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Thousands More TAFE Places to Reskill After the Pandemic

More Victorians will have access to the skills they need for the job they want, with funding for an extra 10,000 places across the TAFE and training system for people looking to reskill after the pandemic and move into healthcare and other in-demand jobs. State Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced the $61.6 million investment – which will give more locals the opportunity to get new skills for a secure job in their local community and right across Victoria. The pandemic has seen people all over the world thinking more about what really matters to each of us – family, where we want to live, what we want to do for work. For many, it’s been a time consider a different career path and these new subsidised places will help people get started. Jobseekers can choose to study any VET course, including from the Andrews Labor Government’s signature Free TAFE list, at any TAFE including Box Hill Institute – Lilydale Campus. Even Victorians who already have another qualification – including a degree – can still access these training places at any TAFE across the state if they’re looking to reskill or change careers after the pandemic. Importantly, this investment will help boost our local pipeline of highly skilled workers for jobs now and into the future – particularly in high-demand industries such as healthcare, hospitality, early childhood education, construction and trades. In 2020, the most popular courses across the TAFE system included mental health, nursing and allied health assistance – as the pandemic highlighted the importance of a strong health and care workforce. More than 100,000 Victorians have already signed up to our Free TAFE program since it was introduced in 2019 – making rewarding career pathways accessible to more people and saving them more than $220 million in cumulative course fees. The Labor Government has kept our promise to save and rebuild TAFE with a record $1.7 billion investment to ensure Victorians have access to high quality skills and training to and rewarding career pathways. Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “TAFE is the engine room of Victoria – giving Victorians great opportunities, boosting local industries and strengthening our economy – and now we’re making it even easier to get the training you need for in-demand jobs.” “These extra subsidised places will create more opportunities for jobseekers in the Dandenong Ranges who might have been retrenched during the pandemic, are looking to change careers or have already got a qualification in another area.” 220323 - THOUSANDS MORE TAFE PLACES TO RESKILL AFTER THE PANDEMIC

Thousands More TAFE Places to Reskill After the Pandemic

More Victorians will have access to the skills they need for the job they want, with funding for an extra 10,000 places across the TAFE and training system for people looking to reskill after the pandemic and move into healthcare and other in-demand jobs. State Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today announced the $61.6 million investment – which will give more locals the opportunity to get new skills for a secure job in their local community and right across Victoria. The pandemic has seen people all over the world thinking more about what really matters to each of us – family, where we want to live, what we want to do for work. For many, it’s been a time consider a different career path and these new subsidised places will help people get started. Jobseekers can choose to study any VET course, including from the Andrews Labor Government’s signature Free TAFE list, at any TAFE including Box Hill Institute – Lilydale Campus. Even Victorians who already have another qualification – including a degree – can still access these training places at any TAFE across the state if they’re looking to reskill or change careers after the pandemic. Importantly, this investment will help boost our local pipeline of highly skilled workers for jobs now and into the future – particularly in high-demand industries such as healthcare, hospitality, early childhood education, construction and trades. In 2020, the most popular courses across the TAFE system included mental health, nursing and allied health assistance – as the pandemic highlighted the importance of a strong health and care workforce. More than 100,000 Victorians have already signed up to our Free TAFE program since it was introduced in 2019 – making rewarding career pathways accessible to more people and saving them more than $220 million in cumulative course fees. The Labor Government has kept our promise to save and rebuild TAFE with a record $1.7 billion investment to ensure Victorians have access to high quality skills and training to and rewarding career pathways. Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “TAFE is the engine room of Victoria – giving Victorians great opportunities, boosting local industries and strengthening our economy – and now we’re making it even easier to get the training you need for in-demand jobs.” “These extra subsidised places will create more opportunities for jobseekers in the Dandenong Ranges who might have been retrenched during the pandemic, are looking to change careers or have already got a qualification in another area.” 220323 - THOUSANDS MORE TAFE PLACES TO RESKILL AFTER THE PANDEMIC

Australian-First Sick Pay Guarantee for Casual Workers

Victorians in the Dandenong Ranges who work in casual or other insecure jobs will no longer be forced to choose between a day’s pay and looking after their health, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee. An Australian-first, the $245.6 million scheme will transform casual and contract work in Victoria by providing vulnerable workers the safety net they need to take time off when they‘re sick or need to care for loved ones. Before the pandemic, many casual and contract workers were forced to choose between a day‘s pay or their health. Around one in five casual and contract workers work more than one job to earn a living – many without access to sick and carer’s pay. Workers are now able to register for the two-year pilot program, and it is anticipated that more than 150,000 workers will be eligible in this first phase. Eligible casual and contract workers in certain occupations will receive up to five days a year of sick or carer's pay at the national minimum wage. Occupations included in the first phase include hospitality workers, food trades workers and preparation assistants such as chefs and kitchen hands, supermarket and supply chain workers, retail and sales assistants, aged and disability care workers, cleaners and laundry workers and security guards. The Labor Government is fully funding the scheme over the first two years, which is expected to demonstrate a reduction in workplace injuries and illness, general productivity improvements from healthier workers, and lower staff turnover rates. The Government will also administer the program directly to workers, minimising the impost on businesses so they can focus on economic recovery. The Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee builds on the temporary measures implemented during the pandemic, including the COVID-19 Worker Support Payment (now the Australian Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment) and the COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment. To find out more visit vic.gov.au/sick-pay-guarantee and to apply for a payment if you’re eligible visit service.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “When people don’t have savings to fall back on, they’re forced to make the choice between the safety of their co-workers and paying the bills. It’s wrong that they’re forced into this decision – so we’re making sure they don’t have to.” “Insecure work is toxic – not just in Victoria but across Australia. We’re leading the way with this nation-first trial to improve the lives of hundreds of locals.” 220323 - AUSTRALIAN-FIRST SICK PAY GUARANTEE FOR CASUAL WORKERS

Australian-First Sick Pay Guarantee for Casual Workers

Victorians in the Dandenong Ranges who work in casual or other insecure jobs will no longer be forced to choose between a day’s pay and looking after their health, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee. An Australian-first, the $245.6 million scheme will transform casual and contract work in Victoria by providing vulnerable workers the safety net they need to take time off when they‘re sick or need to care for loved ones. Before the pandemic, many casual and contract workers were forced to choose between a day‘s pay or their health. Around one in five casual and contract workers work more than one job to earn a living – many without access to sick and carer’s pay. Workers are now able to register for the two-year pilot program, and it is anticipated that more than 150,000 workers will be eligible in this first phase. Eligible casual and contract workers in certain occupations will receive up to five days a year of sick or carer's pay at the national minimum wage. Occupations included in the first phase include hospitality workers, food trades workers and preparation assistants such as chefs and kitchen hands, supermarket and supply chain workers, retail and sales assistants, aged and disability care workers, cleaners and laundry workers and security guards. The Labor Government is fully funding the scheme over the first two years, which is expected to demonstrate a reduction in workplace injuries and illness, general productivity improvements from healthier workers, and lower staff turnover rates. The Government will also administer the program directly to workers, minimising the impost on businesses so they can focus on economic recovery. The Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee builds on the temporary measures implemented during the pandemic, including the COVID-19 Worker Support Payment (now the Australian Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment) and the COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment. To find out more visit vic.gov.au/sick-pay-guarantee and to apply for a payment if you’re eligible visit service.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “When people don’t have savings to fall back on, they’re forced to make the choice between the safety of their co-workers and paying the bills. It’s wrong that they’re forced into this decision – so we’re making sure they don’t have to.” “Insecure work is toxic – not just in Victoria but across Australia. We’re leading the way with this nation-first trial to improve the lives of hundreds of locals.” 220323 - AUSTRALIAN-FIRST SICK PAY GUARANTEE FOR CASUAL WORKERS

