Media Centre

New Standards To Emphasise Respect For School Staff

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

New Standards To Emphasise Respect For School Staff

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

LYSTERFIELD TO HOST 2022 PISTOL AUSTRALIA NATIONAL TITLES

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

LYSTERFIELD TO HOST 2022 PISTOL AUSTRALIA NATIONAL TITLES

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

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

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

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

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

TWO MORE LEVEL CROSSINGS GONE FOR GOOD ON THE ROAD TO 50

Two more dangerous and congested level crossings in Melbourne’s outer-east have been removed months ahead of schedule this morning and two brand new train stations are now open – as Victoria gets closer to reaching the major milestone of 50 level crossings gone for good. The Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale level crossings are now gone, with traffic flowing freely beneath the two new rail bridges and trains returning to the Lilydale line this morning. They are the 48th and 49th level crossings to be removed in Melbourne – increasing safety and easing congestion for more than 53,000 vehicles travelling in these areas each day. Lilydale, the gateway to the Yarra Valley, now has a new train station open to the public. Passengers can catch a train from elevated platforms and connect with buses at a new interchange that better links with the town centre. Accessibility at both stations has been boosted with new lifts and stairs, platforms with canopies to shield people from the weather, accessible entrances and 24-hour staffing. Work has also progressed on Mooroolbark Station’s 900 space multi-level car park, the largest to be built under Victoria’s Car Parks for Commuters program. It will include CCTV and improved lighting, and importantly will double the number of car parking spaces for passengers when it opens in 2022. These two level crossing removals created hundreds of jobs. During the two-month construction blitz alone, 650 people worked around the clock to get rid of the level crossings and build the two new stations. Work on the project will continue into 2022, including new car parks, community open spaces, landscaping and artwork. The Andrews Labor Government’s massive investment in the Lilydale line has seen two level crossings already removed, two underway and another three recently added to the list. Once they’re all gone in 2025, the Lilydale line will be level crossing free, paving the way for more trains more often, less congestion and safer commutes. The Level Crossing Removal Project is removing 85 level crossings by 2025, with 49 already gone for good. On average, one level crossing is being removed every four weeks in 2021. Quote attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan “We said we’d make the Lilydale line level crossing free by 2025 and that’s exactly what we’re doing – now we’re two level crossings down from reaching that milestone, which can’t come soon enough.” Quote attributable to Deputy Premier and Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We’re thrilled these dangerous and congested level crossings are now a distant memory – they’ll slash travel times and make roads safer for 53,000 motorists that use them each day.” Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing “Thanks to our local community for their patience as the crews got in to remove these level crossings – all attention now turns to planting more trees, shrubs and grasses, installing artwork, finishing open space and the car parking.”

TWO MORE LEVEL CROSSINGS GONE FOR GOOD ON THE ROAD TO 50

Two more dangerous and congested level crossings in Melbourne’s outer-east have been removed months ahead of schedule this morning and two brand new train stations are now open – as Victoria gets closer to reaching the major milestone of 50 level crossings gone for good. The Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale level crossings are now gone, with traffic flowing freely beneath the two new rail bridges and trains returning to the Lilydale line this morning. They are the 48th and 49th level crossings to be removed in Melbourne – increasing safety and easing congestion for more than 53,000 vehicles travelling in these areas each day. Lilydale, the gateway to the Yarra Valley, now has a new train station open to the public. Passengers can catch a train from elevated platforms and connect with buses at a new interchange that better links with the town centre. Accessibility at both stations has been boosted with new lifts and stairs, platforms with canopies to shield people from the weather, accessible entrances and 24-hour staffing. Work has also progressed on Mooroolbark Station’s 900 space multi-level car park, the largest to be built under Victoria’s Car Parks for Commuters program. It will include CCTV and improved lighting, and importantly will double the number of car parking spaces for passengers when it opens in 2022. These two level crossing removals created hundreds of jobs. During the two-month construction blitz alone, 650 people worked around the clock to get rid of the level crossings and build the two new stations. Work on the project will continue into 2022, including new car parks, community open spaces, landscaping and artwork. The Andrews Labor Government’s massive investment in the Lilydale line has seen two level crossings already removed, two underway and another three recently added to the list. Once they’re all gone in 2025, the Lilydale line will be level crossing free, paving the way for more trains more often, less congestion and safer commutes. The Level Crossing Removal Project is removing 85 level crossings by 2025, with 49 already gone for good. On average, one level crossing is being removed every four weeks in 2021. Quote attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan “We said we’d make the Lilydale line level crossing free by 2025 and that’s exactly what we’re doing – now we’re two level crossings down from reaching that milestone, which can’t come soon enough.” Quote attributable to Deputy Premier and Member for Monbulk James Merlino “We’re thrilled these dangerous and congested level crossings are now a distant memory – they’ll slash travel times and make roads safer for 53,000 motorists that use them each day.” Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing “Thanks to our local community for their patience as the crews got in to remove these level crossings – all attention now turns to planting more trees, shrubs and grasses, installing artwork, finishing open space and the car parking.”

