with mental illness or in psychological distress, with a funding boost for mental health carers. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced the Labor Government is investing $16.8 million to help Victorian carers, either financially or with relief and respite from their caring roles. The support includes $8.8 million for the Mental Health Carer Support Fund to help more carers pay for expenses related to their caring role and support their own health – whether it’s respite from their caring responsibilities, food and bills for their own family, or supporting their personal wellbeing through exercise or counselling. Victoria’s peak body for mental health carers, families and supporters – Tandem - will continue to be funded to administer the Carer Support Fund on the Government’s behalf. The carers package also includes $8 million which will go directly to Tandem, helping to expand its successful programs and activities and deliver more support and advocacy for Victorians caring for a loved one with mental illness. Tandem will also continue to manage the Mental Health Carer Participation Register, which supports mental health carers to use their lived experience and knowledge of the mental health system to co-design services in partnership with the Labor Government. The investment will also support greater engagement with a diverse range of families, carers and supporters to ensure they can contribute to the design of services that will support them and their loved ones. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support, including $92.6 million to provide dedicated help for families and carers. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Mental health carers are quiet, often unsung heroes in our community – and it’s only right that we give back to them, whether that’s time for themselves or extra support to put food on the table for their own families.” “This investment will make sure Tandem can continue its invaluable work supporting and advocating for those who care for people with mental health concerns.” Download the media release

Better Facilities For Victorian Schools

Victorian students will have better school environments to learn and succeed in, with the Andrews Labor Government funding key maintenance projects at schools right across the state. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that 94 schools will share in $7.26 million of Planned Maintenance Program funding for vital improvements to classrooms and school grounds. The projects address priority maintenance issues identified by the Labor Government’s ongoing evaluation of all school facilities – with work including fixing roofs and windows, repainting walls, resurfacing floors and replacing windows, pathways and stairs. Almost $1 million of the funding will go towards maintenance to Shelter-in-Place buildings at 10 schools, which provide temporary accommodation to staff and students during a bushfire until emergency services arrive, or as a shelter of last resort. The announcement brings the amount of Planned Maintenance funding the Labor Government has provided to schools in the 2021 school year to more than $47 million. This fund makes sure all existing buildings at Victoria’s 1,500 government schools are safe, modern and properly maintained to ensure students and staff are comfortable and safe at school. In the past seven years, the Labor Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating more than 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. With 62 schools opening between 2019 and 2024, the Government is well ahead in its work to open 100 new schools by 2026, ensuring every Victorian child has access to a great local school. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This program is about ensuring that every Victorian school is well maintained and safe to provide the best possible environment for students to learn in.” “Our record investment in school infrastructure is delivering high quality classrooms for our hard-working principals, teachers and staff, as well as students and families.” Download the media release

Better Facilities For Victorian Schools

Victorian students will have better school environments to learn and succeed in, with the Andrews Labor Government funding key maintenance projects at schools right across the state. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that 94 schools will share in $7.26 million of Planned Maintenance Program funding for vital improvements to classrooms and school grounds. The projects address priority maintenance issues identified by the Labor Government’s ongoing evaluation of all school facilities – with work including fixing roofs and windows, repainting walls, resurfacing floors and replacing windows, pathways and stairs. Almost $1 million of the funding will go towards maintenance to Shelter-in-Place buildings at 10 schools, which provide temporary accommodation to staff and students during a bushfire until emergency services arrive, or as a shelter of last resort. The announcement brings the amount of Planned Maintenance funding the Labor Government has provided to schools in the 2021 school year to more than $47 million. This fund makes sure all existing buildings at Victoria’s 1,500 government schools are safe, modern and properly maintained to ensure students and staff are comfortable and safe at school. In the past seven years, the Labor Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating more than 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. With 62 schools opening between 2019 and 2024, the Government is well ahead in its work to open 100 new schools by 2026, ensuring every Victorian child has access to a great local school. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This program is about ensuring that every Victorian school is well maintained and safe to provide the best possible environment for students to learn in.” “Our record investment in school infrastructure is delivering high quality classrooms for our hard-working principals, teachers and staff, as well as students and families.” Download the media release

More Mental Health Services For Young Victorians

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure no young Victorian experiencing mental health concerns falls through the cracks, with a huge investment in targeted mental health outreach to provide the personalised care children and young adults need. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today visited Alfred Health’s Child and Youth Mental Health Service to announce the Labor Government will deliver $16.3 million to expand the Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach mental health teams statewide, supporting more than 560 extra young Victorians every year. These vital outreach teams provide specialised support to Victorians aged 12 to 25 who are particularly vulnerable or at risk of disengaging with the system, reaching out to provide intensive one-on-one care in a setting young people feel comfortable with, and are likely to continue to engage in. The teams work to identify and treat mental illness in young people, support and educate their families, minimise interruption to their educational and social lives, and support them to manage their ongoing health and recovery. The extra support will deliver an outreach team in 13 locations across Victoria – so young people across the state get the specialised care they need in their community. The mobile teams are staffed by a variety of workers including psychiatric nurses, doctors, family and occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers – and importantly include youth peer workers with lived experience of the mental health system, who can connect to at-risk young people more effectively than traditional clinicians. Alfred Health delivers one of the existing Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach teams, and this extra support will help the team reach around 126 more families in crisis every year in Melbourne’s inner south-east alone. This outreach investment builds on a record $300 million delivered in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to boost the capacity of all Infant, Child and Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Servicesacross Victoria over four years, providing support to more than 2,300 extra young Victorians aged 0 to 25 and their families every single year. To build a new mental health and wellbeing system from the ground up that meets the needs of all Victorians, this year’s Budgetinvested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support. This unprecedented investment recognises how critical the early years are in promoting good mental health for life, with $842 million for children and young people so they are supported as soon as they need mental health care. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino  “I want every young Victorian who is struggling with their mental health to know that support is available – we’re delivering extra services right across the state, tailored to young people, so nobody needs to suffer in silence.” “This is a profound investment in young Victorians with complex needs – with outreach support to make sure nobody falls through the cracks of our mental health system, no matter what their life circumstances.” Quote attributable to Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos  “We won’t stop investing in the mental health of young Victorians – setting them up with the support they need early in life by providing dedicated services in communities right across our state.” Download the media release

