• 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

BUILDING SCHOOL PRIDE IN MONTROSE

Families in Montrose are a step closer to getting the first-rate school facilities their children deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Billanook Primary School to announce that the school will receive $429,000 from the School Pride and Sports Fund. The funding will go towards a sheltered area at the front of Billanook Primary as well as a new pathway, stairs and a ramp into the school’s entrance. The shelter will provide a sun-safe play area during schools hours and covered area for students waiting for buses or taking shelter from severe weather as they wait to meet parents or carers. It means students have a place to play in poor weather. It’s all part of the Labor Government’s plan to boost physical activity in our schools. By 2025, the Government wants to achieve a 20 per cent increase in the proportion of kids doing physical activity five times a week. The Victorian Budget 2017/18 included $5.8 million for the School Pride and Sports Fund, bringing it to a total of almost $22 million. The fund helps strengthen community pride in schools and build sporting facilities for students. This latest funding injection follows maintenance funding of $102,000 in 2016, which is expected will go towards upgrading classrooms and staff facilities. That year the school was also a successful recipient of a grant of $8,800 from the Inclusive Schools Fund - using the money to build an outdoor sensory area made up of a sensory trail, garden, outdoor kitchen and classroom. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new roof will allow students at Billanook Primary School to enjoy playing outside play come rain, hail or shine. I am sure they will also be pleased to have somewhere to shelter from the rain while waiting for a bus.” “Work will be underway within three months and I look forward to visiting again to check in on progress.”

BUILDING SCHOOL PRIDE IN MONTROSE

Families in Montrose are a step closer to getting the first-rate school facilities their children deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today visited Billanook Primary School to announce that the school will receive $429,000 from the School Pride and Sports Fund. The funding will go towards a sheltered area at the front of Billanook Primary as well as a new pathway, stairs and a ramp into the school’s entrance. The shelter will provide a sun-safe play area during schools hours and covered area for students waiting for buses or taking shelter from severe weather as they wait to meet parents or carers. It means students have a place to play in poor weather. It’s all part of the Labor Government’s plan to boost physical activity in our schools. By 2025, the Government wants to achieve a 20 per cent increase in the proportion of kids doing physical activity five times a week. The Victorian Budget 2017/18 included $5.8 million for the School Pride and Sports Fund, bringing it to a total of almost $22 million. The fund helps strengthen community pride in schools and build sporting facilities for students. This latest funding injection follows maintenance funding of $102,000 in 2016, which is expected will go towards upgrading classrooms and staff facilities. That year the school was also a successful recipient of a grant of $8,800 from the Inclusive Schools Fund - using the money to build an outdoor sensory area made up of a sensory trail, garden, outdoor kitchen and classroom. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This new roof will allow students at Billanook Primary School to enjoy playing outside play come rain, hail or shine. I am sure they will also be pleased to have somewhere to shelter from the rain while waiting for a bus.” “Work will be underway within three months and I look forward to visiting again to check in on progress.”

FUNDING BOOST FOR MONTROSE AND MT EVELYN CFA VOLUNTEERS

Montrose CFA volunteers will receive a funding boost of more than $13,000 for a new Health and Wellbeing Fitness Area, and Maroondah Group (including Mt Evelyn CFA) will receive $13,220 for two new petrol generators thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino visited the Montrose CFA Fire Station to congratulate volunteers on their successful application under the $15 million Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability grants program. The fitness area will house brand new gym equipment for members to use for fitness, training and general wellbeing. It’s designed not only for the physical fitness of members but also their overall wellbeing. The ESVS grants program has seen more than 550 grants worth more than $9 million approved so far. Details of the successful grant recipients can be found at www.emv.vic.gov.au/esvsgrants In addition to the ESVS grants program the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) remains open. Grants of up to $100,000 are available under the 2017–18 program to CFA, VICSES, Life Saving Victoria, marine search and rescue providers, and other eligible volunteer emergency services groups. Organisations interested in applying can find more information at www.emv.vic.gov.au/vesep Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “I congratulate Montrose CFA and Mt Evelyn CFA on securing funding for new equipment as part of the Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability program.” “These volunteers put themselves in danger to keep the local community safe. The centre will help them improve their fitness and wellbeing and contribute to the vital work they do.”  

FUNDING BOOST FOR MONTROSE AND MT EVELYN CFA VOLUNTEERS

Montrose CFA volunteers will receive a funding boost of more than $13,000 for a new Health and Wellbeing Fitness Area, and Maroondah Group (including Mt Evelyn CFA) will receive $13,220 for two new petrol generators thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino visited the Montrose CFA Fire Station to congratulate volunteers on their successful application under the $15 million Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability grants program. The fitness area will house brand new gym equipment for members to use for fitness, training and general wellbeing. It’s designed not only for the physical fitness of members but also their overall wellbeing. The ESVS grants program has seen more than 550 grants worth more than $9 million approved so far. Details of the successful grant recipients can be found at www.emv.vic.gov.au/esvsgrants In addition to the ESVS grants program the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) remains open. Grants of up to $100,000 are available under the 2017–18 program to CFA, VICSES, Life Saving Victoria, marine search and rescue providers, and other eligible volunteer emergency services groups. Organisations interested in applying can find more information at www.emv.vic.gov.au/vesep Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “I congratulate Montrose CFA and Mt Evelyn CFA on securing funding for new equipment as part of the Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability program.” “These volunteers put themselves in danger to keep the local community safe. The centre will help them improve their fitness and wellbeing and contribute to the vital work they do.”  