Master Teachers Appointed For Teaching Excellence Program

Nine outstanding Victorian teachers have been chosen to lead the Andrews Labor Government’s Teaching Excellence Program – an Australian-first professional learning program at the new Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership. The Teaching Excellence Program will provide advanced professional learning for highly-skilled teachers at government, Catholic, and Independent schools – working with academics, international experts and partners from across various sectors to deliver an innovative training program for Victoria’s best and brightest educators. The one-year program will support up to 500 teachers each year to advance their professional practice, with access to the best research in the science of learning and discipline-based content knowledge at academies in Melbourne, Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton from the beginning of 2022. The nine exemplary teachers were selected from around Victoria to lead eight disciplinary streams including arts, English, humanities, languages, technologies, science, mathematics and health and physical education. Each Master Teacher was selected based on being recognised as an exceptional teacher in their field, having knowledge and skills for curriculum and professional learning design and contributing to the teaching culture in their school, raising student achievement and learning confidence and participation in their learning. The Master Teachers for each subject discipline are: Adam Brodie-McKenzie - University High School (Humanities) Dr. Andrea Truckenbrodt - McKinnon Primary School (Languages) Christopher Wines - Ballarat High School (Science) Clare Mackie - Haileybury College (English) Colin Chapman - Caroline Chisholm Catholic College (Technologies) Hayley Dureau - Mount Waverley Secondary College (Mathematics) Johanna Simmons - Altona P-12 College (English) Paul Seery - Bendigo Senior Secondary College (Health and PE) Tobias Wilkins - Box Hill High School (the Arts) For further information about the Teaching Excellence Program, visit academy.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I welcome and congratulate our inaugural Master Teachers – I can’t wait to see the work they do in inspiring and building the skills of Victoria’s best and brightest teachers.” “We’ve established the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership not just to invest in our amazing teaching workforce, but to deliver better outcomes for every Victorian child for many years to come.” Download the media release

Master Teachers Appointed For Teaching Excellence Program

Nine outstanding Victorian teachers have been chosen to lead the Andrews Labor Government’s Teaching Excellence Program – an Australian-first professional learning program at the new Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership. The Teaching Excellence Program will provide advanced professional learning for highly-skilled teachers at government, Catholic, and Independent schools – working with academics, international experts and partners from across various sectors to deliver an innovative training program for Victoria’s best and brightest educators. The one-year program will support up to 500 teachers each year to advance their professional practice, with access to the best research in the science of learning and discipline-based content knowledge at academies in Melbourne, Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton from the beginning of 2022. The nine exemplary teachers were selected from around Victoria to lead eight disciplinary streams including arts, English, humanities, languages, technologies, science, mathematics and health and physical education. Each Master Teacher was selected based on being recognised as an exceptional teacher in their field, having knowledge and skills for curriculum and professional learning design and contributing to the teaching culture in their school, raising student achievement and learning confidence and participation in their learning. The Master Teachers for each subject discipline are: Adam Brodie-McKenzie - University High School (Humanities) Dr. Andrea Truckenbrodt - McKinnon Primary School (Languages) Christopher Wines - Ballarat High School (Science) Clare Mackie - Haileybury College (English) Colin Chapman - Caroline Chisholm Catholic College (Technologies) Hayley Dureau - Mount Waverley Secondary College (Mathematics) Johanna Simmons - Altona P-12 College (English) Paul Seery - Bendigo Senior Secondary College (Health and PE) Tobias Wilkins - Box Hill High School (the Arts) For further information about the Teaching Excellence Program, visit academy.vic.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I welcome and congratulate our inaugural Master Teachers – I can’t wait to see the work they do in inspiring and building the skills of Victoria’s best and brightest teachers.” “We’ve established the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership not just to invest in our amazing teaching workforce, but to deliver better outcomes for every Victorian child for many years to come.” Download the media release

Striking A Chord With Music In Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure more Victorian students have access to vital music education at school, with expressions of interest for the 2022 Music in Schools Teacher Professional Learning Program now open. The Labor Government is investing $3.5 million to continue the DUET program, which is available to eligible primary, primary-secondary and specialist schools to increase teachers’ confidence and capability to teach classroom music. The investment will support a further 80 government schools to participate next year, with successful schools able to access professional learning for teachers, a range of workshops and in-classroom mentoring with expert music educators – as well as grants of up to $4,000 to purchase or hire music education resources like musical instruments. The program is delivered by The Song Room, helping to address some of the known barriers faced by schools in accessing trained music teachers and providing a quality music education. Since 2015, Music in Schools has supported more than 2,000 classroom teachers from more than 1,100 Victorian schools to ensure quality music programs aligned to the Victorian Curriculum can be delivered to Victorian students. In 2021, 82 schools across Victoria participated in the program, with the Government funding additional professional learning sessions to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on music education. Expressions of interest are now open, closing on Friday 30 November. For more information, visit https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/music-in-schools.aspx  Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “It’s so important for kids to have music included in their education from a young age, and this program will support schools to make that a reality – particularly those in regional Victoria with limited access to music educators.” “Music education improves academic achievement, builds communication skills and creativity, develops teamwork and increases engagement in school – and that’s why we’re investing in a music education for every Victorian child.” Download the media release

Striking A Chord With Music In Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is making sure more Victorian students have access to vital music education at school, with expressions of interest for the 2022 Music in Schools Teacher Professional Learning Program now open. The Labor Government is investing $3.5 million to continue the DUET program, which is available to eligible primary, primary-secondary and specialist schools to increase teachers’ confidence and capability to teach classroom music. The investment will support a further 80 government schools to participate next year, with successful schools able to access professional learning for teachers, a range of workshops and in-classroom mentoring with expert music educators – as well as grants of up to $4,000 to purchase or hire music education resources like musical instruments. The program is delivered by The Song Room, helping to address some of the known barriers faced by schools in accessing trained music teachers and providing a quality music education. Since 2015, Music in Schools has supported more than 2,000 classroom teachers from more than 1,100 Victorian schools to ensure quality music programs aligned to the Victorian Curriculum can be delivered to Victorian students. In 2021, 82 schools across Victoria participated in the program, with the Government funding additional professional learning sessions to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on music education. Expressions of interest are now open, closing on Friday 30 November. For more information, visit https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/music-in-schools.aspx  Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “It’s so important for kids to have music included in their education from a young age, and this program will support schools to make that a reality – particularly those in regional Victoria with limited access to music educators.” “Music education improves academic achievement, builds communication skills and creativity, develops teamwork and increases engagement in school – and that’s why we’re investing in a music education for every Victorian child.” Download the media release