Financial Literacy Challenge Adds up for Victorian Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is encouraging Victorian schools to sign up for a new challenge that will multiply opportunities for students to strengthen and test their financial literacy skills. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today celebrated the new Financial Literacy in Practice – or FLIP – Challenge, which will bring a practical, real-world focus to financial literacy education in the classroom. The challenge is open to all Victorian primary and secondary students as part of the Mathematical Association of Victoria’s annual Maths Talent Quest, and will see students challenged to ‘flip’ everyday financial situations and decisions from risky to rewarding. Students can enter the challenge as individuals, groups or a whole class and select their own investigation topic based on their personal interests. Topics can relate to financial literacy in everyday life – like buying a pet, planning a holiday, exploring household costs or setting up a small business, or broader, more complex societal issues like the cost of climate change or blockchain technologies, or comparing electric and combustion engine vehicles. Through their investigations, students will be encouraged to formulate big questions, make and test hypotheses, collect and analyse data, and explain and justify their results. The investigations will be judged by the Mathematical Association of Victoria, and the top investigations across each category will be entered into the National Maths Talent Quest. Financial literacy gives students a deeper understanding of economic and financial concepts that allow them to make effective decisions for themselves and others, both now and into the future. All Victorian government schools are required to deliver financial literacy education as part of the Victorian Curriculum, through the Economics and Business and Mathematics learning areas. The Labor Government has banned banks and financial institutions from delivering banking programs in Victorian government schools, replacing them with quality programs to improve students’ financial skills without banks’ agendas being pushed onto children – with new, expert-led teaching resources introduced to schools in 2021. The Maths Talent Quest has been running each year since 1982, and schools are encouraged to register students or find out more about the FLIP Challenge by visiting www.mav.vic.edu.au. Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “I’m encouraging every school and student in the Dandenong Ranges to get involved in the FLIP challenge, growing their financial literacy skills and learning about the real-life impact of economics in our world.” “Financial literacy education isn’t just about money and how to get rich quick, it’s about teaching students how to make great economic decisions for life – as well as key life skills like tax, superannuation and the role of the markets and innovation.” 220323 - FINANCIAL LITERACY CHALLENGE ADDS UP FOR VICTORIAN SCHOOLS

Financial Literacy Challenge Adds up for Victorian Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is encouraging Victorian schools to sign up for a new challenge that will multiply opportunities for students to strengthen and test their financial literacy skills. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today celebrated the new Financial Literacy in Practice – or FLIP – Challenge, which will bring a practical, real-world focus to financial literacy education in the classroom. The challenge is open to all Victorian primary and secondary students as part of the Mathematical Association of Victoria’s annual Maths Talent Quest, and will see students challenged to ‘flip’ everyday financial situations and decisions from risky to rewarding. Students can enter the challenge as individuals, groups or a whole class and select their own investigation topic based on their personal interests. Topics can relate to financial literacy in everyday life – like buying a pet, planning a holiday, exploring household costs or setting up a small business, or broader, more complex societal issues like the cost of climate change or blockchain technologies, or comparing electric and combustion engine vehicles. Through their investigations, students will be encouraged to formulate big questions, make and test hypotheses, collect and analyse data, and explain and justify their results. The investigations will be judged by the Mathematical Association of Victoria, and the top investigations across each category will be entered into the National Maths Talent Quest. Financial literacy gives students a deeper understanding of economic and financial concepts that allow them to make effective decisions for themselves and others, both now and into the future. All Victorian government schools are required to deliver financial literacy education as part of the Victorian Curriculum, through the Economics and Business and Mathematics learning areas. The Labor Government has banned banks and financial institutions from delivering banking programs in Victorian government schools, replacing them with quality programs to improve students’ financial skills without banks’ agendas being pushed onto children – with new, expert-led teaching resources introduced to schools in 2021. The Maths Talent Quest has been running each year since 1982, and schools are encouraged to register students or find out more about the FLIP Challenge by visiting www.mav.vic.edu.au. Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “I’m encouraging every school and student in the Dandenong Ranges to get involved in the FLIP challenge, growing their financial literacy skills and learning about the real-life impact of economics in our world.” “Financial literacy education isn’t just about money and how to get rich quick, it’s about teaching students how to make great economic decisions for life – as well as key life skills like tax, superannuation and the role of the markets and innovation.” 220323 - FINANCIAL LITERACY CHALLENGE ADDS UP FOR VICTORIAN SCHOOLS

More Specialist Mental Health And Addiction Services

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure Victorians seeking treatment for mental health concerns and substance addiction have better access to the support they need, with a new statewide specialist service and more trained addiction specialists. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Health Martin Foley today announced Turning Point, Australia’s leading addiction treatment and research centre, will run a new $13.3 million statewide service – delivering more accessible care for Victorians with co-occurring mental health and substance or addiction issues. New addiction specialist hubs will form a key part of this service – with the Labor Government investing $21.5 million into an initial four hubs to be opened across Victoria, making sure people across the state have access to the support they need, close to home. To grow a strong workforce in the addiction space, the Government will also deliver grants and scholarships to trainee addiction specialists and nurses – encouraging more new workers to specialise in this field of mental healthcare. As well as improved treatment and care, the new service will coordinates and deliver training to the existing mental health workforce – making sure they are better equipped to care for Victorians with a broad range of mental health concerns. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested more than $42 million over four years to boost integrated services for Victorians living with co-occurring mental health and addiction or substance abuse concerns. These reforms deliver another key milestone in the delivery of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommendations – helping to build a system where every Victorian, no matter where they live, can get the treatment and care they need, when they need it. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “People with co-occurring mental health concerns often need unique, tailored care – and we’re making sure that’s available to every Victorian who needs it, with more specialist workers and addiction hubs across the state.” “I’d encourage anyone who’s embarking on a career in mental health to consider joining our addiction workforce – with grants and scholarships on offer, there’s never been a better time to join a rewarding and fascinating sector.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “Taking an integrated approach to mental health and drug addiction services will deliver better care for these highly vulnerable people ensuring they can access the care they need, at the times they need it most.” “The new statewide service will ensure we’re delivering a more consistent level of care that is also modelling best practice not only in Australia, but internationally.” 220303 - More Specialist Mental Health And Addiction Services

More Specialist Mental Health And Addiction Services

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure Victorians seeking treatment for mental health concerns and substance addiction have better access to the support they need, with a new statewide specialist service and more trained addiction specialists. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Health Martin Foley today announced Turning Point, Australia’s leading addiction treatment and research centre, will run a new $13.3 million statewide service – delivering more accessible care for Victorians with co-occurring mental health and substance or addiction issues. New addiction specialist hubs will form a key part of this service – with the Labor Government investing $21.5 million into an initial four hubs to be opened across Victoria, making sure people across the state have access to the support they need, close to home. To grow a strong workforce in the addiction space, the Government will also deliver grants and scholarships to trainee addiction specialists and nurses – encouraging more new workers to specialise in this field of mental healthcare. As well as improved treatment and care, the new service will coordinates and deliver training to the existing mental health workforce – making sure they are better equipped to care for Victorians with a broad range of mental health concerns. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has invested more than $42 million over four years to boost integrated services for Victorians living with co-occurring mental health and addiction or substance abuse concerns. These reforms deliver another key milestone in the delivery of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommendations – helping to build a system where every Victorian, no matter where they live, can get the treatment and care they need, when they need it. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “People with co-occurring mental health concerns often need unique, tailored care – and we’re making sure that’s available to every Victorian who needs it, with more specialist workers and addiction hubs across the state.” “I’d encourage anyone who’s embarking on a career in mental health to consider joining our addiction workforce – with grants and scholarships on offer, there’s never been a better time to join a rewarding and fascinating sector.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley “Taking an integrated approach to mental health and drug addiction services will deliver better care for these highly vulnerable people ensuring they can access the care they need, at the times they need it most.” “The new statewide service will ensure we’re delivering a more consistent level of care that is also modelling best practice not only in Australia, but internationally.” 220303 - More Specialist Mental Health And Addiction Services