Funding Boost For Emergency Volunteers

The Andrews Labor Government is boosting funding for local emergency service volunteers across Victoria. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino visited the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club – one of hundreds of volunteer organisations to receive funding through the latest round of the Labor Government’s $15 million Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability (ESVS) grants program. More than 280 grants worth in excess of $3.6 million will go to Victorian volunteers in this round of ESVS program. Port Fairy Surf Life Saving received more than $4,500 for a new public address system and a shark alarm. The grant will also fund a sign for the front of the club, as well as promotional flags to improve its profile. Also sharing in funding is the Warrnambool Division of St John Ambulance, which will receive more than $13,500 for a new driveway to give members better access to their garage. Woolsthorpe CFA will receive two new chainsaws, safety equipment and a generator thanks to grants of more than $5,000. The Gorae West CFA will receive a new six-hose testing trailer unit thanks to a grant of more than $6,200. More than 550 grants worth more than $9 million have already been approved through the ESVS grants program. Details of the successful grant recipients can be found at www.emv.vic.gov.au/esvsgrants Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Congratulations to all volunteers across Victoria who secured funding for valuable new equipment that will help them get on with the job of keeping local communities safe.” “Our volunteers put in huge hours away from their friends and families to rescue people in rips, fires, floods and  storms – they deserve nothing less than the best equipment.” Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria Region Gayle Tierney “By investing in more equipment, training, and facilities we are supporting the significant contribution of our emergency service volunteers in south west Victoria.” “They put their safety on the line to keep us safe – the least we can do is give them a helping hand.” Download the Media Release (295 KB)

Funding Boost For Emergency Volunteers

The Andrews Labor Government is boosting funding for local emergency service volunteers across Victoria. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino visited the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club – one of hundreds of volunteer organisations to receive funding through the latest round of the Labor Government’s $15 million Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability (ESVS) grants program. More than 280 grants worth in excess of $3.6 million will go to Victorian volunteers in this round of ESVS program. Port Fairy Surf Life Saving received more than $4,500 for a new public address system and a shark alarm. The grant will also fund a sign for the front of the club, as well as promotional flags to improve its profile. Also sharing in funding is the Warrnambool Division of St John Ambulance, which will receive more than $13,500 for a new driveway to give members better access to their garage. Woolsthorpe CFA will receive two new chainsaws, safety equipment and a generator thanks to grants of more than $5,000. The Gorae West CFA will receive a new six-hose testing trailer unit thanks to a grant of more than $6,200. More than 550 grants worth more than $9 million have already been approved through the ESVS grants program. Details of the successful grant recipients can be found at www.emv.vic.gov.au/esvsgrants Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Congratulations to all volunteers across Victoria who secured funding for valuable new equipment that will help them get on with the job of keeping local communities safe.” “Our volunteers put in huge hours away from their friends and families to rescue people in rips, fires, floods and  storms – they deserve nothing less than the best equipment.” Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria Region Gayle Tierney “By investing in more equipment, training, and facilities we are supporting the significant contribution of our emergency service volunteers in south west Victoria.” “They put their safety on the line to keep us safe – the least we can do is give them a helping hand.” Download the Media Release (295 KB)

Building A New Portland Bay School Brick By Brick

Families in Portland are a step closer to having the first-rate classrooms and facilities they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today turned the first sod on the brand new Portland Bay School site. The $7 million project will build new classrooms, arts and crafts spaces, a library, and innovative outdoor and specialist learning areas specifically designed to be inclusive for students with disabilities and special needs. The campus will be next to Portland Primary School and construction is expected to be finished by March next year. The project was funded in the Victorian Budget 2016-17 and is part of the Labor Government’s $2.5 billion investment over three Budgets to improve classrooms, upgrade facilities and build new schools across the state. This school building boom has delivered more than 1,000 school upgrades and 56 new school projects across the state, supporting almost 5000 construction jobs for Victorians. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re getting on with the job of building better schools, so local students have the facilities and classrooms they need to succeed.” “For too long students and teachers at Portland Bay School were stuck using facilities they had outgrown. We have delivered the money needed to build the first-rate new school that local families deserve.” Download the Media Release (158 KB)

Building A New Portland Bay School Brick By Brick

Families in Portland are a step closer to having the first-rate classrooms and facilities they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today turned the first sod on the brand new Portland Bay School site. The $7 million project will build new classrooms, arts and crafts spaces, a library, and innovative outdoor and specialist learning areas specifically designed to be inclusive for students with disabilities and special needs. The campus will be next to Portland Primary School and construction is expected to be finished by March next year. The project was funded in the Victorian Budget 2016-17 and is part of the Labor Government’s $2.5 billion investment over three Budgets to improve classrooms, upgrade facilities and build new schools across the state. This school building boom has delivered more than 1,000 school upgrades and 56 new school projects across the state, supporting almost 5000 construction jobs for Victorians. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We’re getting on with the job of building better schools, so local students have the facilities and classrooms they need to succeed.” “For too long students and teachers at Portland Bay School were stuck using facilities they had outgrown. We have delivered the money needed to build the first-rate new school that local families deserve.” Download the Media Release (158 KB)