Inclusive Education Opportunity For Teachers

The Andrews Labor Government is giving Victorian teachers the opportunity to strengthen their skills and knowledge in inclusive education to continue supporting students of all abilities. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that 71 government school teachers and regional support employees across the state have been successful in their application to undertake further studies supported by the Labor Government under round seven of the Master of Inclusive Education initiative. Under the scheme, government school principals from about 1200 eligible schools across the state are encouraged to nominate teachers with a passion for inclusive education – with the latest round heavily oversubscribed by teachers keen to upskill themselves. Teachers from schools that have not received a master’s in previous rounds are eligible for the initiative, which supports educators to complete a master’s degree in inclusive education or applied behaviour analysis. By undertaking a postgraduate study in inclusive education, teachers can make a significant contribution to how their schools plan and support students with disabilities and additional learning needs, and with behaviours of concern using contemporary evidence-based, best practice approaches. The long-term vision of the initiative is for every Victorian government school to have a masters-qualified inclusive education teacher on staff, creating and leading a more inclusive school environment for all students across the state, regardless of their abilities and backgrounds. The Labor Government has invested nearly $1.6 billion in a Disability Inclusion Reform Agenda to ensure schools have the extra resources, support and guidance they need to create safe and inclusive environments so every student at every ability can thrive at school and in life. Round 8 of the Master of Inclusive Education initiative will open on 1 March, 2022 – with 75 places available to teachers from eligible schools across the state. To view the list of available courses at a range of universities, please visit https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/profdev/Pages/inclusive-education-scholarship.aspx. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education and Minister for Disability James Merlino “Inclusive education is about making sure every child and young person – no matter their background or circumstance – has the best chance to succeed in school, work and in life.” “It’s amazing to see such strong interest from Victorian schools and for this opportunity to further their knowledge and create better outcomes for students right across our state.” Download the media release

Inclusive Education Opportunity For Teachers

The Andrews Labor Government is giving Victorian teachers the opportunity to strengthen their skills and knowledge in inclusive education to continue supporting students of all abilities. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that 71 government school teachers and regional support employees across the state have been successful in their application to undertake further studies supported by the Labor Government under round seven of the Master of Inclusive Education initiative. Under the scheme, government school principals from about 1200 eligible schools across the state are encouraged to nominate teachers with a passion for inclusive education – with the latest round heavily oversubscribed by teachers keen to upskill themselves. Teachers from schools that have not received a master’s in previous rounds are eligible for the initiative, which supports educators to complete a master’s degree in inclusive education or applied behaviour analysis. By undertaking a postgraduate study in inclusive education, teachers can make a significant contribution to how their schools plan and support students with disabilities and additional learning needs, and with behaviours of concern using contemporary evidence-based, best practice approaches. The long-term vision of the initiative is for every Victorian government school to have a masters-qualified inclusive education teacher on staff, creating and leading a more inclusive school environment for all students across the state, regardless of their abilities and backgrounds. The Labor Government has invested nearly $1.6 billion in a Disability Inclusion Reform Agenda to ensure schools have the extra resources, support and guidance they need to create safe and inclusive environments so every student at every ability can thrive at school and in life. Round 8 of the Master of Inclusive Education initiative will open on 1 March, 2022 – with 75 places available to teachers from eligible schools across the state. To view the list of available courses at a range of universities, please visit https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/profdev/Pages/inclusive-education-scholarship.aspx. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education and Minister for Disability James Merlino “Inclusive education is about making sure every child and young person – no matter their background or circumstance – has the best chance to succeed in school, work and in life.” “It’s amazing to see such strong interest from Victorian schools and for this opportunity to further their knowledge and create better outcomes for students right across our state.” Download the media release

READING CHALLENGE OPENS A NEW WORLD TO KIDS IN THE YARRA RANGES

Young Victorians in the Yarra Ranges are among more than 71,000 young Victorians who explored exciting new worlds and built their literacy skills this year as part of the Premiers’ Reading Challenge, now in its seventeenth year. Victorian kids aged from pre-school to Year 10 collectively made their way through more than 2.8 million books between March and September for the Challenge, which this year celebrated the theme ‘Open Up a New World’. The annual challenge encourages enthusiastic readers across households, early childhood centres and schools to read a set number of books – including picture books, short stories, poems or non-fiction books –and record their efforts online. The challenge sets kids a goal of 40 books for children below school age with their parents or carers, 30 books for Prep to Year 2 students with or without assistance, and 15 books for students in Years 3 to 10. Of this year’s 71,342 participants, 8,315 readers were below school age – encouraging a love of books and stories in Victorian kids from a young age. More than 12,000 books were listed on the Premiers’ Reading Challenge booklist for each age group to choose from, with titles curated by an expert panel including teachers and librarians. The annual challenge receives support from the Andrews Labor Government’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund to help meet the extra demand for books. An extra investment of $1.1 million will ensure all children have access to the listed books. The Yarra Ranges will receive $21,204 so they can buy the materials they need to support the 2022 Challenge. More than 3.5 million young people have read more than 54 million books since the challenge began in 2005. Each participant who meets the challenge receives a certificate of achievement signed by all Premiers since 1992 – celebrating Victorian Governments’ decades-long commitment to literacy and a love of reading. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Reading not only fosters a lifelong love of learning, but helps kids build important literacy skills that will remain with them for life – a huge congratulations to every Victorian child who has picked up a book or 40 this year!” “I also want to congratulate every parent and carer who has supported their child’s learning and love of reading as part of this challenge – each word, page and chapter will go a long way in their education journey.” Quote attributable to Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane “I’m proud that we can support public libraries to make sure that no child misses out on the Premier’s Reading Challenge – or the joy of books.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “Well done to every kid in the Yarra Ranges who has completed the Premiers’ Reading Challenge this year – I hope you had a great time exploring new worlds and improving your reading along the way."

