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

    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.

  • Four New Schools For Melbourne’s Inner City Families

    More than 5,000 new student places will be created for Melbourne families, with a further three new primary schools and a high school to be built in the inner city. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley today released the Docklands School Provision Review and Stage 2 of the Andrews Labor Government’s Inner City Schools Package in response.

  • Monbulk's own Champion of the Code

    One of Monbulk’s most dedicated grassroots footy volunteers has been declared a Champion of the Code. James Merlino MP, State Member for Monbulk nominated Danny Lamb, Kilsyth Football Club Junior President for an award at a special reception at Government House to pay tribute to the hard-working volunteers who make local footy tick.

  • Valuing our emergency services volunteers

    Emergency services volunteers will be able to get the equipment and facilities they need to keep communities safe, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s new volunteer grants program. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today visited Wattle Glen CFA to launch the new Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grants Program, with $15 million in grants available to volunteers in 2016-17.

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

    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

LIGHTS ON AT NEW MT EVELYN PEDESTRIAN CROSSING

The Andrews Labor Government has made crossing York Road in Mt Evelyn safer for school children, parents and local nursery workers. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today joined VicRoads, teachers and students from Mount Evelyn Christian School and staff from the Yarra View Nursery to switch on the new pedestrian crossing on York Road. The Labor Government has invested $490,000 to replace the old flagged crossing with new pedestrian operated traffic lights. The flagged crossing was unmanned outside of the school zone hours, meaning pedestrians would need to pick a safe gap in the traffic to cross the road. As part of the crossing upgrade, the bus shelter on the northern side of York Road, near the nursery, has been relocated and upgraded to improve access to bus services. The footpath, road surface and drainage at the crossing have also been improved. Although the crossing is now at a higher safety standard, it will continue to be manned by a school crossing supervisor during the morning and afternoon school drop off and pick up times. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We’ve built a safer, easier crossing on York Street so that school students, nursery workers and the wider community can now feel safer crossing this busy road.”  “There have been near misses between cars and pedestrians at this crossing in the past – so we listened to what locals had to say and got on with the job of delivering a safer crossing for the community.”

LIGHTS ON AT NEW MT EVELYN PEDESTRIAN CROSSING

The Andrews Labor Government has made crossing York Road in Mt Evelyn safer for school children, parents and local nursery workers. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today joined VicRoads, teachers and students from Mount Evelyn Christian School and staff from the Yarra View Nursery to switch on the new pedestrian crossing on York Road. The Labor Government has invested $490,000 to replace the old flagged crossing with new pedestrian operated traffic lights. The flagged crossing was unmanned outside of the school zone hours, meaning pedestrians would need to pick a safe gap in the traffic to cross the road. As part of the crossing upgrade, the bus shelter on the northern side of York Road, near the nursery, has been relocated and upgraded to improve access to bus services. The footpath, road surface and drainage at the crossing have also been improved. Although the crossing is now at a higher safety standard, it will continue to be manned by a school crossing supervisor during the morning and afternoon school drop off and pick up times. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We’ve built a safer, easier crossing on York Street so that school students, nursery workers and the wider community can now feel safer crossing this busy road.”  “There have been near misses between cars and pedestrians at this crossing in the past – so we listened to what locals had to say and got on with the job of delivering a safer crossing for the community.”

