Media Centre

HELPING THE YARRA PISTOL CLUB GROW

The Andrews Labor Government is helping the Yarra Pistol Club attract more members and develop the facilities locals can be proud of. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today announced the club was one of three across Victoria sharing in $1.9 million from the Labor Government’s Shooting Sports Facilities Program. We’re providing $718,000 to upgrade the range facilities, helping the club become the next premier pistol shooting complex in Victoria. The project will ensure the club is perfectly placed to stage the annual Pistol Australia ISSF National Pistol Competition. The grants will mean clubs will be able to boost participation, better accommodate people of all abilities and provide real pathways from the grassroots to the Olympic Games. Victoria has produced some of shooting’s great stars, including Russell Mark, Deserie Baynes and Adam Vella. Shooting sports clubs are a great place for locals to get together and enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation, and learn about the safe and responsible use of firearms. Victoria is the sporting capital of the world, and we want to stay that way. Our $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure Fund is helping communities all over Victoria update tired facilities and build the venues they need. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino “We want our clubs to offer safe, modern facilities to the thousands of Victorians that use them every week.” “Shooting clubs aren’t just a great place for people to gather, they’re where people learn about the safe and responsible use of firearms.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Sport, John Eren “Victoria has produced some of the world’s great shooters. This is our small role in identifying the next Russell Mark or Deserie Baynes.”

HELPING THE YARRA PISTOL CLUB GROW

The Andrews Labor Government is helping the Yarra Pistol Club attract more members and develop the facilities locals can be proud of. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today announced the club was one of three across Victoria sharing in $1.9 million from the Labor Government’s Shooting Sports Facilities Program. We’re providing $718,000 to upgrade the range facilities, helping the club become the next premier pistol shooting complex in Victoria. The project will ensure the club is perfectly placed to stage the annual Pistol Australia ISSF National Pistol Competition. The grants will mean clubs will be able to boost participation, better accommodate people of all abilities and provide real pathways from the grassroots to the Olympic Games. Victoria has produced some of shooting’s great stars, including Russell Mark, Deserie Baynes and Adam Vella. Shooting sports clubs are a great place for locals to get together and enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation, and learn about the safe and responsible use of firearms. Victoria is the sporting capital of the world, and we want to stay that way. Our $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure Fund is helping communities all over Victoria update tired facilities and build the venues they need. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino “We want our clubs to offer safe, modern facilities to the thousands of Victorians that use them every week.” “Shooting clubs aren’t just a great place for people to gather, they’re where people learn about the safe and responsible use of firearms.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Sport, John Eren “Victoria has produced some of the world’s great shooters. This is our small role in identifying the next Russell Mark or Deserie Baynes.”

Setting The Record Straight On The CFA Dispute

The Government welcomes the lifting of the Supreme Court injunction. Since the Government’s unanimous decision to end this dispute, I have been visiting brigades around the state, including in Mildura, Bendigo, Lancefield and Whittlesea. It is clear that firefighters are sick of being used as political footballs. They want the facts and they want this long running dispute to end. I will continue meeting volunteer  and career fire fighters across Victoria to hear their concerns and give them the facts about the agreement. As part of this process, local brigades can request visits from members of the Government through a new website, which includes facts and updates about the agreement. The Coalition continues to run a disgraceful campaign of fear and misinformation about this agreement that is hurting both our firefighters and the community. The website address is: www.yourcfainfo.vic.gov.au Download the Media Release (276 kB)

Setting The Record Straight On The CFA Dispute

The Government welcomes the lifting of the Supreme Court injunction. Since the Government’s unanimous decision to end this dispute, I have been visiting brigades around the state, including in Mildura, Bendigo, Lancefield and Whittlesea. It is clear that firefighters are sick of being used as political footballs. They want the facts and they want this long running dispute to end. I will continue meeting volunteer  and career fire fighters across Victoria to hear their concerns and give them the facts about the agreement. As part of this process, local brigades can request visits from members of the Government through a new website, which includes facts and updates about the agreement. The Coalition continues to run a disgraceful campaign of fear and misinformation about this agreement that is hurting both our firefighters and the community. The website address is: www.yourcfainfo.vic.gov.au Download the Media Release (276 kB)

Recognising Victoria’s Best ‘Hands On’ Students

Victoria’s top students in ‘hands on’ subjects have been recognised at the Victorian Certificate for Applied Learning (VCAL) Achievement Awards. Minister for Education James Merlino presented the awards to students at a ceremony at Melbourne’s Federation Square today. VCAL provides an alternative pathway through senior secondary education for students attracted to applied learning, with many students completing apprenticeships while others move onto further study and training including university. Between its introduction in 2002 and 2015, VCAL enrolments increased from 545 to 23,784, with 447 providers, including schools, TAFE institutes and adult and community education centres. The VCAL Awards acknowledge students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and made a significant contribution to their schools and communities. Mr Merlino presented awards in 21 categories to students, teachers and schools from across Victoria. Narre Warren South P-12 student Dharna Nicholson-Bux was recognised in the category of Koori Student Achievement for her excellence in all her VCAL strands, and for being a strong advocate for a tolerant and multicultural society. Thomas Hunter from Goroke P-12 was recognised for Personal Development Skills after forging strong partnerships between his school and the local pre-school. Mr Merlino also acknowledged the inaugural winners of the Lynne Kosky Scholarship, which honours the legacy of the late Lynne Kosky who created the VCAL qualification. The winners, Aleks Radenovic and Gemma-Mae Stemp, have received funding to undertake VCAL in year 11. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These awards highlight the opportunities for young people to undertake practical learning in Victoria that will set them up for a whole range of careers.” “VCAL plays a significant role in keeping more young people engaged in education and training and its practical focus builds links between young people, the community, training providers and industry.” Download the Media Release (161 kB)