Grants Music To The Ears Of Victorian Schools

More than 2,000 instruments including keyboards, violins, trumpets, flutes and drums will be on their way to Victorian students, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino, Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards today visited Lightning Reef Primary School in Bendigo to announce that the school is one of the 44 recipients of the second and final round of the Musical Instruments Grants program. Lightning Reef, along with Bendigo Special Development School, are among 44 schools – 25 regional and 19 metropolitan – that will now have up to $5,000 to purchase a range of musical instruments for their students. Lightning Reef Primary School will use the grant funding to purchase eight keyboards, 25 guitars, 25 ukuleles, a drum kit, a digital wireless system and various musical accessories such as guitar picks and keyboard stands. Bendigo Special Development School will use its grant funding to purchase 83 percussion instruments, including xylophones tambourines and chime bars, as well as musical accessories, books and resources. In total, this round of funding will see schools purchase 95 keyboards and pianos, 479 string instruments, 18 brass instruments, 155 woodwind instruments, 1,040 percussion instruments, 75 cultural instruments and 99 pieces of electronic equipment. The Labor Government’s $2 million Music in Schools initiative also provides professional training for hundreds of Victorian teachers so that schools can establish quality music programs. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Giving students the chance to play and learn a musical instrument is money well spent.” “We’re helping hundreds of Victorian schools like Lightning Reef and Bendigo Special Development School develop and run quality music programs for their students.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan “I look forward to seeing Bendigo students try out their new instruments and equipment. It’s programs like this that level the playing field and give all kids a chance to try out a new skill.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards “These grants are fantastic news for Bendigo students, who will get more opportunities to develop musical skills while learning and having fun.” Quote attributable to Lightning Reef Primary School Principal Julie Hommelhoff “It’s going to be great to give our students the opportunity to learn an instrument and perform in front of family and friends.”   Background: Music in Schools Initiative Research shows that exposure to music and music education enhances student engagement and wellbeing, improves academic performance and literacy results and builds personal and social development. Unfortunately, not all students in Victoria have access to a musical instrument or music education – both of which can be very expensive or even unavailable in some areas. The Music in Schools initiative  helps level the playing field so that students from all corners of Victoria can enjoy playing an instrument. It is only available for schools in Victoria most in need. The total Music in Schools initiative includes: $1.4 million for professional training for hundreds of Victorian teachers so that schools without strong, school-wide programs can establish quality music programs. $400,000 in grants over two stages for schools to buy instruments. $200,000 so trainee teachers at university studying to become primary teachers can complete musical education training. To date 603 teachers from 414 schools and 688 pre-service teachers have completed training as part of the Music in Schools’ Musical Futures Australia Professional Learning Program. Workshops are being conducted across Victoria. More information about upcoming local workshops can be found here: http://www.musicalfuturesaustralia.org/vic-pd-program.html For further information on Music in Schools as a whole go to: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/learningdev/Pages/music-in-schools.aspx Download the Media Release (183 KB)

Grants Music To The Ears Of Victorian Schools

More than 2,000 instruments including keyboards, violins, trumpets, flutes and drums will be on their way to Victorian students, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino, Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards today visited Lightning Reef Primary School in Bendigo to announce that the school is one of the 44 recipients of the second and final round of the Musical Instruments Grants program. Lightning Reef, along with Bendigo Special Development School, are among 44 schools – 25 regional and 19 metropolitan – that will now have up to $5,000 to purchase a range of musical instruments for their students. Lightning Reef Primary School will use the grant funding to purchase eight keyboards, 25 guitars, 25 ukuleles, a drum kit, a digital wireless system and various musical accessories such as guitar picks and keyboard stands. Bendigo Special Development School will use its grant funding to purchase 83 percussion instruments, including xylophones tambourines and chime bars, as well as musical accessories, books and resources. In total, this round of funding will see schools purchase 95 keyboards and pianos, 479 string instruments, 18 brass instruments, 155 woodwind instruments, 1,040 percussion instruments, 75 cultural instruments and 99 pieces of electronic equipment. The Labor Government’s $2 million Music in Schools initiative also provides professional training for hundreds of Victorian teachers so that schools can establish quality music programs. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Giving students the chance to play and learn a musical instrument is money well spent.” “We’re helping hundreds of Victorian schools like Lightning Reef and Bendigo Special Development School develop and run quality music programs for their students.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan “I look forward to seeing Bendigo students try out their new instruments and equipment. It’s programs like this that level the playing field and give all kids a chance to try out a new skill.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards “These grants are fantastic news for Bendigo students, who will get more opportunities to develop musical skills while learning and having fun.” Quote attributable to Lightning Reef Primary School Principal Julie Hommelhoff “It’s going to be great to give our students the opportunity to learn an instrument and perform in front of family and friends.”   Background: Music in Schools Initiative Research shows that exposure to music and music education enhances student engagement and wellbeing, improves academic performance and literacy results and builds personal and social development. Unfortunately, not all students in Victoria have access to a musical instrument or music education – both of which can be very expensive or even unavailable in some areas. The Music in Schools initiative  helps level the playing field so that students from all corners of Victoria can enjoy playing an instrument. It is only available for schools in Victoria most in need. The total Music in Schools initiative includes: $1.4 million for professional training for hundreds of Victorian teachers so that schools without strong, school-wide programs can establish quality music programs. $400,000 in grants over two stages for schools to buy instruments. $200,000 so trainee teachers at university studying to become primary teachers can complete musical education training. To date 603 teachers from 414 schools and 688 pre-service teachers have completed training as part of the Music in Schools’ Musical Futures Australia Professional Learning Program. Workshops are being conducted across Victoria. More information about upcoming local workshops can be found here: http://www.musicalfuturesaustralia.org/vic-pd-program.html For further information on Music in Schools as a whole go to: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/learningdev/Pages/music-in-schools.aspx Download the Media Release (183 KB)

