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

    As your State Member of Parliament, I am passionate about representing our local community. My office and staff are here to help you and your family. Please feel free to contact my office in Belgrave, or send through an email.

  • Four New Schools For Melbourne’s Inner City Families

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

  • Monbulk's own Champion of the Code

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

  • Valuing our emergency services volunteers

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

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

    As your State Member of Parliament, I am passionate about representing our local community. My office and staff are here to help you and your family. Please feel free to contact my office in Belgrave, or send through an email.

Media Centre

RECORD AMBULANCE INVESTMENT TO PUT LILYDALE PATIENTS FIRST

The Andrews Labor Government will boost ambulance resources in Lilydale, giving paramedics the facilities and support they need to quickly respond to local emergencies. Lilydale will receive a new 24-hour team with 14 full-time equivalent paramedics and a new ambulance vehicle. The announcement is part of a record $500 million investment over five years to employ 450 more paramedics, buy new vehicles and build new branches across the state. This is the largest ever funding boost for Victoria’s ambulance services in a bold new plan to improve ambulance response times. Earlier this year, we announced $3.5 million to build a new ambulance station in Lilydale, giving paramedics modern and safer facilities they deserve and room to grow. A purpose-built ambulance station will be constructed on a new, larger site still to be identified, as the current land is too small to build a facility that meets today’s standards. The new station will feature a five-bay garage, six bedrooms, training rooms, an office area, state of the art amenities and a fully equipped kitchen. Lilydale also benefit from the establishment of a new ‘super response centre’ to meet growing demand in Melbourne’s outer east. This centre will enable the flexible deployment of additional paramedics who can support local paramedics to respond during periods of peak demand. In addition to our investment in ambulance services, we are investing over $1 million to increase staffing and open more beds at Box Hill Hospital to treat more emergency department patients, sooner and free up ambulances to get back on the road. This will make a huge difference to ambulance response times in the Yarra Ranges. Ambulance performance in Yarra Ranges continues to improve, with the average Code 1 response time of 14:30 minutes in the September quarter, an improvement on the 15:13 minute response time a year earlier. But we still need to do more. Since coming to Government, the Labor Government has been working hard every day to rebuild our ambulance system after four years of crisis and neglect under the Liberals. Now, after two years of investing in and reforming our ambulance system, more ambulances are arriving at emergencies sooner with Code 1 average response times the quickest they have been in five years. Ambulances are now arriving at 76.6 per cent of Code 1 incidents within 15 minutes, compared to a record low of 73 per cent at the height of the Liberal’s ambulance crisis. In order to continue to improve ambulance response times, our new $500 million package includes: • Employing 450 new paramedics over the next three years • Establishment of six new ‘super response centres’ supported by more than 200 paramedics to meet growing demand in Melbourne’s suburbs including the west, the outer north-west, the north, the north-east, outer east and south-east • Building new or upgrading 15 more branches across the state, on top of the 20 upgrade projects already underway • Deploying 225 new paramedics in 22 branches across the state, assessed as highest priority and in need of further resources to meet local demand • Purchasing new ambulance vehicles and equipment to support the additional paramedic teams • Creating 12 new resources in rural and remote towns with a local paramedic and vehicle, based on a successful model trialled at Wedderburn and Warracknabeal • Treating more patients in emergency departments sooner with a $50 million boost to hire more clinicians and open more beds This funding is in on top of the $144 million provided in the Victorian Budget 2016/17, which included the $60 million Response Time Rescue Fund to improve ambulance response times. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino "The new ambulance station in Lilydale will make a huge difference to this community’s hardworking and dedicated paramedics and makes room for more paramedics on the road." "We are putting patients in Lilydale first and giving paramedics in the Yarra Ranges the support they deserve and need to do what they do best, which is saving lives." Quotes attributable to Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy "We’re putting people first, with the biggest ever investment in Victoria’s history to cut ambulance response times even further and save more lives." "Response times are the best they have been in five years, but there’s still more work to do. Now we have the system working better, it’s time to invest in new branches and paramedics on the road." "In a medical emergency every second saves lives. That’s why we’re ensuring people in Lilydale get the right emergency care, quickly, when they need it."

RECORD AMBULANCE INVESTMENT TO PUT LILYDALE PATIENTS FIRST

The Andrews Labor Government will boost ambulance resources in Lilydale, giving paramedics the facilities and support they need to quickly respond to local emergencies. Lilydale will receive a new 24-hour team with 14 full-time equivalent paramedics and a new ambulance vehicle. The announcement is part of a record $500 million investment over five years to employ 450 more paramedics, buy new vehicles and build new branches across the state. This is the largest ever funding boost for Victoria’s ambulance services in a bold new plan to improve ambulance response times. Earlier this year, we announced $3.5 million to build a new ambulance station in Lilydale, giving paramedics modern and safer facilities they deserve and room to grow. A purpose-built ambulance station will be constructed on a new, larger site still to be identified, as the current land is too small to build a facility that meets today’s standards. The new station will feature a five-bay garage, six bedrooms, training rooms, an office area, state of the art amenities and a fully equipped kitchen. Lilydale also benefit from the establishment of a new ‘super response centre’ to meet growing demand in Melbourne’s outer east. This centre will enable the flexible deployment of additional paramedics who can support local paramedics to respond during periods of peak demand. In addition to our investment in ambulance services, we are investing over $1 million to increase staffing and open more beds at Box Hill Hospital to treat more emergency department patients, sooner and free up ambulances to get back on the road. This will make a huge difference to ambulance response times in the Yarra Ranges. Ambulance performance in Yarra Ranges continues to improve, with the average Code 1 response time of 14:30 minutes in the September quarter, an improvement on the 15:13 minute response time a year earlier. But we still need to do more. Since coming to Government, the Labor Government has been working hard every day to rebuild our ambulance system after four years of crisis and neglect under the Liberals. Now, after two years of investing in and reforming our ambulance system, more ambulances are arriving at emergencies sooner with Code 1 average response times the quickest they have been in five years. Ambulances are now arriving at 76.6 per cent of Code 1 incidents within 15 minutes, compared to a record low of 73 per cent at the height of the Liberal’s ambulance crisis. In order to continue to improve ambulance response times, our new $500 million package includes: • Employing 450 new paramedics over the next three years • Establishment of six new ‘super response centres’ supported by more than 200 paramedics to meet growing demand in Melbourne’s suburbs including the west, the outer north-west, the north, the north-east, outer east and south-east • Building new or upgrading 15 more branches across the state, on top of the 20 upgrade projects already underway • Deploying 225 new paramedics in 22 branches across the state, assessed as highest priority and in need of further resources to meet local demand • Purchasing new ambulance vehicles and equipment to support the additional paramedic teams • Creating 12 new resources in rural and remote towns with a local paramedic and vehicle, based on a successful model trialled at Wedderburn and Warracknabeal • Treating more patients in emergency departments sooner with a $50 million boost to hire more clinicians and open more beds This funding is in on top of the $144 million provided in the Victorian Budget 2016/17, which included the $60 million Response Time Rescue Fund to improve ambulance response times. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino "The new ambulance station in Lilydale will make a huge difference to this community’s hardworking and dedicated paramedics and makes room for more paramedics on the road." "We are putting patients in Lilydale first and giving paramedics in the Yarra Ranges the support they deserve and need to do what they do best, which is saving lives." Quotes attributable to Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy "We’re putting people first, with the biggest ever investment in Victoria’s history to cut ambulance response times even further and save more lives." "Response times are the best they have been in five years, but there’s still more work to do. Now we have the system working better, it’s time to invest in new branches and paramedics on the road." "In a medical emergency every second saves lives. That’s why we’re ensuring people in Lilydale get the right emergency care, quickly, when they need it."