More Air Purifiers On Their Way To Schools

As winter approaches and schools begin to close doors and windows, the Andrews Labor Government is more than doubling the number of air purifiers in schools to keep students and staff safer and slow the spread of coronavirus. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the rollout of an additional 60,000 air purifiers will begin this week – on top of the 51,000 already delivered before the beginning of Term 1, which will see a purifier in every single classroom, instead of just high-risk areas of schools. After an open tender process, Samsung has been awarded the contract for the additional purifiers – matching the Samsung devices that have already been successfully delivered and used in schools across the state. This winter allocation will provide enough purifiers to cover all classrooms and other high-risk spaces in all government and low-fee non-government schools by the beginning of winter – including general purpose classrooms and other specialist classrooms such as art and science rooms. Of the 111,000 air purifiers, a few thousand purifiers will be kept in storage after winter begins to be distributed to schools whose enrolments increase or who commission extra classrooms throughout the second half of the year. Eligible kindergarten services are also sharing in $3.8 million in grants to support ventilation improvements and keep children and staff safer at kinder, and give families confidence that early learning is safe. The grants, building on more than $7.5 million the Labor Government has already delivered to early childhood services for ventilation, are supporting the purchase of air purifiers for learning spaces or other improved ventilation. In 2021, the Labor Government announced the largest investment in ventilation in schools in the nation – investing more than $190 million in initiatives to help keep schools COVIDSafe and protect the health of students, staff and school communities. Mandatory third doses for staff and a strong campaign to get students vaccinated – including a third dose for students over 16 and the first and second doses for children aged 5-11 – is keeping schools safe and open, ensuring learning is as undisrupted as possible. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our students have returned to face-to-face learning in 2022 safely and successfully – and we’re supporting that to continue, with more purifiers for classrooms to complement our other vital COVIDSafe measures.” “This is the largest investment in school ventilation in the nation – no other state is taking such strong steps to protect students, staff and school communities.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Strong ventilation measures are crucial to keep our youngest learners – and the dedicated staff who care for them – safe, and we’re proud to be delivering more support for them to improve ventilation and keep our early learning services open.” 220322 - More Air Purifiers On Their Way To Schools

More Air Purifiers On Their Way To Schools

As winter approaches and schools begin to close doors and windows, the Andrews Labor Government is more than doubling the number of air purifiers in schools to keep students and staff safer and slow the spread of coronavirus. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the rollout of an additional 60,000 air purifiers will begin this week – on top of the 51,000 already delivered before the beginning of Term 1, which will see a purifier in every single classroom, instead of just high-risk areas of schools. After an open tender process, Samsung has been awarded the contract for the additional purifiers – matching the Samsung devices that have already been successfully delivered and used in schools across the state. This winter allocation will provide enough purifiers to cover all classrooms and other high-risk spaces in all government and low-fee non-government schools by the beginning of winter – including general purpose classrooms and other specialist classrooms such as art and science rooms. Of the 111,000 air purifiers, a few thousand purifiers will be kept in storage after winter begins to be distributed to schools whose enrolments increase or who commission extra classrooms throughout the second half of the year. Eligible kindergarten services are also sharing in $3.8 million in grants to support ventilation improvements and keep children and staff safer at kinder, and give families confidence that early learning is safe. The grants, building on more than $7.5 million the Labor Government has already delivered to early childhood services for ventilation, are supporting the purchase of air purifiers for learning spaces or other improved ventilation. In 2021, the Labor Government announced the largest investment in ventilation in schools in the nation – investing more than $190 million in initiatives to help keep schools COVIDSafe and protect the health of students, staff and school communities. Mandatory third doses for staff and a strong campaign to get students vaccinated – including a third dose for students over 16 and the first and second doses for children aged 5-11 – is keeping schools safe and open, ensuring learning is as undisrupted as possible. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Our students have returned to face-to-face learning in 2022 safely and successfully – and we’re supporting that to continue, with more purifiers for classrooms to complement our other vital COVIDSafe measures.” “This is the largest investment in school ventilation in the nation – no other state is taking such strong steps to protect students, staff and school communities.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Strong ventilation measures are crucial to keep our youngest learners – and the dedicated staff who care for them – safe, and we’re proud to be delivering more support for them to improve ventilation and keep our early learning services open.” 220322 - More Air Purifiers On Their Way To Schools

Australia’s First Teaching Academy Open Now

It’s back to school for Victoria’s best and brightest teachers, with the Andrews Labor Government today launching the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership and flagship Teaching Excellence Program – an Australian first. Minister for Education James Merlino today officially opened the new purpose-built Academy in Melbourne’s Treasury Precinct, part of a $148.2 million Labor Government investment supporting teachers to develop their skills and provide an even better education for Victorian students. The new Academy will provide a nation-leading opportunity for high-achieving teachers and school leaders to develop and share their expertise and make a deeper impact on students in every school and community across Victoria. In addition to the new CBD location and an existing facility in North Melbourne, a further seven regional sites of the Academy – in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton – will open by the end of 2022. The Academy provides high-quality professional learning in two streams: Teaching Excellence and Leadership Excellence. The Teaching Excellence Program supports up to 500 highly skilled teachers from government, Catholic and independent schools across Victoria each year to advance their professional practice, with access to the best research in the science of learning and discipline-based content knowledge. The course will be tailored to teachers in diverse subjects like the arts, English, health and physical education, humanities, languages, mathematics, science and technologies. These teachers will share their expertise, knowledge and networks with their own school communities, ensuring every classroom and all students can benefit from this investment. The Leadership Excellence Program delivers targeted, evidence-based learning opportunities for Victorian government school leaders, building on the legacy of the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an investment in our fantastic teaching workforce, but it’s also a profound investment in the education of students across Victoria – delivering the best teaching techniques to make sure our kids get the best learning outcomes.” “This Australian-first Academy is just another initiative that cements Victoria as the Education State – with campuses in every corner of Victoria to ensure all teachers have access to world-class upskilling opportunities.” 220322 - Australia’s First Teaching Academy Open Now

Australia’s First Teaching Academy Open Now

It’s back to school for Victoria’s best and brightest teachers, with the Andrews Labor Government today launching the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership and flagship Teaching Excellence Program – an Australian first. Minister for Education James Merlino today officially opened the new purpose-built Academy in Melbourne’s Treasury Precinct, part of a $148.2 million Labor Government investment supporting teachers to develop their skills and provide an even better education for Victorian students. The new Academy will provide a nation-leading opportunity for high-achieving teachers and school leaders to develop and share their expertise and make a deeper impact on students in every school and community across Victoria. In addition to the new CBD location and an existing facility in North Melbourne, a further seven regional sites of the Academy – in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton – will open by the end of 2022. The Academy provides high-quality professional learning in two streams: Teaching Excellence and Leadership Excellence. The Teaching Excellence Program supports up to 500 highly skilled teachers from government, Catholic and independent schools across Victoria each year to advance their professional practice, with access to the best research in the science of learning and discipline-based content knowledge. The course will be tailored to teachers in diverse subjects like the arts, English, health and physical education, humanities, languages, mathematics, science and technologies. These teachers will share their expertise, knowledge and networks with their own school communities, ensuring every classroom and all students can benefit from this investment. The Leadership Excellence Program delivers targeted, evidence-based learning opportunities for Victorian government school leaders, building on the legacy of the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an investment in our fantastic teaching workforce, but it’s also a profound investment in the education of students across Victoria – delivering the best teaching techniques to make sure our kids get the best learning outcomes.” “This Australian-first Academy is just another initiative that cements Victoria as the Education State – with campuses in every corner of Victoria to ensure all teachers have access to world-class upskilling opportunities.” 220322 - Australia’s First Teaching Academy Open Now