READING CHALLENGE OPENS A NEW WORLD TO KIDS IN THE YARRA RANGES

Young Victorians in the Yarra Ranges are among more than 71,000 young Victorians who explored exciting new worlds and built their literacy skills this year as part of the Premiers’ Reading Challenge, now in its seventeenth year. Victorian kids aged from pre-school to Year 10 collectively made their way through more than 2.8 million books between March and September for the Challenge, which this year celebrated the theme ‘Open Up a New World’. The annual challenge encourages enthusiastic readers across households, early childhood centres and schools to read a set number of books – including picture books, short stories, poems or non-fiction books –and record their efforts online. The challenge sets kids a goal of 40 books for children below school age with their parents or carers, 30 books for Prep to Year 2 students with or without assistance, and 15 books for students in Years 3 to 10. Of this year’s 71,342 participants, 8,315 readers were below school age – encouraging a love of books and stories in Victorian kids from a young age. More than 12,000 books were listed on the Premiers’ Reading Challenge booklist for each age group to choose from, with titles curated by an expert panel including teachers and librarians. The annual challenge receives support from the Andrews Labor Government’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund to help meet the extra demand for books. An extra investment of $1.1 million will ensure all children have access to the listed books. The Yarra Ranges will receive $21,204 so they can buy the materials they need to support the 2022 Challenge. More than 3.5 million young people have read more than 54 million books since the challenge began in 2005. Each participant who meets the challenge receives a certificate of achievement signed by all Premiers since 1992 – celebrating Victorian Governments’ decades-long commitment to literacy and a love of reading. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Reading not only fosters a lifelong love of learning, but helps kids build important literacy skills that will remain with them for life – a huge congratulations to every Victorian child who has picked up a book or 40 this year!” “I also want to congratulate every parent and carer who has supported their child’s learning and love of reading as part of this challenge – each word, page and chapter will go a long way in their education journey.” Quote attributable to Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane “I’m proud that we can support public libraries to make sure that no child misses out on the Premier’s Reading Challenge – or the joy of books.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “Well done to every kid in the Yarra Ranges who has completed the Premiers’ Reading Challenge this year – I hope you had a great time exploring new worlds and improving your reading along the way."

 

Extra Mental Health Support For New Parents

New parents will soon have better access to the vital mental health support they need, with an investment from the Andrews Labor Government to expand and reform community perinatal mental health teams across the state. One in five women will experience a perinatal mental health concern between conception and the time their baby is 12 months old, with anxiety and depression the most common types of illness. For women who experience a perinatal mental health illness, up to one in eight of their partners will also experience a mental health condition. With lockdowns and restrictions on women having visitors in hospital, the pandemic has placed even more stress on new parents – and an investment of $6.89 million will help meet the extra demand to ensure every new parent who needs support can get it quickly, and close to home. The extra support adds to the $20 million already delivered this year for perinatal mental health services across the state, including $10 million for six Parent Infant Units across Victoria for women with severe mental illness and their infants, and $7.2 million for the Perinatal Emotional Health Program to deliver community, family-centred services. These services focus on parent-infant attachment up to the first year of the baby’s life, as well as helping other vital services to deliver perinatal mental health supports – including the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Association. Work to rebuild Victoria’s mental health system is well underway with a record $3.8 billion funded in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to implement every recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Mental Health System. The Royal Commission outlined the critical importance of perinatal mental health for parents with their infants, taking a family-centred approach. The Royal Commission also recommended people with lived experience of the mental health system are put at the heart of its reform – and this extra perinatal support will ensure those who have experienced mental health concerns as new parents can use their experiences to support other new families. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We can’t expect new parents to give their newborns the best start in life without first looking after themselves – and this extra support will make sure every Victorian who needs support can get it quickly.” “We’re not wasting a moment getting on with the job of rebuilding our mental health system from the ground up for every Victorian – and delivering for young families is a key part of supporting our state’s mental health.” Download the media release

Extra Mental Health Support For New Parents

New parents will soon have better access to the vital mental health support they need, with an investment from the Andrews Labor Government to expand and reform community perinatal mental health teams across the state. One in five women will experience a perinatal mental health concern between conception and the time their baby is 12 months old, with anxiety and depression the most common types of illness. For women who experience a perinatal mental health illness, up to one in eight of their partners will also experience a mental health condition. With lockdowns and restrictions on women having visitors in hospital, the pandemic has placed even more stress on new parents – and an investment of $6.89 million will help meet the extra demand to ensure every new parent who needs support can get it quickly, and close to home. The extra support adds to the $20 million already delivered this year for perinatal mental health services across the state, including $10 million for six Parent Infant Units across Victoria for women with severe mental illness and their infants, and $7.2 million for the Perinatal Emotional Health Program to deliver community, family-centred services. These services focus on parent-infant attachment up to the first year of the baby’s life, as well as helping other vital services to deliver perinatal mental health supports – including the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Association. Work to rebuild Victoria’s mental health system is well underway with a record $3.8 billion funded in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to implement every recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Mental Health System. The Royal Commission outlined the critical importance of perinatal mental health for parents with their infants, taking a family-centred approach. The Royal Commission also recommended people with lived experience of the mental health system are put at the heart of its reform – and this extra perinatal support will ensure those who have experienced mental health concerns as new parents can use their experiences to support other new families. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We can’t expect new parents to give their newborns the best start in life without first looking after themselves – and this extra support will make sure every Victorian who needs support can get it quickly.” “We’re not wasting a moment getting on with the job of rebuilding our mental health system from the ground up for every Victorian – and delivering for young families is a key part of supporting our state’s mental health.” Download the media release