More Mental Health Services For Young Victorians

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure no young Victorian experiencing mental health concerns falls through the cracks, with a huge investment in targeted mental health outreach to provide the personalised care children and young adults need. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today visited Alfred Health’s Child and Youth Mental Health Service to announce the Labor Government will deliver $16.3 million to expand the Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach mental health teams statewide, supporting more than 560 extra young Victorians every year. These vital outreach teams provide specialised support to Victorians aged 12 to 25 who are particularly vulnerable or at risk of disengaging with the system, reaching out to provide intensive one-on-one care in a setting young people feel comfortable with, and are likely to continue to engage in. The teams work to identify and treat mental illness in young people, support and educate their families, minimise interruption to their educational and social lives, and support them to manage their ongoing health and recovery. The extra support will deliver an outreach team in 13 locations across Victoria – so young people across the state get the specialised care they need in their community. The mobile teams are staffed by a variety of workers including psychiatric nurses, doctors, family and occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers – and importantly include youth peer workers with lived experience of the mental health system, who can connect to at-risk young people more effectively than traditional clinicians. Alfred Health delivers one of the existing Mobile Targeted Assertive Outreach teams, and this extra support will help the team reach around 126 more families in crisis every year in Melbourne’s inner south-east alone. This outreach investment builds on a record $300 million delivered in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to boost the capacity of all Infant, Child and Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Servicesacross Victoria over four years, providing support to more than 2,300 extra young Victorians aged 0 to 25 and their families every single year. To build a new mental health and wellbeing system from the ground up that meets the needs of all Victorians, this year’s Budgetinvested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support. This unprecedented investment recognises how critical the early years are in promoting good mental health for life, with $842 million for children and young people so they are supported as soon as they need mental health care. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino  “I want every young Victorian who is struggling with their mental health to know that support is available – we’re delivering extra services right across the state, tailored to young people, so nobody needs to suffer in silence.” “This is a profound investment in young Victorians with complex needs – with outreach support to make sure nobody falls through the cracks of our mental health system, no matter what their life circumstances.” Quote attributable to Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos  “We won’t stop investing in the mental health of young Victorians – setting them up with the support they need early in life by providing dedicated services in communities right across our state.” Download the media release

Victorians Shaping The New Mental Health And Wellbeing Act

Hundreds of Victorians have had their say on the Andrews Labor Government’s new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act, which will enshrine recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System into law and help build the state’s new mental health system. The Royal Commission set out a 10-year vision for creating a balanced, flexible, and responsive system that delivers individualised care for every Victorian who needs it, with a key recommendation that the Mental Health Act 2014 be replaced with a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act by mid-2022. The voices of those with lived experience in the mental health sector – from consumers, families and carers to mental health workers and service providers – are vital in delivering an Act that delivers the best services, and the Department of Health invited feedback on specific policy proposals through Engage Victoria. Overall, 283 written submissions were received through the process, and 28 targeted engagement sessions saw more than 500 Victorians provide further feedback on the proposals. This feedback is included in the new The new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act: What we heard report released today, and highlights Victorians’ desire for the Act to better recognise people with lived experience, the positive role that clinicians and mental health workers play in the system, and the diversity of those accessing services. The feedback also acknowledges that some more complex issues require more time than the Act’s recommended timelines to develop world-class regulations – for example, the criteria around compulsory mental health treatment. While feedback supported a cultural shift that reduces the need for compulsory treatment and increased oversight, reporting and monitoring, the Labor Government will deliver an independent review of compulsory treatment criteria and alignment of mental health laws with other decision-making laws. The independent review will begin in 2022, when Parliament has passed the new Act – bringing forward the Royal Commission’s suggested five to seven-year timeframe for aligning decision-making laws. The terms of reference for the review will be co-designed with consumers, families, carers, workers in the sector and service providers. The What we heard report is now available on the Engage Victoria website at engage.vic.gov.au/mhwa. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “I want to thank every Victorian with their own experience of our mental health system who shared their stories with such generosity – it’s wonderful to see how passionate people are about helping design our new system.” “We’re listening to everyone’s views as we develop this new Act to deliver the care and treatment every Victorian with mental health concerns – and everyone who cares for them – deserves.” Download the media release