Marking 150 Years Of Public Education In Victoria

While the Andrews Labor Government is getting on with building the schools of the future, 2022 marks a massive milestone – the 150th anniversary of the Victoria’s world-class public education system. Minister for Education James Merlino visited Essendon Primary School, Melbourne’s oldest continuously-operating government school, to mark the anniversary of the Education Act 1872 and announce the next milestone in the state’s schools of the future – with all builders appointed to construct the 13 new Victorian schools opening in 2023. Victoria was the first state in Australia – and one of the first in the world – to make education free, secular and compulsory to all children aged 6-15. Around 600 schools opened across the state in the five years following the passing of the Education Act – setting Victoria up for its future as the Education State. The milestone will be marked with a range of activities across the year designed to commemorate the past, celebrate the present and imagine the future of education. A dedicated Victorian Government website will feature the 483 original government schools from 1872 alongside every other government school established since, displaying a selection of digitally preserved historical records from the past 150 years including school history summaries, enrolment registers and photos. There are undoubtedly thousands more historical gems yet to be uncovered to tell Victoria’s long and proud education history – and anyone with photos, documents or other vintage school treasures that can be added to the website is encouraged to email them to 150years@education.vic.gov.au to help build this digital time capsule. More than 6,500 archive boxes have already been collected and digitised from schools around Victoria, including Essendon Primary School, Bacchus Marsh Primary School and Wallan Primary School, which are all still open – as well as Carlton Primary School and Sutton Grange Primary School which have now closed. Essendon Primary School was founded as Pascoevale National School No. 483 in July 1850, with the school originally situated on the banks of the Moonee Ponds Creek near the junction of Five Mile Creek. The original school bell still stands in the grounds, having been presented to the school in 1933. The Labor Government is delivering on the state’s 150-year record of being a leader in education, having invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades in just seven years – creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. Work to open 100 new schools by 2026 is ahead of schedule, with 62 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024. For more information on the 150 Years of Public Education milestone, visit www.vic.gov.au/150years. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is a really special milestone for Victorian education – celebrating 150 years of our pioneering education system, while looking towards the future to continue giving our students the very best opportunities in life.” “While many aspects of Victoria’s education may have changed, the idea that every child should have access to a free, secular, high-quality education, regardless of their background, will never change.” “I encourage all Victorians and Victorian schools to share their educational history via the 150 Years website, and help commemorate the integral role government schools have played in the educational fabric of our state.” 220307 - Marking 150 Years Of Public Education In Victoria

Marking 150 Years Of Public Education In Victoria

While the Andrews Labor Government is getting on with building the schools of the future, 2022 marks a massive milestone – the 150th anniversary of the Victoria’s world-class public education system. Minister for Education James Merlino visited Essendon Primary School, Melbourne’s oldest continuously-operating government school, to mark the anniversary of the Education Act 1872 and announce the next milestone in the state’s schools of the future – with all builders appointed to construct the 13 new Victorian schools opening in 2023. Victoria was the first state in Australia – and one of the first in the world – to make education free, secular and compulsory to all children aged 6-15. Around 600 schools opened across the state in the five years following the passing of the Education Act – setting Victoria up for its future as the Education State. The milestone will be marked with a range of activities across the year designed to commemorate the past, celebrate the present and imagine the future of education. A dedicated Victorian Government website will feature the 483 original government schools from 1872 alongside every other government school established since, displaying a selection of digitally preserved historical records from the past 150 years including school history summaries, enrolment registers and photos. There are undoubtedly thousands more historical gems yet to be uncovered to tell Victoria’s long and proud education history – and anyone with photos, documents or other vintage school treasures that can be added to the website is encouraged to email them to 150years@education.vic.gov.au to help build this digital time capsule. More than 6,500 archive boxes have already been collected and digitised from schools around Victoria, including Essendon Primary School, Bacchus Marsh Primary School and Wallan Primary School, which are all still open – as well as Carlton Primary School and Sutton Grange Primary School which have now closed. Essendon Primary School was founded as Pascoevale National School No. 483 in July 1850, with the school originally situated on the banks of the Moonee Ponds Creek near the junction of Five Mile Creek. The original school bell still stands in the grounds, having been presented to the school in 1933. The Labor Government is delivering on the state’s 150-year record of being a leader in education, having invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades in just seven years – creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. Work to open 100 new schools by 2026 is ahead of schedule, with 62 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024. For more information on the 150 Years of Public Education milestone, visit www.vic.gov.au/150years. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is a really special milestone for Victorian education – celebrating 150 years of our pioneering education system, while looking towards the future to continue giving our students the very best opportunities in life.” “While many aspects of Victoria’s education may have changed, the idea that every child should have access to a free, secular, high-quality education, regardless of their background, will never change.” “I encourage all Victorians and Victorian schools to share their educational history via the 150 Years website, and help commemorate the integral role government schools have played in the educational fabric of our state.” 220307 - Marking 150 Years Of Public Education In Victoria

Delivering Better Education For Bayswater

The Andrews Labor Government is delivering a plan to transform the future of education in Bayswater, supporting local schools to collaborate and deliver better educational opportunities for students in the outer eastern suburb. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bayswater Jackson Taylor today launched the Bayswater Education Plan, which will support Bayswater Secondary College, Bayswater Primary School, Bayswater North Primary School, Bayswater South Primary School, and Bayswater West Primary School to co-develop educational opportunities that suit the community. Built on consultation with school staff, local community and the students themselves, the plan will see the five local schools collaborate to give students better opportunities, more choice and strong links to local industry and local tertiary education providers to ensure they are supported to leave school prepared for their next challenge. The plan will deliver a more seamless education experience for students across the five school communities, pooling their expertise and resources to make sure all Bayswater students can succeed, no matter what they choose. The Labor Government has invested $500,000 in the Bayswater Education Plan through the Infrastructure Planning and Acceleration Fund, on top of more than $12.4 million invested in Bayswater Secondary College in the Victorian Budget 2020/21. To view the plan, visit schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/bayswater-education-plan. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We heard from the Bayswater community that they needed a more collaborative approach to education – this plan delivers exactly that, supporting five local schools to give every student the best opportunities.” “I can’t wait to visit the Bayswater schools in years to come and see just how transformative this plan will be in setting local kids up to succeed, no matter what their goals.” Quote attributable to Member for Bayswater Jackson Taylor “A huge thank you to the principals, staff, families and students of these five great local schools for their vision, insights and enthusiasm in getting this plan off the ground – we can’t wait to see it in action and deliver it.” 220304 - Delivering Better Education For Bayswater

Delivering Better Education For Bayswater

The Andrews Labor Government is delivering a plan to transform the future of education in Bayswater, supporting local schools to collaborate and deliver better educational opportunities for students in the outer eastern suburb. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bayswater Jackson Taylor today launched the Bayswater Education Plan, which will support Bayswater Secondary College, Bayswater Primary School, Bayswater North Primary School, Bayswater South Primary School, and Bayswater West Primary School to co-develop educational opportunities that suit the community. Built on consultation with school staff, local community and the students themselves, the plan will see the five local schools collaborate to give students better opportunities, more choice and strong links to local industry and local tertiary education providers to ensure they are supported to leave school prepared for their next challenge. The plan will deliver a more seamless education experience for students across the five school communities, pooling their expertise and resources to make sure all Bayswater students can succeed, no matter what they choose. The Labor Government has invested $500,000 in the Bayswater Education Plan through the Infrastructure Planning and Acceleration Fund, on top of more than $12.4 million invested in Bayswater Secondary College in the Victorian Budget 2020/21. To view the plan, visit schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/bayswater-education-plan. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We heard from the Bayswater community that they needed a more collaborative approach to education – this plan delivers exactly that, supporting five local schools to give every student the best opportunities.” “I can’t wait to visit the Bayswater schools in years to come and see just how transformative this plan will be in setting local kids up to succeed, no matter what their goals.” Quote attributable to Member for Bayswater Jackson Taylor “A huge thank you to the principals, staff, families and students of these five great local schools for their vision, insights and enthusiasm in getting this plan off the ground – we can’t wait to see it in action and deliver it.” 220304 - Delivering Better Education For Bayswater

 