Recognising Victoria’s Best ‘Hands On’ Students

Victoria’s top students in ‘hands on’ subjects have been recognised at the Victorian Certificate for Applied Learning (VCAL) Achievement Awards. Minister for Education James Merlino presented the awards to students at a ceremony at Melbourne’s Federation Square today. VCAL provides an alternative pathway through senior secondary education for students attracted to applied learning, with many students completing apprenticeships while others move onto further study and training including university. Between its introduction in 2002 and 2015, VCAL enrolments increased from 545 to 23,784, with 447 providers, including schools, TAFE institutes and adult and community education centres. The VCAL Awards acknowledge students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and made a significant contribution to their schools and communities. Mr Merlino presented awards in 21 categories to students, teachers and schools from across Victoria. Narre Warren South P-12 student Dharna Nicholson-Bux was recognised in the category of Koori Student Achievement for her excellence in all her VCAL strands, and for being a strong advocate for a tolerant and multicultural society. Thomas Hunter from Goroke P-12 was recognised for Personal Development Skills after forging strong partnerships between his school and the local pre-school. Mr Merlino also acknowledged the inaugural winners of the Lynne Kosky Scholarship, which honours the legacy of the late Lynne Kosky who created the VCAL qualification. The winners, Aleks Radenovic and Gemma-Mae Stemp, have received funding to undertake VCAL in year 11. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “These awards highlight the opportunities for young people to undertake practical learning in Victoria that will set them up for a whole range of careers.” “VCAL plays a significant role in keeping more young people engaged in education and training and its practical focus builds links between young people, the community, training providers and industry.” Download the Media Release (161 kB)

Fresh Start For CFA: New Leadership To Deliver Reform

A new board of the Country Fire Authority has today been appointed to deliver reforms that the organisation needs to keep Victoria safe. The new board will be chaired by Mr Greg Smith AM, with Ms Michelle McLean to serve as deputy chair. The other board members are Ms Pam White, Dr Gillian Sparkes, and Mr Simon Weir. The board brings together decades of experience in governance, industrial law, public policy, and financial management. Its make-up is in line with the Andrews Labor Government’s policy of appointing women to at least 50 percent of paid board positions. The board’s first priority will be to resolve the long running Enterprise Agreement dispute so that volunteer and career firefighters can focus on fighting fires and keeping their communities safe. The new board will drive cultural change in the CFA, with a focus on lifting morale and ending the deep divide between senior management and firefighters that was identified in the Fire Services Review. It will also improve governance practices within the CFA so that what occurred at the Fiskville Training Facility never happens again. In accordance with the Country Fire Authority Act, the Minister has asked Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria to nominate a further four members to join the board. I thank the previous board for their service to the CFA. Background Chair Greg Smith AM Mr Smith is the principal of G R Smith and Associates, with decades of experience in industrial arbitration and conciliation. Mr Smith was a Commissioner for the Fair Work Commission and its predecessors for almost three decades, under successive Federal Governments, and was made Deputy President in 2012. He has worked extensively for international organisations, including the United Nations, and was an advisor to the South African Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. He is currently a board member of Ambulance Victoria and Life Education Victoria. Deputy Chair Michelle McLean Ms McLean is the CEO and Partner of Cornwall Stodart Lawyers and an expert in finance, governance and people management. She is on the executive council of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Royal Agricultural Society. Ms McLean has previously been a board member of the Mercy Health Foundation, and is a former President of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association. Dr Gillian Sparkes Dr Sparkes is the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability in Victoria and was originally appointed to the position by the previous Coalition Government. She is an expert in public sector management and stakeholder engagement. Dr Sparkes has held senior positions in the private sector with BHP and Brambles, and the public sector with WorkSafe Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Dr Sparkes has previously served on the board of South Gippsland Water and as Chair of Sustainability Victoria. Ms Pam White Ms White is the Chairperson of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, and has extensive public service experience. She is a former CEO of the State Services Authority, and served as the State Recovery Coordinator in the Department of Human Services. Ms White was appointed as an adviser to the Victorian Flood Review by the previous Coalition Government and also served as CEO to the Victorian Reconstruction and Recovery Authority after the Black Saturday bushfires. Simon Weir Mr Weir is a barrister with more than thirty years’ experience in workplace law. He has worked as a Partner of Slater and Gordon and was a Senior Legal Counsel for the Victorian Workcover Authority. Mr Weir has consulted for Wisewould Mahony and was a senior associate for Hall and Wilcox. Download the Media Release (337 kB)

Fresh Start For CFA: New Leadership To Deliver Reform

A new board of the Country Fire Authority has today been appointed to deliver reforms that the organisation needs to keep Victoria safe. The new board will be chaired by Mr Greg Smith AM, with Ms Michelle McLean to serve as deputy chair. The other board members are Ms Pam White, Dr Gillian Sparkes, and Mr Simon Weir. The board brings together decades of experience in governance, industrial law, public policy, and financial management. Its make-up is in line with the Andrews Labor Government’s policy of appointing women to at least 50 percent of paid board positions. The board’s first priority will be to resolve the long running Enterprise Agreement dispute so that volunteer and career firefighters can focus on fighting fires and keeping their communities safe. The new board will drive cultural change in the CFA, with a focus on lifting morale and ending the deep divide between senior management and firefighters that was identified in the Fire Services Review. It will also improve governance practices within the CFA so that what occurred at the Fiskville Training Facility never happens again. In accordance with the Country Fire Authority Act, the Minister has asked Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria to nominate a further four members to join the board. I thank the previous board for their service to the CFA. Background Chair Greg Smith AM Mr Smith is the principal of G R Smith and Associates, with decades of experience in industrial arbitration and conciliation. Mr Smith was a Commissioner for the Fair Work Commission and its predecessors for almost three decades, under successive Federal Governments, and was made Deputy President in 2012. He has worked extensively for international organisations, including the United Nations, and was an advisor to the South African Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. He is currently a board member of Ambulance Victoria and Life Education Victoria. Deputy Chair Michelle McLean Ms McLean is the CEO and Partner of Cornwall Stodart Lawyers and an expert in finance, governance and people management. She is on the executive council of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Royal Agricultural Society. Ms McLean has previously been a board member of the Mercy Health Foundation, and is a former President of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association. Dr Gillian Sparkes Dr Sparkes is the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability in Victoria and was originally appointed to the position by the previous Coalition Government. She is an expert in public sector management and stakeholder engagement. Dr Sparkes has held senior positions in the private sector with BHP and Brambles, and the public sector with WorkSafe Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Dr Sparkes has previously served on the board of South Gippsland Water and as Chair of Sustainability Victoria. Ms Pam White Ms White is the Chairperson of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, and has extensive public service experience. She is a former CEO of the State Services Authority, and served as the State Recovery Coordinator in the Department of Human Services. Ms White was appointed as an adviser to the Victorian Flood Review by the previous Coalition Government and also served as CEO to the Victorian Reconstruction and Recovery Authority after the Black Saturday bushfires. Simon Weir Mr Weir is a barrister with more than thirty years’ experience in workplace law. He has worked as a Partner of Slater and Gordon and was a Senior Legal Counsel for the Victorian Workcover Authority. Mr Weir has consulted for Wisewould Mahony and was a senior associate for Hall and Wilcox. Download the Media Release (337 kB)