Equity Funding Changing The Lives Of Bendigo Students

A massive funding boost to support the schools that need it most in Bendigo is reaping strong results. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards visited Specimen Hill Primary School in Bendigo today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference for staff and students. In 2015, the Andrews Labor Government announced a huge increase to “equity funding” – which took effect from the start of 2016. It provides extra resources and expertise to get the best out of students who need more support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools following the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff like speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. Evidence shows that this funding is improving the lives of students across Victoria. Schools are introducing programs to help students catch up in literacy and numeracy and offering electives such as coding and music to keep kids engaged in school. Other schools have introduced play therapists to help students who have experienced trauma, or instituted programs to give students an insight into the career pathways open to them. The funding boost has had a massive impact in Bendigo. Specimen Hill Primary School has employed a literacy teacher for its Explore program. One of the grade three students Jack missed a lot of schooling and was unable to read. Jack said: “I really wanted to read like the other kids.” After 18 months of one-on-one sessions tailored to his needs he can read the newspaper – his favourite part is the sports section – and keep up with his classmates. Research shows a direct and unacceptable link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing greater barriers to success from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it is needed most and adding valuable teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child in every school to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results should not be restricted by their background.” “This funding is transforming the lives of children across Victoria and boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff; it’s making a real difference.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan “Our funding boost to help students who need it most is wonderful news for Bendigo. Weddeburn College, Weeroona College and Bendigo Violet Street Primary are also benefiting from this investment in our kids’ futures.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards “This funding boost means children like Jack get tailored support they need to keep up with their classmates. It’s about giving local schools like Specimen Hill the resources they need to give our kids the best education.” Background: Equity Funding Making a Difference in Bendigo Equity funding is helping students across the Bendigo region. At Specimen Hill Primary School equity funding has supported the Passions and Pathways program for year six students. Students visit a business of their choice once a week during Term three and then work on a project based on the business. Many of the students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the program is showing them possible career pathways for them to pursue. Equity funding has also supported an Explore program providing one-on-one teaching for reading and writing and a speech pathologist one day a fortnight. Two extra Education Support staff also work with disadvantaged students and engage them through activities such as cooking and gardening. At Wedderburn College, north-west of Bendigo, equity funding has been used to establish a playgroup which is aimed at getting families involved in the school community. It also improves the language skills of young children and provides the school with insights into the learning needs of future students. A numeracy coach has been employed to work with maths teachers and a new staff member is helping teachers improve literacy and numeracy in years seven and eight by increasing the ratio of teachers to students. At Weeroona College Bendigo, a year seven to 10 school, equity funding is being used to establish the Weeroona Alternative Timetable program to support students and improve school engagement. Students in the program do lots of hands on work, including developing a market garden and repairing some small engines. Early results show these students are attending school more regularly and are more engaged in their learning. Funding has also been used for literacy and numeracy support across the College and for teacher capacity building – including employing a new leading teacher who is improving the standard of teaching. Funding has also gone towards the establishment of a Flexible Learning Options campus, supporting the most disengaged secondary students from across Bendigo. At Bendigo Violet Street Primary, equity funding has been used to employ additional staff to support students who need an extra helping hand across a range of classroom programmes. It has also been used to employ an additional speech pathologist one day per week. The pathologist screens all Prep students and then works with teachers and students to ensure language issues are identified and remedied. How Equity Funding is calculated There are two funding initiatives associated with equity funding: Social disadvantage funding; and Catch up funding. Social Disadvantage funding incorporates both individual factors of disadvantage and the concentration of disadvantage in the school. This will be measured by parental education in addition to parental occupation – this combination is a more accurate predictor of social disadvantage. Catch up funding targets students entering secondary schools who have not met the national NAPLAN minimum standard for reading in Year five regardless of the student’s personal background or the school they attend. This figure is $2,000 per child. Download the Media Release (178 KB)