Victorians Shaping The New Mental Health And Wellbeing Act

Hundreds of Victorians have had their say on the Andrews Labor Government’s new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act, which will enshrine recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System into law and help build the state’s new mental health system. The Royal Commission set out a 10-year vision for creating a balanced, flexible, and responsive system that delivers individualised care for every Victorian who needs it, with a key recommendation that the Mental Health Act 2014 be replaced with a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act by mid-2022. The voices of those with lived experience in the mental health sector – from consumers, families and carers to mental health workers and service providers – are vital in delivering an Act that delivers the best services, and the Department of Health invited feedback on specific policy proposals through Engage Victoria. Overall, 283 written submissions were received through the process, and 28 targeted engagement sessions saw more than 500 Victorians provide further feedback on the proposals. This feedback is included in the new The new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act: What we heard report released today, and highlights Victorians’ desire for the Act to better recognise people with lived experience, the positive role that clinicians and mental health workers play in the system, and the diversity of those accessing services. The feedback also acknowledges that some more complex issues require more time than the Act’s recommended timelines to develop world-class regulations – for example, the criteria around compulsory mental health treatment. While feedback supported a cultural shift that reduces the need for compulsory treatment and increased oversight, reporting and monitoring, the Labor Government will deliver an independent review of compulsory treatment criteria and alignment of mental health laws with other decision-making laws. The independent review will begin in 2022, when Parliament has passed the new Act – bringing forward the Royal Commission’s suggested five to seven-year timeframe for aligning decision-making laws. The terms of reference for the review will be co-designed with consumers, families, carers, workers in the sector and service providers. The What we heard report is now available on the Engage Victoria website at engage.vic.gov.au/mhwa. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “I want to thank every Victorian with their own experience of our mental health system who shared their stories with such generosity – it’s wonderful to see how passionate people are about helping design our new system.” “We’re listening to everyone’s views as we develop this new Act to deliver the care and treatment every Victorian with mental health concerns – and everyone who cares for them – deserves.” Download the media release

Helping Kids See Clearly With Glasses Milestone

One thousand more Victorian students can now see more clearly and concentrate better at school, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s free Glasses for Kids program. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the 1000th pair of free glasses have been prescribed to a student at Rochester Primary School in the Shire of Campaspe. One of 16 students at his school to receive free vision screening and testing at school, Grade 2 student Charlie Holland received his new glasses alongside six classmates. Children with undiagnosed vision problems often find it hard to concentrate at school, which presents challenges when it comes to actively engaging in their learning– but too many Victorian families avoid eye testing due to the prohibitive cost of glasses. The Victorian-first program, which is managed and delivered by State Schools’ Relief, has helped more than 22,000 Prep to Year 3 students at 395 schools across Victoria have their eyes screened and, if needed, receive free glasses. The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invested $1.6 million to deliver the second round of the Glasses for Kids program – supporting students with undiagnosed vision impairments, regardless of their background, to achieve their best at school and beyond. This builds on the $800,000 the Labor Government has already provided to this initiative since coming to government, ensuring a child’s education isn’t disadvantaged by easily treated issues like vision impairment. The second phase of the program means the program will visit an extra 340 schools – testing around 40,000 more Prep to Grade 3 students. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Giving every Victorian child the opportunity to thrive at school goes beyond providing great education programs – it’s about making sure nobody is left behind because of easily treatable issues like vision impairment.” “It’s fantastic to see an extra thousand Victorian students seeing more clearly and concentrating better thanks to Glasses for Kids – and that’s exactly why we’ll continue to invest in this vital program, and in our kids’ health.” Download the media release

Helping Kids See Clearly With Glasses Milestone

One thousand more Victorian students can now see more clearly and concentrate better at school, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s free Glasses for Kids program. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the 1000th pair of free glasses have been prescribed to a student at Rochester Primary School in the Shire of Campaspe. One of 16 students at his school to receive free vision screening and testing at school, Grade 2 student Charlie Holland received his new glasses alongside six classmates. Children with undiagnosed vision problems often find it hard to concentrate at school, which presents challenges when it comes to actively engaging in their learning– but too many Victorian families avoid eye testing due to the prohibitive cost of glasses. The Victorian-first program, which is managed and delivered by State Schools’ Relief, has helped more than 22,000 Prep to Year 3 students at 395 schools across Victoria have their eyes screened and, if needed, receive free glasses. The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invested $1.6 million to deliver the second round of the Glasses for Kids program – supporting students with undiagnosed vision impairments, regardless of their background, to achieve their best at school and beyond. This builds on the $800,000 the Labor Government has already provided to this initiative since coming to government, ensuring a child’s education isn’t disadvantaged by easily treated issues like vision impairment. The second phase of the program means the program will visit an extra 340 schools – testing around 40,000 more Prep to Grade 3 students. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Giving every Victorian child the opportunity to thrive at school goes beyond providing great education programs – it’s about making sure nobody is left behind because of easily treatable issues like vision impairment.” “It’s fantastic to see an extra thousand Victorian students seeing more clearly and concentrating better thanks to Glasses for Kids – and that’s exactly why we’ll continue to invest in this vital program, and in our kids’ health.” Download the media release

 