Statement From The Minister For Emergency Services

Ms Lucinda Nolan has advised me of her intention to resign as Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority. Prior to joining the CFA in November 2015, Ms Nolan served the Victoria Police for more than 30 years, holding positions as Deputy Commissioner, Strategy and Organisational Development  and the Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations. On behalf of the Victorian Government, I acknowledge Ms Nolan’s contribution to emergency management in Victoria. I wish her well in her future endeavours. Download the Media Release (125 kB)

Statement From The Minister For Emergency Services

Ms Lucinda Nolan has advised me of her intention to resign as Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority. Prior to joining the CFA in November 2015, Ms Nolan served the Victoria Police for more than 30 years, holding positions as Deputy Commissioner, Strategy and Organisational Development  and the Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations. On behalf of the Victorian Government, I acknowledge Ms Nolan’s contribution to emergency management in Victoria. I wish her well in her future endeavours. Download the Media Release (125 kB)

DANGEROUS SCHOOL CROSSING GETS SAFETY UPGRADE

The Andrews Labor Government is boosting safety for Mount Evelyn Christian School students and Yarra View Nursery staff with new pedestrian operated traffic lights to be built at a notorious school crossing on York Road. Member for Monbulk James Merlino announced $490,000 to upgrade the current crossing on York Road between Karen Court and Hawkins Road – a major safety boost especially during school drop-off and pick-up times. The community have long-held concerns that staff with disabilities from the nursery are at risk crossing the road at times when a school crossing supervisor isn’t present. Yarra View Nursery employs a number of people with disabilities and upgrading the crossing will allow them to get to and from work safely. Works will also include an upgrade to the footpath near the north side bus stop, as well as road surface improvements that will stop the road from flooding during periods of heavy rain. Work on the new crossing will start later this year and it will be operational by mid-2017. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We know the community is concerned about this stretch of road. We’ve listened and we’re taking action.” “York Road has over 25,000 vehicles travelling on it every day and we’re doing the work to look after some of our community’s most vulnerable pedestrians and road users.” Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Victoria Shaun Leane “The new crossing will boost safety by making it safer and easier for local school kids and the workers at Yarra View Nursery to cross busy York Road.”

DANGEROUS SCHOOL CROSSING GETS SAFETY UPGRADE

The Andrews Labor Government is boosting safety for Mount Evelyn Christian School students and Yarra View Nursery staff with new pedestrian operated traffic lights to be built at a notorious school crossing on York Road. Member for Monbulk James Merlino announced $490,000 to upgrade the current crossing on York Road between Karen Court and Hawkins Road – a major safety boost especially during school drop-off and pick-up times. The community have long-held concerns that staff with disabilities from the nursery are at risk crossing the road at times when a school crossing supervisor isn’t present. Yarra View Nursery employs a number of people with disabilities and upgrading the crossing will allow them to get to and from work safely. Works will also include an upgrade to the footpath near the north side bus stop, as well as road surface improvements that will stop the road from flooding during periods of heavy rain. Work on the new crossing will start later this year and it will be operational by mid-2017. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We know the community is concerned about this stretch of road. We’ve listened and we’re taking action.” “York Road has over 25,000 vehicles travelling on it every day and we’re doing the work to look after some of our community’s most vulnerable pedestrians and road users.” Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Victoria Shaun Leane “The new crossing will boost safety by making it safer and easier for local school kids and the workers at Yarra View Nursery to cross busy York Road.”

BILLANOOK PRIMARY SCHOOL UPGRADES A STEP CLOSER

Students at Billanook Primary School are another step closer to having a more inclusive school environment, with construction of a sensory trail, garden, outdoor kitchen and new classroom. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino today announced that work is expected to start within weeks. Billanook Primary School received $8,800 under the Andrews Labor Government’s Inclusive Schools Fund for upgrades to support students with disabilities better participate and engage with learning at their school. The upgrades include a sensory trail, garden, outdoor kitchen and new classroom. The Labor Government launched the Inclusive Schools Fund in 2015 to ensure students with disabilities get the same opportunities as other students. The Fund is one of nine initiatives in the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools and provides funding to improve existing facilities and help achieve best practice for inclusivity at Victorian schools. The Andrews Labor Government is building the Education State so that every Victorian gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. The Labor Government delivered a record $1.1 billion investment to build, upgrade and maintain new and existing schools in the Victorian Budget 2016-17, including a $10 million boost to the Inclusive Schools Fund. Victorian government schools can apply for funding to build more inclusive and equitable facilities under the $20 million Inclusive Schools Fund. Last year 33 schools received funding for upgrades to build a more inclusive campus. Applications to the second round of funding available under the Inclusive School Fund will be held later this year. Quotes attributable to the Member James Merlino   “It is great to see Billanook Primary School move a step closer to getting the upgrades it needs to create a more inclusive school for all students.” “One of the most fundamental ways we can help our kids perform better at school is to improve school infrastructure to give them a better learning environment, which is why we created the Inclusive Schools Fund.” “This means investing the money needed to build the best schools possible for our kids, such as $8,800 for Billanook Primary Schools upgrade to provide a more inclusive environment.”