Equity Funding Changing The Lives Of Bendigo Students

A massive funding boost to support the schools that need it most in Bendigo is reaping strong results. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards visited Specimen Hill Primary School in Bendigo today to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference for staff and students. In 2015, the Andrews Labor Government announced a huge increase to “equity funding” – which took effect from the start of 2016. It provides extra resources and expertise to get the best out of students who need more support. The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies. More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools following the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff like speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers. Evidence shows that this funding is improving the lives of students across Victoria. Schools are introducing programs to help students catch up in literacy and numeracy and offering electives such as coding and music to keep kids engaged in school. Other schools have introduced play therapists to help students who have experienced trauma, or instituted programs to give students an insight into the career pathways open to them. The funding boost has had a massive impact in Bendigo. Specimen Hill Primary School has employed a literacy teacher for its Explore program. One of the grade three students Jack missed a lot of schooling and was unable to read. Jack said: “I really wanted to read like the other kids.” After 18 months of one-on-one sessions tailored to his needs he can read the newspaper – his favourite part is the sports section – and keep up with his classmates. Research shows a direct and unacceptable link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing greater barriers to success from day one at school. The Labor Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it is needed most and adding valuable teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want every child in every school to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. A child’s school results should not be restricted by their background.” “This funding is transforming the lives of children across Victoria and boosting the numbers of teachers and support staff; it’s making a real difference.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan “Our funding boost to help students who need it most is wonderful news for Bendigo. Weddeburn College, Weeroona College and Bendigo Violet Street Primary are also benefiting from this investment in our kids’ futures.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards “This funding boost means children like Jack get tailored support they need to keep up with their classmates. It’s about giving local schools like Specimen Hill the resources they need to give our kids the best education.” Background: Equity Funding Making a Difference in Bendigo Equity funding is helping students across the Bendigo region. At Specimen Hill Primary School equity funding has supported the Passions and Pathways program for year six students. Students visit a business of their choice once a week during Term three and then work on a project based on the business. Many of the students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the program is showing them possible career pathways for them to pursue. Equity funding has also supported an Explore program providing one-on-one teaching for reading and writing and a speech pathologist one day a fortnight. Two extra Education Support staff also work with disadvantaged students and engage them through activities such as cooking and gardening. At Wedderburn College, north-west of Bendigo, equity funding has been used to establish a playgroup which is aimed at getting families involved in the school community. It also improves the language skills of young children and provides the school with insights into the learning needs of future students. A numeracy coach has been employed to work with maths teachers and a new staff member is helping teachers improve literacy and numeracy in years seven and eight by increasing the ratio of teachers to students. At Weeroona College Bendigo, a year seven to 10 school, equity funding is being used to establish the Weeroona Alternative Timetable program to support students and improve school engagement. Students in the program do lots of hands on work, including developing a market garden and repairing some small engines. Early results show these students are attending school more regularly and are more engaged in their learning. Funding has also been used for literacy and numeracy support across the College and for teacher capacity building – including employing a new leading teacher who is improving the standard of teaching. Funding has also gone towards the establishment of a Flexible Learning Options campus, supporting the most disengaged secondary students from across Bendigo. At Bendigo Violet Street Primary, equity funding has been used to employ additional staff to support students who need an extra helping hand across a range of classroom programmes. It has also been used to employ an additional speech pathologist one day per week. The pathologist screens all Prep students and then works with teachers and students to ensure language issues are identified and remedied. How Equity Funding is calculated There are two funding initiatives associated with equity funding: Social disadvantage funding; and Catch up funding. Social Disadvantage funding incorporates both individual factors of disadvantage and the concentration of disadvantage in the school. This will be measured by parental education in addition to parental occupation – this combination is a more accurate predictor of social disadvantage. Catch up funding targets students entering secondary schools who have not met the national NAPLAN minimum standard for reading in Year five regardless of the student’s personal background or the school they attend. This figure is $2,000 per child. Download the Media Release (178 KB)

A BETTER TOWN CENTRE FOR MONTROSE

The Andrews Labor Government is giving the residents of Montrose a better town centre with improved health and community services. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today officially opened the Montrose Town Centre project, a major community upgrade in the area. A Growing Suburbs Fund project, the Yarra Ranges Shire Council received $809,000 for the project which has delivered additional rooms to house maternal and child health services and upgraded the existing community centre and library. The project integrates the library and the community centre under one roof, with a maternal and child health service consultation room, waiting room and community meeting space also included. Yarra Ranges contributed $941,000 to the upgrade, which also includes improved public toilets, parking and disabled access, with an open space for community events and activities. The Yarra Ranges Shire has received more than $5.5 million from the Growing Suburbs Fund over the past two years. The Andrews Labor Government recently announced another $50 million for the Growing Suburbs Fund, allocated over the next two years as part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18. Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins: “All communities need facilities for basic services like libraries and maternal and child health services, which is why we are working with the Shire to fund the new town centre project with the Growing Suburbs Fund.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino: “This is a fantastic result for the Montrose community, who can now access vital services and facilities in the one place.” “Residents in the Shire borrow more books and library items than the state average so these changes will be greatly valued here in Montrose.” https://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Lists/Latest-news/Montrose-community-welcomed-under-one-roof-as-Town-Centre-opens

A BETTER TOWN CENTRE FOR MONTROSE

The Andrews Labor Government is giving the residents of Montrose a better town centre with improved health and community services. Member for Monbulk James Merlino today officially opened the Montrose Town Centre project, a major community upgrade in the area. A Growing Suburbs Fund project, the Yarra Ranges Shire Council received $809,000 for the project which has delivered additional rooms to house maternal and child health services and upgraded the existing community centre and library. The project integrates the library and the community centre under one roof, with a maternal and child health service consultation room, waiting room and community meeting space also included. Yarra Ranges contributed $941,000 to the upgrade, which also includes improved public toilets, parking and disabled access, with an open space for community events and activities. The Yarra Ranges Shire has received more than $5.5 million from the Growing Suburbs Fund over the past two years. The Andrews Labor Government recently announced another $50 million for the Growing Suburbs Fund, allocated over the next two years as part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18. Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins: “All communities need facilities for basic services like libraries and maternal and child health services, which is why we are working with the Shire to fund the new town centre project with the Growing Suburbs Fund.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino: “This is a fantastic result for the Montrose community, who can now access vital services and facilities in the one place.” “Residents in the Shire borrow more books and library items than the state average so these changes will be greatly valued here in Montrose.” https://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Lists/Latest-news/Montrose-community-welcomed-under-one-roof-as-Town-Centre-opens