Land Purchased For Truganina North Education Precinct

Families in Melbourne’s growing western suburbs are a step closer to having more world-class school facilities, with the Andrews Labor Government securing land for an education precinct in Truganina North. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Tarneit Sarah Connolly today announced the Labor Government has signed a contract to purchase a 9.6-hectare site in the growing Elements Estate. The site will be home to the new junior campus of Truganina North Secondary School (interim name), complementing the senior campus which will be built on nearby Morris Road. Both campuses will reduce pressure on the area’s existing schools as the western suburbs grow and accommodate 2,200 students. The new secondary school will open in 2024. The new site will also be home to a future primary school and kindergarten. We are delivering a new kindergarten on-site or next door to new primary schools to help parents ditch the dreaded “double drop-off.” The new campuses form part of more than $10.9 billion the Labor Government has invested in new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries over the past seven years. With 62 schools opening between 2019 and 2024, the Government is well ahead in its work to open 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every Victoria child has access to a great local school. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know how fast our outer western suburbs are growing – so we’re delivering a new secondary school across two new campuses to make sure every family has access to a world-class school, close to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Tarneit Sarah Connolly “As our community expands, we’re keeping pace by delivering the services locals need – and I can’t wait to see our education precinct in Truganina North come to life.  A campus of the secondary school, along with a future primary school and kindergarten, in the Elements Estate is a great outcome for local families.” Download the media release

Land Purchased For Truganina North Education Precinct

Families in Melbourne’s growing western suburbs are a step closer to having more world-class school facilities, with the Andrews Labor Government securing land for an education precinct in Truganina North. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Tarneit Sarah Connolly today announced the Labor Government has signed a contract to purchase a 9.6-hectare site in the growing Elements Estate. The site will be home to the new junior campus of Truganina North Secondary School (interim name), complementing the senior campus which will be built on nearby Morris Road. Both campuses will reduce pressure on the area’s existing schools as the western suburbs grow and accommodate 2,200 students. The new secondary school will open in 2024. The new site will also be home to a future primary school and kindergarten. We are delivering a new kindergarten on-site or next door to new primary schools to help parents ditch the dreaded “double drop-off.” The new campuses form part of more than $10.9 billion the Labor Government has invested in new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries over the past seven years. With 62 schools opening between 2019 and 2024, the Government is well ahead in its work to open 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every Victoria child has access to a great local school. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know how fast our outer western suburbs are growing – so we’re delivering a new secondary school across two new campuses to make sure every family has access to a world-class school, close to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Tarneit Sarah Connolly “As our community expands, we’re keeping pace by delivering the services locals need – and I can’t wait to see our education precinct in Truganina North come to life.  A campus of the secondary school, along with a future primary school and kindergarten, in the Elements Estate is a great outcome for local families.” Download the media release

Recognising Monbulk’s Outstanding Volunteers

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Volunteering Awards, which celebrate the extraordinary efforts of Victoria’s hard-working volunteers. The awards are an opportunity to recognise the incredible support volunteers have given to others during a difficult year – whether it’s delivering essential food relief and medical supplies or helping seniors video call loved ones, volunteers are the backbone of our community and we say thank you. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today called on Monbulk residents to nominate volunteers who have made a difference over the past year. The efforts of volunteers, leaders and organisations will be recognised across eight awards categories, including for leadership, service, impact and teamwork. A highlight is the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, who is recognised with the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award. The winner will receive a $10,000 prize to donate to a not-for-profit organisation of their choice. This year Volunteering Victoria will combine its awards with the Victorian Government’s Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards. Nominations for the 2021 Volunteering Awards will close on January 14, 2022. Finalists will be announced on 23 February 2022 and winners will be acknowledged at an official ceremony in March 2022. For more information or to nominate someone, visit 2021 Volunteering Awards - Volunteering Victoria. Following consultation with volunteers and community organisations, the Government is currently developing a Victorian Volunteer Strategy which will underpin efforts to ensure volunteers are supported and make volunteering more accessible. Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers here in Monbulk – you do such an important job supporting the community.” “If you know a volunteer doing extraordinary work, I encourage you to nominate them so we can celebrate their important achievements.” Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Carers and Volunteers Anthony Carbines “Victoria’s volunteers have made a huge impact in our community during the pandemic, selflessly helping others in our community.”  

Recognising Monbulk’s Outstanding Volunteers

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Volunteering Awards, which celebrate the extraordinary efforts of Victoria’s hard-working volunteers. The awards are an opportunity to recognise the incredible support volunteers have given to others during a difficult year – whether it’s delivering essential food relief and medical supplies or helping seniors video call loved ones, volunteers are the backbone of our community and we say thank you. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today called on Monbulk residents to nominate volunteers who have made a difference over the past year. The efforts of volunteers, leaders and organisations will be recognised across eight awards categories, including for leadership, service, impact and teamwork. A highlight is the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, who is recognised with the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award. The winner will receive a $10,000 prize to donate to a not-for-profit organisation of their choice. This year Volunteering Victoria will combine its awards with the Victorian Government’s Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards. Nominations for the 2021 Volunteering Awards will close on January 14, 2022. Finalists will be announced on 23 February 2022 and winners will be acknowledged at an official ceremony in March 2022. For more information or to nominate someone, visit 2021 Volunteering Awards - Volunteering Victoria. Following consultation with volunteers and community organisations, the Government is currently developing a Victorian Volunteer Strategy which will underpin efforts to ensure volunteers are supported and make volunteering more accessible. Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers here in Monbulk – you do such an important job supporting the community.” “If you know a volunteer doing extraordinary work, I encourage you to nominate them so we can celebrate their important achievements.” Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Carers and Volunteers Anthony Carbines “Victoria’s volunteers have made a huge impact in our community during the pandemic, selflessly helping others in our community.”  