BILLANOOK PRIMARY SCHOOL UPGRADES A STEP CLOSER

Students at Billanook Primary School are another step closer to having a more inclusive school environment, with construction of a sensory trail, garden, outdoor kitchen and new classroom. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino today announced that work is expected to start within weeks. Billanook Primary School received $8,800 under the Andrews Labor Government’s Inclusive Schools Fund for upgrades to support students with disabilities better participate and engage with learning at their school. The upgrades include a sensory trail, garden, outdoor kitchen and new classroom. The Labor Government launched the Inclusive Schools Fund in 2015 to ensure students with disabilities get the same opportunities as other students. The Fund is one of nine initiatives in the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools and provides funding to improve existing facilities and help achieve best practice for inclusivity at Victorian schools. The Andrews Labor Government is building the Education State so that every Victorian gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. The Labor Government delivered a record $1.1 billion investment to build, upgrade and maintain new and existing schools in the Victorian Budget 2016-17, including a $10 million boost to the Inclusive Schools Fund. Victorian government schools can apply for funding to build more inclusive and equitable facilities under the $20 million Inclusive Schools Fund. Last year 33 schools received funding for upgrades to build a more inclusive campus. Applications to the second round of funding available under the Inclusive School Fund will be held later this year. Quotes attributable to the Member James Merlino   “It is great to see Billanook Primary School move a step closer to getting the upgrades it needs to create a more inclusive school for all students.” “One of the most fundamental ways we can help our kids perform better at school is to improve school infrastructure to give them a better learning environment, which is why we created the Inclusive Schools Fund.” “This means investing the money needed to build the best schools possible for our kids, such as $8,800 for Billanook Primary Schools upgrade to provide a more inclusive environment.”

Building The Education State In Mildura

Students in Mildura were big winners in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 and will now enjoy the facilities they deserve thanks to an unprecedented investment in Victorian schools. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes  today visited three local schools to meet staff and students, and discuss plans to improve facilities following a $16 million funding injection. The day began with a visit at Merbein P-10 College, which will receive $2.25 million to upgrade its facilities. Mr Merlino and Ms Symes also met students and teachers at Irymple Secondary College, who will benefit from a $7 million upgrade to facilities at their school. This was followed by a visit to Red Cliffs Secondary College, which will receive a $7 million upgrade to its facilities. This year’s Budget provides a record $1.1 billion in school infrastructure, with more than $16 million going to schools in Mildura. This huge investment in Mildura schools means that planning for significant upgrades can now get underway. The schools will now talk to students, teachers and the local community to decide on how they will use the funding. The three schools also received extra funding as part of the Labor Government’s Education State funding initiative which provides an extra $566 million to help students most in need and break the cycle of disadvantage. Red Cliffs Secondary College received $703,801 in funding under the program, Merbein P-10 received $630,350 and Irymple Secondary College received $459,806. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’ve invested a record $1.1 billion in school infrastructure this Budget, with almost 150 schools being upgraded across the state, including more than $16 million to upgrade schools in Mildura.” “Planning for these school upgrades in Mildura can now get underway and local students can have the facilities they deserve.” Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “Improving school facilities here in Mildura will help our highly skilled and experienced teachers deliver better outcomes for our students.”  “Our investment of more than $16 million towards the modernisation and upgrade of these Mildura schools will enable the students to learn in a 21st century environment.” Download the Media Release (343 kB)

Building The Education State In Mildura

Students in Mildura were big winners in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 and will now enjoy the facilities they deserve thanks to an unprecedented investment in Victorian schools. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes  today visited three local schools to meet staff and students, and discuss plans to improve facilities following a $16 million funding injection. The day began with a visit at Merbein P-10 College, which will receive $2.25 million to upgrade its facilities. Mr Merlino and Ms Symes also met students and teachers at Irymple Secondary College, who will benefit from a $7 million upgrade to facilities at their school. This was followed by a visit to Red Cliffs Secondary College, which will receive a $7 million upgrade to its facilities. This year’s Budget provides a record $1.1 billion in school infrastructure, with more than $16 million going to schools in Mildura. This huge investment in Mildura schools means that planning for significant upgrades can now get underway. The schools will now talk to students, teachers and the local community to decide on how they will use the funding. The three schools also received extra funding as part of the Labor Government’s Education State funding initiative which provides an extra $566 million to help students most in need and break the cycle of disadvantage. Red Cliffs Secondary College received $703,801 in funding under the program, Merbein P-10 received $630,350 and Irymple Secondary College received $459,806. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’ve invested a record $1.1 billion in school infrastructure this Budget, with almost 150 schools being upgraded across the state, including more than $16 million to upgrade schools in Mildura.” “Planning for these school upgrades in Mildura can now get underway and local students can have the facilities they deserve.” Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes “Improving school facilities here in Mildura will help our highly skilled and experienced teachers deliver better outcomes for our students.”  “Our investment of more than $16 million towards the modernisation and upgrade of these Mildura schools will enable the students to learn in a 21st century environment.” Download the Media Release (343 kB)

 