New Mental Health Lived Experience Leadership

The Andrews Labor Government has appointed its first Executive Director of Lived Experience to help build Victoria’s new mental health and wellbeing system, ensuring those with experience of the mental health system are at the centre of its reform. Mary O’Hagan, an internationally recognised lived experience executive and advocate will take on the leadership role after dedicating her passion and expertise to the lived experience movement for more than 35 years. She is also a former Mental Health Commissioner of New Zealand, where she advocated as a strong voice for change. This appointment delivers on a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to employ people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress in leadership positions within the Department of Health. This new leadership role will work to ensure that mental health and alcohol and other drug services respond to the needs of consumers and their carers by engaging their views and expertise in the development of policies and programs. Born in New Zealand, Ms O’Hagan experienced psychological distress as a young woman and felt trapped in services that exacerbated her distress without considering her preferences for treatment and support. Since this time, she has championed the insights and voices of people with lived experience to be embedded in mental health services and is passionate about transforming the mental health system from the inside. A record $3.8 billion was allocated in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to start the critical mental health and wellbeing reform and to support the system now ─ to ensure all Victorians can get the treatment, care and support they need, when they need it. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Mary O’Hagan has worked tirelessly for decades to change the way services respond to people living with mental illness or psychological distress – we’re thrilled to have her on board to support our huge system-wide reform.” Quote attributable to Executive Director, Lived Experience Mary O’Hagan “I see so much hope for mental health reform here in Victoria. It won’t be easy, but there’s never been a more important time for people with lived experience – consumers, carers, families and supporters - to take on leadership roles to bring real changes to the new system and new services.” Download the media release

New Mental Health Lived Experience Leadership

The Andrews Labor Government has appointed its first Executive Director of Lived Experience to help build Victoria’s new mental health and wellbeing system, ensuring those with experience of the mental health system are at the centre of its reform. Mary O’Hagan, an internationally recognised lived experience executive and advocate will take on the leadership role after dedicating her passion and expertise to the lived experience movement for more than 35 years. She is also a former Mental Health Commissioner of New Zealand, where she advocated as a strong voice for change. This appointment delivers on a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to employ people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress in leadership positions within the Department of Health. This new leadership role will work to ensure that mental health and alcohol and other drug services respond to the needs of consumers and their carers by engaging their views and expertise in the development of policies and programs. Born in New Zealand, Ms O’Hagan experienced psychological distress as a young woman and felt trapped in services that exacerbated her distress without considering her preferences for treatment and support. Since this time, she has championed the insights and voices of people with lived experience to be embedded in mental health services and is passionate about transforming the mental health system from the inside. A record $3.8 billion was allocated in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to start the critical mental health and wellbeing reform and to support the system now ─ to ensure all Victorians can get the treatment, care and support they need, when they need it. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Mary O’Hagan has worked tirelessly for decades to change the way services respond to people living with mental illness or psychological distress – we’re thrilled to have her on board to support our huge system-wide reform.” Quote attributable to Executive Director, Lived Experience Mary O’Hagan “I see so much hope for mental health reform here in Victoria. It won’t be easy, but there’s never been a more important time for people with lived experience – consumers, carers, families and supporters - to take on leadership roles to bring real changes to the new system and new services.” Download the media release

More Cutting-Edge Equipment For Victorian Tech Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is making Victoria’s Tech Schools more high-tech than ever, with funding for equipment like robots, benchtop milling machines and spectrometers to help them deliver innovative science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) programs. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the state’s 10 Tech Schools will share in $4.18 million through the 2021-22 Tech School Equipment Renewal Fund, helping them invest in cutting-edge equipment to help secondary students build their skills in STEM – preparing them for the jobs of the future. Monash Tech School will purchase an FTIR spectrometer – which is used in the space industry and medical research, and will allow students to analyse the composition of metals and alloys, geology samples, precious metals and gemstones, polymers and plastics, glass, and ceramics. A second benchtop milling machine at Whittlesea Tech School will ensure more students can see the creation of a product from start to finish during their schooling, supporting pathways to advanced manufacturing industries. Yarra Ranges Tech School will purchase educational robots – enhancing students’ skills and experience in digital technologies, advanced manufacturing, and health care and social assistance. This will support artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles in the healthcare and farming sectors. New Thermomix machines for Ballarat Tech School will double the capacity of their Bushfoods, Chocolate by Design and Future Food programs, giving students better hands-on learning opportunities through their Food and Fibre subject. The Labor Government invested $128 million to establish the state’s 10 Tech Schools, which give students the opportunity to work on real-world problems alongside industry and subject experts using the latest technology like virtual reality, robotics, 3D printers and other technologies. The Government has continued to invest in these nation-leading education hubs to help students go from strength to strength and prepare for their future job market. Equipment no longer required by Tech Schools is distributed to nearby secondary schools and TAFE providers to further support students’ education and advance their skills. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know our fastest-growing industries and occupations need advanced STEM skills – and our Tech Schools make sure Victorian students have access to the technology to build the skills they need in the jobs of the future.” “We’re proud to be supporting our future workforce by investing in the high-tech equipment that makes STEM so engaging, challenging students to tackle real-life problems.” Download the media release