New Primary School Open For Families In Strathtulloh

Hundreds of students have started the new school year at the brand-new Strathtulloh Primary School, as the Andrews Labor Government continues to cement Victoria’s reputation as the Education State. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Melton Steve McGhie today officially opened the new school in Strathtulloh and welcomed nearly 700 Prep to Grade 6 students who have enrolled this year. The new state-of-the-art campus features two classroom learning neighbourhoods, a performing arts and physical education building, outdoor hardcourts, a sportsfield and a bike shed. Students will also wear the new purple and black uniform specially designed for the school. It will support the growing demand for local primary school places and give families better options to give their kids world-class education closer to home. Strathtulloh Primary School is one of 14 new schools and campuses the Labor Government is opening in 2022 as part of its work to deliver 100 new schools by 2026 – with 48 of those schools now open for students and families in Victoria’s fastest-growing areas. In the past seven years, the Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades – creating around 13,500 local jobs in construction and associated industries when Victoria needs it most. To protect students, staff and school communities and reduce learning disruption, the Labor Government has delivered a full suite of COVIDSafe measures to keep schools safe and keep classrooms open. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “It’s really exciting to open the new StrathtullohPrimary School, which is just one of 14 new schools opening this year – making every corner of Victoria part of the Education State.” Quote attributable to Member for Melton Steve McGhie “The new Strathtulloh Primary School will give local students an exciting and world-class learning experience close to home and is a great source of pride for the Melton community.” 220203 - New Primary School Open For Families In Strathtulloh

New Primary School Open For Families In Strathtulloh

Hundreds of students have started the new school year at the brand-new Strathtulloh Primary School, as the Andrews Labor Government continues to cement Victoria’s reputation as the Education State. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Melton Steve McGhie today officially opened the new school in Strathtulloh and welcomed nearly 700 Prep to Grade 6 students who have enrolled this year. The new state-of-the-art campus features two classroom learning neighbourhoods, a performing arts and physical education building, outdoor hardcourts, a sportsfield and a bike shed. Students will also wear the new purple and black uniform specially designed for the school. It will support the growing demand for local primary school places and give families better options to give their kids world-class education closer to home. Strathtulloh Primary School is one of 14 new schools and campuses the Labor Government is opening in 2022 as part of its work to deliver 100 new schools by 2026 – with 48 of those schools now open for students and families in Victoria’s fastest-growing areas. In the past seven years, the Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades – creating around 13,500 local jobs in construction and associated industries when Victoria needs it most. To protect students, staff and school communities and reduce learning disruption, the Labor Government has delivered a full suite of COVIDSafe measures to keep schools safe and keep classrooms open. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “It’s really exciting to open the new StrathtullohPrimary School, which is just one of 14 new schools opening this year – making every corner of Victoria part of the Education State.” Quote attributable to Member for Melton Steve McGhie “The new Strathtulloh Primary School will give local students an exciting and world-class learning experience close to home and is a great source of pride for the Melton community.” 220203 - New Primary School Open For Families In Strathtulloh

20 Million Reasons To Celebrate School Breakfast Clubs

Hundreds of thousands of Victorian students are now starting the school day with full stomachs, clearer minds and better moods, with the Andrews Labor Government’s School Breakfast Clubs program celebrating more than 20 million meals served. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Leopold Primary School in Geelong, which has provided more than 10,500 meals, to celebrate the program’s huge milestone. Leopold Primary School’s Breakfast Club has been running since Term 3, 2020 – and in less than two years, students have benefitted from almost 6,000 breakfasts and more than 3,600 snack items. The School Breakfast Club program, which began in 2016, is part of the Labor Government’s $58 million investment – delivered in partnership with Foodbank Victoria – to provide free, healthy food for students at 1,000 government schools. Feedback from schools has shown the program has had benefits beyond making students happier and healthier – it has led to greater social outcomes for students and the school community, improved student engagement and concentration, strengthened staff-student relationships, enhanced social skills and better academic performance. Since being established, the program has not only delivered more than 20 million nutritious meals, but has continued supporting students with access to healthy food despite periods of remote learning during the pandemic. Smaller breakfast clubs were run at school for students who were permitted to learn onsite, as well as ‘grab and go’ meal options for students to take home, food provided for families to collect from school sites to keep kids fed at home, and supplies even delivered to the homes of vulnerable students. In addition to delivering healthy breakfasts to students in 1,000 primary, secondary and specialist schools, the program provides nutritious lunches and holiday food supplies to students in need – and delivers cooking classes for families from around 100 schools across the state. School Holiday Supply packs are also available for schools to order over the summer school holiday period for families who need support. Nearly 40,000 packs have been distributed since the program began, with the 14-day food packs expanded last year to include lunch items in addition to healthy breakfasts and snacks. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Kids just can’t learn well on an empty stomach – and this program has made such a difference in the lives of many thousands of students who need a bit of extra support to have a nutritious, delicious meal every morning.” Quote attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville “The pandemic was profoundly challenging for many Victorian families – but we’re proud that our School Breakfast Clubs were able to step in to ease the pressure on families and make sure nobody is at school hungry.” 220303 - 20 Million Reasons To Celebrate School Breakfast Clubs

20 Million Reasons To Celebrate School Breakfast Clubs

Hundreds of thousands of Victorian students are now starting the school day with full stomachs, clearer minds and better moods, with the Andrews Labor Government’s School Breakfast Clubs program celebrating more than 20 million meals served. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Leopold Primary School in Geelong, which has provided more than 10,500 meals, to celebrate the program’s huge milestone. Leopold Primary School’s Breakfast Club has been running since Term 3, 2020 – and in less than two years, students have benefitted from almost 6,000 breakfasts and more than 3,600 snack items. The School Breakfast Club program, which began in 2016, is part of the Labor Government’s $58 million investment – delivered in partnership with Foodbank Victoria – to provide free, healthy food for students at 1,000 government schools. Feedback from schools has shown the program has had benefits beyond making students happier and healthier – it has led to greater social outcomes for students and the school community, improved student engagement and concentration, strengthened staff-student relationships, enhanced social skills and better academic performance. Since being established, the program has not only delivered more than 20 million nutritious meals, but has continued supporting students with access to healthy food despite periods of remote learning during the pandemic. Smaller breakfast clubs were run at school for students who were permitted to learn onsite, as well as ‘grab and go’ meal options for students to take home, food provided for families to collect from school sites to keep kids fed at home, and supplies even delivered to the homes of vulnerable students. In addition to delivering healthy breakfasts to students in 1,000 primary, secondary and specialist schools, the program provides nutritious lunches and holiday food supplies to students in need – and delivers cooking classes for families from around 100 schools across the state. School Holiday Supply packs are also available for schools to order over the summer school holiday period for families who need support. Nearly 40,000 packs have been distributed since the program began, with the 14-day food packs expanded last year to include lunch items in addition to healthy breakfasts and snacks. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Kids just can’t learn well on an empty stomach – and this program has made such a difference in the lives of many thousands of students who need a bit of extra support to have a nutritious, delicious meal every morning.” Quote attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville “The pandemic was profoundly challenging for many Victorian families – but we’re proud that our School Breakfast Clubs were able to step in to ease the pressure on families and make sure nobody is at school hungry.” 220303 - 20 Million Reasons To Celebrate School Breakfast Clubs