STUDENTS RISE TO PREMIER’S READING CHALLENGE

Hundreds of thousands of Victorian children have embraced Premier Daniel Andrews’ challenge to read more books. Education Minister James Merlino today visited Tecoma Primary School to celebrate the school’s participation in the 2016 Premier’s Reading Challenge. More than 230,090 participants from 3,206 schools, early childhood settings and homes participated in the Challenge in 2016, reading nearly four million books. Since the program began in 2005, more than 2.2 million students have read nearly 42 million books. The Challenge asks students in Years three to ten to read 15 books or more between March 16 and September 9. For students in Prep to Year two, the challenge is to read or “experience” 30 books. Children who have not yet started school are challenged to read or experience 40 books with the help of their families. A key Education State target is to increase the number of Year five and Year nine students reaching the highest levels of achievement in reading by 25 per cent – and the Challenge is helping meet that goal. Students who complete the Challenge will receive a signed certificate from Mr Andrews and former Premiers. For more information, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/prc Quotes Attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The Premier’s Reading Challenge encourages students to discover the joys of reading and explore new concepts and ideas.” “It’s great to see that so many keen readers at Tecoma Primary took up the Premier’s Reading Challenge in 2016.”

STUDENTS RISE TO PREMIER’S READING CHALLENGE

Hundreds of thousands of Victorian children have embraced Premier Daniel Andrews’ challenge to read more books. Education Minister James Merlino today visited Tecoma Primary School to celebrate the school’s participation in the 2016 Premier’s Reading Challenge. More than 230,090 participants from 3,206 schools, early childhood settings and homes participated in the Challenge in 2016, reading nearly four million books. Since the program began in 2005, more than 2.2 million students have read nearly 42 million books. The Challenge asks students in Years three to ten to read 15 books or more between March 16 and September 9. For students in Prep to Year two, the challenge is to read or “experience” 30 books. Children who have not yet started school are challenged to read or experience 40 books with the help of their families. A key Education State target is to increase the number of Year five and Year nine students reaching the highest levels of achievement in reading by 25 per cent – and the Challenge is helping meet that goal. Students who complete the Challenge will receive a signed certificate from Mr Andrews and former Premiers. For more information, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/prc Quotes Attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The Premier’s Reading Challenge encourages students to discover the joys of reading and explore new concepts and ideas.” “It’s great to see that so many keen readers at Tecoma Primary took up the Premier’s Reading Challenge in 2016.”

SLAM DUNK FOR MONBULK COLLEGE STUDENTS

Monbulk College students have scored a slam dunk with a swish new adjustable basketball hoop thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. It will be installed thanks to an $8,700 assist from the $16 million School Pride and Sports Fund, which helps strengthen community pride in schools by building the best new sporting facilities for students. The new hoop follows the Labor Government’s $3 million investment in the 2015-16 Budget to build a new two-storey administration building as well as new classrooms, a library and toilets. Vincent Crisp Architects have been working on the plans for these exciting new facilities with the works expected to be complete in early 2018. The Labor Government was elected to put people first, and we’ve spent every day of the last two years achieving that by building a stronger and fairer Education State. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following the Labor Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. For more on this and the hundreds of other building projects going on across regional Victoria visit the Victorian School Building Authority’s website: http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/home.aspx The Government has set a number of ambitious Education State targets, including increasing the number of students taking part in physical activities five times a week by 20 per cent over the next ten years. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re transforming Victoria into the Education State so that every child can access a great school – no matter where they live.” “We want our kids to be active more often and a big part of this is making sure they have the right sporting facilities in place.” “I look forward to checking in on Monbulk College again soon, I’m sure students will make the most of their new adjustable hoop.”

SLAM DUNK FOR MONBULK COLLEGE STUDENTS

Monbulk College students have scored a slam dunk with a swish new adjustable basketball hoop thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. It will be installed thanks to an $8,700 assist from the $16 million School Pride and Sports Fund, which helps strengthen community pride in schools by building the best new sporting facilities for students. The new hoop follows the Labor Government’s $3 million investment in the 2015-16 Budget to build a new two-storey administration building as well as new classrooms, a library and toilets. Vincent Crisp Architects have been working on the plans for these exciting new facilities with the works expected to be complete in early 2018. The Labor Government was elected to put people first, and we’ve spent every day of the last two years achieving that by building a stronger and fairer Education State. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following the Labor Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. For more on this and the hundreds of other building projects going on across regional Victoria visit the Victorian School Building Authority’s website: http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/home.aspx The Government has set a number of ambitious Education State targets, including increasing the number of students taking part in physical activities five times a week by 20 per cent over the next ten years. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re transforming Victoria into the Education State so that every child can access a great school – no matter where they live.” “We want our kids to be active more often and a big part of this is making sure they have the right sporting facilities in place.” “I look forward to checking in on Monbulk College again soon, I’m sure students will make the most of their new adjustable hoop.”

PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST WITH PROJECTS IN THE YARRA RANGES

Residents in the Yarra Ranges will gain $1.6 million in funding from the Andrews Labor Government to build and improve community projects as population in the area grows. The funding is part of the $50-million Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF), designed to provide crucial facilities to Melbourne’s fast growing outer suburbs. More of these projects will be announced over the next week. This is in stark contrast to the Liberals’ thought bubble population plan to move Melburnians to the regions. We are putting our fast growing outer suburbs first providing them with the projects and facilities they need. Thirty-four community projects were funded across our growing outer suburbs as part of last year’s GSF, which included family and community centres, town centres, parks and reserves and playgrounds based on the needs identified by Councils. The successful projects to be funded and announced today by the 2016 GSF in Yarra Ranges Shire are: $1,000,000 for the Upwey Tecoma Community Recreational and Sporting Hub $500,000 for the Belgrave South Community Sports Pavilion $125,000 for the Changing Places toilet facility project in Yarra Glen In 2015 the Yarra Ranges Shire received $3,032,000 toward the delivery of four projects; the Lillydale Lake playground upgrade, the Montrose Town Centre facility, the Belgrave Community Hub and the Kimberley Reserve Active Living Hub. The 10 interface councils eligible for funding are; Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges. Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins “We were elected to put people first, and we’re doing that by making sure our fast growing outer suburbs are provided with first class facilities to ensure there liveability.” “The Liberals ignored their needs for four years. In contrast, we’re supporting these growing communities with parks, playgrounds, sporting facilities and community centres.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “Over the last two years we have been getting on with the job and building the infrastructure upgrades that make our state so liveable.” “These project announced today, will make a real difference to communities in the Yarra Ranges.”

PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST WITH PROJECTS IN THE YARRA RANGES

Residents in the Yarra Ranges will gain $1.6 million in funding from the Andrews Labor Government to build and improve community projects as population in the area grows. The funding is part of the $50-million Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF), designed to provide crucial facilities to Melbourne’s fast growing outer suburbs. More of these projects will be announced over the next week. This is in stark contrast to the Liberals’ thought bubble population plan to move Melburnians to the regions. We are putting our fast growing outer suburbs first providing them with the projects and facilities they need. Thirty-four community projects were funded across our growing outer suburbs as part of last year’s GSF, which included family and community centres, town centres, parks and reserves and playgrounds based on the needs identified by Councils. The successful projects to be funded and announced today by the 2016 GSF in Yarra Ranges Shire are: $1,000,000 for the Upwey Tecoma Community Recreational and Sporting Hub $500,000 for the Belgrave South Community Sports Pavilion $125,000 for the Changing Places toilet facility project in Yarra Glen In 2015 the Yarra Ranges Shire received $3,032,000 toward the delivery of four projects; the Lillydale Lake playground upgrade, the Montrose Town Centre facility, the Belgrave Community Hub and the Kimberley Reserve Active Living Hub. The 10 interface councils eligible for funding are; Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges. Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins “We were elected to put people first, and we’re doing that by making sure our fast growing outer suburbs are provided with first class facilities to ensure there liveability.” “The Liberals ignored their needs for four years. In contrast, we’re supporting these growing communities with parks, playgrounds, sporting facilities and community centres.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “Over the last two years we have been getting on with the job and building the infrastructure upgrades that make our state so liveable.” “These project announced today, will make a real difference to communities in the Yarra Ranges.”

Frog Bog Gets A Facelift

Silvan Primary School’s frog habitat learning area – or Frog Bog – is getting a $9600 upgrade thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino was delighted to announce the new funding as part of the School Pride and Sports Fund. The school’s Frog Bog started life in 1954 as a nature sanctuary and today gives students the opportunity to study environmental science and experience biodiversity and sustainability first-hand. The funding will allow new pathways to be built through the Frog Bog and seeds from it to be cultivated in the school’s hothouse and re-planted. Students will create a photo diary of the Frog Bog to document its growth and visiting wildlife over the years. The Labor Government was elected to put people first, and we’ve spent every day of the last two years achieving that by building a stronger and fairer Education State. A record $1.8 billion has been invested in school infrastructure in the past two Budgets, including the launch of the $16 million School Pride and Sports Fund to build pride in Victorian government schools. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline in a school building boom that will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Silvan Primary School’s upgraded Frog Bog will provide a dynamic learning environment where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers.” “It provides a welcome break from the classroom and the new features will build pride in a great school that has been supporting local families for 140 years.” “Students at Silvan told me that they have many ideas about how they would like the area developed for future generations to enjoy. I look forward to seeing that happen.”

Frog Bog Gets A Facelift

Silvan Primary School’s frog habitat learning area – or Frog Bog – is getting a $9600 upgrade thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino was delighted to announce the new funding as part of the School Pride and Sports Fund. The school’s Frog Bog started life in 1954 as a nature sanctuary and today gives students the opportunity to study environmental science and experience biodiversity and sustainability first-hand. The funding will allow new pathways to be built through the Frog Bog and seeds from it to be cultivated in the school’s hothouse and re-planted. Students will create a photo diary of the Frog Bog to document its growth and visiting wildlife over the years. The Labor Government was elected to put people first, and we’ve spent every day of the last two years achieving that by building a stronger and fairer Education State. A record $1.8 billion has been invested in school infrastructure in the past two Budgets, including the launch of the $16 million School Pride and Sports Fund to build pride in Victorian government schools. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline in a school building boom that will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Silvan Primary School’s upgraded Frog Bog will provide a dynamic learning environment where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers.” “It provides a welcome break from the classroom and the new features will build pride in a great school that has been supporting local families for 140 years.” “Students at Silvan told me that they have many ideas about how they would like the area developed for future generations to enjoy. I look forward to seeing that happen.”

New App To Put People First During Emergencies

Whether it’s a flood, fire, storm, earthquake, tsunami or shark sighting, Victorians can now receive warnings for all emergencies through a single mobile phone app and phone number. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today launched the new VicEmergency app and new VicEmergency Hotline – 1800 226 226 – at Elwood Surf Life Saving Club. Both the app and the hotline provide a one-stop shop for Victorians to access information about emergencies and natural disasters. The new VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226 brings together all emergency numbers, including the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, the Victorian Relief and Recovery Information Line and the VICSES Flood and Storm Information Line. The VicEmergency app replaces the existing FireReady app and provides warning and incident notifications for a variety of emergencies, including storms and beach closures, not just fires. It can send 1.2 million notifications per minute and has undergone extensive performance testing to make sure it can manage peak periods and critical incidents. It is monitored 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and has disaster recovery capability set up within Australia and overseas. It features improved watch zones, which allow users to target the locations and incidents that are relevant to them. For more information before or during an emergency, phone the VicEmergency hotline 1800 226 226, visit emergency.vic.gov.au and stay tuned to your local radio. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Whether it’s a fire, flood, beach closure, storm or earthquake – VicEmergency gives Victorians warnings from all of our emergency service agencies from a single app and phone number.” “We’re putting people first with a one stop shop for emergency warnings that will help keep Victorians safe during emergencies and natural disasters.” “The FireReady app will stop sending warning notifications from today so it’s important that Victorians download or update to the new VicEmergency app.” Download the Media Release (125 kB)