Victoria’s Zero Emission Vehicle Charging Blitz

The Andrews Labor Government is supercharging the state’s zero emissions vehicle journey with $5 million for a fast-charging network and $3 million in new charging grants for local council and business fleets. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced the funding along with easier access to the state’s $3,000 zero emission vehicle subsidy – which is now available at the point of sale. The initiatives − part of Victoria’s $100 million Zero Emissions Vehicle Roadmap − will significantly ramp up the state’s charging infrastructure and make it easier for Victorians to purchase an electric vehicle. The investment will also create jobs for workers installing charging stations, including electricians and technicians. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP welcomed plans to ensure that from any town in Victoria, EV drivers are always within 1 hour of a fast-charger, with the Destination Charging Across Victoria (DCAV) Program awarding $5 million in grants to install 141 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in 116 tourist and high-use areas across Victoria. Destinations include shopping complexes, public parks, community centres, libraries, and tourist hot spots such as the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne Zoo, the MCG, and Queen Victoria Market. The EV Charging for Council Fleets and EV Charging for Business Fleets programs will also provide up to $1.5 million in grant funding for fleet infrastructure for local councils and businesses. Victoria’s ZEV Roadmap is the most comprehensive plan of its kind in Australia and will help Victoria hit its ZEV target of 50 per cent of all new light vehicle sales by 2030, a key part of halving our emissions by 2030 as we work towards our target of net-zero emissions by 2050. There has been a 200 per cent increase in average monthly ZEV sales in the six months since the program started. More than 1,500 Victorians have already taken advantage of the subsidy, particularly in the western suburbs, with Point Cook and Truganina among the leading suburbs. Local councils and businesses are encouraged to apply for fleet charging grants before applications close on Friday 21 January 2022. To apply visit Zero emissions vehicles (energy.vic.gov.au), and find out more on the ZEV Subsidy at Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Subsidy | Solar Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “By expanding critical charging infrastructure for the public, local councils, and businesses, we are laying the groundwork for our target of 50 per cent of all new light vehicle sales to be zero emissions by 2030.” “By investing in charging infrastructure and our ZEV Subsidy, we are accelerating the take-up of this low emissions technology and creating a ZEV revolution, which is helping us achieve our ambitious plan to halve emissions by 2030.” Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “An electric vehicle fast-charging station in Belgrave is a great win for the region and will ensure the Yarra Ranges remains a tourist destination of choice throughout Victoria’s net-zero transformation.”

Victoria’s Zero Emission Vehicle Charging Blitz

The Andrews Labor Government is supercharging the state’s zero emissions vehicle journey with $5 million for a fast-charging network and $3 million in new charging grants for local council and business fleets. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced the funding along with easier access to the state’s $3,000 zero emission vehicle subsidy – which is now available at the point of sale. The initiatives − part of Victoria’s $100 million Zero Emissions Vehicle Roadmap − will significantly ramp up the state’s charging infrastructure and make it easier for Victorians to purchase an electric vehicle. The investment will also create jobs for workers installing charging stations, including electricians and technicians. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP welcomed plans to ensure that from any town in Victoria, EV drivers are always within 1 hour of a fast-charger, with the Destination Charging Across Victoria (DCAV) Program awarding $5 million in grants to install 141 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in 116 tourist and high-use areas across Victoria. Destinations include shopping complexes, public parks, community centres, libraries, and tourist hot spots such as the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne Zoo, the MCG, and Queen Victoria Market. The EV Charging for Council Fleets and EV Charging for Business Fleets programs will also provide up to $1.5 million in grant funding for fleet infrastructure for local councils and businesses. Victoria’s ZEV Roadmap is the most comprehensive plan of its kind in Australia and will help Victoria hit its ZEV target of 50 per cent of all new light vehicle sales by 2030, a key part of halving our emissions by 2030 as we work towards our target of net-zero emissions by 2050. There has been a 200 per cent increase in average monthly ZEV sales in the six months since the program started. More than 1,500 Victorians have already taken advantage of the subsidy, particularly in the western suburbs, with Point Cook and Truganina among the leading suburbs. Local councils and businesses are encouraged to apply for fleet charging grants before applications close on Friday 21 January 2022. To apply visit Zero emissions vehicles (energy.vic.gov.au), and find out more on the ZEV Subsidy at Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Subsidy | Solar Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “By expanding critical charging infrastructure for the public, local councils, and businesses, we are laying the groundwork for our target of 50 per cent of all new light vehicle sales to be zero emissions by 2030.” “By investing in charging infrastructure and our ZEV Subsidy, we are accelerating the take-up of this low emissions technology and creating a ZEV revolution, which is helping us achieve our ambitious plan to halve emissions by 2030.” Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “An electric vehicle fast-charging station in Belgrave is a great win for the region and will ensure the Yarra Ranges remains a tourist destination of choice throughout Victoria’s net-zero transformation.”