Safe Schools Program

The Andrews Labor Government is working towards Victoria becoming the Education State. This is about improving outcomes for every student, in every classroom, in every community. We want Victoria’s children and young people to not only achieve academically but also to be happy, confident, resilient and safe. Students cannot learn effectively if they are being bullied at school. Recently, videos have been circulated via social media that promote false and misleading information about the Safe Schools program. To learn about the facts please visit http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/safe-schools-coalition.aspx In March 2017, the Safe Schools program was moved into the Department of Education and Training. Safe Schools is about creating inclusive places for all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students. Safe Schools seeks to prevent, and respond to, discrimination against LGBTI students. The Safe Schools program is not a compulsory part of the Victorian Curriculum, nor is it a sex education program. Safe Schools supports teachers, so they feel equipped to deal with the diverse needs of our student population. Nothing about the Safe Schools program encourages students to question or change their gender or sexuality. The program does not teach sexual practices or provide or encourage the use of props. It’s about providing evidence-based information, age-appropriate resources and professional learning to school staff, for schools to use as they see fit. It is a sad reality that LGBTI young people are more likely to be bullied at school than elsewhere and this has major impact on their educational outcomes. Safe Schools complements broader anti-bullying policies and programs in the Victorian school system, such as the Victorian Government’s anti-bullying program, Bully Stoppers. Safe Schools aims to create a school environment of mutual respect and understanding, where all young people can be safe at school and so are better placed to learn and thrive. If you require further information, please contact the Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division, Early Childhood and School Education Group, Department of Education and Training, via email: safe.schools@edumail.vic.gov.au. Myth busting: Safe Schools Program Myth: The program is a compulsory part of the school curriculum. Fact: The Safe Schools program is not an element of the Victorian Curriculum. The Safe Schools program provides evidence based information, resources and professional learning to schools to foster school environments that are safe, supportive and inclusive of all students, including students who are same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse. The program supports schools to prevent, and respond to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students. Myth: Schools are forced to join the program and should be able to opt-out of the program. Fact:  The Victorian Government has made a clear commitment to expand the Safe Schools program to all government secondary schools by the end of 2018. All other schools, including primary schools and non-government schools are able to access the program and request support where they need it. This is because the Victorian Government values and celebrates diversity and is committed to removing discrimination from Victorian laws, services and society, including for LGBTI Victorians. Schools that are engaged with the program have demonstrated a commitment to build an environment that is safer and more inclusive for the whole school community. Each school has flexibility in the application of Safe Schools program resources, professional learning and advice, based on the local context and school community needs. It can involve, for example, a review of school policies and practice, professional development for school staff, and establishing a student led group to organise inclusive events. Myth: The program is not preventing bullying. Instead it promotes a dangerous agenda that is based on an extreme sexual ideology. Fact: The Safe Schools program is about making sure all children are safe at school and are provided an environment where they can be happy, confident and resilient. Students cannot learn effectively if they are being bullied, harassed and do not feel safe at school. LGBTI young people experience high rates of bullying and the vast majority of this abuse occurs at school. For example, Writing Themselves in 3, the third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people, found that 61 per cent of LGBTI young people report experiencing verbal homophobic abuse 18 per cent report physical homophobic abuse 69 per cent report other types of homophobia, including exclusion and rumours 80 per cent of respondents experienced the reported abuse at school. LGBTI young people are entitled to the same level of safety at school as all other students. Discrimination in Victorian schools has a negative impact on the whole school community, including for teachers, parents and other family members. To provide an environment that is free of discrimination, it is important for all students to understand and be aware of the diversity that exists within the community. This includes gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex topics. Myth:  The program promotes and teaches children to undertake risky/inappropriate behaviour (e.g. chest binding/cross-dressing) and is a form of abuse. Fact: The program does not promote chest binding or cross-dressing. The program provides information and resources to schools and students to raise understanding and awareness of sexual and gender diversity. Many LGBTI students feel uncomfortable about seeking support or affirming their identity and providing guidance and advice about these processes can reduce fear and anxiety in dealing with this. For many people, the question of their gender or their sexuality is straightforward; however, for some it is more contested as they don’t fit neatly into the ‘norm’. It is important for all children and young people to understand that not everyone is the same and to respect this. Myth: Parents are not given an opportunity to consent to their child’s participation and the program disregards the wishes of parents who do not wish for their children to participate in the program. Fact: The Department of Education and Training encourages parental and school community engagement as part of the Safe Schools program. Schools determine how to implement the Safe Schools program at their school, based on their local context and the needs of their school community. This is often done in consultation with students, school council and the broader school community. The program does not impose specific requirements for student participation but does require all school community members to demonstrate the school’s values. In instances where students are more directly involved, this participation tends to be extra-curricular and voluntary, such as through student groups for LGBTI students and allies or special events such as for International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia or Wear It Purple Day. As with any extra-curricular activity, parents can choose for their children not to participate in those activities after discussion with the school. The Department encourages parents to discuss any concerns regarding their child’s participation in the program directly with the school principal. Within any school community there is always a diversity of views represented and schools take those views into account when working with children and their families. Myth: The government should not be in this space. Parents should be the ones who determine how and when their children are provided with information about LGBTI people and sex education. The program undermines the role of the family. Fact: Making sure our school environments are safe and free from discrimination and harassment is a requirement under Australian and Victorian anti-discrimination laws. ​The role of a school is to equip its students to lead healthy and productive lives, to not only achieve academically but also to be happy, healthy and resilient. Social and emotional learning is a key aspect of development for young people. Myth: There is no evidence to warrant such a program. Fact: Many studies around the world show that LGBTI students experience higher rates of harassment, social exclusion and bullying than their non-LGBTI peers[1]. For example, Writing Themselves in 3, the third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people, found that 61 per cent of LGBTI young people report experiencing verbal homophobic abuse 18 per cent report physical homophobic abuse 69 per cent report other types of homophobia, including exclusion and rumours 80 per cent of respondents experienced the reported abuse at school. These experiences significantly affect students’ emotional wellbeing and social health as well as their engagement in learning and school activities. Two studies looking into the impact of homophobia at school found that for LGBTI students: 3 in 10 could not concentrate in school 2 in 10 missed classes or days of school 2 in 10 had lower marks 1 in 10 did not use the toilets 13% dropped out of sport 1 in 10 moved schools 8% dropped out of school altogether[2] In addition to poorer educational outcomes, LGBTI young people are at greater risk of self-harm, suicide, excessive drug use and sexual risk behaviours compared to non-LGBTI young people. Myth: The program diminishes the seriousness of other forms of bullying (e.g. disabilities, racism) and should therefore be wrapped up into a broader anti-bullying program. Fact: Bullying is a serious issue for everyone in a school community. It can happen anywhere, anytime, and can have devastating consequences.  All schools are required to have policies in place which provide students with a safe learning environment where the risk of harm is minimised and they feel physically and emotionally secure. There are a number of programs and resources available to schools to prevent and respond to bullying. Bully Stoppers provides evidence-based anti-bullying advice and resources through a free online toolkit to empower school leaders, teachers, parents and students to tackle bullying. Data shows the severe impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on young people. This warrants a targeted response. The Safe Schools program supports a school to be a safe environment for all students. Myth: The program content is not age-appropriate and should not be offered to young children or children with a disability. It is inappropriate for special needs schools. Fact: The Safe Schools resources are evidence based and age-appropriate. Teachers have flexibility in which resources they use and how they use them. Teachers use their judgement to determine what is appropriate for their students, based on their age, abilities, level of understanding, local context and other factors. This is something that teachers do every day, in every class and with every interaction with their students. The Safe Schools program provides professional learning to teachers to ensure they are equipped to deliver the program in schools through school policy and practice, student led activities and inclusive teaching and learning activities. Myth: The content takes classroom attention away from what matters – reading, writing, and arithmetic. Fact: Safe Schools is not an element of the curriculum and it does not take time away from key learning areas such as literacy and numeracy. We know that students cannot learn effectively if they are being bullied, harassed and do not feel safe at school. Schools that are engaged with the program have made a commitment to build ‘an environment that is safer and more inclusive for the whole school community’. How this commitment is implemented is at the school’s discretion and therefore looks different for each school. Myth: The program is not an effective use of resources. Fact: In the 2015-16 State Budget, the Victorian Government increased its existing funding to Safe Schools Coalition Victoria by $1.04 million over four years to expand its program into every Victorian government secondary school by 2018. By comparison with other education related spending, this is a small amount of government spending that has a large impact on a vulnerable cohort of young people. Evidence shows that young people that feel safe in their learning environments have better learning outcomes. Myth busting Safe Schools program 161217-SupportingLGBTIStudentsInVictorianSchools 161116-Keeping-Children-Safe-From-Sexual-Abuse [1] Toomey and Russell (2016) ‘The Role of Sexual Orientation in School-Based Victimization: A Meta-Analysis’, Youth and Society, Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 176-201; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2011). Review of Homophobic Bullying in Educational Institutions, UNESCO, France, p14. [2] Hillier, L., et al. (2010). Writing themselves in 3: The 3rd national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of SSAGQ young people. Melbourne: ARCSHS: Robinson, KH et al (2013) Growing Up Queer: Issues Facing Young Australian Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne.