New App To Put People First During Emergencies

Whether it’s a flood, fire, storm, earthquake, tsunami or shark sighting, Victorians can now receive warnings for all emergencies through a single mobile phone app and phone number. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today launched the new VicEmergency app and new VicEmergency Hotline – 1800 226 226 – at Elwood Surf Life Saving Club. Both the app and the hotline provide a one-stop shop for Victorians to access information about emergencies and natural disasters. The new VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226 brings together all emergency numbers, including the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, the Victorian Relief and Recovery Information Line and the VICSES Flood and Storm Information Line. The VicEmergency app replaces the existing FireReady app and provides warning and incident notifications for a variety of emergencies, including storms and beach closures, not just fires. It can send 1.2 million notifications per minute and has undergone extensive performance testing to make sure it can manage peak periods and critical incidents. It is monitored 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and has disaster recovery capability set up within Australia and overseas. It features improved watch zones, which allow users to target the locations and incidents that are relevant to them. For more information before or during an emergency, phone the VicEmergency hotline 1800 226 226, visit emergency.vic.gov.au and stay tuned to your local radio. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Whether it’s a fire, flood, beach closure, storm or earthquake – VicEmergency gives Victorians warnings from all of our emergency service agencies from a single app and phone number.” “We’re putting people first with a one stop shop for emergency warnings that will help keep Victorians safe during emergencies and natural disasters.” “The FireReady app will stop sending warning notifications from today so it’s important that Victorians download or update to the new VicEmergency app.” Download the Media Release (125 kB)

Keeping Children Safe From Sexual Abuse

New resources for Victorian schools and parents will help keep students safe from sexual predators and abuse. They have been created to help parents, students and school staff identify the warning signs of sexual exploitation of children, including grooming, and how to respond to concerns of abuse. A Guide to Identifying and Responding to Student Sexual Offending has also been created to help school staff understand their responsibilities for responding to and reporting sexual offending by students. It includes a checklist for principals and a reporting template to make it simpler for schools to meet their reporting obligations. There has been an increase in reports of incidents of sexual behaviour in Victorian Schools over the past ten years, with the number of alleged incidents increasing from 132 in 2006 to 258 in 2015. The increase is due partly to a stronger focus on schools reporting incidents and taking action to make sure our children are safe. It includes a range of incidents from using sexualised language to more serious allegations that may have occurred either at school or involving a student away from school. The new resources and guidelines have been created to help schools and early childhood centres meet the new mandatory Child Safe Standards. The Standards were introduced this year in response to the Betrayal of Trust report into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non-government organisations. More information on the new guidelines, resources and Child Safe Standards is available at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/protect/Pages/default.aspx?Redirect=1 Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every child deserves to be safe at home and at school.” “Schools are often at the front line in identifying abuse, and these new resources will help parents, school staff and students to identify, prevent and respond to child abuse.” “Protecting our children is paramount, which is why we are implementing all recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust report.” Download the Media Release (125 kB)

Keeping Children Safe From Sexual Abuse

New resources for Victorian schools and parents will help keep students safe from sexual predators and abuse. They have been created to help parents, students and school staff identify the warning signs of sexual exploitation of children, including grooming, and how to respond to concerns of abuse. A Guide to Identifying and Responding to Student Sexual Offending has also been created to help school staff understand their responsibilities for responding to and reporting sexual offending by students. It includes a checklist for principals and a reporting template to make it simpler for schools to meet their reporting obligations. There has been an increase in reports of incidents of sexual behaviour in Victorian Schools over the past ten years, with the number of alleged incidents increasing from 132 in 2006 to 258 in 2015. The increase is due partly to a stronger focus on schools reporting incidents and taking action to make sure our children are safe. It includes a range of incidents from using sexualised language to more serious allegations that may have occurred either at school or involving a student away from school. The new resources and guidelines have been created to help schools and early childhood centres meet the new mandatory Child Safe Standards. The Standards were introduced this year in response to the Betrayal of Trust report into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non-government organisations. More information on the new guidelines, resources and Child Safe Standards is available at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/protect/Pages/default.aspx?Redirect=1 Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every child deserves to be safe at home and at school.” “Schools are often at the front line in identifying abuse, and these new resources will help parents, school staff and students to identify, prevent and respond to child abuse.” “Protecting our children is paramount, which is why we are implementing all recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust report.” Download the Media Release (125 kB)

Support For Mildura Residents After Freak Storm

Residents in Mildura and the wider Mallee region are being urged to take advantage of emergency relief assistance available to individuals and families affected by Friday’s freak storm. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today visited Mildura and Merbein to thank emergency service staff and volunteers for their efforts in keeping the community safe, and to offer support to residents affected by the extreme weather. The communities of Mildura, Merbein, Irymple and Red Cliffs were hardest hit, with power outages and damage to homes, businesses, farms and schools. Emergency Relief Assistance had already been provided to assist a number of residents. The relief assistance provides a one off payment of up to $1300 per household to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing and personal items. Disaster assistance was activated for Mildura City Council through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements after the October floods. This financial assistance to the council to restore essential public assets, such as roads and storm water infrastructure, will also apply to damage caused by Friday’s extreme weather. We will continue to assess the impact of the severe weather and the need for further assistance in the coming days. Residents can continue to monitor flood and weather warnings on the Emergency Management Website at www.emv.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “People in Mildura and the Mallee region have been hit hard by floods and extreme weather, and we will continue to support them as they recover.” “Emergency Relief Assistance is available to provide immediate short-term financial assistance for emergency food, shelter and clothing – I urge those in need to take advantage of this support.” “When disaster strikes our emergency services staff and volunteers band together to keep the community safe and I commend them for the outstanding support they’ve given local residents during this difficult time.” Download the Media Release (127 kB)

Support For Mildura Residents After Freak Storm

Residents in Mildura and the wider Mallee region are being urged to take advantage of emergency relief assistance available to individuals and families affected by Friday’s freak storm. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today visited Mildura and Merbein to thank emergency service staff and volunteers for their efforts in keeping the community safe, and to offer support to residents affected by the extreme weather. The communities of Mildura, Merbein, Irymple and Red Cliffs were hardest hit, with power outages and damage to homes, businesses, farms and schools. Emergency Relief Assistance had already been provided to assist a number of residents. The relief assistance provides a one off payment of up to $1300 per household to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing and personal items. Disaster assistance was activated for Mildura City Council through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements after the October floods. This financial assistance to the council to restore essential public assets, such as roads and storm water infrastructure, will also apply to damage caused by Friday’s extreme weather. We will continue to assess the impact of the severe weather and the need for further assistance in the coming days. Residents can continue to monitor flood and weather warnings on the Emergency Management Website at www.emv.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “People in Mildura and the Mallee region have been hit hard by floods and extreme weather, and we will continue to support them as they recover.” “Emergency Relief Assistance is available to provide immediate short-term financial assistance for emergency food, shelter and clothing – I urge those in need to take advantage of this support.” “When disaster strikes our emergency services staff and volunteers band together to keep the community safe and I commend them for the outstanding support they’ve given local residents during this difficult time.” Download the Media Release (127 kB)

 