More Cutting-Edge Equipment For Victorian Tech Schools

The Andrews Labor Government is making Victoria’s Tech Schools more high-tech than ever, with funding for equipment like robots, benchtop milling machines and spectrometers to help them deliver innovative science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) programs. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the state’s 10 Tech Schools will share in $4.18 million through the 2021-22 Tech School Equipment Renewal Fund, helping them invest in cutting-edge equipment to help secondary students build their skills in STEM – preparing them for the jobs of the future. Monash Tech School will purchase an FTIR spectrometer – which is used in the space industry and medical research, and will allow students to analyse the composition of metals and alloys, geology samples, precious metals and gemstones, polymers and plastics, glass, and ceramics. A second benchtop milling machine at Whittlesea Tech School will ensure more students can see the creation of a product from start to finish during their schooling, supporting pathways to advanced manufacturing industries. Yarra Ranges Tech School will purchase educational robots – enhancing students’ skills and experience in digital technologies, advanced manufacturing, and health care and social assistance. This will support artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles in the healthcare and farming sectors. New Thermomix machines for Ballarat Tech School will double the capacity of their Bushfoods, Chocolate by Design and Future Food programs, giving students better hands-on learning opportunities through their Food and Fibre subject. The Labor Government invested $128 million to establish the state’s 10 Tech Schools, which give students the opportunity to work on real-world problems alongside industry and subject experts using the latest technology like virtual reality, robotics, 3D printers and other technologies. The Government has continued to invest in these nation-leading education hubs to help students go from strength to strength and prepare for their future job market. Equipment no longer required by Tech Schools is distributed to nearby secondary schools and TAFE providers to further support students’ education and advance their skills. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know our fastest-growing industries and occupations need advanced STEM skills – and our Tech Schools make sure Victorian students have access to the technology to build the skills they need in the jobs of the future.” “We’re proud to be supporting our future workforce by investing in the high-tech equipment that makes STEM so engaging, challenging students to tackle real-life problems.” Download the media release

Free Rapid Antigen Testing To Keep Victorian Schools Safe

The Victorian Government is making schools safer for students and staff and reducing the disruption caused by coronavirus outbreaks, with the roll-out of free, at-home rapid antigen tests for schools. With rapid antigen tests now approved for self-administered use across Australia, the tests will be rolled out to up to 20 schools affected by coronavirus outbreaks this week, before broader distribution to all schools – government, independent and Catholic – with students in isolation from 15 November. At-home rapid antigen tests will be offered to unvaccinated students – primarily those aged under 12 – who are primary close contacts as a result of a positive case at school. The program will allow them to return to school after seven days of quarantine, rather than 14 days, provided they take a negative PCR test on day six, and then complete negative rapid antigen tests at home each day and return a negative result before school on days eight to 14 of their quarantine period. This will mean young students who can’t yet be vaccinated can return to school a week earlier than usual – bringing them in line with fully vaccinated members of the community and giving kids the time they need in class, while protecting school communities from the spread of coronavirus. The Government has already secured 200,000 rapid antigen tests for schools, with more to arrive each week. The tests, which will be provided free of charge, can indicate a result for coronavirus within 15-30 minutes. The program will run on an opt-in basis and fully vaccinated children, who are already only required to quarantine for only 7 days, will not participate. The program will run alongside medical trials of rapid antigen testing in school communities, administered by nurses that are being conducted by the Doherty Institute to assess the feasibility of at-home test use. The Government will use information from both projects to strengthen the use of at-home rapid antigen testing in school communities throughout Term Four, while continuing work to make schools as low-risk as possible. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved rapid antigen testing for home use from November 1. The tests are used to check whether a person is likely to have coronavirus, but a standard PCR test is still needed to confirm a positive infection. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “For kids and their families who are excited to get back to school, having to quarantine can be really frustrating – these rapid antigen tests will cut that time and get kids back in the classroom sooner.” “This is another way we’re making learning as COVIDSafe as possible while keeping schools open.” Download the media release

Free Rapid Antigen Testing To Keep Victorian Schools Safe

The Victorian Government is making schools safer for students and staff and reducing the disruption caused by coronavirus outbreaks, with the roll-out of free, at-home rapid antigen tests for schools. With rapid antigen tests now approved for self-administered use across Australia, the tests will be rolled out to up to 20 schools affected by coronavirus outbreaks this week, before broader distribution to all schools – government, independent and Catholic – with students in isolation from 15 November. At-home rapid antigen tests will be offered to unvaccinated students – primarily those aged under 12 – who are primary close contacts as a result of a positive case at school. The program will allow them to return to school after seven days of quarantine, rather than 14 days, provided they take a negative PCR test on day six, and then complete negative rapid antigen tests at home each day and return a negative result before school on days eight to 14 of their quarantine period. This will mean young students who can’t yet be vaccinated can return to school a week earlier than usual – bringing them in line with fully vaccinated members of the community and giving kids the time they need in class, while protecting school communities from the spread of coronavirus. The Government has already secured 200,000 rapid antigen tests for schools, with more to arrive each week. The tests, which will be provided free of charge, can indicate a result for coronavirus within 15-30 minutes. The program will run on an opt-in basis and fully vaccinated children, who are already only required to quarantine for only 7 days, will not participate. The program will run alongside medical trials of rapid antigen testing in school communities, administered by nurses that are being conducted by the Doherty Institute to assess the feasibility of at-home test use. The Government will use information from both projects to strengthen the use of at-home rapid antigen testing in school communities throughout Term Four, while continuing work to make schools as low-risk as possible. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved rapid antigen testing for home use from November 1. The tests are used to check whether a person is likely to have coronavirus, but a standard PCR test is still needed to confirm a positive infection. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “For kids and their families who are excited to get back to school, having to quarantine can be really frustrating – these rapid antigen tests will cut that time and get kids back in the classroom sooner.” “This is another way we’re making learning as COVIDSafe as possible while keeping schools open.” Download the media release