Safe Schools Program

The Andrews Labor Government is working towards Victoria becoming the Education State. This is about improving outcomes for every student, in every classroom, in every community. We want Victoria’s children and young people to not only achieve academically but also to be happy, confident, resilient and safe. Students cannot learn effectively if they are being bullied at school. Recently, videos have been circulated via social media that promote false and misleading information about the Safe Schools program. To learn about the facts please visit http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/safe-schools-coalition.aspx In March 2017, the Safe Schools program was moved into the Department of Education and Training. Safe Schools is about creating inclusive places for all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students. Safe Schools seeks to prevent, and respond to, discrimination against LGBTI students. The Safe Schools program is not a compulsory part of the Victorian Curriculum, nor is it a sex education program. Safe Schools supports teachers, so they feel equipped to deal with the diverse needs of our student population. Nothing about the Safe Schools program encourages students to question or change their gender or sexuality. The program does not teach sexual practices or provide or encourage the use of props. It’s about providing evidence-based information, age-appropriate resources and professional learning to school staff, for schools to use as they see fit. It is a sad reality that LGBTI young people are more likely to be bullied at school than elsewhere and this has major impact on their educational outcomes. Safe Schools complements broader anti-bullying policies and programs in the Victorian school system, such as the Victorian Government’s anti-bullying program, Bully Stoppers. Safe Schools aims to create a school environment of mutual respect and understanding, where all young people can be safe at school and so are better placed to learn and thrive. If you require further information, please contact the Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division, Early Childhood and School Education Group, Department of Education and Training, via email: safe.schools@edumail.vic.gov.au. Myth busting: Safe Schools Program Myth: The program is a compulsory part of the school curriculum. Fact: The Safe Schools program is not an element of the Victorian Curriculum. The Safe Schools program provides evidence based information, resources and professional learning to schools to foster school environments that are safe, supportive and inclusive of all students, including students who are same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse. The program supports schools to prevent, and respond to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students. Myth: Schools are forced to join the program and should be able to opt-out of the program. Fact:  The Victorian Government has made a clear commitment to expand the Safe Schools program to all government secondary schools by the end of 2018. All other schools, including primary schools and non-government schools are able to access the program and request support where they need it. This is because the Victorian Government values and celebrates diversity and is committed to removing discrimination from Victorian laws, services and society, including for LGBTI Victorians. Schools that are engaged with the program have demonstrated a commitment to build an environment that is safer and more inclusive for the whole school community. Each school has flexibility in the application of Safe Schools program resources, professional learning and advice, based on the local context and school community needs. It can involve, for example, a review of school policies and practice, professional development for school staff, and establishing a student led group to organise inclusive events. Myth: The program is not preventing bullying. Instead it promotes a dangerous agenda that is based on an extreme sexual ideology. Fact: The Safe Schools program is about making sure all children are safe at school and are provided an environment where they can be happy, confident and resilient. Students cannot learn effectively if they are being bullied, harassed and do not feel safe at school. LGBTI young people experience high rates of bullying and the vast majority of this abuse occurs at school. For example, Writing Themselves in 3, the third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people, found that 61 per cent of LGBTI young people report experiencing verbal homophobic abuse 18 per cent report physical homophobic abuse 69 per cent report other types of homophobia, including exclusion and rumours 80 per cent of respondents experienced the reported abuse at school. LGBTI young people are entitled to the same level of safety at school as all other students. Discrimination in Victorian schools has a negative impact on the whole school community, including for teachers, parents and other family members. To provide an environment that is free of discrimination, it is important for all students to understand and be aware of the diversity that exists within the community. This includes gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex topics. Myth:  The program promotes and teaches children to undertake risky/inappropriate behaviour (e.g. chest binding/cross-dressing) and is a form of abuse. Fact: The program does not promote chest binding or cross-dressing. The program provides information and resources to schools and students to raise understanding and awareness of sexual and gender diversity. Many LGBTI students feel uncomfortable about seeking support or affirming their identity and providing guidance and advice about these processes can reduce fear and anxiety in dealing with this. For many people, the question of their gender or their sexuality is straightforward; however, for some it is more contested as they don’t fit neatly into the ‘norm’. It is important for all children and young people to understand that not everyone is the same and to respect this. Myth: Parents are not given an opportunity to consent to their child’s participation and the program disregards the wishes of parents who do not wish for their children to participate in the program. Fact: The Department of Education and Training encourages parental and school community engagement as part of the Safe Schools program. Schools determine how to implement the Safe Schools program at their school, based on their local context and the needs of their school community. This is often done in consultation with students, school council and the broader school community. The program does not impose specific requirements for student participation but does require all school community members to demonstrate the school’s values. In instances where students are more directly involved, this participation tends to be extra-curricular and voluntary, such as through student groups for LGBTI students and allies or special events such as for International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia or Wear It Purple Day. As with any extra-curricular activity, parents can choose for their children not to participate in those activities after discussion with the school. The Department encourages parents to discuss any concerns regarding their child’s participation in the program directly with the school principal. Within any school community there is always a diversity of views represented and schools take those views into account when working with children and their families. Myth: The government should not be in this space. Parents should be the ones who determine how and when their children are provided with information about LGBTI people and sex education. The program undermines the role of the family. Fact: Making sure our school environments are safe and free from discrimination and harassment is a requirement under Australian and Victorian anti-discrimination laws. ​The role of a school is to equip its students to lead healthy and productive lives, to not only achieve academically but also to be happy, healthy and resilient. Social and emotional learning is a key aspect of development for young people. Myth: There is no evidence to warrant such a program. Fact: Many studies around the world show that LGBTI students experience higher rates of harassment, social exclusion and bullying than their non-LGBTI peers[1]. For example, Writing Themselves in 3, the third national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people, found that 61 per cent of LGBTI young people report experiencing verbal homophobic abuse 18 per cent report physical homophobic abuse 69 per cent report other types of homophobia, including exclusion and rumours 80 per cent of respondents experienced the reported abuse at school. These experiences significantly affect students’ emotional wellbeing and social health as well as their engagement in learning and school activities. Two studies looking into the impact of homophobia at school found that for LGBTI students: 3 in 10 could not concentrate in school 2 in 10 missed classes or days of school 2 in 10 had lower marks 1 in 10 did not use the toilets 13% dropped out of sport 1 in 10 moved schools 8% dropped out of school altogether[2] In addition to poorer educational outcomes, LGBTI young people are at greater risk of self-harm, suicide, excessive drug use and sexual risk behaviours compared to non-LGBTI young people. Myth: The program diminishes the seriousness of other forms of bullying (e.g. disabilities, racism) and should therefore be wrapped up into a broader anti-bullying program. Fact: Bullying is a serious issue for everyone in a school community. It can happen anywhere, anytime, and can have devastating consequences.  All schools are required to have policies in place which provide students with a safe learning environment where the risk of harm is minimised and they feel physically and emotionally secure. There are a number of programs and resources available to schools to prevent and respond to bullying. Bully Stoppers provides evidence-based anti-bullying advice and resources through a free online toolkit to empower school leaders, teachers, parents and students to tackle bullying. Data shows the severe impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on young people. This warrants a targeted response. The Safe Schools program supports a school to be a safe environment for all students. Myth: The program content is not age-appropriate and should not be offered to young children or children with a disability. It is inappropriate for special needs schools. Fact: The Safe Schools resources are evidence based and age-appropriate. Teachers have flexibility in which resources they use and how they use them. Teachers use their judgement to determine what is appropriate for their students, based on their age, abilities, level of understanding, local context and other factors. This is something that teachers do every day, in every class and with every interaction with their students. The Safe Schools program provides professional learning to teachers to ensure they are equipped to deliver the program in schools through school policy and practice, student led activities and inclusive teaching and learning activities. Myth: The content takes classroom attention away from what matters – reading, writing, and arithmetic. Fact: Safe Schools is not an element of the curriculum and it does not take time away from key learning areas such as literacy and numeracy. We know that students cannot learn effectively if they are being bullied, harassed and do not feel safe at school. Schools that are engaged with the program have made a commitment to build ‘an environment that is safer and more inclusive for the whole school community’. How this commitment is implemented is at the school’s discretion and therefore looks different for each school. Myth: The program is not an effective use of resources. Fact: In the 2015-16 State Budget, the Victorian Government increased its existing funding to Safe Schools Coalition Victoria by $1.04 million over four years to expand its program into every Victorian government secondary school by 2018. By comparison with other education related spending, this is a small amount of government spending that has a large impact on a vulnerable cohort of young people. Evidence shows that young people that feel safe in their learning environments have better learning outcomes. Myth busting Safe Schools program 161217-SupportingLGBTIStudentsInVictorianSchools 161116-Keeping-Children-Safe-From-Sexual-Abuse [1] Toomey and Russell (2016) ‘The Role of Sexual Orientation in School-Based Victimization: A Meta-Analysis’, Youth and Society, Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 176-201; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2011). Review of Homophobic Bullying in Educational Institutions, UNESCO, France, p14. [2] Hillier, L., et al. (2010). Writing themselves in 3: The 3rd national study on the sexual health and wellbeing of SSAGQ young people. Melbourne: ARCSHS: Robinson, KH et al (2013) Growing Up Queer: Issues Facing Young Australian Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne.

NEW COMMUNITY FACILITIES FOR UPWEY AND TECOMA

Upwey and Tecoma residents will soon enjoy new community and sporting facilities, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today turned the first sod to the mark the start of construction of the Upwey Tecoma Community Recreation and Sporting Hub (UTCRASH). The new hub will provide a modern and multipurpose space for over 20 local community groups, including 2,500 members and 1,150 school students and staff. With over 1,100 square metres of multi-purpose community spaces, a commercial kitchen, a gym, canteen, offices and meeting spaces this facility will be of huge value to many people in the community. The Labor Government is getting on with the job of delivering high quality sport and recreation facilities across the state. The Government contributed $1.5 million towards the project including a $1 million grant from the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) and $500,000 through the $120 million Community Facilities Funding Program. The Commonwealth Government contributed $500,000 to the project with Bendigo Bank and the UTCRASH community both contributing $250,000. The Yarra Ranges Shire Council contributed $1.1 million towards the project. Over the last two years the council has received more than $5.56 million from the GSF. The Government recently announced another $50 million for the Growing Suburbs Fund, allocated over the next two years as part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18. Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins “The Andrews Labor Government is proud to work together with local councils and communities to deliver important multipurpose facilities like this.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We want as many people as possible to be involved in their community and be physically active.” “This facility will be of tremendous benefit to the local community providing a place for community groups to meet, learn and build strong community ties.”