New Puffing Billy Visitor Centre Adds Steam To Tourism Revival

The Andrews Labor Government has ensured the future of one of Victoria’s most popular and iconic tourist attractions, Puffing Billy Railway, with a new $24.8 million Visitor Centre officially opened today. Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula joined Member for Monbulk James Merlino and community representatives to unveil the state-of-the-art Centre, which will service thousands of visitors each week at Lakeside Station in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges. Backed by a $12.7 million investment from the Labor Government, the Lakeside Visitor Centre will help attract a new generation of Puffing Billy enthusiasts as the much-loved train service returns to daily service. The Lakeside Visitor Centre delivers premium facilities and attractions for tourists, day-trippers and school groups, honouring the rich history of the century-old heritage steam railway through a collection of steam-era artefacts and an immersive multimedia experience. The Centre boasts a range of dining options featuring seasonal produce from the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong Ranges, as well as a hi-tech function space to host workshops, conferences, events and school excursions. Daily train services return to the much-loved heritage railway from today, enticing visitors back to the Dandenong Ranges in an important boost to the local economy. Managed by the Emerald Tourist Railway Board, the open-air steam train plays an important role in preserving Victoria’s railway history and delivers an unforgettable journey through scenic bushland that attracted more than 500,000 visitors annually prior to the pandemic. The Lakeside Visitor Centre was co-funded by Puffing Billy Railway and the Commonwealth Government. For further information on the Visitor Centre and the railway’s operations – including to book tickets – visit puffingbilly.com.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula “Puffing Billy is loved by Victorians and visitors and with these terrific new facilities will continue to win hearts for generations to come.” “The Visitor Centre gives an historic railway a very modern lift and comes on line at the right time as we open up as an economy and tourism businesses plan for a strong recovery.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “Puffing Billy is much more than a train ride – it has created memorable moments for tourists, day-trippers and school groups for over a century.” “The new Centre will ensure the railway continues to be a significant drawcard for the region into the future, underpinning important jobs.”

New Puffing Billy Visitor Centre Adds Steam To Tourism Revival

The Andrews Labor Government has ensured the future of one of Victoria’s most popular and iconic tourist attractions, Puffing Billy Railway, with a new $24.8 million Visitor Centre officially opened today. Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula joined Member for Monbulk James Merlino and community representatives to unveil the state-of-the-art Centre, which will service thousands of visitors each week at Lakeside Station in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges. Backed by a $12.7 million investment from the Labor Government, the Lakeside Visitor Centre will help attract a new generation of Puffing Billy enthusiasts as the much-loved train service returns to daily service. The Lakeside Visitor Centre delivers premium facilities and attractions for tourists, day-trippers and school groups, honouring the rich history of the century-old heritage steam railway through a collection of steam-era artefacts and an immersive multimedia experience. The Centre boasts a range of dining options featuring seasonal produce from the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong Ranges, as well as a hi-tech function space to host workshops, conferences, events and school excursions. Daily train services return to the much-loved heritage railway from today, enticing visitors back to the Dandenong Ranges in an important boost to the local economy. Managed by the Emerald Tourist Railway Board, the open-air steam train plays an important role in preserving Victoria’s railway history and delivers an unforgettable journey through scenic bushland that attracted more than 500,000 visitors annually prior to the pandemic. The Lakeside Visitor Centre was co-funded by Puffing Billy Railway and the Commonwealth Government. For further information on the Visitor Centre and the railway’s operations – including to book tickets – visit puffingbilly.com.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula “Puffing Billy is loved by Victorians and visitors and with these terrific new facilities will continue to win hearts for generations to come.” “The Visitor Centre gives an historic railway a very modern lift and comes on line at the right time as we open up as an economy and tourism businesses plan for a strong recovery.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “Puffing Billy is much more than a train ride – it has created memorable moments for tourists, day-trippers and school groups for over a century.” “The new Centre will ensure the railway continues to be a significant drawcard for the region into the future, underpinning important jobs.”

Delivering More Food Relief For Victorians In Need

The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring Victorian families in need can continue putting a meal on the table with the delivery of an extra 830,000 meals through community food relief programs. Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers James Merlino today announced 16 organisations would share in $500,000 through the latest round of the Food Relief Financial Reserve grants. This latest funding builds on the $3 million already delivered through the program, providing 1.5 million meals and 36 full-time food relief jobs. The Labor Government has invested more than $39 million to expand community food relief across Victoria since February 2020. This includes $3.5 million to establish five designated regional food relief hubs to increase food relief storage and distribution services in regional Victoria. Working with Foodbank Victoria, the hubs will strengthen links with suppliers and coordinate efforts to get food to those who need it. The Government has also strengthened the state’s community food relief system with the establishment of the Food Relief Taskforce, which coordinates food relief providers across the state. The final grant round of the $6 million Food Relief Financial Reserve closes on 6 December. For further information and to apply, visit providers.dffh.vic.gov.au/community-food-relief. Quote attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers James Merlino “No-one in Victoria should be going hungry – we’re ensuring all Victorians can put a healthy meal on the table.” “I encourage community food relief organisations to apply for funding through the grants program, so we can reach communities right across the state.” “Every Victorian deserves access to fresh and healthy food – which is why we’re boosting capacity for community-based food relief services and ensuring all families can stay happy and healthy.” Download the media release

Delivering More Food Relief For Victorians In Need

The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring Victorian families in need can continue putting a meal on the table with the delivery of an extra 830,000 meals through community food relief programs. Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers James Merlino today announced 16 organisations would share in $500,000 through the latest round of the Food Relief Financial Reserve grants. This latest funding builds on the $3 million already delivered through the program, providing 1.5 million meals and 36 full-time food relief jobs. The Labor Government has invested more than $39 million to expand community food relief across Victoria since February 2020. This includes $3.5 million to establish five designated regional food relief hubs to increase food relief storage and distribution services in regional Victoria. Working with Foodbank Victoria, the hubs will strengthen links with suppliers and coordinate efforts to get food to those who need it. The Government has also strengthened the state’s community food relief system with the establishment of the Food Relief Taskforce, which coordinates food relief providers across the state. The final grant round of the $6 million Food Relief Financial Reserve closes on 6 December. For further information and to apply, visit providers.dffh.vic.gov.au/community-food-relief. Quote attributable to Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers James Merlino “No-one in Victoria should be going hungry – we’re ensuring all Victorians can put a healthy meal on the table.” “I encourage community food relief organisations to apply for funding through the grants program, so we can reach communities right across the state.” “Every Victorian deserves access to fresh and healthy food – which is why we’re boosting capacity for community-based food relief services and ensuring all families can stay happy and healthy.” Download the media release