Putting Bentleigh Students First

More than 700 primary school students in Bentleigh will benefit from a major upgrade at Coatesville Primary School, with building works now complete. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos today visited the school to cut the ribbon on the $7.8 million upgrade, the result of two years of construction to replace tired, dilapidated facilities. Students will now enjoy a new indoor sports gymnasium, canteen, performing and visual arts centres, two new adventure playgrounds and an improved sports oval. The Andrews Labor Government was elected to put people first, and we’ve spent every day of the last two years achieving that by building a stronger and fairer Education State. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following our record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. You can find information on more than 1000 building projects going on across Victoria on the Victorian School Building Authority’s website: http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/home.aspx Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re transforming Victoria into the Education State so that every child can access a great school – no matter where they live.” “A high-quality education system must be matched by high-quality learning environments where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers – that’s exactly what these new facilities provide.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos “We were elected to put people first and deliver the things that matter to them – creating more jobs and making sure every Victorian has better schools.” “Coatesville Primary, which was once crumbling before our eyes, has been transformed into a first-rate school with incredible new facilities to help local students thrive.” Download the Media Release (126 kB)

Putting Bentleigh Students First

More than 700 primary school students in Bentleigh will benefit from a major upgrade at Coatesville Primary School, with building works now complete. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos today visited the school to cut the ribbon on the $7.8 million upgrade, the result of two years of construction to replace tired, dilapidated facilities. Students will now enjoy a new indoor sports gymnasium, canteen, performing and visual arts centres, two new adventure playgrounds and an improved sports oval. The Andrews Labor Government was elected to put people first, and we’ve spent every day of the last two years achieving that by building a stronger and fairer Education State. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following our record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. You can find information on more than 1000 building projects going on across Victoria on the Victorian School Building Authority’s website: http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/home.aspx Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re transforming Victoria into the Education State so that every child can access a great school – no matter where they live.” “A high-quality education system must be matched by high-quality learning environments where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers – that’s exactly what these new facilities provide.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos “We were elected to put people first and deliver the things that matter to them – creating more jobs and making sure every Victorian has better schools.” “Coatesville Primary, which was once crumbling before our eyes, has been transformed into a first-rate school with incredible new facilities to help local students thrive.” Download the Media Release (126 kB)

Victoria To Benefit From Bushfire Mitigation Boost

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino today announced $850,000 in funding for projects that will enhance bushfire mitigation in Victoria. Mr Keenan said the funding will be provided under the Commonwealth’s $15 million National Bushfire Mitigation Programme to better prepare communities from the threat of bushfires. “In Australia, bushfires are unfortunately an inevitable and devastating occurrence and the impact they can have on not only lives but also homes and wildlife is often overwhelming,” Mr Keenan said. “That is why the Australian and Victorian Governments are working together to ensure that our communities are disaster prepared and disaster resilient. “This Programme allows Victoria to identify projects that are essential to mitigating the severity and impact of bushfires while giving communities the capability to safely respond to them.” Deputy Premier Merlino said the state’s focus is on mitigating environmental risk factors and ensuring communities are aware of the role they can play in building disaster resilience against bushfires. The projects to be funded over 2016/17 includes: Construction of fire breaks and fire access tracks around rural townships and cities; Fuel management activities; Water supply security improvements; Programs to test and improve fire readiness; and An arson prevention program “Devastating bushfires have touched the lives of many Victorians,” Mr Merlino said. “These projects will help communities better respond to bushfires and make sure fire-prone regions are more resilient and prepared for the coming fire season. “They will also help manage environmental risks, such as fuel reduction on properties.” The Australian Government partners with all states and territories through the National Bushfire Mitigation Programme to build on existing bushfire management practices and implement strategies to address bushfire risk. From this funding, $150,000 will be provided to Victoria to purchase and install 10 automatic fire danger rating signs that will advise people in local areas of current fire danger ratings. For a full list of 2016-17 successful recipients please visit www.emv.vic.gov.au/how-we-help . For further information please refer to the Emergency Management Victoria website at www.emv.vic.gov.au. Download the Media Release (99 kB)

Victoria To Benefit From Bushfire Mitigation Boost

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino today announced $850,000 in funding for projects that will enhance bushfire mitigation in Victoria. Mr Keenan said the funding will be provided under the Commonwealth’s $15 million National Bushfire Mitigation Programme to better prepare communities from the threat of bushfires. “In Australia, bushfires are unfortunately an inevitable and devastating occurrence and the impact they can have on not only lives but also homes and wildlife is often overwhelming,” Mr Keenan said. “That is why the Australian and Victorian Governments are working together to ensure that our communities are disaster prepared and disaster resilient. “This Programme allows Victoria to identify projects that are essential to mitigating the severity and impact of bushfires while giving communities the capability to safely respond to them.” Deputy Premier Merlino said the state’s focus is on mitigating environmental risk factors and ensuring communities are aware of the role they can play in building disaster resilience against bushfires. The projects to be funded over 2016/17 includes: Construction of fire breaks and fire access tracks around rural townships and cities; Fuel management activities; Water supply security improvements; Programs to test and improve fire readiness; and An arson prevention program “Devastating bushfires have touched the lives of many Victorians,” Mr Merlino said. “These projects will help communities better respond to bushfires and make sure fire-prone regions are more resilient and prepared for the coming fire season. “They will also help manage environmental risks, such as fuel reduction on properties.” The Australian Government partners with all states and territories through the National Bushfire Mitigation Programme to build on existing bushfire management practices and implement strategies to address bushfire risk. From this funding, $150,000 will be provided to Victoria to purchase and install 10 automatic fire danger rating signs that will advise people in local areas of current fire danger ratings. For a full list of 2016-17 successful recipients please visit www.emv.vic.gov.au/how-we-help . For further information please refer to the Emergency Management Victoria website at www.emv.vic.gov.au. Download the Media Release (99 kB)

New Fire Trucks Rolled Out In Time For Summer

Firefighters at CFA brigades around the state will have new heavy tankers and trucks to better protect Victorians in the coming fire season, thanks to a $33.5 million investment by the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today visited Sunshine North manufacturer, Bell Environmental, to hand over the keys to four heavy tankers to CFA Specialist Response Officer Craig Brownlie. A total of 70 new firefighting vehicles have now been delivered to the CFA to replace its ageing feet under the Fire Appliance Fleet Replacement Program, including 40 heavy tankers. The delivery of the four heavy tankers today completes the program, with all 40 of the tankers manufactured locally at Bell Environmental to support jobs and industry in Melbourne’s west. The company employs 110 people and also manufactures vehicles for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Victorian State Emergency Service and Ambulance Victoria. The Labor Government is supporting our firefighters with the equipment and facilities they need to keep communities safe. The delivery of the new tankers follows the announcement of a new volunteer grants program last month, which includes $20 million to provide a further 28 firefighting trucks, work wear and protective clothing for thousands of volunteer firefighters. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Our firefighters put their lives on the line to protect the community and they deserve modern equipment so they can do their jobs safely and efficiently.” “While the previous Liberal Government slashed $66 million from the CFA budget, we are investing in our fire services to make sure fire fighters have the equipment they need to keep the community safe.” Quotes attributable to Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman “Bell Environmental is a vital part of the local economy; it is a third generation family business that now employs over 110 people.” “It has manufactured all 40 of the heavy tankers that will be in action come fire season protecting communities across Victoria.” Download the Media Release (163 kB)