NEW COMMUNITY FACILITIES FOR UPWEY AND TECOMA

Upwey and Tecoma residents will soon enjoy new community and sporting facilities, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today turned the first sod to the mark the start of construction of the Upwey Tecoma Community Recreation and Sporting Hub (UTCRASH). The new hub will provide a modern and multipurpose space for over 20 local community groups, including 2,500 members and 1,150 school students and staff. With over 1,100 square metres of multi-purpose community spaces, a commercial kitchen, a gym, canteen, offices and meeting spaces this facility will be of huge value to many people in the community. The Labor Government is getting on with the job of delivering high quality sport and recreation facilities across the state. The Government contributed $1.5 million towards the project including a $1 million grant from the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) and $500,000 through the $120 million Community Facilities Funding Program. The Commonwealth Government contributed $500,000 to the project with Bendigo Bank and the UTCRASH community both contributing $250,000. The Yarra Ranges Shire Council contributed $1.1 million towards the project. Over the last two years the council has received more than $5.56 million from the GSF. The Government recently announced another $50 million for the Growing Suburbs Fund, allocated over the next two years as part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18. Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins “The Andrews Labor Government is proud to work together with local councils and communities to deliver important multipurpose facilities like this.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We want as many people as possible to be involved in their community and be physically active.” “This facility will be of tremendous benefit to the local community providing a place for community groups to meet, learn and build strong community ties.”

MONBULK SCHOOLS TO PARTICIPATE IN MATH OLYMPIAD

Member for Monbulk James Merlino today met with local students who will participate in the 12th World Cup of World Mathematical Olympiad to be held in Beijing, China in August this year. The students from Billanook and Mooroolbark East Primary School will be challenged to apply creative and integrated methods to solve mathematical problems using creativity, teamwork and intuition. The World Mathematical Olympiad allows students from more than 20 countries and 300 cities to participate in the event, with the vision to permit students to demonstrate their critical thinking and mathematical skills, as well as engaging in a cultural exchange. At the conclusion of the competition, students will participate in a Beijing tour, including visiting the Great Wall of China. The 12 students will depart Australia to compete in the competition on 9 August and return on 16 August. The Andrew Labor Government is working on a range of measures to continue to improve numeracy results at schools right across Victoria. This includes the recently released Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. The strategy will help schools reach Education State targets of more students reaching the highest levels in reading and mathematics and breaking the link between disadvantage and education outcomes. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk and Minister for Education James Merlino “It is great to see our local students representing their community internationally at such an important event.” “We want to see more students excelling in areas like Mathematics and science because these are skills that we know employers will be looking for now and into the future.” Media Contact: Matthew Dixon 0438 190 148 | matthew.dixon@minstaff.vic.gov.au

MONBULK SCHOOLS TO PARTICIPATE IN MATH OLYMPIAD

Member for Monbulk James Merlino today met with local students who will participate in the 12th World Cup of World Mathematical Olympiad to be held in Beijing, China in August this year. The students from Billanook and Mooroolbark East Primary School will be challenged to apply creative and integrated methods to solve mathematical problems using creativity, teamwork and intuition. The World Mathematical Olympiad allows students from more than 20 countries and 300 cities to participate in the event, with the vision to permit students to demonstrate their critical thinking and mathematical skills, as well as engaging in a cultural exchange. At the conclusion of the competition, students will participate in a Beijing tour, including visiting the Great Wall of China. The 12 students will depart Australia to compete in the competition on 9 August and return on 16 August. The Andrew Labor Government is working on a range of measures to continue to improve numeracy results at schools right across Victoria. This includes the recently released Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. The strategy will help schools reach Education State targets of more students reaching the highest levels in reading and mathematics and breaking the link between disadvantage and education outcomes. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk and Minister for Education James Merlino “It is great to see our local students representing their community internationally at such an important event.” “We want to see more students excelling in areas like Mathematics and science because these are skills that we know employers will be looking for now and into the future.” Media Contact: Matthew Dixon 0438 190 148 | matthew.dixon@minstaff.vic.gov.au

BUILDING THE EDUCATION STATE IN MOOROOLBARK

A new school hall, upgraded learning spaces and improved drainage works are on track at Mooroolbark East Primary School thanks to a Andrews Labor Government commitment totalling $3.68 million. Minister for Education James Merlino today toured the Taylor Road school campus to see first-hand how the improvements are progressing. The new school hall, replacing the previously undersized and aging hall, will be used for school assemblies, physical education and specialist music teaching. The upgrades are expected to be completed by January 2018. The project is part of a $2.5 billion investment by the Labor Government in its past three Budgets to improve classrooms, upgrade facilities and build new schools across the state. This school building boom has delivered more than 1,000 school upgrades and 56 new school projects across the state, supporting almost 5000 construction jobs for Victorians. The Labor Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’ve got on with the job of building better schools, so that local students have the facilities and classrooms they need to succeed.” “Mooroolbark students have waited a long time for improved facilities and I am delighted we’re getting on with delivering quality upgrades and a new school hall.” “This will mean better learning spaces and will increase student pride in their school.”

BUILDING THE EDUCATION STATE IN MOOROOLBARK

A new school hall, upgraded learning spaces and improved drainage works are on track at Mooroolbark East Primary School thanks to a Andrews Labor Government commitment totalling $3.68 million. Minister for Education James Merlino today toured the Taylor Road school campus to see first-hand how the improvements are progressing. The new school hall, replacing the previously undersized and aging hall, will be used for school assemblies, physical education and specialist music teaching. The upgrades are expected to be completed by January 2018. The project is part of a $2.5 billion investment by the Labor Government in its past three Budgets to improve classrooms, upgrade facilities and build new schools across the state. This school building boom has delivered more than 1,000 school upgrades and 56 new school projects across the state, supporting almost 5000 construction jobs for Victorians. The Labor Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’ve got on with the job of building better schools, so that local students have the facilities and classrooms they need to succeed.” “Mooroolbark students have waited a long time for improved facilities and I am delighted we’re getting on with delivering quality upgrades and a new school hall.” “This will mean better learning spaces and will increase student pride in their school.”

New Fire Stations For Truganina And Wyndham Vale

The Andrews Labor Government will secure permanent homes for CFA branches in two of Melbourne’s fastest growing outer suburbs. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today announced $7.5 million in funding to acquire land and build permanent, modern fire stations for the Truganina and Wyndham Vale fire brigades. The funding will be split between the two areas, with $1.5 million put towards the acquisition of land for each site and $2.25 million put towards the development of modern, well equipped stations. Both CFA branches will now have a permanent base to ensure they have capacity to increase their membership and better protect residents in a growing area. The new stations will allow each unit to improve response times, enhance fire protection, suppression and education, ease pressure on surrounding brigades and improve the amenities on offer for volunteer firefighters. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the population for Wyndham Vale grew by more than 10,000 between 2014-15, increasing the brigade’s responses to between 350-400 annually. Wyndham’s population is expected to reach more than 420,000 by 2036 – more than double what it is now. The stations will be completed by June 2019. Funding for the stations comes from the Labor Government’s Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution Fund, which provides critical funding for infrastructure in Melbourne’s growing outer suburbs, ensuring health, education, public transport and other services grow as these communities do. Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier James Merlino “Wyndham Vale Fire Brigade has previously had to operate from a temporary base and that’s just not good enough.” “We know Melbourne is growing quickly and that is why we are providing funding to ensure our volunteers have the support they need to cope with our unprecedented population growth.” Quotes attributable Minister for Suburban Development Lily D’Ambrosio “This is yet another fantastic example of how GAIC funding can be used to benefit the entire community. Earlier this year GAIC helped fund a range of transport projects in Melbourne and now it’s delivering important emergency services infrastructure.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Werribee Tim Pallas “These permanent fire stations will ensure the Wyndham Vale and Truganina areas receive the improved fire services they need for their growing population, and be best equipped to protect residents.”