A Better CFA For A Safer Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government will establish a Country Fire Authority Performance and Policy Consultative Committee, uniting career firefighters, volunteers and management to improve the CFA’s performance and culture. The CFA Committee will be modelled on the Ambulance Performance and Policy Consultative Committee established in the wake of the ambulance crisis that worked to produce Victoria’s Ambulance Action Plan to improve services and save lives. The committee will work on an agreed set of priorities to improve its performance and culture, including issues such as: Improving culture and diversity within the organisation Ways to increase recruitment and retention of women firefighters Harnessing innovation and ways to deliver better services Recognising and valuing the work of volunteers and career firefighters Health and wellbeing of firefighters Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley will be a member of the committee, and his work in monitoring the implementation of the Enterprise Agreement and strengthening volunteer firefighting will guide the committee’s work. Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Better fire services mean a safer Victoria – this is ultimately about putting the safety of our career and volunteer firefighters, and our community first.” “It’s clear there needs to be a fundamental culture shift in the CFA – and this is a real opportunity to address those challenges facing our state’s emergency services.” “A new board and new consultative committee will bring together volunteer and career firefighters, management and the Government to build a better culture and ultimately provide safety and certainty for all Victorians.” Download the Media Release (352 kB)

A Better CFA For A Safer Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government will establish a Country Fire Authority Performance and Policy Consultative Committee, uniting career firefighters, volunteers and management to improve the CFA’s performance and culture. The CFA Committee will be modelled on the Ambulance Performance and Policy Consultative Committee established in the wake of the ambulance crisis that worked to produce Victoria’s Ambulance Action Plan to improve services and save lives. The committee will work on an agreed set of priorities to improve its performance and culture, including issues such as: Improving culture and diversity within the organisation Ways to increase recruitment and retention of women firefighters Harnessing innovation and ways to deliver better services Recognising and valuing the work of volunteers and career firefighters Health and wellbeing of firefighters Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley will be a member of the committee, and his work in monitoring the implementation of the Enterprise Agreement and strengthening volunteer firefighting will guide the committee’s work. Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Better fire services mean a safer Victoria – this is ultimately about putting the safety of our career and volunteer firefighters, and our community first.” “It’s clear there needs to be a fundamental culture shift in the CFA – and this is a real opportunity to address those challenges facing our state’s emergency services.” “A new board and new consultative committee will bring together volunteer and career firefighters, management and the Government to build a better culture and ultimately provide safety and certainty for all Victorians.” Download the Media Release (352 kB)

Statement On The CFA Board from the Emergency Services Minister

This evening I have advised the CFA board that the Government has begun proceedings to dismiss it. Earlier today I communicated to the board the Government’s unanimous acceptance of an agreement as recommended by the Fair Work Commission. I outlined additional safeguards that have been put in place that the Government is satisfied resolves concerns previously raised by the CFA board. The CFA board has indicated its refusal to support the agreement. I do not have confidence in the ability of the board to end a dispute that has gone on for far too long and to deliver the reform that the Country Fire Authority needs to keep our community safe. The CFA board has been unable to negotiate a new EBA for their career firefighters for nearly three years. This includes the process before the Fair Work Commission since November 2015. In his final recommendation, Commissioner Roe found that ‘the CFA have sought to ignore the long and sensitive bargaining process that has been before me since November 2015’. In addition, the findings of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville and the Fire Services Review have identified significant cultural and governance failures which I  am not satisfied the board will address. The Fiskville Inquiry report found that some senior executives and Board members of the CFA did not meet their responsibility to keep members and the local community safe from contamination. Fire Services Review found morale in the fire services was at its lowest ebb in decades, with an enormous divide between senior management and firefighters. Volunteer and career firefighters have told us they’re sick of being used as a political football – they want this fixed so they can focus on fighting fires and keeping their communities safe. A new CFA board will be appointed shortly to make sure this is the case. Download the Media Release (325 kB)

Statement On The CFA Board from the Emergency Services Minister

This evening I have advised the CFA board that the Government has begun proceedings to dismiss it. Earlier today I communicated to the board the Government’s unanimous acceptance of an agreement as recommended by the Fair Work Commission. I outlined additional safeguards that have been put in place that the Government is satisfied resolves concerns previously raised by the CFA board. The CFA board has indicated its refusal to support the agreement. I do not have confidence in the ability of the board to end a dispute that has gone on for far too long and to deliver the reform that the Country Fire Authority needs to keep our community safe. The CFA board has been unable to negotiate a new EBA for their career firefighters for nearly three years. This includes the process before the Fair Work Commission since November 2015. In his final recommendation, Commissioner Roe found that ‘the CFA have sought to ignore the long and sensitive bargaining process that has been before me since November 2015’. In addition, the findings of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville and the Fire Services Review have identified significant cultural and governance failures which I  am not satisfied the board will address. The Fiskville Inquiry report found that some senior executives and Board members of the CFA did not meet their responsibility to keep members and the local community safe from contamination. Fire Services Review found morale in the fire services was at its lowest ebb in decades, with an enormous divide between senior management and firefighters. Volunteer and career firefighters have told us they’re sick of being used as a political football – they want this fixed so they can focus on fighting fires and keeping their communities safe. A new CFA board will be appointed shortly to make sure this is the case. Download the Media Release (325 kB)