New Fire Trucks Rolled Out In Time For Summer

Firefighters at CFA brigades around the state will have new heavy tankers and trucks to better protect Victorians in the coming fire season, thanks to a $33.5 million investment by the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today visited Sunshine North manufacturer, Bell Environmental, to hand over the keys to four heavy tankers to CFA Specialist Response Officer Craig Brownlie. A total of 70 new firefighting vehicles have now been delivered to the CFA to replace its ageing feet under the Fire Appliance Fleet Replacement Program, including 40 heavy tankers. The delivery of the four heavy tankers today completes the program, with all 40 of the tankers manufactured locally at Bell Environmental to support jobs and industry in Melbourne’s west. The company employs 110 people and also manufactures vehicles for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Victorian State Emergency Service and Ambulance Victoria. The Labor Government is supporting our firefighters with the equipment and facilities they need to keep communities safe. The delivery of the new tankers follows the announcement of a new volunteer grants program last month, which includes $20 million to provide a further 28 firefighting trucks, work wear and protective clothing for thousands of volunteer firefighters. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Our firefighters put their lives on the line to protect the community and they deserve modern equipment so they can do their jobs safely and efficiently.” “While the previous Liberal Government slashed $66 million from the CFA budget, we are investing in our fire services to make sure fire fighters have the equipment they need to keep the community safe.” Quotes attributable to Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman “Bell Environmental is a vital part of the local economy; it is a third generation family business that now employs over 110 people.” “It has manufactured all 40 of the heavy tankers that will be in action come fire season protecting communities across Victoria.” Download the Media Release (163 kB)

Recognising Cool Schools At Design Awards

Sustainably designed workshops made from rammed earth and exposed timber at a training college in Somerville have been recognised with a Best School Project award at the 2016 Victorian School Design Awards. Minister for Education James Merlino presented the awards at an event in Melbourne on Thursday night. The art and design, building, construction and plumbing workshops at Somerville College Technical Education and Trade Training Centre won Best School Project over $3.5 million for their design, which use thermal mass and external shading to create a comfortable and healthy environment for staff and students. Fourteen schools from across the state were shortlisted for six awards, including best primary school, best secondary school and inclusive design. From a Discovery Centre with outdoor learning spaces and a ‘think tank’ at Sandringham College to an experiment and IT lab for students at Kananook Primary School, the winning designs showcase how modern school design can benefit students. The Andrews Labor Government re-opened the awards after a five year break, following calls from architects and designers. It comes after the Labor Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure, with 42 new schools and hundreds of school upgrades now in the construction pipeline. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. Find out more about the winning school designs at: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/vic-design-awards.aspx Quotes attributable to Minister for Education, James Merlino “These awards are a great opportunity for local schools and architects to showcase how innovative school design contributes to a better education for our kids.” “We’re investing a record $1.8 billion on new schools and school upgrades so that every student has access to a great education – creative school design is an important part of that.” “I’m proud to present the inclusive design award for the first time this year – we’re working hard to make our schools inclusive for kids with special needs and the great building design at Officer Specialist School showcases this.” 2016 Victorian School Design Award winners and finalists: Ministerial Commendation for best use of inclusive design Officer Specialist School – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects Best School Project – Below $1 million Winner: Kananook Primary School (Seaford) – Wendy Hastrich Architect Pty Ltd Finalist: Seaford North Primary School (Seaford) – PRO-ARK Pty Ltd Best School Project – Between $1 million and $3.5 million Winner: Sandringham College – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Dingley Primary School (Dingley Village) – K2LD Architects Best School Project – Above $3.5 million Winner: Somerville College, Technical Education & Trade Training Centre – Gray Puksand Finalist: University High School (Parkville) – Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Hazel Glen College (Doreen) – Minx Architecture Best Primary School Winner: Fairhills Primary School (Ferntree Gully) – Minx Architecture Finalist: Arnolds Creek Primary School (Melton) – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Golden Square Primary School – K2LD Architects Best Secondary School Winner: Ashwood High School – Baldasso Cortese Finalist: Officer Secondary College – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Mount Erin Secondary College (Frankston South) – Hayball Pty Ltd   Download the Media Release (169 kB)

Recognising Cool Schools At Design Awards

Sustainably designed workshops made from rammed earth and exposed timber at a training college in Somerville have been recognised with a Best School Project award at the 2016 Victorian School Design Awards. Minister for Education James Merlino presented the awards at an event in Melbourne on Thursday night. The art and design, building, construction and plumbing workshops at Somerville College Technical Education and Trade Training Centre won Best School Project over $3.5 million for their design, which use thermal mass and external shading to create a comfortable and healthy environment for staff and students. Fourteen schools from across the state were shortlisted for six awards, including best primary school, best secondary school and inclusive design. From a Discovery Centre with outdoor learning spaces and a ‘think tank’ at Sandringham College to an experiment and IT lab for students at Kananook Primary School, the winning designs showcase how modern school design can benefit students. The Andrews Labor Government re-opened the awards after a five year break, following calls from architects and designers. It comes after the Labor Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure, with 42 new schools and hundreds of school upgrades now in the construction pipeline. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. Find out more about the winning school designs at: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/vic-design-awards.aspx Quotes attributable to Minister for Education, James Merlino “These awards are a great opportunity for local schools and architects to showcase how innovative school design contributes to a better education for our kids.” “We’re investing a record $1.8 billion on new schools and school upgrades so that every student has access to a great education – creative school design is an important part of that.” “I’m proud to present the inclusive design award for the first time this year – we’re working hard to make our schools inclusive for kids with special needs and the great building design at Officer Specialist School showcases this.” 2016 Victorian School Design Award winners and finalists: Ministerial Commendation for best use of inclusive design Officer Specialist School – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects Best School Project – Below $1 million Winner: Kananook Primary School (Seaford) – Wendy Hastrich Architect Pty Ltd Finalist: Seaford North Primary School (Seaford) – PRO-ARK Pty Ltd Best School Project – Between $1 million and $3.5 million Winner: Sandringham College – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Dingley Primary School (Dingley Village) – K2LD Architects Best School Project – Above $3.5 million Winner: Somerville College, Technical Education & Trade Training Centre – Gray Puksand Finalist: University High School (Parkville) – Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Hazel Glen College (Doreen) – Minx Architecture Best Primary School Winner: Fairhills Primary School (Ferntree Gully) – Minx Architecture Finalist: Arnolds Creek Primary School (Melton) – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Golden Square Primary School – K2LD Architects Best Secondary School Winner: Ashwood High School – Baldasso Cortese Finalist: Officer Secondary College – ClarkeHopkinsClarke Finalist: Mount Erin Secondary College (Frankston South) – Hayball Pty Ltd   Download the Media Release (169 kB)