New Fire Stations For Truganina And Wyndham Vale

The Andrews Labor Government will secure permanent homes for CFA branches in two of Melbourne’s fastest growing outer suburbs. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today announced $7.5 million in funding to acquire land and build permanent, modern fire stations for the Truganina and Wyndham Vale fire brigades. The funding will be split between the two areas, with $1.5 million put towards the acquisition of land for each site and $2.25 million put towards the development of modern, well equipped stations. Both CFA branches will now have a permanent base to ensure they have capacity to increase their membership and better protect residents in a growing area. The new stations will allow each unit to improve response times, enhance fire protection, suppression and education, ease pressure on surrounding brigades and improve the amenities on offer for volunteer firefighters. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the population for Wyndham Vale grew by more than 10,000 between 2014-15, increasing the brigade’s responses to between 350-400 annually. Wyndham’s population is expected to reach more than 420,000 by 2036 – more than double what it is now. The stations will be completed by June 2019. Funding for the stations comes from the Labor Government’s Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution Fund, which provides critical funding for infrastructure in Melbourne’s growing outer suburbs, ensuring health, education, public transport and other services grow as these communities do. Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier James Merlino “Wyndham Vale Fire Brigade has previously had to operate from a temporary base and that’s just not good enough.” “We know Melbourne is growing quickly and that is why we are providing funding to ensure our volunteers have the support they need to cope with our unprecedented population growth.” Quotes attributable Minister for Suburban Development Lily D’Ambrosio “This is yet another fantastic example of how GAIC funding can be used to benefit the entire community. Earlier this year GAIC helped fund a range of transport projects in Melbourne and now it’s delivering important emergency services infrastructure.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Werribee Tim Pallas “These permanent fire stations will ensure the Wyndham Vale and Truganina areas receive the improved fire services they need for their growing population, and be best equipped to protect residents.”

Students across Wyndham are a step closer to a high-tech, innovative learning centre that will equip them with the skills they need for the jobs of the future. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Werribee Tim Pallas today turned the first sod of the new Wyndham Tech School on Victoria University’s Werribee Campus. The newly constructed Wyndham Tech School will be one of 10 new Tech Schools built under the Andrews Labor Government’s $128 million Tech School initiative. Tech Schools use equipment such as 3D printers, audio visual platforms, robotics and virtual reality, to deliver advanced education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students from 18 government, Catholic and independent partner secondary schools in the City of Wyndham will participate in the Tech School’s learning programs free of charge – opening new opportunities for young people in the western suburbs. Scheduled to open mid-2018, Wyndham Tech School learning programs will focus on local industry areas forecast for greatest growth, including health, transport and logistics, scientific and technical professional services, and construction. Students attending the Tech School will have access to expertise from staff from Victoria University while they work on real-world problems provided by industry and use the latest technology to come up with solutions. Design work was completed by Gray Puksand Architects in May 2017 and Harris HMC was today announced as the builder. Tech Schools are part of the Labor Government’s plan to boost performance in STEM subjects, including a 25 per cent increase in the number of Year 9 students reaching the highest level of achievement in mathematics and 33 per cent more 15-year-olds reaching the highest levels in science. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This brand new Tech School will allow students across the western suburbs to get the skills and experiences they need to thrive in the emerging jobs of the future.” “Industry and community groups in the City of Wyndham will ensure the Wyndham Tech School’s learning programs are relevant to local students.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Werribee Tim Pallas “Building tech schools like this gives our kids access to the best possible education opportunities, and our future generations more choice as they start out in life.” Download the Media Release (162 KB)

Students across Wyndham are a step closer to a high-tech, innovative learning centre that will equip them with the skills they need for the jobs of the future. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Werribee Tim Pallas today turned the first sod of the new Wyndham Tech School on Victoria University’s Werribee Campus. The newly constructed Wyndham Tech School will be one of 10 new Tech Schools built under the Andrews Labor Government’s $128 million Tech School initiative. Tech Schools use equipment such as 3D printers, audio visual platforms, robotics and virtual reality, to deliver advanced education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students from 18 government, Catholic and independent partner secondary schools in the City of Wyndham will participate in the Tech School’s learning programs free of charge – opening new opportunities for young people in the western suburbs. Scheduled to open mid-2018, Wyndham Tech School learning programs will focus on local industry areas forecast for greatest growth, including health, transport and logistics, scientific and technical professional services, and construction. Students attending the Tech School will have access to expertise from staff from Victoria University while they work on real-world problems provided by industry and use the latest technology to come up with solutions. Design work was completed by Gray Puksand Architects in May 2017 and Harris HMC was today announced as the builder. Tech Schools are part of the Labor Government’s plan to boost performance in STEM subjects, including a 25 per cent increase in the number of Year 9 students reaching the highest level of achievement in mathematics and 33 per cent more 15-year-olds reaching the highest levels in science. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This brand new Tech School will allow students across the western suburbs to get the skills and experiences they need to thrive in the emerging jobs of the future.” “Industry and community groups in the City of Wyndham will ensure the Wyndham Tech School’s learning programs are relevant to local students.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Werribee Tim Pallas “Building tech schools like this gives our kids access to the best possible education opportunities, and our future generations more choice as they start out in life.” Download the Media Release (162 KB)

Student Voice For Student Engagement

The Andrews Labor Government is partnering with the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) to help make student voice a priority and empower students to fully participate in school life. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced funding of $132,000 for a new online resource centre, the Student Voice Hub, while opening the VicSRC’s Congress 2017. Mr Merlino also announced a new funding agreement to provide the VicSRC  with $750,000 over the next three years – an increase of 27 per cent. The Student Voice Hub will actively support Victorian students to access information that supports their role and enhances the ability of  students to be part of decisions that affect their learning and their lives at school. School students, principals, teaching staff and school communities will directly benefit from the Student Voice Hub which will provide capacity building resources, information and support for students and schools to develop curriculum and student leadership. The Government has provided funds to the VicSRC to support student voice in Victoria since 2007 and funding for the new Student Voice Hub enhances this ongoing partnership to strengthen student voice and leadership. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Student Leaders have been campaigning for an online Student Voice Hub to connect students across Victoria. It’s a great idea and one we’re proud to support.” “We know that schools with a strong student voice perform better. This is about students working with their peers, teachers and communities to shape their schools and educational outcomes.” Quotes attributable to VicSRC Executive Member Spencer Davis “Victorian students welcome the government’s commitment to student voice in decision making through the creation of the Student Voice Hub, which will create a space for students to come together without barriers and help shape an education system that really works for them.”  

Student Voice For Student Engagement

The Andrews Labor Government is partnering with the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) to help make student voice a priority and empower students to fully participate in school life. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced funding of $132,000 for a new online resource centre, the Student Voice Hub, while opening the VicSRC’s Congress 2017. Mr Merlino also announced a new funding agreement to provide the VicSRC  with $750,000 over the next three years – an increase of 27 per cent. The Student Voice Hub will actively support Victorian students to access information that supports their role and enhances the ability of  students to be part of decisions that affect their learning and their lives at school. School students, principals, teaching staff and school communities will directly benefit from the Student Voice Hub which will provide capacity building resources, information and support for students and schools to develop curriculum and student leadership. The Government has provided funds to the VicSRC to support student voice in Victoria since 2007 and funding for the new Student Voice Hub enhances this ongoing partnership to strengthen student voice and leadership. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Student Leaders have been campaigning for an online Student Voice Hub to connect students across Victoria. It’s a great idea and one we’re proud to support.” “We know that schools with a strong student voice perform better. This is about students working with their peers, teachers and communities to shape their schools and educational outcomes.” Quotes attributable to VicSRC Executive Member Spencer Davis “Victorian students welcome the government’s commitment to student voice in decision making through the creation of the Student Voice Hub, which will create a space for students to come together without barriers and help shape an education system that really works for them.”  