New Civics And Citizenship Resources For Students

Victorian students and teachers from primary through to senior secondary school now have access to new digital resources that will build their understanding of civics and citizenship, making young Victorians more thoughtful, passionate active participants in the democratic process. The new resources have been co-developed by students, for students – alongside the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), the Victorian Student Representative Council and Monash University. Developed with a focus on fostering civic engagement for years 3 to 10, the Andrews Labor Government has invested $747,000 to implement the new non-partisan resources in schools. The resources focus on five topics – voting, active participation, citizenship, policy and the media’s influence on the political environment – and are accompanied by videos of students interviewing experts and other students about their experiences and thoughts on the topics. Students will develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the political and legal systems, and the values which underpin a democratic society, to become informed and active citizens. The course content is age-appropriate, teaching students about issues and processes like debates over changes to the law, elections, government responses to international events, basic theory of political and legal institutions, and democratic values like fairness, equality, representation and accountability and citizens’ rights. The resources include a Teacher Guide, alongside a series of workshops to introduce teachers to the new materials as part of a professional development learning program. The new resources are available online at vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want the Victorian education system to produce informed, thoughtful, passionate young people – and these new resources will ensure it does.” “The new resources have been designed by students, for students, helping to engage them in the issues that matter.” “I’m excited to see schools implementing the new interactive resources, helping students become better active participants in all aspects of society.” Download the media release

New Civics And Citizenship Resources For Students

Victorian students and teachers from primary through to senior secondary school now have access to new digital resources that will build their understanding of civics and citizenship, making young Victorians more thoughtful, passionate active participants in the democratic process. The new resources have been co-developed by students, for students – alongside the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), the Victorian Student Representative Council and Monash University. Developed with a focus on fostering civic engagement for years 3 to 10, the Andrews Labor Government has invested $747,000 to implement the new non-partisan resources in schools. The resources focus on five topics – voting, active participation, citizenship, policy and the media’s influence on the political environment – and are accompanied by videos of students interviewing experts and other students about their experiences and thoughts on the topics. Students will develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the political and legal systems, and the values which underpin a democratic society, to become informed and active citizens. The course content is age-appropriate, teaching students about issues and processes like debates over changes to the law, elections, government responses to international events, basic theory of political and legal institutions, and democratic values like fairness, equality, representation and accountability and citizens’ rights. The resources include a Teacher Guide, alongside a series of workshops to introduce teachers to the new materials as part of a professional development learning program. The new resources are available online at vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want the Victorian education system to produce informed, thoughtful, passionate young people – and these new resources will ensure it does.” “The new resources have been designed by students, for students, helping to engage them in the issues that matter.” “I’m excited to see schools implementing the new interactive resources, helping students become better active participants in all aspects of society.” Download the media release

More Outside School Hours Care Options For Families

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting more schools to establish outside school hours care services, helping more parents and carers to get into the workforce while ensuring their children are cared for. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 145 school sites will share in almost $10.7 million to establish a new outside school hours care service at their school from the beginning of 2022. These schools will receive up to $75,000 per year over the next three years for their outside school hours care services – helping to establish new services and cover the cost of resources or equipment, setup and administration, facility upgrades, small service viability and transport. These grants will increase the number of schools providing outside school hours care by 5.8 per cent in Melbourne and 42.9 per cent in regional Victoria. This is the second round of grants to be awarded under an $81.7 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2020/21, supporting the establishment of up to 400 new outside school hours care services at government schools. The first round allocated $4.1 million in grants to 53 schools earlier this year, with another two rounds to follow in 2022 and 2023. By creating more outside school hours care services, the Labor Government is supporting more parents and carers to get back to work, study, training or as Victoria begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Those two hours after school finishes each day shouldn’t be a barrier for parents or carers getting back into work or study once their children are at school – we’re investing to ensure our kids are cared for when families need it.” “This support will make an outside school hours facility viable for many of our state’s smaller schools – and it will mean so much to busy working families across the state.” Download the media release

More Outside School Hours Care Options For Families

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting more schools to establish outside school hours care services, helping more parents and carers to get into the workforce while ensuring their children are cared for. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced 145 school sites will share in almost $10.7 million to establish a new outside school hours care service at their school from the beginning of 2022. These schools will receive up to $75,000 per year over the next three years for their outside school hours care services – helping to establish new services and cover the cost of resources or equipment, setup and administration, facility upgrades, small service viability and transport. These grants will increase the number of schools providing outside school hours care by 5.8 per cent in Melbourne and 42.9 per cent in regional Victoria. This is the second round of grants to be awarded under an $81.7 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2020/21, supporting the establishment of up to 400 new outside school hours care services at government schools. The first round allocated $4.1 million in grants to 53 schools earlier this year, with another two rounds to follow in 2022 and 2023. By creating more outside school hours care services, the Labor Government is supporting more parents and carers to get back to work, study, training or as Victoria begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Those two hours after school finishes each day shouldn’t be a barrier for parents or carers getting back into work or study once their children are at school – we’re investing to ensure our kids are cared for when families need it.” “This support will make an outside school hours facility viable for many of our state’s smaller schools – and it will mean so much to busy working families across the state.” Download the media release