Children And Education At Fishermans Bend Heart

A new education and community precinct has been unveiled at Fishermans Bend, to be built around the new Ferrars Street school currently under construction. Plans for the Ferrars Street Precinct are now available for public comment, which detail how this industrial part of South Melbourne will become a neighbourhood. Works will include: An 8400 square metre park available to the school and for public use, to be ready for when the school opens in January 2018 Upgraded tram stops around routes 109 and 96 Street and intersection upgrades around Douglas, Ferrars, Meaden, Buckhurst and Kerr streets New cycle lanes, kerbs and intersection upgrades for better pedestrian and cyclist access, providing safe routes to the school and park Railway Place will offer pedestrian priority, connect to the 96 tram route, and will have terraced landscaping available for public gatherings, outdoor teaching and performances. Minister for Planning Richard Wynne, Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley today visited a pop-up park at the site with Port Melbourne Primary School students, who illustrated their ideas for the future space. The Andrews Labor Government and City of Port Phillip purchased the park site for close to $20 million in 2015, paving the way for these Ferrars Street precinct works. The Labor Government is working with the Port Phillip and Melbourne councils towards detailed plans for Fishermans Bend, with input from the community and an independent committee. The previous Liberal government rezoned the former industrial area without providing schools, parks, childcare centres or transport plans and caused land values to skyrocket overnight. The community now has opportunities to be involved in long-term planning and more information is available at www.fishermansbend.vic.gov.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne “Investing in Fishermans Bend and bringing the community with us means we will have new suburbs close to Melbourne’s CBD where we can accommodate another 80,000 people over the coming decades.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re delivering more school places in South Melbourne and this plan for the surrounding streets will give students safe access on foot, on their bikes and on public transport.” Quotes attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “We’re working with the community to transform industrial streets to welcoming neighbourhoods where people want to live and businesses want to invest.” Download the Media Release (153 kB)

Children And Education At Fishermans Bend Heart

A new education and community precinct has been unveiled at Fishermans Bend, to be built around the new Ferrars Street school currently under construction. Plans for the Ferrars Street Precinct are now available for public comment, which detail how this industrial part of South Melbourne will become a neighbourhood. Works will include: An 8400 square metre park available to the school and for public use, to be ready for when the school opens in January 2018 Upgraded tram stops around routes 109 and 96 Street and intersection upgrades around Douglas, Ferrars, Meaden, Buckhurst and Kerr streets New cycle lanes, kerbs and intersection upgrades for better pedestrian and cyclist access, providing safe routes to the school and park Railway Place will offer pedestrian priority, connect to the 96 tram route, and will have terraced landscaping available for public gatherings, outdoor teaching and performances. Minister for Planning Richard Wynne, Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley today visited a pop-up park at the site with Port Melbourne Primary School students, who illustrated their ideas for the future space. The Andrews Labor Government and City of Port Phillip purchased the park site for close to $20 million in 2015, paving the way for these Ferrars Street precinct works. The Labor Government is working with the Port Phillip and Melbourne councils towards detailed plans for Fishermans Bend, with input from the community and an independent committee. The previous Liberal government rezoned the former industrial area without providing schools, parks, childcare centres or transport plans and caused land values to skyrocket overnight. The community now has opportunities to be involved in long-term planning and more information is available at www.fishermansbend.vic.gov.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne “Investing in Fishermans Bend and bringing the community with us means we will have new suburbs close to Melbourne’s CBD where we can accommodate another 80,000 people over the coming decades.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re delivering more school places in South Melbourne and this plan for the surrounding streets will give students safe access on foot, on their bikes and on public transport.” Quotes attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “We’re working with the community to transform industrial streets to welcoming neighbourhoods where people want to live and businesses want to invest.” Download the Media Release (153 kB)

Building The Education State At Ringwood Secondary College

Students at Ringwood Secondary College in Melbourne’s east are a step closer to having the facilities they deserve with work starting on a $7.55 million redevelopment of the school’s facilities. Minister for Education James Merlino joined parents, students and teachers to turn the first sod today. The redevelopment includes construction of a new Junior School building to replace eight relocatable buildings, the refurbishment of the library and creating a new landscaped entry forecourt to the existing visitor car park. The new state-of-the-art school buildings will provide better learning environments for local students so they can get the best out of their education. The Andrews Labor Government delivered a record $924 million to build new schools and upgrade classroom in the recent Victorian Budget 2016/17, as well as $200 million to better maintain existing school facilities. The Labor Government is building the Education State in the Maroondah region so that every local  student gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. The Maroondah Education Plan was a $19.5 million Labor election commitment to transform schools in the East to cater for more students. The Plan will see a redevelopment of Ringwood Secondary College, a stadium for Norwood Secondary College, a performing arts centre for Mullum Primary, and the consolidation of Melba College’s two campuses on the former Maroondah Secondary College site. The Government delivered $10 million for all projects in last year’s Budget except for Melba College, which received funding for planning. A further $17.9 million was allocated to build the new Melba College in the recent Victorian Budget 2016/17. The Ringwood Secondary College redevelopment is the first project of the Maroondah Education Plan to start construction. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino   “A high-quality education system must be matched by high-quality learning environments where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers.” “This major redevelopment will ensure the facilities at Ringwood Secondary College match the school’s great teaching and learning culture.” “We’re prioritising Victoria’s education system because we recognise that the Education State sits at the heart of Victoria’s future social, economic and global success.” Download the Media Release (333 kB)

Building The Education State At Ringwood Secondary College

Students at Ringwood Secondary College in Melbourne’s east are a step closer to having the facilities they deserve with work starting on a $7.55 million redevelopment of the school’s facilities. Minister for Education James Merlino joined parents, students and teachers to turn the first sod today. The redevelopment includes construction of a new Junior School building to replace eight relocatable buildings, the refurbishment of the library and creating a new landscaped entry forecourt to the existing visitor car park. The new state-of-the-art school buildings will provide better learning environments for local students so they can get the best out of their education. The Andrews Labor Government delivered a record $924 million to build new schools and upgrade classroom in the recent Victorian Budget 2016/17, as well as $200 million to better maintain existing school facilities. The Labor Government is building the Education State in the Maroondah region so that every local  student gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. The Maroondah Education Plan was a $19.5 million Labor election commitment to transform schools in the East to cater for more students. The Plan will see a redevelopment of Ringwood Secondary College, a stadium for Norwood Secondary College, a performing arts centre for Mullum Primary, and the consolidation of Melba College’s two campuses on the former Maroondah Secondary College site. The Government delivered $10 million for all projects in last year’s Budget except for Melba College, which received funding for planning. A further $17.9 million was allocated to build the new Melba College in the recent Victorian Budget 2016/17. The Ringwood Secondary College redevelopment is the first project of the Maroondah Education Plan to start construction. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino   “A high-quality education system must be matched by high-quality learning environments where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers.” “This major redevelopment will ensure the facilities at Ringwood Secondary College match the school’s great teaching and learning culture.” “We’re prioritising Victoria’s education system because we recognise that the Education State sits at the heart of Victoria’s future social, economic and global success.” Download the Media Release (333 kB)