 

Permanent height limits for Upper Ferntree Gully

The Andrews Labor Government has taken action to protect Upper Ferntree Gully’s stunning views of the Dandenong Foothills. State Member for Monbulk, James Merlino, today announced that Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has approved Amendment c162 to the Knox Planning Scheme that sets permanent, mandatory height limits for the Upper Ferntree Gully Activity Centre. The community has spoken and we’ve listened, and ensured development heights in the centre are limited to two storeys (nine metres). The change will guarantee building heights align with other maximum heights in surrounding residential areas. The Amendment will protect and build on the renowned character of Upper Ferntree Gully and contribute to the creation of 20-minute neighbourhoods, enabling residents to meet their day-to-day needs without travelling out of the area. The Amendment also introduces a Heritage Overlay to the Visitors Information Centre and the Railway Station complex. The Visitors Information Centre is an example of Art Deco architecture, while the railway station is the only surviving railway station in Knox to have retained much of its pre-World War I character. Both possess historic, aesthetic and social value that we won’t compromise. Melbourne’s population is expected to reach eight million people by 2051, and activity centres are one of the ways we can accommodate more people, business and services – closer to home. We’re getting the planning right in activity centres so that they become cornerstones of the liveability that makes Victoria a great place to live. Quotes attributable to State Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “We’ve listened to the Upper Ferntree Gully community and introduced strict, permanent controls that protect what makes the area so special to locals and tourists who love to visit.”  “Upper Ferntree Gully is one of Melbourne’s most picturesque areas and deserves protection from inappropriate development. We’ve done just that.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne MP “Activity Centres play a crucial role accommodating population growth, but we need to make sure they are developed sensibly and in line with community expectations.”  

Permanent height limits for Upper Ferntree Gully

The Andrews Labor Government has taken action to protect Upper Ferntree Gully’s stunning views of the Dandenong Foothills. State Member for Monbulk, James Merlino, today announced that Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has approved Amendment c162 to the Knox Planning Scheme that sets permanent, mandatory height limits for the Upper Ferntree Gully Activity Centre. The community has spoken and we’ve listened, and ensured development heights in the centre are limited to two storeys (nine metres). The change will guarantee building heights align with other maximum heights in surrounding residential areas. The Amendment will protect and build on the renowned character of Upper Ferntree Gully and contribute to the creation of 20-minute neighbourhoods, enabling residents to meet their day-to-day needs without travelling out of the area. The Amendment also introduces a Heritage Overlay to the Visitors Information Centre and the Railway Station complex. The Visitors Information Centre is an example of Art Deco architecture, while the railway station is the only surviving railway station in Knox to have retained much of its pre-World War I character. Both possess historic, aesthetic and social value that we won’t compromise. Melbourne’s population is expected to reach eight million people by 2051, and activity centres are one of the ways we can accommodate more people, business and services – closer to home. We’re getting the planning right in activity centres so that they become cornerstones of the liveability that makes Victoria a great place to live. Quotes attributable to State Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “We’ve listened to the Upper Ferntree Gully community and introduced strict, permanent controls that protect what makes the area so special to locals and tourists who love to visit.”  “Upper Ferntree Gully is one of Melbourne’s most picturesque areas and deserves protection from inappropriate development. We’ve done just that.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne MP “Activity Centres play a crucial role accommodating population growth, but we need to make sure they are developed sensibly and in line with community expectations.”  

NEW FUND TO SHAPE VICTORIA’S CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

The Andrews Labor Government is funding new and improved cultural precincts to strengthen communities, attract visitors and support jobs. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP, welcomed the opening of the 2017 Community Infrastructure and Cultural Precincts (CICP) program, which will help build, restore and enhance cultural spaces across Victoria. The program promotes a greater use of community facilities and precincts by culturally-diverse communities, and encourages more people to participate in local activities. The grants will improve access to services and ensure community precincts support a range of cultural and tourism activities. The Labor Government will continue to promote an inclusive society where every Victorian is able to share their culture and traditions. Community groups, organisations and associations are encouraged to apply for funding to support projects in the 2017/18 financial year. For more information, visit multicultural.vic.gov.au Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “Every day, we’re making Victoria a state where everyone belongs. These grants will help more people share their culture, contribute to the community and feel accepted.” “The grants will promote diversity by building and improving cultural precincts, ensuring all Victorians can enjoy our rich multicultural heritage.” “I encourage organisations in Monbulk to apply for funding and look at how they can make a difference in their community.”

NEW FUND TO SHAPE VICTORIA’S CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

The Andrews Labor Government is funding new and improved cultural precincts to strengthen communities, attract visitors and support jobs. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP, welcomed the opening of the 2017 Community Infrastructure and Cultural Precincts (CICP) program, which will help build, restore and enhance cultural spaces across Victoria. The program promotes a greater use of community facilities and precincts by culturally-diverse communities, and encourages more people to participate in local activities. The grants will improve access to services and ensure community precincts support a range of cultural and tourism activities. The Labor Government will continue to promote an inclusive society where every Victorian is able to share their culture and traditions. Community groups, organisations and associations are encouraged to apply for funding to support projects in the 2017/18 financial year. For more information, visit multicultural.vic.gov.au Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “Every day, we’re making Victoria a state where everyone belongs. These grants will help more people share their culture, contribute to the community and feel accepted.” “The grants will promote diversity by building and improving cultural precincts, ensuring all Victorians can enjoy our rich multicultural heritage.” “I encourage organisations in Monbulk to apply for funding and look at how they can make a difference in their community.”

New Technology To Keep Victorian Schools At The Cutting Edge

The Andrews Labor Government is giving schools the latest digital equipment — like robots, virtual reality goggles and 3D scanners – to keep kids at the forefront of emerging technology and equip them for the jobs of the future. Visiting Mount Alexander College and observing the school’s digital technologies program today, Minister for Education James Merlino announced the new $1.6 million Digi-Tech Start-Up Grants initiative. 150 secondary schools will be allocated two robots each and provided with grants to buy specialised equipment such as digital microscopes, laser cutters, 3D printers and virtual reality goggles. Students will be able to learn with new technology and build their skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The initiative will be delivered in partnership with Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria, who will also provide professional development to teachers to build their STEM programs. The Digi-Tech Start-Up Grants will support schools to develop their digital technology programs and prepare them for the next generation of jobs. The Andrews Labor Government has set targets to boost performance in STEM subjects as part of its plan to make Victoria the Education State. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want to make sure that our schools have the best facilities and equipment to give our kids the best chance to succeed.” “This funding will give more students the ability to learn hands-on with new technology and prepare them for the jobs of the future.”   Download the Media Release (143 KB)

New Technology To Keep Victorian Schools At The Cutting Edge

The Andrews Labor Government is giving schools the latest digital equipment — like robots, virtual reality goggles and 3D scanners – to keep kids at the forefront of emerging technology and equip them for the jobs of the future. Visiting Mount Alexander College and observing the school’s digital technologies program today, Minister for Education James Merlino announced the new $1.6 million Digi-Tech Start-Up Grants initiative. 150 secondary schools will be allocated two robots each and provided with grants to buy specialised equipment such as digital microscopes, laser cutters, 3D printers and virtual reality goggles. Students will be able to learn with new technology and build their skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The initiative will be delivered in partnership with Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria, who will also provide professional development to teachers to build their STEM programs. The Digi-Tech Start-Up Grants will support schools to develop their digital technology programs and prepare them for the next generation of jobs. The Andrews Labor Government has set targets to boost performance in STEM subjects as part of its plan to make Victoria the Education State. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want to make sure that our schools have the best facilities and equipment to give our kids the best chance to succeed.” “This funding will give more students the ability to learn hands-on with new technology and prepare them for the jobs of the future.”   Download the Media Release (143 KB)