New Gym, Food And Music Spaces For Point Cook Students

Students at Alamanda K-9 College now have a new gym, food technology spaces, music facilities and classrooms, with an $8 million upgrade now complete. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited the Point Cook school to officially open the new facilities that will help the school cater to the booming student population. Enrolment numbers have more than quadrupled from 371 students when the school opened in 2013, to 1595 students this year. With construction now finished, work is underway on furnishing  the buildings for students to start using within weeks. Alamanda K-9 College has also received two state of the art new relocatable buildings that will be ready to use by the start of the 2017 school year. The Andrews Labor Government is building the Education State so that every Victorian student gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following the Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. To find out more about new schools and upgrades to existing schools visit the Victorian School Building Authority website at www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The population is booming in Point Cook and these new facilities will help Alamanda K-9 College cope with growing student numbers and give local families the very best facilities for their children.” Quote attributable to Member for Altona Jill Hennessy “The teaching and learning at Alamanda K-9 College is first class and now the school will have the facilities to match.” Download the Media Release (160 kB)

New Gym, Food And Music Spaces For Point Cook Students

Students at Alamanda K-9 College now have a new gym, food technology spaces, music facilities and classrooms, with an $8 million upgrade now complete. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited the Point Cook school to officially open the new facilities that will help the school cater to the booming student population. Enrolment numbers have more than quadrupled from 371 students when the school opened in 2013, to 1595 students this year. With construction now finished, work is underway on furnishing  the buildings for students to start using within weeks. Alamanda K-9 College has also received two state of the art new relocatable buildings that will be ready to use by the start of the 2017 school year. The Andrews Labor Government is building the Education State so that every Victorian student gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following the Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. To find out more about new schools and upgrades to existing schools visit the Victorian School Building Authority website at www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The population is booming in Point Cook and these new facilities will help Alamanda K-9 College cope with growing student numbers and give local families the very best facilities for their children.” Quote attributable to Member for Altona Jill Hennessy “The teaching and learning at Alamanda K-9 College is first class and now the school will have the facilities to match.” Download the Media Release (160 kB)

New School For Families In Preston

Families in Preston will soon have more choice for their children’s education, with the Andrews Labor Government reopening the former Preston Girls’ Secondary College as a new co-educational secondary school. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Preston Robin Scott today visited the former school site to make the announcement in response to stage two of the Preston School Provision Review, released today. The review found there will be future demand for secondary schools in Preston and surrounding suburbs, and recommended that planning start for a new co-ed secondary school at the former girls’ college site. The school will be upgraded to increase its capacity and create modern learning facilities. Planning work will start immediately, with an opening date to be determined as part of the State Budget process. In the meantime, the Labor Government will work with the City of Darebin on opportunities for the community to use the site temporarily. The Government also released the Banyule School Provision Review, which found that between now and 2031 there is no requirement for additional government primary or secondary schools in Banyule. It recommends that Charles La Trobe College’s primary school at the Olympic Village campus be expanded from its current P-4 model to a P-6 school, which will come into effect from term one, 2017. The Banyule review also found that transport, accessibility, location and configuration of schools in Banyule needs to be improved to better meet the needs of local families. The Labor Government will now work with council, planning and public transport authorities to improve bus, bike and walking routes to local schools, and support local schools to boost their capacity. The Government has accepted all recommendations of both the Preston and Banyule school provision reviews, which are available at:  www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/infrastructure/Pages/provisionreview.aspx Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’ve listened to local families and will create a new co-ed secondary school for Preston and improve access and opportunities at schools in Banyule.” Quote attributable to Member for Preston Robin Scott “Preston is a growing and vibrant community that deserves first-class schools, which we are acting on.” Quote attributable to Member for Ivanhoe Anthony Carbines “Expanding Charles La Trobe College’s Olympic Village campus to a full P-6 primary school, working with local schools to boost capacity, and  improving public transport and partnerships between schools in Banyule will give families more choices for their children’s education.” Download the Media Release (164 kB)

New School For Families In Preston

Families in Preston will soon have more choice for their children’s education, with the Andrews Labor Government reopening the former Preston Girls’ Secondary College as a new co-educational secondary school. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Preston Robin Scott today visited the former school site to make the announcement in response to stage two of the Preston School Provision Review, released today. The review found there will be future demand for secondary schools in Preston and surrounding suburbs, and recommended that planning start for a new co-ed secondary school at the former girls’ college site. The school will be upgraded to increase its capacity and create modern learning facilities. Planning work will start immediately, with an opening date to be determined as part of the State Budget process. In the meantime, the Labor Government will work with the City of Darebin on opportunities for the community to use the site temporarily. The Government also released the Banyule School Provision Review, which found that between now and 2031 there is no requirement for additional government primary or secondary schools in Banyule. It recommends that Charles La Trobe College’s primary school at the Olympic Village campus be expanded from its current P-4 model to a P-6 school, which will come into effect from term one, 2017. The Banyule review also found that transport, accessibility, location and configuration of schools in Banyule needs to be improved to better meet the needs of local families. The Labor Government will now work with council, planning and public transport authorities to improve bus, bike and walking routes to local schools, and support local schools to boost their capacity. The Government has accepted all recommendations of both the Preston and Banyule school provision reviews, which are available at:  www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/infrastructure/Pages/provisionreview.aspx Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’ve listened to local families and will create a new co-ed secondary school for Preston and improve access and opportunities at schools in Banyule.” Quote attributable to Member for Preston Robin Scott “Preston is a growing and vibrant community that deserves first-class schools, which we are acting on.” Quote attributable to Member for Ivanhoe Anthony Carbines “Expanding Charles La Trobe College’s Olympic Village campus to a full P-6 primary school, working with local schools to boost capacity, and  improving public transport and partnerships between schools in Banyule will give families more choices for their children’s education.” Download the Media Release (164 kB)