MONBULK’S BRAVE TRIPLE ZERO STAR CELEBRATED

Fifty-one brave young Victorians have been honoured today for their heroic and life-saving actions in the face of an emergency at the 13th annual Junior Triple Zero Hero Awards. James Merlino MP has congratulated seven-year-old Jamie for calling triple zero after his mum had a seizure and was unconscious. He cared for his mum and younger sister until paramedics arrived. He was one of 51 Victorian students, aged between five and 16, praised for keeping calm under pressure and calling Victoria’s triple zero service to seek assistance. James Merlino MP said these stories of bravery are a perfect reminder to all Victorians about the importance of teaching children how to identify, confidently react to and report legitimate emergencies by calling triple zero. The Junior Triple Zero Heroes were nominated by ESTA’s Triple Zero operators. ESTA, Victoria’s emergency communications agency receives emergency calls for the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria State Emergency Service. Operators work 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2015–16, ESTA answered about 2.5 million calls for assistance across Victoria, this is an average of almost 7000 calls each day or a call every 12 seconds. Quotes attributable to State Member for Monbulk and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino MP “ESTA’s triple zero operators work under pressure to help Victorians in need, responding to nearly 7000 calls a day.” “Victoria’s brave Junior Triple Zero Heroes remained remarkably cool, calm and collected and are shining examples of how preparing children for an emergency can saves lives.” “Jamie from Monbulk is a true hero; he kept calm under pressure and sought help when it was desperately needed. He is an example to young Victorians everywhere.”

MONBULK’S BRAVE TRIPLE ZERO STAR CELEBRATED

Fifty-one brave young Victorians have been honoured today for their heroic and life-saving actions in the face of an emergency at the 13th annual Junior Triple Zero Hero Awards. James Merlino MP has congratulated seven-year-old Jamie for calling triple zero after his mum had a seizure and was unconscious. He cared for his mum and younger sister until paramedics arrived. He was one of 51 Victorian students, aged between five and 16, praised for keeping calm under pressure and calling Victoria’s triple zero service to seek assistance. James Merlino MP said these stories of bravery are a perfect reminder to all Victorians about the importance of teaching children how to identify, confidently react to and report legitimate emergencies by calling triple zero. The Junior Triple Zero Heroes were nominated by ESTA’s Triple Zero operators. ESTA, Victoria’s emergency communications agency receives emergency calls for the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria State Emergency Service. Operators work 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2015–16, ESTA answered about 2.5 million calls for assistance across Victoria, this is an average of almost 7000 calls each day or a call every 12 seconds. Quotes attributable to State Member for Monbulk and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino MP “ESTA’s triple zero operators work under pressure to help Victorians in need, responding to nearly 7000 calls a day.” “Victoria’s brave Junior Triple Zero Heroes remained remarkably cool, calm and collected and are shining examples of how preparing children for an emergency can saves lives.” “Jamie from Monbulk is a true hero; he kept calm under pressure and sought help when it was desperately needed. He is an example to young Victorians everywhere.”

 

Victoria’s Brave Triple Zero Stars Celebrated

Fifty-one brave young Victorians have been honoured today for their heroic and life-saving actions in the face of an emergency at the 13th annual Junior Triple Zero Hero Awards. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino attended the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) awards to congratulate the children, aged between five and 16, for keeping calm under pressure and calling Victoria’s triple zero service to seek assistance. Among the award winners was little hero, India. Aged just five, India called triple zero when her one-year-old brother started to choke after swallowing a five cent coin. When nine-year-old Gabrielle discovered her house was on fire, she did the right thing. She got herself and her sister out immediately and called triple zero to report the fire. Another junior hero, seven-year-old Jamie, used quick thinking to call triple zero after his mother had a seizure and lost consciousness. Jamie cared for both his mother and his younger sister until paramedics arrived. Mr Merlino said these stories of bravery are a perfect reminder to all Victorians about the importance of teaching children how to identify, confidently react to and report legitimate emergencies by calling triple zero. The Junior Triple Zero Heroes were nominated by ESTA’s Triple Zero operators. ESTA, Victoria’s emergency communications agency, receives emergency calls for the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria State Emergency Service. Operators work 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2015–16, ESTA answered about 2.5 million calls for assistance across Victoria, this is an average of almost 7,000 calls each day or a call every 12 seconds. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “ESTA’s triple zero operators work under pressure to help Victorians in need, responding to nearly 7,000 calls a day.” “Victoria’s brave Junior Triple Zero Heroes remained remarkably cool, calm and collected and are shining examples of how preparing children for an emergency can saves lives.” Note: Audio of Award Heroes’ calls is available for media. For more information, contact the ESTA Media Line on 1300 783 462 Download the Media Release (162 KB)  2  0 Fifty-one brave young Victorians have been honoured today for their heroic and life-saving actions in the face of an emergency at the 13th annual Junior Triple Zero Hero Awards. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino attended the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) awards to congratulate the children, aged between five and 16, for keeping calm under pressure and calling Victoria’s triple zero service to seek assistance. Among the award winners was little hero, India. Aged just five, India called triple zero when her one-year-old brother started to choke after swallowing a five cent coin. When nine-year-old Gabrielle discovered her house was on fire, she did the right thing. She got herself and her sister out immediately and called triple zero to report the fire. Another junior hero, seven-year-old Jamie, used quick thinking to call triple zero after his mother had a seizure and lost consciousness. Jamie cared for both his mother and his younger sister until paramedics arrived. Mr Merlino said these stories of bravery are a perfect reminder to all Victorians about the importance of teaching children how to identify, confidently react to and report legitimate emergencies by calling triple zero. The Junior Triple Zero Heroes were nominated by ESTA’s Triple Zero operators. ESTA, Victoria’s emergency communications agency, receives emergency calls for the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria State Emergency Service. Operators work 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2015–16, ESTA answered about 2.5 million calls for assistance across Victoria, this is an average of almost 7,000 calls each day or a call every 12 seconds. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “ESTA’s triple zero operators work under pressure to help Victorians in need, responding to nearly 7,000 calls a day.” “Victoria’s brave Junior Triple Zero Heroes remained remarkably cool, calm and collected and are shining examples of how preparing children for an emergency can saves lives.” Note: Audio of Award Heroes’ calls is available for media. For more information, contact the ESTA Media Line on 1300 783 462 Download the Media Release (162 KB)  