New Standards To Emphasise Respect For School Staff

The Andrews Labor Government has launched new school policies and resources to promote the importance of collaboration and respectful behaviours between parents and carers and school staff. The new Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy will help ensure schools remain safe and positive places to work, after a concerning rise in incidents of aggression towards school staff from parents and carers. The policy sets out clear guidelines on the expected standards of behaviour for parents, carers and other adults in the school community to reduce the risk and incidence of work-related violence towards school staff, ensuring all education workers feel safe and supported at work. The new policy includes strategies and resources to help schools prevent and manage unacceptable behaviours from parents and carers, with posters and communication materials to be provided to schools to communicate the new policy – and the expectations around adult behaviours – to their school community. The policy and resources are linked to the Labor Government’s recently-passed Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) legislation, which strengthens protections for school staff against parent and career aggression. A School Community Safety Order scheme will be introduced to all schools in mid-2022, allowing school principals to issue safety orders in response to harmful, threatening, abusive or disruptive behaviour at work. These new laws will also allow schools to prohibit parents and carers from engaging in threatening or abusive communication through social media and other channels. To view the new Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy, please visit education.vic.gov.au/Pages/Respectful-Behaviours-within-the-School-Community-Policy.aspx  Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “School leaders and staff have been absolutely incredible supports to our kids, families and communities throughout the pandemic – and we’re taking action to ensure they’re treated with the respect they deserve at school.” “This important work is about keeping schools safe and supporting staff to make sure schools are places where everyone feels safe and respected – creating an environment where students can thrive.” “Everyone deserves to feel safe at work – and I urge families to think about how they’re treating their children’s school staff, who have given so much to our communities over the past two challenging years.” Download the media release

New Standards To Emphasise Respect For School Staff

The Andrews Labor Government has launched new school policies and resources to promote the importance of collaboration and respectful behaviours between parents and carers and school staff. The new Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy will help ensure schools remain safe and positive places to work, after a concerning rise in incidents of aggression towards school staff from parents and carers. The policy sets out clear guidelines on the expected standards of behaviour for parents, carers and other adults in the school community to reduce the risk and incidence of work-related violence towards school staff, ensuring all education workers feel safe and supported at work. The new policy includes strategies and resources to help schools prevent and manage unacceptable behaviours from parents and carers, with posters and communication materials to be provided to schools to communicate the new policy – and the expectations around adult behaviours – to their school community. The policy and resources are linked to the Labor Government’s recently-passed Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) legislation, which strengthens protections for school staff against parent and career aggression. A School Community Safety Order scheme will be introduced to all schools in mid-2022, allowing school principals to issue safety orders in response to harmful, threatening, abusive or disruptive behaviour at work. These new laws will also allow schools to prohibit parents and carers from engaging in threatening or abusive communication through social media and other channels. To view the new Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy, please visit education.vic.gov.au/Pages/Respectful-Behaviours-within-the-School-Community-Policy.aspx  Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “School leaders and staff have been absolutely incredible supports to our kids, families and communities throughout the pandemic – and we’re taking action to ensure they’re treated with the respect they deserve at school.” “This important work is about keeping schools safe and supporting staff to make sure schools are places where everyone feels safe and respected – creating an environment where students can thrive.” “Everyone deserves to feel safe at work – and I urge families to think about how they’re treating their children’s school staff, who have given so much to our communities over the past two challenging years.” Download the media release

Lysterfield To Host 2022 Pistol Australia National Titles

The Lysterfield area will be able to enjoy top shooting action, with Victorian Amateur Pistol Association receiving funding from the Victorian Government to host the 2022 Pistol Australia National Titles at the Yarra Pistol Club in Lysterfield. Member for Monbulk today announced the event will be held from the 8th to the 17th of April 2022 supported by the government’s Significant Sporting Events Program. The 2022 Pistol Australia National Titles brings together 250 competitors who will be vying for top honours over the 10-day event. The events included the Traralgon Tennis International in Traralgon (12-19 January 2022), the Australian Equestrian Jumping Championships in Boneo (20-24 April 2022) and the Pistol Australia National Titles in Lysterfield from (8-17 April 2022). The Victorian Government’s $17.7 million Significant Sporting Events Program supports organisations to deliver sporting events that are national or international in focus or have regional significance and are recognised by a relevant sporting body. As well as drawing some of the best competitors worldwide from a range of sports, significant sporting events like these attract the big crowds and create a real buzz, giving communities the chance to showcase their regions and boost local economies. Since December 2014, the Significant Sporting Events Program has secured more than 425 events for Victoria, with more than 210 staged in regional Victoria, boosting local jobs and economies. The program is part of the Victorian Government’s strong commitment to sport and active recreation, and to encouraging all Victorians to get out there and get active. For information on the Significant Sporting Events Program go to https://sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/significant-sporting-events-program Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “I’m delighted the Victorian Government is helping bring the best shooters to Lysterfield. It gives us the opportunity to showcase our wonderful facilities and location to the rest of Australia.” “I urge the community to come along and enjoy this action-packed event right in our own backyard.”