One Year On: Huge Progress On Mental Health Reform

One year after the historic delivery of the final report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, the Andrews Labor Government has made huge inroads into the landmark reform of the state’s mental health and wellbeing services, with work underway on more than 85 per cent of the 74 recommendations. The Royal Commission’s 2021 report outlined a 10-year blueprint Victoria’s future mental health and wellbeing services, building a system where every Victorian gets the timely, tailored support they need –  close to home. Progress has already been made on 65 of 74 recommendations, backed by the Labor Government’s record $3.8 billion investment in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 – the largest single investment in mental health in Australia’s history. Already, this work has delivered almost 1,000 extra jobs in the mental health workforce. It has expanded the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement Service and established the Mental Health Levy so Victoria’s biggest, most profitable businesses to play their part in building the state’s new wellbeing system.s To mark the anniversary of the historic final report, Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today turned the first sod on Victoria’s first Child and Family Centre – a key Royal Commission recommendation. The new 12-bed facility in Grieve Street, Macleod, will provide specialised mental health care and wellbeing services to children under 11 in an environment that allows them to stay with, and be supported by, their families. Set to open early next year, and delivered in partnership with Austin Health, the new facility will be staffed 24/7 – responding to the Royal Commission’s recommendations to provide more tailored models of care. The Labor Government today also announced the locations for the next 21 Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services – a brand-new model of care that will see Victorians get the mental health support they need, as soon as they need it, close to home. The local services will act as a ‘front door’ to the reformed mental health system, providing early intervention support for adults experiencing mental illness or psychological distress without needing a referral from a GP, and before people need clinical hospital emergency department. Set to open from mid-2023, these additional 21 local centres will service key priority areas for support across metropolitan, outer-suburban and regional centres: Dandenong Shepparton Melton Mildura Lilydale Bendigo Echuca Orbost Bairnsdale Melbourne Werribee Truganina Ballarat Craigieburn Sunbury Ringwood Horsham Ararat Warrnambool Hamilton Portland This builds on the six services previously announced and already preparing to open their doors and start providing care in 2022: Benalla, Latrobe Valley, Frankston, Brimbank, Whittlesea and Greater Geelong. By the end of 2026, up to 60 local services will open across the state – connecting Victorians to the care they need in their own communities. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System was a watershed moment in our state’s history – and we’re not wasting a single moment delivering its recommendations.” “We said we’d build a mental health system from the ground up to deliver the care every Victorian deserves – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.” Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Today’s announcements will deliver new services that are sorely needed, with ‘front doors’ to the mental health system to make sure nobody faces barriers to getting support, no matter where they live.” 220302 - One Year On - Huge Progress On Mental Health Reform

One Year On: Huge Progress On Mental Health Reform

One year after the historic delivery of the final report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, the Andrews Labor Government has made huge inroads into the landmark reform of the state’s mental health and wellbeing services, with work underway on more than 85 per cent of the 74 recommendations. The Royal Commission’s 2021 report outlined a 10-year blueprint Victoria’s future mental health and wellbeing services, building a system where every Victorian gets the timely, tailored support they need –  close to home. Progress has already been made on 65 of 74 recommendations, backed by the Labor Government’s record $3.8 billion investment in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 – the largest single investment in mental health in Australia’s history. Already, this work has delivered almost 1,000 extra jobs in the mental health workforce. It has expanded the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement Service and established the Mental Health Levy so Victoria’s biggest, most profitable businesses to play their part in building the state’s new wellbeing system.s To mark the anniversary of the historic final report, Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today turned the first sod on Victoria’s first Child and Family Centre – a key Royal Commission recommendation. The new 12-bed facility in Grieve Street, Macleod, will provide specialised mental health care and wellbeing services to children under 11 in an environment that allows them to stay with, and be supported by, their families. Set to open early next year, and delivered in partnership with Austin Health, the new facility will be staffed 24/7 – responding to the Royal Commission’s recommendations to provide more tailored models of care. The Labor Government today also announced the locations for the next 21 Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services – a brand-new model of care that will see Victorians get the mental health support they need, as soon as they need it, close to home. The local services will act as a ‘front door’ to the reformed mental health system, providing early intervention support for adults experiencing mental illness or psychological distress without needing a referral from a GP, and before people need clinical hospital emergency department. Set to open from mid-2023, these additional 21 local centres will service key priority areas for support across metropolitan, outer-suburban and regional centres: Dandenong Shepparton Melton Mildura Lilydale Bendigo Echuca Orbost Bairnsdale Melbourne Werribee Truganina Ballarat Craigieburn Sunbury Ringwood Horsham Ararat Warrnambool Hamilton Portland This builds on the six services previously announced and already preparing to open their doors and start providing care in 2022: Benalla, Latrobe Valley, Frankston, Brimbank, Whittlesea and Greater Geelong. By the end of 2026, up to 60 local services will open across the state – connecting Victorians to the care they need in their own communities. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System was a watershed moment in our state’s history – and we’re not wasting a single moment delivering its recommendations.” “We said we’d build a mental health system from the ground up to deliver the care every Victorian deserves – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.” Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Today’s announcements will deliver new services that are sorely needed, with ‘front doors’ to the mental health system to make sure nobody faces barriers to getting support, no matter where they live.” 220302 - One Year On - Huge Progress On Mental Health Reform

Helping Teachers Become Diversity, Inclusion Champions

The Andrews Labor Government is giving more Victorian teachers the chance to upskill for free under a plan to champion diversity and inclusion and better assist students of all abilities at schools across the state. Minister for Education James Merlino today opened Round 1 of the new fee-free Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) program for teachers who want to undertake further study to encourage increased inclusivity in their school communities. The certificate will help teachers from mainstream schools increase their knowledge and skills in relation to learning difficulties including dyslexia and dyscalculia – designed by experts at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. The program will offer 75 places for Victorian teachers in Semester 2 in July, with recipients able to complete the course online part-time over 12 to 24 months. Applications have also opened for the eighth round of the fee-free Master of Inclusive Education Program, supporting mainstream and specialist schools to boost inclusive education practices by upskilling teachers to foster inclusion for students with disabilities. The program offers 75 places and recipients can complete the course part-time across seven universities. These programs are a key part of the Labor Government’s ambition to have a masters-qualified inclusive education teacher at every Victorian government school to create and champion inclusion and diversity, as part of the Disability Inclusion reform agenda. The Government has invested nearly $1.6 billion in the Disability Inclusion reform agenda, ensuring schools have the resources, support and guidance needed to make sure students of all abilities can succeed in school and life. To apply for the Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) Program visit education.vic.gov.au, and to apply for the Master of Inclusive Education Program visit education.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re helping teachers get the skills they need to champion diversity and inclusion to ensure all Victorian students, especially those with a disability or learning difficulty, have all the support they need to thrive at school and beyond.” “We’re building on our reputation as the Education State by ensuring every government school in Victoria has a welcoming and inclusive environment for every student, regardless of their ability or background.”  Helping Teachers Become Diversity, Inclusion Champions.pdf

Helping Teachers Become Diversity, Inclusion Champions

The Andrews Labor Government is giving more Victorian teachers the chance to upskill for free under a plan to champion diversity and inclusion and better assist students of all abilities at schools across the state. Minister for Education James Merlino today opened Round 1 of the new fee-free Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) program for teachers who want to undertake further study to encourage increased inclusivity in their school communities. The certificate will help teachers from mainstream schools increase their knowledge and skills in relation to learning difficulties including dyslexia and dyscalculia – designed by experts at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. The program will offer 75 places for Victorian teachers in Semester 2 in July, with recipients able to complete the course online part-time over 12 to 24 months. Applications have also opened for the eighth round of the fee-free Master of Inclusive Education Program, supporting mainstream and specialist schools to boost inclusive education practices by upskilling teachers to foster inclusion for students with disabilities. The program offers 75 places and recipients can complete the course part-time across seven universities. These programs are a key part of the Labor Government’s ambition to have a masters-qualified inclusive education teacher at every Victorian government school to create and champion inclusion and diversity, as part of the Disability Inclusion reform agenda. The Government has invested nearly $1.6 billion in the Disability Inclusion reform agenda, ensuring schools have the resources, support and guidance needed to make sure students of all abilities can succeed in school and life. To apply for the Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) Program visit education.vic.gov.au, and to apply for the Master of Inclusive Education Program visit education.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re helping teachers get the skills they need to champion diversity and inclusion to ensure all Victorian students, especially those with a disability or learning difficulty, have all the support they need to thrive at school and beyond.” “We’re building on our reputation as the Education State by ensuring every government school in Victoria has a welcoming and inclusive environment for every student, regardless of their ability or background.”  Helping Teachers Become Diversity, Inclusion Champions.pdf