New Education Precinct For Footscray

The Andrews Labor Government has invested $15 million in the first stage of the precinct to make sure local families can access first-class education facilities from early childhood through to university. Community information sessions get underway this week, with pop up information stands at Footscray, Yarraville and Highpoint shopping centre, and a student forum at Footscray City College. The new Footscray Learning Precinct will link and upgrade local education facilities to increase school capacity and provide better learning opportunities for students. It will bring together early childhood education providers, Footscray City Primary School, Footscray City College and Victoria University in one precinct that will span three hubs between Farnsworth Avenue, Hyde Street and Nicholson Street. The precinct is being developed in partnership with the community, local schools, Maribyrnong City Council, Victoria University and international education experts. Local residents can find out more information and have their say at: 3 November – Highpoint shopping centre 10 November – Footscray Market 11 November – Footscray Market 16 November – Yarraville pop-up park 19 November – Yarraville Farmers Market 9 November – Student forum at Foostscray City College. For more information about the Footscray Learning Precinct visit: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Footscray Quote Attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The Footscray Learning Precinct will give families in Melbourne’s inner-west access to a first-class education from early childhood to university.” Quote Attributable to Member for Footscray Marsha Thomson “This learning precinct is an Australian-first that will transform education in the inner-west, and I urge local residents to visit one of the pop up information stand to find out more and have their say.” Quote Attributable to Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan “I have no doubt the information sessions will be well attended and that local families will be excited to see the education precinct move to this next phase.” Download the Media Release (165 kB)

New Education Precinct For Footscray

The Andrews Labor Government has invested $15 million in the first stage of the precinct to make sure local families can access first-class education facilities from early childhood through to university. Community information sessions get underway this week, with pop up information stands at Footscray, Yarraville and Highpoint shopping centre, and a student forum at Footscray City College. The new Footscray Learning Precinct will link and upgrade local education facilities to increase school capacity and provide better learning opportunities for students. It will bring together early childhood education providers, Footscray City Primary School, Footscray City College and Victoria University in one precinct that will span three hubs between Farnsworth Avenue, Hyde Street and Nicholson Street. The precinct is being developed in partnership with the community, local schools, Maribyrnong City Council, Victoria University and international education experts. Local residents can find out more information and have their say at: 3 November – Highpoint shopping centre 10 November – Footscray Market 11 November – Footscray Market 16 November – Yarraville pop-up park 19 November – Yarraville Farmers Market 9 November – Student forum at Foostscray City College. For more information about the Footscray Learning Precinct visit: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Footscray Quote Attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “The Footscray Learning Precinct will give families in Melbourne’s inner-west access to a first-class education from early childhood to university.” Quote Attributable to Member for Footscray Marsha Thomson “This learning precinct is an Australian-first that will transform education in the inner-west, and I urge local residents to visit one of the pop up information stand to find out more and have their say.” Quote Attributable to Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan “I have no doubt the information sessions will be well attended and that local families will be excited to see the education precinct move to this next phase.” Download the Media Release (165 kB)

Recognising Excellence In Victorian Schools

A Warrnambool teacher with a passion for improving children’s wellbeing has taken out the top gong at the 2016 Victorian Education Excellence Awards. The awards recognise outstanding principals, teachers, business managers and school support staff from Victorian government schools. Minister for Education James Merlino presented Warrnambool Primary School teacher Jacqui Gore with the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education at the awards ceremony in Melbourne. Warrnambool Primary School also won the Outstanding Koorie Education Award for the Indigenous inclusion program Ms Gore developed and led. The Changing the Tide @ Jamo program was developed with the help of local Elders to help build cultural pride and connections with both the school and the wider Warrnambool community. Ms Gore also designed a program to teach children life lessons that focus on being good global citizens, as well as another program to strengthen children’s emotional intelligence and resilience. There were nine category winners covering inclusive education, school advancement, education support, Koorie education, outstanding business manager, outstanding primary and secondary school teacher  and principal. Each category winner receives professional development and research grants ranging from $20,000 to $25,000, with Ms Gore receiving an extra $20,000 for winning the Lindsay Thompson Award. More information about the awards is available at www.education.vic.gov.au/veea Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re proud to celebrate the life-changing work of education professionals in our government schools.” “Jacqui Gore is a great example of the passionate and talented teachers we have in Victorian schools who help our children get the best start to life.” “All finalists across the nine categories deserve our praise and thanks for the crucial work they are doing to give Victorian kids a great education.”   2016 Victorian Education Excellence Award winners: Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education: Jacqui Gore, Warrnambool Primary School Outstanding Koorie Education Award: Warrnambool Primary School Outstanding Inclusive Education Award: Williamstown North Primary School Outstanding School Advancement Award: Tallis Street Campus – Northern Bay P-12 College Outstanding Education Support Team: Maryborough Education Centre – Specialist Setting Outstanding Business Manager Award: Shirley Niblett, Lara Secondary College Outstanding Primary Teacher Award: Jacqui Gore, Warrnambool Primary School Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award: Hayley Dureau, Mount Waverley Secondary College Outstanding Primary Principal Award: Jenny Manuel, Wilmot Road Primary School Outstanding Secondary Principal Award: Peter Corkill, John Monash Science School Download the Media Release (437 kB)

Recognising Excellence In Victorian Schools

A Warrnambool teacher with a passion for improving children’s wellbeing has taken out the top gong at the 2016 Victorian Education Excellence Awards. The awards recognise outstanding principals, teachers, business managers and school support staff from Victorian government schools. Minister for Education James Merlino presented Warrnambool Primary School teacher Jacqui Gore with the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education at the awards ceremony in Melbourne. Warrnambool Primary School also won the Outstanding Koorie Education Award for the Indigenous inclusion program Ms Gore developed and led. The Changing the Tide @ Jamo program was developed with the help of local Elders to help build cultural pride and connections with both the school and the wider Warrnambool community. Ms Gore also designed a program to teach children life lessons that focus on being good global citizens, as well as another program to strengthen children’s emotional intelligence and resilience. There were nine category winners covering inclusive education, school advancement, education support, Koorie education, outstanding business manager, outstanding primary and secondary school teacher  and principal. Each category winner receives professional development and research grants ranging from $20,000 to $25,000, with Ms Gore receiving an extra $20,000 for winning the Lindsay Thompson Award. More information about the awards is available at www.education.vic.gov.au/veea Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re proud to celebrate the life-changing work of education professionals in our government schools.” “Jacqui Gore is a great example of the passionate and talented teachers we have in Victorian schools who help our children get the best start to life.” “All finalists across the nine categories deserve our praise and thanks for the crucial work they are doing to give Victorian kids a great education.”   2016 Victorian Education Excellence Award winners: Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education: Jacqui Gore, Warrnambool Primary School Outstanding Koorie Education Award: Warrnambool Primary School Outstanding Inclusive Education Award: Williamstown North Primary School Outstanding School Advancement Award: Tallis Street Campus – Northern Bay P-12 College Outstanding Education Support Team: Maryborough Education Centre – Specialist Setting Outstanding Business Manager Award: Shirley Niblett, Lara Secondary College Outstanding Primary Teacher Award: Jacqui Gore, Warrnambool Primary School Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award: Hayley Dureau, Mount Waverley Secondary College Outstanding Primary Principal Award: Jenny Manuel, Wilmot Road Primary School Outstanding Secondary Principal Award: Peter Corkill, John Monash Science School Download the Media Release (437 kB)