Supporting Victorians With Lived Mental Health Experience

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting Victorians who have been through Victoria’s mental health system, with new funding to expand the state’s peak lived experience advocacy organisation. The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System called for people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress to be at the centre of system reform – and the Labor Government is delivering just that. An additional $6.2 million over four years will support the vital work of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC), adding to the Government’s existing support for its important advocacy work and ensuring the voices of those who have interacted with the mental health system are heard as the reform begins. Putting people with lived experience at the centre of Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system will ensure services are accessible and meet the needs of those who use them. This funding will help VMIAC develop policy, undertake research and build leadership across the consumer sector to integrate their voices across a broad range of initiatives. The Labor Government also supports VMIAC to manage a consumer participation register – helping to engage with consumers in the community and providing the support and pathways people with lived experience need to be involved in the reform. VMIAC has a leading voice at the reform table as co-chair of the Department of Health’s Lived Experience Advisory Group, and representation on the Expert Advisory Group for the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act. During the pandemic, VMIAC has also been supported to establish its Check-In program which offers connection and support for people with lived experience impacted by the pandemic and who would benefit from a peer-based response. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We’re rebuilding our mental health system from the ground up and need the unique insight of people who have used our services to make sure we get this reform right.” “This extra support for VMIAC will give those with lived experience of mental health a louder voice in shaping Victoria’s new mental health system.” Download the media release

Supporting Victorians With Lived Mental Health Experience

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting Victorians who have been through Victoria’s mental health system, with new funding to expand the state’s peak lived experience advocacy organisation. The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System called for people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress to be at the centre of system reform – and the Labor Government is delivering just that. An additional $6.2 million over four years will support the vital work of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC), adding to the Government’s existing support for its important advocacy work and ensuring the voices of those who have interacted with the mental health system are heard as the reform begins. Putting people with lived experience at the centre of Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system will ensure services are accessible and meet the needs of those who use them. This funding will help VMIAC develop policy, undertake research and build leadership across the consumer sector to integrate their voices across a broad range of initiatives. The Labor Government also supports VMIAC to manage a consumer participation register – helping to engage with consumers in the community and providing the support and pathways people with lived experience need to be involved in the reform. VMIAC has a leading voice at the reform table as co-chair of the Department of Health’s Lived Experience Advisory Group, and representation on the Expert Advisory Group for the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act. During the pandemic, VMIAC has also been supported to establish its Check-In program which offers connection and support for people with lived experience impacted by the pandemic and who would benefit from a peer-based response. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We’re rebuilding our mental health system from the ground up and need the unique insight of people who have used our services to make sure we get this reform right.” “This extra support for VMIAC will give those with lived experience of mental health a louder voice in shaping Victoria’s new mental health system.” Download the media release

Design Underway For Warrnambool Mental Health Beds

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with delivering more mental health beds at Warrnambool Base Hospital, with designs for the important project to deliver better care to south-west Victorians now underway. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney today announced Hames Sharley has been appointed to design the $10.9 million project ─ delivering an additional five acute mental health beds for the region. The investment will redesign the hospital’s acute mental health inpatient unit ─ improving the model of care and creating a dedicated area for vulnerable groups, including women, older people and those who identify as LGBTIQ+. Warrnambool Base Hospital is the designated mental health service provider for the region and has been experiencing a steady increase in demand for mental health care services. Victoria’s south-west has the highest incidence of patients presenting with mental health concerns across the state. Responding to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, this project will improve access and recovery outcomes for locals experiencing mental ill health in a contemporary and therapeutic treatment setting that’s close to their homes. Construction is expected to start in mid-2022 and be completed in 2023, with the mental health investment building on the Government’s $384.2 million redevelopment of the Warrnambool Base Hospital. The redevelopment will deliver a new multi-storey tower incorporating a bigger emergency department, more operating theatres, an additional 22 inpatient beds and dedicated areas for pathology services, medical imaging and dialysis to help meet the health needs of the growing community. To build a new mental health and wellbeing system from the ground up that meets the needs of all Victorians, the Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Demand for quality inpatient mental health services in our state’s south-west is growing – and we’re delivering to improve care, cut wait times and ensure people can get the support they need in their own community.” “We’re implementing every recommendation of the Royal Commission – to fix our broken mental health system and save lives by making sure all Victorians have better access to support, closer to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney “This is a really important initiative for south west locals – by delivering more mental health beds, we’re ensuring Victorians can get the high-quality local healthcare they need whenever they need it.” Download the media release

Design Underway For Warrnambool Mental Health Beds

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with delivering more mental health beds at Warrnambool Base Hospital, with designs for the important project to deliver better care to south-west Victorians now underway. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney today announced Hames Sharley has been appointed to design the $10.9 million project ─ delivering an additional five acute mental health beds for the region. The investment will redesign the hospital’s acute mental health inpatient unit ─ improving the model of care and creating a dedicated area for vulnerable groups, including women, older people and those who identify as LGBTIQ+. Warrnambool Base Hospital is the designated mental health service provider for the region and has been experiencing a steady increase in demand for mental health care services. Victoria’s south-west has the highest incidence of patients presenting with mental health concerns across the state. Responding to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, this project will improve access and recovery outcomes for locals experiencing mental ill health in a contemporary and therapeutic treatment setting that’s close to their homes. Construction is expected to start in mid-2022 and be completed in 2023, with the mental health investment building on the Government’s $384.2 million redevelopment of the Warrnambool Base Hospital. The redevelopment will deliver a new multi-storey tower incorporating a bigger emergency department, more operating theatres, an additional 22 inpatient beds and dedicated areas for pathology services, medical imaging and dialysis to help meet the health needs of the growing community. To build a new mental health and wellbeing system from the ground up that meets the needs of all Victorians, the Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Demand for quality inpatient mental health services in our state’s south-west is growing – and we’re delivering to improve care, cut wait times and ensure people can get the support they need in their own community.” “We’re implementing every recommendation of the Royal Commission – to fix our broken mental health system and save lives by making sure all Victorians have better access to support, closer to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney “This is a really important initiative for south west locals – by delivering more mental health beds, we’re ensuring Victorians can get the high-quality local healthcare they need whenever they need it.” Download the media release