Getting On With The Thomas Embling Hospital Upgrade

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive expansion of the state’s forensic mental health capacity is another step closer, with a tender now open to appoint a builder for the huge redevelopment of Thomas Embling Hospital. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced the Labor Government is seeking a builder to deliver the $349.6 million expansion of the Fairfield hospital, which will implement key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health system in its infrastructure and design. The project will address current bed shortages with an additional 82 secure mental health beds, including a dedicated 34-bed women’s precinct and a 48-bed medium security men’s facility, as well as clinical administration facilities and more car parking. The project will reduce wait times for mental health assessment and treatment, support the rehabilitation and recovery of patients in a safe and therapeutic environment, reduce incidents of mental health deterioration and self-harm, and increase access to services for women in the system. The Royal Commission recommended co-design be put at the heart of all new mental health infrastructure – with the experiences of patients, consumers, carers, clinicians and researchers to inform the best facilities for patients and the community. Work is progressing on detailed designs for the expansion, with final designs to be released and construction to begin on the first stage of the project in mid-2022. The first stage will be complete in 2024, creating around 550 local jobs in construction. To find out more about the tender process, visit tenders.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This landmark project will change the way forensic mental health services are delivered in Victoria – with more capacity to make sure Victorian forensic patients get the treatment they need, as soon as they need it.” “With designs and the process to appoint a builder underway, we aren’t wasting a moment delivering this important project and so many more as we rebuild our state’s mental health system from the ground up.” 220127 - Getting On With The Thomas Embling Hospital Upgrade

Getting On With The Thomas Embling Hospital Upgrade

The Andrews Labor Government’s massive expansion of the state’s forensic mental health capacity is another step closer, with a tender now open to appoint a builder for the huge redevelopment of Thomas Embling Hospital. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today announced the Labor Government is seeking a builder to deliver the $349.6 million expansion of the Fairfield hospital, which will implement key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health system in its infrastructure and design. The project will address current bed shortages with an additional 82 secure mental health beds, including a dedicated 34-bed women’s precinct and a 48-bed medium security men’s facility, as well as clinical administration facilities and more car parking. The project will reduce wait times for mental health assessment and treatment, support the rehabilitation and recovery of patients in a safe and therapeutic environment, reduce incidents of mental health deterioration and self-harm, and increase access to services for women in the system. The Royal Commission recommended co-design be put at the heart of all new mental health infrastructure – with the experiences of patients, consumers, carers, clinicians and researchers to inform the best facilities for patients and the community. Work is progressing on detailed designs for the expansion, with final designs to be released and construction to begin on the first stage of the project in mid-2022. The first stage will be complete in 2024, creating around 550 local jobs in construction. To find out more about the tender process, visit tenders.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This landmark project will change the way forensic mental health services are delivered in Victoria – with more capacity to make sure Victorian forensic patients get the treatment they need, as soon as they need it.” “With designs and the process to appoint a builder underway, we aren’t wasting a moment delivering this important project and so many more as we rebuild our state’s mental health system from the ground up.” 220127 - Getting On With The Thomas Embling Hospital Upgrade

Mental Health Support For Those With Small Businesses In Mind

Member-based business organisations are being offered tailored mental health and wellbeing support, through an Andrews Labor Government initiative. Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford today announced the Mental Wellbeing of Business Communities Grants Program, providing up to 200 member-based business communities with a $15,000 grant for training and tailored support to manage stress and anxiety. Under this program, a ‘Business Community’ is defined as a not-for-profit member-based organisation which represents, serves and advocates for its business members. Eligible business communities include chambers of commerce, business councils, industry associations and trader groups, with the program set to have flow-on effects for the tens of thousands of Victorian small businesses they support. The program is about providing practical and evidence-based strategies unique to businesses – with the business community organisation then encouraged to share the learned mental health and wellbeing solutions with their members to implement over the long term. Grant recipients will nominate representatives to receive 10 hours of free mental health and wellbeing training plus an additional 12 hours of expert masterclasses which will help them design a care plan for their members. The training will involve businesses collaborating on ideas of best practice for improving mental health including shifting ways of thinking and ideas on motivation. This program forms part of the Victorian Government’s $26 million commitment to providing timely, needs-based support through the Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Businesses Initiative, announced in August 2020. For full details of the program and more information on other wellbeing resources for small businesses, visit   business.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford “Our small businesses have had massive challenges thrown at them for two years and while their resilience and ingenuity is inspirational, these pressures can take a toll.” “We’re working closely with chambers and traders group so make sure they are equipped to support their members’ health and well-being.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This program will give small businesses the opportunity to learn effective strategies to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace.” “Supporting people when they need it most will drive change and reduce the stigma of mental health challenges facing the broader business community.”   220223 - Mental Health Support For Those With Small Businesses In Mind

Mental Health Support For Those With Small Businesses In Mind

Member-based business organisations are being offered tailored mental health and wellbeing support, through an Andrews Labor Government initiative. Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford today announced the Mental Wellbeing of Business Communities Grants Program, providing up to 200 member-based business communities with a $15,000 grant for training and tailored support to manage stress and anxiety. Under this program, a ‘Business Community’ is defined as a not-for-profit member-based organisation which represents, serves and advocates for its business members. Eligible business communities include chambers of commerce, business councils, industry associations and trader groups, with the program set to have flow-on effects for the tens of thousands of Victorian small businesses they support. The program is about providing practical and evidence-based strategies unique to businesses – with the business community organisation then encouraged to share the learned mental health and wellbeing solutions with their members to implement over the long term. Grant recipients will nominate representatives to receive 10 hours of free mental health and wellbeing training plus an additional 12 hours of expert masterclasses which will help them design a care plan for their members. The training will involve businesses collaborating on ideas of best practice for improving mental health including shifting ways of thinking and ideas on motivation. This program forms part of the Victorian Government’s $26 million commitment to providing timely, needs-based support through the Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Businesses Initiative, announced in August 2020. For full details of the program and more information on other wellbeing resources for small businesses, visit   business.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford “Our small businesses have had massive challenges thrown at them for two years and while their resilience and ingenuity is inspirational, these pressures can take a toll.” “We’re working closely with chambers and traders group so make sure they are equipped to support their members’ health and well-being.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This program will give small businesses the opportunity to learn effective strategies to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace.” “Supporting people when they need it most will drive change and reduce the stigma of mental health challenges facing the broader business community.”   220223 - Mental Health Support For Those With Small Businesses In Mind

Extending COVIDsafe Measures To Keep Classrooms Safe

After a safe and successful start to the school year, the Andrews Labor Government will extend its COVIDSafe measures in schools and early childhood settings until the end of Term 1. Initially set to run for the first four weeks of Term 1, the measures – including rapid antigen surveillance testing – will continue until the end of term, and the Labor Government will more than double the number of air purifiers in schools to keep protecting students and staff. The Labor Government will distribute an extra 24 million RATs to schools and early childhood services to continue the program until the end of Term 1.  The school surveillance testing program has been extremely effective at reducing transmission in schools – with Burnet Institute modelling estimating that, assuming a 75 per cent compliance rate with screening of students, the program has prevented more than 21,000 COVID-19 infections. Continuing the RAT surveillance for the full 10 weeks of Term 1 is expected to prevent more than 61,000 COVID-19 infections in children aged 5 to 17, more than 150,000 COVID-19 infections in the community (on average 2,100 less infections per day), and around 400 hospital admissions. The testing settings will remain the same, with all primary and secondary school students and staff, and early childhood education and care staff and children aged 3 to 5, recommended to test at home twice a week, while students and staff at specialist schools are recommended to test five days a week. With global supply increasing, and in anticipation of colder weather when windows may have to be shut and outdoor learning reduced, the Labor Government will deliver a further 60,000 air purifiers – enough to cover every single classroom in government schools and low-fee non-government schools This will bring the total number of air purifiers in schools to 111,000 units. The second tranche of air purifiers will start delivery later this term and air purifiers will be with schools by 1 June – in time for the beginning of winter. Eligible kindergarten services will receive a further $3.8 million in grants to support ventilation improvements and keep children and staff safer at kinder, and give families confidence that early learning is safe. The new grants will be available later this term to support the purchase of air purifiers for learning spaces or other improved ventilation. Vaccination remains the best way to protect students and staff – with parents and carers urged to continue booking children aged 5 to 11 in for their first and second doses, and staff and students aged 16 to 17 reminded to get their third dose as soon as possible. School and early childhood staff must receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 25 February to continue working in education settings, unless they have a valid exemption. For staff who became fully vaccinated after 25 October 2021, this deadline is 15 March, unless they have a valid exemption. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We promised we’d get our kids back to school safely and on time, and that’s exactly what we’ve done – and we’ll make sure the rest of the 2022 school year is just as good.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The 2022 school year has kicked off safely and successfully - and we’re supporting that to continue, with more rapid tests, more air purifiers and higher vaccination rates to keep our schools safe and open.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Our littlest learners are still unable to be vaccinated – so we’re continuing strong COVIDSafe measures to protect kinder kids, and those who care for them, in kinder services across the state.” 220217 - Extending COVIDsafe Measures To Keep Classrooms Safe