Victoria’s Brave Triple Zero Stars Celebrated

Fifty-one brave young Victorians have been honoured today for their heroic and life-saving actions in the face of an emergency at the 13th annual Junior Triple Zero Hero Awards. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino attended the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) awards to congratulate the children, aged between five and 16, for keeping calm under pressure and calling Victoria’s triple zero service to seek assistance. Among the award winners was little hero, India. Aged just five, India called triple zero when her one-year-old brother started to choke after swallowing a five cent coin. When nine-year-old Gabrielle discovered her house was on fire, she did the right thing. She got herself and her sister out immediately and called triple zero to report the fire. Another junior hero, seven-year-old Jamie, used quick thinking to call triple zero after his mother had a seizure and lost consciousness. Jamie cared for both his mother and his younger sister until paramedics arrived. Mr Merlino said these stories of bravery are a perfect reminder to all Victorians about the importance of teaching children how to identify, confidently react to and report legitimate emergencies by calling triple zero. The Junior Triple Zero Heroes were nominated by ESTA’s Triple Zero operators. ESTA, Victoria’s emergency communications agency, receives emergency calls for the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria State Emergency Service. Operators work 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2015–16, ESTA answered about 2.5 million calls for assistance across Victoria, this is an average of almost 7,000 calls each day or a call every 12 seconds. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “ESTA’s triple zero operators work under pressure to help Victorians in need, responding to nearly 7,000 calls a day.” “Victoria’s brave Junior Triple Zero Heroes remained remarkably cool, calm and collected and are shining examples of how preparing children for an emergency can saves lives.” Note: Audio of Award Heroes’ calls is available for media. For more information, contact the ESTA Media Line on 1300 783 462 Download the Media Release (162 KB)  2  0 Fifty-one brave young Victorians have been honoured today for their heroic and life-saving actions in the face of an emergency at the 13th annual Junior Triple Zero Hero Awards. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino attended the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) awards to congratulate the children, aged between five and 16, for keeping calm under pressure and calling Victoria’s triple zero service to seek assistance. Among the award winners was little hero, India. Aged just five, India called triple zero when her one-year-old brother started to choke after swallowing a five cent coin. When nine-year-old Gabrielle discovered her house was on fire, she did the right thing. She got herself and her sister out immediately and called triple zero to report the fire. Another junior hero, seven-year-old Jamie, used quick thinking to call triple zero after his mother had a seizure and lost consciousness. Jamie cared for both his mother and his younger sister until paramedics arrived. Mr Merlino said these stories of bravery are a perfect reminder to all Victorians about the importance of teaching children how to identify, confidently react to and report legitimate emergencies by calling triple zero. The Junior Triple Zero Heroes were nominated by ESTA’s Triple Zero operators. ESTA, Victoria’s emergency communications agency, receives emergency calls for the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria State Emergency Service. Operators work 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2015–16, ESTA answered about 2.5 million calls for assistance across Victoria, this is an average of almost 7,000 calls each day or a call every 12 seconds. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “ESTA’s triple zero operators work under pressure to help Victorians in need, responding to nearly 7,000 calls a day.” “Victoria’s brave Junior Triple Zero Heroes remained remarkably cool, calm and collected and are shining examples of how preparing children for an emergency can saves lives.” Note: Audio of Award Heroes’ calls is available for media. For more information, contact the ESTA Media Line on 1300 783 462 Download the Media Release (162 KB)  