Changing The Lives Of Maryborough Students

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive funding boost for Maryborough schools that need it most is reaping strong results. Minister for Education James Merlino  visited the Maryborough Education Centre today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference. In 2015 the Labor  Government announced a huge increase to ‘equity funding, which took effect from the start of 2016. It provides additional resources and expertise to get the best out of students who require extra support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools since the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff such as speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. Maryborough Education Centre is using equity funding to make subjects more practical and fun. Teachers are learning new skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and running extra-curricular programs like the Coding Club and 3D Design Club to keep kids engaged. These programs are making a real difference. “When they start early, their minds are open to take knowledge to another level,” maths and science teacher Angus McPherson said. Since the investment, there has been a 29 per cent increase in students enrolled in STEM subjects compared to 2013-14, and an improvement in the mean study score for all STEM subjects. Research shows the link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing barriers to success from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it’s needed most – adding teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results should not be restricted by their background.” “This funding is making a real difference – transforming the lives of children across Victoria and boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “This funding boost means children get tailored support they need to keep up with their classmates. It will give schools like Maryborough Education Centre the resources they need to give students the best education.” Quote attributable to Maryborough Education Centre principal David Sutton “Equity funding has made a huge difference to the way we run our school. It has led to improved teaching of reading and it has enabled us to run programs to re-engage students in the middle years.” Download the Media Release (147 KB)

Changing The Lives Of Maryborough Students

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive funding boost for Maryborough schools that need it most is reaping strong results. Minister for Education James Merlino  visited the Maryborough Education Centre today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference. In 2015 the Labor  Government announced a huge increase to ‘equity funding, which took effect from the start of 2016. It provides additional resources and expertise to get the best out of students who require extra support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools since the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff such as speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. Maryborough Education Centre is using equity funding to make subjects more practical and fun. Teachers are learning new skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and running extra-curricular programs like the Coding Club and 3D Design Club to keep kids engaged. These programs are making a real difference. “When they start early, their minds are open to take knowledge to another level,” maths and science teacher Angus McPherson said. Since the investment, there has been a 29 per cent increase in students enrolled in STEM subjects compared to 2013-14, and an improvement in the mean study score for all STEM subjects. Research shows the link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing barriers to success from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it’s needed most – adding teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results should not be restricted by their background.” “This funding is making a real difference – transforming the lives of children across Victoria and boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “This funding boost means children get tailored support they need to keep up with their classmates. It will give schools like Maryborough Education Centre the resources they need to give students the best education.” Quote attributable to Maryborough Education Centre principal David Sutton “Equity funding has made a huge difference to the way we run our school. It has led to improved teaching of reading and it has enabled us to run programs to re-engage students in the middle years.” Download the Media Release (147 KB)

Equity Funding Changing The Lives Of Ararat Students

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive funding boost to Ararat schools that need it most is reaping strong results. Minister for Education James Merlino visited Ararat Primary School today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference. In 2015 the Labor Government announced a huge increase to equity funding, which took effect from 2016. It provides additional resources and expertise to get the best out of students who need more support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools since the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff such as speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. This funding is improving the lives of students across Victoria. Schools are introducing programs to help students catch up in literacy and numeracy and offering electives such as coding and music to keep kids engaged in school. The funding has allowed Ararat Primary to employ a speech therapist to run programs with children, teachers and parents. With the help of fun programs at home, parents are getting more involved in their children’s learning. “It doesn’t become something that isolates the children or makes them stand out. They become confident and comfortable in their environment,” teacher Terri Dalgleish says. Research shows the link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing barriers to success from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it’s needed most – adding teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child in every school to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results should not be restricted by their background.” “This funding is making a real difference – transforming the lives of children across Victoria and boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “Our funding boost to help students who need it most is giving schools like Ararat Primary the resources they need to give our kids the best possible education.” Quote attributable to Ararat Primary School Acting Principal Adrian Pilgrim “The funding has enabled us to run intervention programs that help bridge the gap for students who face learning challenges and barriers to achieving success. It is helping to fast track their progress.” Download the Media Release (146 KB)

Equity Funding Changing The Lives Of Ararat Students

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive funding boost to Ararat schools that need it most is reaping strong results. Minister for Education James Merlino visited Ararat Primary School today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference. In 2015 the Labor Government announced a huge increase to equity funding, which took effect from 2016. It provides additional resources and expertise to get the best out of students who need more support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools since the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff such as speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. This funding is improving the lives of students across Victoria. Schools are introducing programs to help students catch up in literacy and numeracy and offering electives such as coding and music to keep kids engaged in school. The funding has allowed Ararat Primary to employ a speech therapist to run programs with children, teachers and parents. With the help of fun programs at home, parents are getting more involved in their children’s learning. “It doesn’t become something that isolates the children or makes them stand out. They become confident and comfortable in their environment,” teacher Terri Dalgleish says. Research shows the link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing barriers to success from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it’s needed most – adding teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child in every school to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results should not be restricted by their background.” “This funding is making a real difference – transforming the lives of children across Victoria and boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “Our funding boost to help students who need it most is giving schools like Ararat Primary the resources they need to give our kids the best possible education.” Quote attributable to Ararat Primary School Acting Principal Adrian Pilgrim “The funding has enabled us to run intervention programs that help bridge the gap for students who face learning challenges and barriers to achieving success. It is helping to fast track their progress.” Download the Media Release (146 KB)

$91,000 For Country Fire Authority Brigades In Western Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government has announced $91,000 in grants for new equipment and upgrades at Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigades in Willaura, Wickliffe, Pomonal and the Westmere Group. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today visited the Willaura Fire Station to congratulate volunteers on their successful application under the $15 million Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability (ESVS) Grants Program. The funding will enable these brigades to buy new equipment, upgrade facilities and keep their communities safe. Willaura will receive more than $37,000 to upgrade the fire station with new external cladding and windows. The station is more than 50 years old and has undergone a number of extensions over the years. The new facade will provide a uniform look for the entire building, which is also the local command facility and headquarters for the Westmere Group. The Pomonal CFA Brigade will receiving more than $39,000 to upgrade bathrooms and storage facilities, while Wickliffe CFA will get $4,600 for portable emergency lights and a defibrillator. The Westmere Group, which includes 19 CFA brigades across Western Victoria, will receive $10,200 so it can trade-in and upgrade its four-wheel drive command vehicle. The funding is being provided through the third tranche of the ESVS Grants Program, which provides for urgent equipment replacement, facility upgrades and minor works, community engagement and training. The program is open to volunteers, brigades, units and clubs including CFA, VICSES, Marine Search and Rescue providers, Life Saving Victoria and other emergency management organisations. It has already delivered $8.8 million through 540 grants to volunteers around the state. The third tranche will fund a further 326 grants totalling $5.6 million. A list of successful grant recipients can be found at emv.vic.gov.au/esvsgrants. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Congratulations to the Willaura, Wickliffe and Pomonal brigades, and the Westmere Group, on securing funding to help them continue their vital work in keeping the community safe.” “These are some of the most active brigades in the state and we are proud to support the valuable work they do in Western Victoria and the Ararat region.” Quote attributable to the Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “Our volunteers do a great job protecting our communities and Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grants give them the opportunity to share in $15 million of funding to enhance their services.” Download the Media Release (121 KB)