Getting The Most Out Of Ballarat’s School Facilities

Local principals have come together to explore shared facilities at school sites to ensure they remain the central hub of the Ballarat community. Minister for Education James Merlino, Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard and Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight today attended the education forum at Ballarat Secondary College to hear directly from local principals. There is strong evidence that school designs which provide wider community services and activities have a positive impact on student outcomes. That is why $50 million was allocated for Community Hub Shared Facilities in the Victorian Budget 2016/17. The Andrews Labor Government is investing heavily in school infrastructure and wants to maximise community benefits. This year’s Budget provides an unprecedented $1.1 billion investment in school infrastructure, including a record $924 million to build new schools and upgrade classrooms and an extra $200 million for maintenance. Part of this record investment is a $375 million upgrade and modernisation fund, including 39 projects in regional and rural Victoria and a $16 million School Pride and Sports Fund which is designed to build school and community pride. Quote attributable to the Minister for Education James Merlino “Local school principals know their area well and I want to tap into their knowledge and get their ideas on how we can maximise the benefits of our investment in school facilities.” Quote attributable to the Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard “Community access to schools in out of school hours and even during school hours could see schools providing even greater opportunities.” Quote attributable to the Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight “Today was an important chance to speak with education leaders from across Ballarat about making the most of our school facilities.” Download the Media Release (156 kB)

Getting The Most Out Of Ballarat’s School Facilities

Local principals have come together to explore shared facilities at school sites to ensure they remain the central hub of the Ballarat community. Minister for Education James Merlino, Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard and Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight today attended the education forum at Ballarat Secondary College to hear directly from local principals. There is strong evidence that school designs which provide wider community services and activities have a positive impact on student outcomes. That is why $50 million was allocated for Community Hub Shared Facilities in the Victorian Budget 2016/17. The Andrews Labor Government is investing heavily in school infrastructure and wants to maximise community benefits. This year’s Budget provides an unprecedented $1.1 billion investment in school infrastructure, including a record $924 million to build new schools and upgrade classrooms and an extra $200 million for maintenance. Part of this record investment is a $375 million upgrade and modernisation fund, including 39 projects in regional and rural Victoria and a $16 million School Pride and Sports Fund which is designed to build school and community pride. Quote attributable to the Minister for Education James Merlino “Local school principals know their area well and I want to tap into their knowledge and get their ideas on how we can maximise the benefits of our investment in school facilities.” Quote attributable to the Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard “Community access to schools in out of school hours and even during school hours could see schools providing even greater opportunities.” Quote attributable to the Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight “Today was an important chance to speak with education leaders from across Ballarat about making the most of our school facilities.” Download the Media Release (156 kB)

Healthy Eating On The Menu At Victorian Schools

Fresh produce, home gardening and healthy eating will be on the table for more Victorian students with the Andrews Labor Government’s $1.5 million investment in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program. Visiting Elwood Primary School this morning to taste the fruits of the students’ labour, Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino joined Stephanie Alexander to announce extending the successful program to more schools across Victoria, and to early childhood services. Research shows that healthy students do better in school, yet only 11 per cent of young people eat the daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables, and one in four Victorian children is currently overweight or obese. The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program, already underway in 221 schools in Victoria, including Elwood Primary School, is designed to change the way kids think about food, and teaches students how to grow, harvest and prepare fresh and nutritious food. Elwood Primary students in Years 3 and 4 take part in both a kitchen and garden session each week. Their weekly kitchen session culminates in everyone sharing a nutritious meal. The funding, part of the Victorian Budget 2016/17, will be delivered over three years. It will also be used to develop new resources for teachers based on the Victorian Curriculum, as well as training and support for participating schools. As part of our ambitious Education State targets, the Labor Government is working to boost resilience in Victorian kids, including helping children to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Communication will be sent to all Victorian government schools and early childhood services inviting them to sign up for the membership-based program via the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden website. The Department of Education will work with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation to explore ways to encourage disadvantaged schools in particular to participate in the program. Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “Eating habits are established early, and this important program teaches kids about the importance of healthy eating.” “The Andrews Labor Government is proud to be continuing its partnership with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program through this $1.5 million investment.” “This is part of the Education State plan to better prepare our kids for work and life. Many young lives will be improved, and many delicious, healthy meals made, thanks to this great program.” Download the Media Release (334 kB)

Healthy Eating On The Menu At Victorian Schools

Fresh produce, home gardening and healthy eating will be on the table for more Victorian students with the Andrews Labor Government’s $1.5 million investment in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program. Visiting Elwood Primary School this morning to taste the fruits of the students’ labour, Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino joined Stephanie Alexander to announce extending the successful program to more schools across Victoria, and to early childhood services. Research shows that healthy students do better in school, yet only 11 per cent of young people eat the daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables, and one in four Victorian children is currently overweight or obese. The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program, already underway in 221 schools in Victoria, including Elwood Primary School, is designed to change the way kids think about food, and teaches students how to grow, harvest and prepare fresh and nutritious food. Elwood Primary students in Years 3 and 4 take part in both a kitchen and garden session each week. Their weekly kitchen session culminates in everyone sharing a nutritious meal. The funding, part of the Victorian Budget 2016/17, will be delivered over three years. It will also be used to develop new resources for teachers based on the Victorian Curriculum, as well as training and support for participating schools. As part of our ambitious Education State targets, the Labor Government is working to boost resilience in Victorian kids, including helping children to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Communication will be sent to all Victorian government schools and early childhood services inviting them to sign up for the membership-based program via the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden website. The Department of Education will work with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation to explore ways to encourage disadvantaged schools in particular to participate in the program. Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “Eating habits are established early, and this important program teaches kids about the importance of healthy eating.” “The Andrews Labor Government is proud to be continuing its partnership with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program through this $1.5 million investment.” “This is part of the Education State plan to better prepare our kids for work and life. Many young lives will be improved, and many delicious, healthy meals made, thanks to this great program.” Download the Media Release (334 kB)