Lysterfield To Host 2022 Pistol Australia National Titles

The Lysterfield area will be able to enjoy top shooting action, with Victorian Amateur Pistol Association receiving funding from the Victorian Government to host the 2022 Pistol Australia National Titles at the Yarra Pistol Club in Lysterfield. Member for Monbulk today announced the event will be held from the 8th to the 17th of April 2022 supported by the government’s Significant Sporting Events Program. The 2022 Pistol Australia National Titles brings together 250 competitors who will be vying for top honours over the 10-day event. The events included the Traralgon Tennis International in Traralgon (12-19 January 2022), the Australian Equestrian Jumping Championships in Boneo (20-24 April 2022) and the Pistol Australia National Titles in Lysterfield from (8-17 April 2022). The Victorian Government’s $17.7 million Significant Sporting Events Program supports organisations to deliver sporting events that are national or international in focus or have regional significance and are recognised by a relevant sporting body. As well as drawing some of the best competitors worldwide from a range of sports, significant sporting events like these attract the big crowds and create a real buzz, giving communities the chance to showcase their regions and boost local economies. Since December 2014, the Significant Sporting Events Program has secured more than 425 events for Victoria, with more than 210 staged in regional Victoria, boosting local jobs and economies. The program is part of the Victorian Government’s strong commitment to sport and active recreation, and to encouraging all Victorians to get out there and get active. For information on the Significant Sporting Events Program go to https://sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/significant-sporting-events-program Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “I’m delighted the Victorian Government is helping bring the best shooters to Lysterfield. It gives us the opportunity to showcase our wonderful facilities and location to the rest of Australia.” “I urge the community to come along and enjoy this action-packed event right in our own backyard.”

Ditching The Double Drop-Off With More Kinders On School Sites

The Andrew Labor Government is making kinder education more accessible for children and their families by delivering more kindergartens on school sites ─ saving parents time and helping ditch the dreaded double drop-off. Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt today announced four more kindergartens will be built at schools across Victoria in 2023 and an existing kindergarten will be expanded ─ creating 300 extra approved kindergarten places for local children. The new kindergartens will each offer 66 approved places and will be built at Essendon Keilor College (Essendon campus), Newhaven Primary School, Meadowglen Primary School and the new Camms Road Proposed P-6 (interim name). The existing kindergarten at Wonthaggi Primary School will also be expanded by an extra 33 places. The Labor Government will fund all the new kindergarten spaces, as well as administrative facilities and outdoor play areas to respond to growing demand for kindergarten places and make sure all children have the opportunity to engage in nature, stay active and enjoy high-quality early learning. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kinder roll-out, the Labor Government is upgrading infrastructure through a $1.68 billion co-investment with the early childhood sector to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state ─ supporting local jobs in construction and across the supply chain in the process. Every new Victorian primary school opening from 2021 onwards will have a kindergarten on-site or next door, making kindergarten programs easier to access, drop-off time simpler and more convenient for parents, and ensuring the transition from kindergarten to school is smoother for children. In an Australian-first, the Labor Government is investing $5 billion this decade to deliver two years of funded kindergarten for all Victorian children. Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Making Victoria the Education State starts in the early years – that’s why we’re delivering unprecedented investment in the first years of our children’s education.” “We’re already giving Victorian kids an extra year of kinder – and now we’re taking action to make sure kinders are more convenient and accessible for busy families.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Kindergartens on school sites will deliver a better education for our state’s youngest learners by making the transition to school that much easier.” Download the media release

Ditching The Double Drop-Off With More Kinders On School Sites

The Andrew Labor Government is making kinder education more accessible for children and their families by delivering more kindergartens on school sites ─ saving parents time and helping ditch the dreaded double drop-off. Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt today announced four more kindergartens will be built at schools across Victoria in 2023 and an existing kindergarten will be expanded ─ creating 300 extra approved kindergarten places for local children. The new kindergartens will each offer 66 approved places and will be built at Essendon Keilor College (Essendon campus), Newhaven Primary School, Meadowglen Primary School and the new Camms Road Proposed P-6 (interim name). The existing kindergarten at Wonthaggi Primary School will also be expanded by an extra 33 places. The Labor Government will fund all the new kindergarten spaces, as well as administrative facilities and outdoor play areas to respond to growing demand for kindergarten places and make sure all children have the opportunity to engage in nature, stay active and enjoy high-quality early learning. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kinder roll-out, the Labor Government is upgrading infrastructure through a $1.68 billion co-investment with the early childhood sector to build and expand kindergarten facilities across the state ─ supporting local jobs in construction and across the supply chain in the process. Every new Victorian primary school opening from 2021 onwards will have a kindergarten on-site or next door, making kindergarten programs easier to access, drop-off time simpler and more convenient for parents, and ensuring the transition from kindergarten to school is smoother for children. In an Australian-first, the Labor Government is investing $5 billion this decade to deliver two years of funded kindergarten for all Victorian children. Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Making Victoria the Education State starts in the early years – that’s why we’re delivering unprecedented investment in the first years of our children’s education.” “We’re already giving Victorian kids an extra year of kinder – and now we’re taking action to make sure kinders are more convenient and accessible for busy families.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Kindergartens on school sites will deliver a better education for our state’s youngest learners by making the transition to school that much easier.” Download the media release