$91,000 For Country Fire Authority Brigades In Western Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government has announced $91,000 in grants for new equipment and upgrades at Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigades in Willaura, Wickliffe, Pomonal and the Westmere Group. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today visited the Willaura Fire Station to congratulate volunteers on their successful application under the $15 million Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability (ESVS) Grants Program. The funding will enable these brigades to buy new equipment, upgrade facilities and keep their communities safe. Willaura will receive more than $37,000 to upgrade the fire station with new external cladding and windows. The station is more than 50 years old and has undergone a number of extensions over the years. The new facade will provide a uniform look for the entire building, which is also the local command facility and headquarters for the Westmere Group. The Pomonal CFA Brigade will receiving more than $39,000 to upgrade bathrooms and storage facilities, while Wickliffe CFA will get $4,600 for portable emergency lights and a defibrillator. The Westmere Group, which includes 19 CFA brigades across Western Victoria, will receive $10,200 so it can trade-in and upgrade its four-wheel drive command vehicle. The funding is being provided through the third tranche of the ESVS Grants Program, which provides for urgent equipment replacement, facility upgrades and minor works, community engagement and training. The program is open to volunteers, brigades, units and clubs including CFA, VICSES, Marine Search and Rescue providers, Life Saving Victoria and other emergency management organisations. It has already delivered $8.8 million through 540 grants to volunteers around the state. The third tranche will fund a further 326 grants totalling $5.6 million. A list of successful grant recipients can be found at emv.vic.gov.au/esvsgrants. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Congratulations to the Willaura, Wickliffe and Pomonal brigades, and the Westmere Group, on securing funding to help them continue their vital work in keeping the community safe.” “These are some of the most active brigades in the state and we are proud to support the valuable work they do in Western Victoria and the Ararat region.” Quote attributable to the Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “Our volunteers do a great job protecting our communities and Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grants give them the opportunity to share in $15 million of funding to enhance their services.” Download the Media Release (121 KB)

Investing In Ballarat Schools And Kids

Students at Siena Catholic Primary School will get the best start in life, thanks to a funding injection in local school infrastructure. Minister for Education James Merlino visited the school today, which received $1.5 million through the Non-Government Grants Program to build stage 1 of the school. The school, in Lucas, opened at the start of this year and is expected to eventually grow to 350 students. The $4.1 million stage 1 includes two buildings housing a total of nine classrooms as well as offices and an art room. In the 2015-16 State Budget, the Andrews Labor Government delivered on its election commitment of $120 million over four years to build and upgrade Catholic and independent schools, agreeing to match the these sectors’ contributions dollar-for-dollar. The Non-Government Grants Program aims to build new schools and expand capacity at existing facilities in growth areas, in particular Melbourne’s outer-suburbs and regional Victoria where enrolment demand is significant. Funds will also upgrade those schools with the highest facility needs, creating modern and fit-for-purpose learning environments for the 37 per cent of Victorian children who attend Catholic or independent schools. The Labor Government’s huge investment in Victoria’s schools means more than $2.5 billion has now been invested in school infrastructure over the past three years, with 56 new schools being delivered across the state. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re getting on with the job of building better schools, so local students have the facilities and classrooms they need to succeed.” Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “We’re making Victoria the Education State and that means making sure Ballarat families can access great local schools with first-rate classrooms.”   Download the Media Release (144 KB)

Investing In Ballarat Schools And Kids

Students at Siena Catholic Primary School will get the best start in life, thanks to a funding injection in local school infrastructure. Minister for Education James Merlino visited the school today, which received $1.5 million through the Non-Government Grants Program to build stage 1 of the school. The school, in Lucas, opened at the start of this year and is expected to eventually grow to 350 students. The $4.1 million stage 1 includes two buildings housing a total of nine classrooms as well as offices and an art room. In the 2015-16 State Budget, the Andrews Labor Government delivered on its election commitment of $120 million over four years to build and upgrade Catholic and independent schools, agreeing to match the these sectors’ contributions dollar-for-dollar. The Non-Government Grants Program aims to build new schools and expand capacity at existing facilities in growth areas, in particular Melbourne’s outer-suburbs and regional Victoria where enrolment demand is significant. Funds will also upgrade those schools with the highest facility needs, creating modern and fit-for-purpose learning environments for the 37 per cent of Victorian children who attend Catholic or independent schools. The Labor Government’s huge investment in Victoria’s schools means more than $2.5 billion has now been invested in school infrastructure over the past three years, with 56 new schools being delivered across the state. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re getting on with the job of building better schools, so local students have the facilities and classrooms they need to succeed.” Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford “We’re making Victoria the Education State and that means making sure Ballarat families can access great local schools with first-rate classrooms.”   Download the Media Release (144 KB)

Changing The Lives Of Western Suburbs Students

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive funding boost to support schools and students that need it most in the western suburbs is reaping strong results. Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Footscray Marsha Thompson visited Braybrook College today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference. In 2015, the Labor Government announced a huge increase to equity funding , which took effect from  2016. It provides extra resources and expertise to get the best out of students who need more support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools since the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff like speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. This funding is improving the lives of students across Victoria, supporting programs that help students catch up in literacy and numeracy, and enabling schools to offer electives like coding and music that keep kids engaged. The funding boost has enabled Braybrook College to set up a Numeracy Centre with a maths teacher on hand to answer questions  and give students extra support, which has improved their NAPLAN numeracy results. The school’s Numeracy Leader, Morag Brennan said a lot of students have maths ability but lack the perseverance to solve problems. “The main issue is confidence. If they don’t think they can do it then they won’t attempt it so they need a place to encourage self-confidence,” she said. Research shows an unacceptable link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing greater barriers from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it’s needed most, and adding valuable teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child, in every school, to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results shouldn’t be restricted by their background.” “This funding is making a real difference – boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff, and transforming the lives of children across Victoria.” Quote attributable to Member for Footscray Marsha Thompson “This funding boost will help the students who need  it the most. It’s about giving schools like Braybrook the resources they need to give our kids the best possible education.” Quote attributable to Braybrook College Principal Kelly Panousieris “The students who are using the centre really enjoy it. They look at it as their space, their own little space. They tell me they now feel more confident going into tests.”  Download the Media Release (147 KB)

Changing The Lives Of Western Suburbs Students

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive funding boost to support schools and students that need it most in the western suburbs is reaping strong results. Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Footscray Marsha Thompson visited Braybrook College today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference. In 2015, the Labor Government announced a huge increase to equity funding , which took effect from  2016. It provides extra resources and expertise to get the best out of students who need more support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools since the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff like speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. This funding is improving the lives of students across Victoria, supporting programs that help students catch up in literacy and numeracy, and enabling schools to offer electives like coding and music that keep kids engaged. The funding boost has enabled Braybrook College to set up a Numeracy Centre with a maths teacher on hand to answer questions  and give students extra support, which has improved their NAPLAN numeracy results. The school’s Numeracy Leader, Morag Brennan said a lot of students have maths ability but lack the perseverance to solve problems. “The main issue is confidence. If they don’t think they can do it then they won’t attempt it so they need a place to encourage self-confidence,” she said. Research shows an unacceptable link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing greater barriers from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it’s needed most, and adding valuable teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child, in every school, to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results shouldn’t be restricted by their background.” “This funding is making a real difference – boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff, and transforming the lives of children across Victoria.” Quote attributable to Member for Footscray Marsha Thompson “This funding boost will help the students who need  it the most. It’s about giving schools like Braybrook the resources they need to give our kids the best possible education.” Quote attributable to Braybrook College Principal Kelly Panousieris “The students who are using the centre really enjoy it. They look at it as their space, their own little space. They tell me they now feel more confident going into tests.”  Download the Media Release (147 KB)