Extending COVIDsafe Measures To Keep Classrooms Safe

After a safe and successful start to the school year, the Andrews Labor Government will extend its COVIDSafe measures in schools and early childhood settings until the end of Term 1. Initially set to run for the first four weeks of Term 1, the measures – including rapid antigen surveillance testing – will continue until the end of term, and the Labor Government will more than double the number of air purifiers in schools to keep protecting students and staff. The Labor Government will distribute an extra 24 million RATs to schools and early childhood services to continue the program until the end of Term 1.  The school surveillance testing program has been extremely effective at reducing transmission in schools – with Burnet Institute modelling estimating that, assuming a 75 per cent compliance rate with screening of students, the program has prevented more than 21,000 COVID-19 infections. Continuing the RAT surveillance for the full 10 weeks of Term 1 is expected to prevent more than 61,000 COVID-19 infections in children aged 5 to 17, more than 150,000 COVID-19 infections in the community (on average 2,100 less infections per day), and around 400 hospital admissions. The testing settings will remain the same, with all primary and secondary school students and staff, and early childhood education and care staff and children aged 3 to 5, recommended to test at home twice a week, while students and staff at specialist schools are recommended to test five days a week. With global supply increasing, and in anticipation of colder weather when windows may have to be shut and outdoor learning reduced, the Labor Government will deliver a further 60,000 air purifiers – enough to cover every single classroom in government schools and low-fee non-government schools This will bring the total number of air purifiers in schools to 111,000 units. The second tranche of air purifiers will start delivery later this term and air purifiers will be with schools by 1 June – in time for the beginning of winter. Eligible kindergarten services will receive a further $3.8 million in grants to support ventilation improvements and keep children and staff safer at kinder, and give families confidence that early learning is safe. The new grants will be available later this term to support the purchase of air purifiers for learning spaces or other improved ventilation. Vaccination remains the best way to protect students and staff – with parents and carers urged to continue booking children aged 5 to 11 in for their first and second doses, and staff and students aged 16 to 17 reminded to get their third dose as soon as possible. School and early childhood staff must receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 25 February to continue working in education settings, unless they have a valid exemption. For staff who became fully vaccinated after 25 October 2021, this deadline is 15 March, unless they have a valid exemption. Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “We promised we’d get our kids back to school safely and on time, and that’s exactly what we’ve done – and we’ll make sure the rest of the 2022 school year is just as good.” Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The 2022 school year has kicked off safely and successfully - and we’re supporting that to continue, with more rapid tests, more air purifiers and higher vaccination rates to keep our schools safe and open.” Quote attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt “Our littlest learners are still unable to be vaccinated – so we’re continuing strong COVIDSafe measures to protect kinder kids, and those who care for them, in kinder services across the state.” 220217 - Extending COVIDsafe Measures To Keep Classrooms Safe

Victorian Experts To Help Shape Mental Health Reforms

A roll call of experts from Victoria’s mental health sector will provide specialist advice on rebuilding and shaping the state’s mental health and wellbeing system, as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s nation-leading reform. The Mental Health Ministerial Advisory Committee (MHMAC) met for the first time this week, chaired by Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health Steve Dimopoulos, to help guide Victoria’s ten-year reform journey. The MHMAC will identify and provide advice on emerging issues and best practice nationally and internationally in mental healthcare, shaping the reforms and identifying opportunities for further collaboration and innovation. The Committee includes representatives of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Transgender Victoria, Foundation House, Turning Point, The Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council, Tandem, Thorne Harbour Health and the Victorian Multicultural Commission, and other peak bodies. The MHMAC will be supported by a new sub-committee, the Interdisciplinary Clinical Advisory Group, chaired by Forensicare CEO Dr Margaret Grigg. It has a broad membership comprising some of Victoria’s leading mental health clinicians specialising in CALD and Aboriginal Victorian health, LGBTIQ+, disability and homelessness. They will provide expert advice on systems, services and processes and ensure the needs, strengths and interests of Victoria’s diverse communities are represented – and work alongside the existing Lived Experience Advisory Group. The Labor Government invested a record $3.8 billion in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to kickstart the biggest mental health and wellbeing reform in Australia’s history, including $92.6 million to provide dedicated help for families and carers. To find out more about the MHMAC visit mhrv.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We want to make sure our mental health and wellbeing system is the best it can be – that’s why we’re drawing on the expertise and experience of those who work in and use the system.” “Our new Mental Health Ministerial Advisory Committee will play a vital role in shaping and guiding major reforms as part of our ten-year journey towards an improved mental health and wellbeing system.” Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health Steve Dimopoulos “This is an exciting chance to sit down and hear from some of Victoria’s greatest minds on mental health and wellbeing, and use their knowledge and experience to shape our system for the better.” 220216 - Victorian Experts To Help Shape Mental Health Reforms

Victorian Experts To Help Shape Mental Health Reforms

A roll call of experts from Victoria’s mental health sector will provide specialist advice on rebuilding and shaping the state’s mental health and wellbeing system, as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s nation-leading reform. The Mental Health Ministerial Advisory Committee (MHMAC) met for the first time this week, chaired by Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health Steve Dimopoulos, to help guide Victoria’s ten-year reform journey. The MHMAC will identify and provide advice on emerging issues and best practice nationally and internationally in mental healthcare, shaping the reforms and identifying opportunities for further collaboration and innovation. The Committee includes representatives of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Transgender Victoria, Foundation House, Turning Point, The Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council, Tandem, Thorne Harbour Health and the Victorian Multicultural Commission, and other peak bodies. The MHMAC will be supported by a new sub-committee, the Interdisciplinary Clinical Advisory Group, chaired by Forensicare CEO Dr Margaret Grigg. It has a broad membership comprising some of Victoria’s leading mental health clinicians specialising in CALD and Aboriginal Victorian health, LGBTIQ+, disability and homelessness. They will provide expert advice on systems, services and processes and ensure the needs, strengths and interests of Victoria’s diverse communities are represented – and work alongside the existing Lived Experience Advisory Group. The Labor Government invested a record $3.8 billion in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to kickstart the biggest mental health and wellbeing reform in Australia’s history, including $92.6 million to provide dedicated help for families and carers. To find out more about the MHMAC visit mhrv.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We want to make sure our mental health and wellbeing system is the best it can be – that’s why we’re drawing on the expertise and experience of those who work in and use the system.” “Our new Mental Health Ministerial Advisory Committee will play a vital role in shaping and guiding major reforms as part of our ten-year journey towards an improved mental health and wellbeing system.” Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health Steve Dimopoulos “This is an exciting chance to sit down and hear from some of Victoria’s greatest minds on mental health and wellbeing, and use their knowledge and experience to shape our system for the better.” 220216 - Victorian Experts To Help Shape Mental Health Reforms