VCAA Guidelines

Decisions regarding what is included in the approved booklist and playlist are made by the VCAA and not myself as Minister or by the Government, as is appropriate. No books or plays have been banned or removed. The VCAA selection panel applies a set of guidelines approved by the VCAA Board in order to select plays for the playlist. The VCAA has always had a reference to community standards in the guidelines for selection of VCE texts for these subjects. This guideline states that materials “be appropriate for the age and development of students, reflect community standards and expectations and meet school-sector guidelines.” In my opinion and that of the VCAA, this particular guideline was not clear regarding community standards and expectations. At my request, the VCAA will review this existing guideline so it continues to ensure that views and sensitivities of cultural and religious groups are considered. Books and plays now and in the future, may present controversial subject matter that will require reasoned and sensitive exploration of the issues by our teachers and students. This is not something that we will change. Download the Media Release (301 kB)

VCAA Guidelines

Decisions regarding what is included in the approved booklist and playlist are made by the VCAA and not myself as Minister or by the Government, as is appropriate. No books or plays have been banned or removed. The VCAA selection panel applies a set of guidelines approved by the VCAA Board in order to select plays for the playlist. The VCAA has always had a reference to community standards in the guidelines for selection of VCE texts for these subjects. This guideline states that materials “be appropriate for the age and development of students, reflect community standards and expectations and meet school-sector guidelines.” In my opinion and that of the VCAA, this particular guideline was not clear regarding community standards and expectations. At my request, the VCAA will review this existing guideline so it continues to ensure that views and sensitivities of cultural and religious groups are considered. Books and plays now and in the future, may present controversial subject matter that will require reasoned and sensitive exploration of the issues by our teachers and students. This is not something that we will change. Download the Media Release (301 kB)

Recognising Victoria’s Longest-Serving Teachers

Hundreds of Victorian teachers were recognised today for their long-serving dedication to students and families, at the Recognition of Service to Victorian Education awards. Minister for Education James Merlino congratulated just under 400 staff being honoured for 40, 45 and 50 years of service to education at the awards, the majority of whom were teachers. Those being honoured included Sandringham East Primary School teacher Sheila Pfeffer, who with 50 years’ experience as a teacher was one of the longest-serving recipients recognised. The Recognition of Service awards are a chance to acknowledge dedication and hard work of teachers and staff. A total of 264 teacher and staff were recognised for 40 years of service, 98 were recognised for 45 years of service and 21 were recognised for 50 years of service. Highlights from today’s awards also included: Bendigo South East 7-10 Secondary School has four 40-year recipients and one 45-year recipient Glen Waverley Secondary College has three 40-year recipients and three 45-year recipients Strathmore Secondary College has four 40-year recipients Western English Language School has four 40-year recipients and one 50-year recipient The Andrews Labor Government is building the Education State so that every Victorian has access to a great education. The Victorian Budget 2016-17 delivered an unprecedented $1.1 billion investment in school infrastructure, including a record $924 million for capital works and an extra $200 million for maintenance. Solid, safe and efficient infrastructure is the foundation of our education system, supporting teachers, principals, students and parents to work in the best environments possible. The Labor Government has also provided $21.6 million to help all government school teachers implement the new Victorian Curriculum, which will help equip Victorian students for the jobs of tomorrow. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I want to thank all the teachers and staff recognised today for their enduring dedication to education excellence in Victoria.” “Whether they worked in front of a classroom or in an office supporting schools, everyone recognised Recognition of Service to Victorian Education awards has helped deliver a great education to thousands of Victorian kids.” Download the Media Release (346 kB)

Recognising Victoria’s Longest-Serving Teachers

Hundreds of Victorian teachers were recognised today for their long-serving dedication to students and families, at the Recognition of Service to Victorian Education awards. Minister for Education James Merlino congratulated just under 400 staff being honoured for 40, 45 and 50 years of service to education at the awards, the majority of whom were teachers. Those being honoured included Sandringham East Primary School teacher Sheila Pfeffer, who with 50 years’ experience as a teacher was one of the longest-serving recipients recognised. The Recognition of Service awards are a chance to acknowledge dedication and hard work of teachers and staff. A total of 264 teacher and staff were recognised for 40 years of service, 98 were recognised for 45 years of service and 21 were recognised for 50 years of service. Highlights from today’s awards also included: Bendigo South East 7-10 Secondary School has four 40-year recipients and one 45-year recipient Glen Waverley Secondary College has three 40-year recipients and three 45-year recipients Strathmore Secondary College has four 40-year recipients Western English Language School has four 40-year recipients and one 50-year recipient The Andrews Labor Government is building the Education State so that every Victorian has access to a great education. The Victorian Budget 2016-17 delivered an unprecedented $1.1 billion investment in school infrastructure, including a record $924 million for capital works and an extra $200 million for maintenance. Solid, safe and efficient infrastructure is the foundation of our education system, supporting teachers, principals, students and parents to work in the best environments possible. The Labor Government has also provided $21.6 million to help all government school teachers implement the new Victorian Curriculum, which will help equip Victorian students for the jobs of tomorrow. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I want to thank all the teachers and staff recognised today for their enduring dedication to education excellence in Victoria.” “Whether they worked in front of a classroom or in an office supporting schools, everyone recognised Recognition of Service to Victorian Education awards has helped deliver a great education to thousands of Victorian kids.” Download the Media Release (346 kB)