Investing In Albert Park’s Schools

More than 1,000 students at Albert Park College will receive the first-rate facilities they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley today announced $5 million for an upgrade to Albert Park College and the relocation to more suitable facilities for Melbourne City Mission’s youth programs to Prahran. The funding will deliver additional classroom space to accommodate the school’s growing enrolments. Funding has been allocated for two additional classrooms at the main campus as well as a new site at Pickles Street in South Melbourne. The funding will also be used to relocate Melbourne City Mission, including the refurbishment of leased space at Melbourne Polytechnic in Prahran. The Labor Government’s huge investment in Victoria’s schools means more than $2.5 billion has now been invested in school infrastructure over the past three years, with 56 new schools being delivered across the state. The Victorian Budget 2017/18 invested $685 million to improve classrooms, upgrade facilities and build new schools across the state, as well as creating local jobs. This includes $195 million to upgrade and modernise schools. The projects include new classrooms, STEM facilities, gymnasiums and playgrounds at 59 regional schools and 49 metropolitan schools. The Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want to make sure that our schools have the best facilities, our classrooms have the best teachers and that every child is given every chance to succeed.” “Former Liberal governments closed down schools in the inner city and we are doing the exact opposite – investing in schools like Albert Park College so they can grow and accommodate more students.” Quotes attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “Albert Park College is a fantastic school and it’s no surprise that enrolment numbers are booming.” “This investment will provide much needed classroom space; I can’t wait to stop by again soon and check how the new buildings are progressing.” Download the Media Release (357 KB)

Investing In Albert Park’s Schools

More than 1,000 students at Albert Park College will receive the first-rate facilities they deserve, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley today announced $5 million for an upgrade to Albert Park College and the relocation to more suitable facilities for Melbourne City Mission’s youth programs to Prahran. The funding will deliver additional classroom space to accommodate the school’s growing enrolments. Funding has been allocated for two additional classrooms at the main campus as well as a new site at Pickles Street in South Melbourne. The funding will also be used to relocate Melbourne City Mission, including the refurbishment of leased space at Melbourne Polytechnic in Prahran. The Labor Government’s huge investment in Victoria’s schools means more than $2.5 billion has now been invested in school infrastructure over the past three years, with 56 new schools being delivered across the state. The Victorian Budget 2017/18 invested $685 million to improve classrooms, upgrade facilities and build new schools across the state, as well as creating local jobs. This includes $195 million to upgrade and modernise schools. The projects include new classrooms, STEM facilities, gymnasiums and playgrounds at 59 regional schools and 49 metropolitan schools. The Government is building the Education State so that every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want to make sure that our schools have the best facilities, our classrooms have the best teachers and that every child is given every chance to succeed.” “Former Liberal governments closed down schools in the inner city and we are doing the exact opposite – investing in schools like Albert Park College so they can grow and accommodate more students.” Quotes attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “Albert Park College is a fantastic school and it’s no surprise that enrolment numbers are booming.” “This investment will provide much needed classroom space; I can’t wait to stop by again soon and check how the new buildings are progressing.” Download the Media Release (357 KB)

New Facilities For Students In Melbourne’s East

Families in Melbourne’s east are one step closer to receiving first rate school facilities, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane today visited Sacred Heart Primary School to review the designs for a $2.7 million upgrade. Relocatable buildings will be demolished and twelve brand new classrooms and break out areas will be built at the Croydon school. The school is contributing $1.5 million to the upgrades and the Labor Government $1.2 million. The upgrades will ensure local families can access a great local school equipped to deliver the best possible education. The Labor Government has invested more than $2.5 billion in schools with 1000 school upgrades currently underway and 56 new schools being built across the state. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are undertaking the largest reform of Victorian schools in nearly 150 years, and I’m determined that the benefits apply to schools across the state.” “I attended St Edmunds School in Croydon, which was one of the schools that merged to create Sacred Heart. Since then the facilities have improved significantly and these upgrades will make a real difference.” Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane “These building projects will ensure that our communities thrive and prosper. I look forward to visiting Sacred Heart again to see how the upgrades are coming along.” Download the Media Release (354 KB)

New Facilities For Students In Melbourne’s East

Families in Melbourne’s east are one step closer to receiving first rate school facilities, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane today visited Sacred Heart Primary School to review the designs for a $2.7 million upgrade. Relocatable buildings will be demolished and twelve brand new classrooms and break out areas will be built at the Croydon school. The school is contributing $1.5 million to the upgrades and the Labor Government $1.2 million. The upgrades will ensure local families can access a great local school equipped to deliver the best possible education. The Labor Government has invested more than $2.5 billion in schools with 1000 school upgrades currently underway and 56 new schools being built across the state. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are undertaking the largest reform of Victorian schools in nearly 150 years, and I’m determined that the benefits apply to schools across the state.” “I attended St Edmunds School in Croydon, which was one of the schools that merged to create Sacred Heart. Since then the facilities have improved significantly and these upgrades will make a real difference.” Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane “These building projects will ensure that our communities thrive and prosper. I look forward to visiting Sacred Heart again to see how the upgrades are coming along.” Download the Media Release (354 KB)

New Facilities For Students In Melbourne’s North East

Families in Melbourne’s North East are getting the first rate facilities they deserve. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green today visited Wattle Glen Primary School to mark the grand opening of more than $1.8 million in school upgrades. Students at the Nillumbik school will benefit from a new accessibility ramp, staff car park and resurfaced basketball and multi-purpose courts – one of which has a new roof and amphitheatre-style seating The school’s walkways and paths have levelled and resurfaced and pedestrian gates and fences repaired. New learning terraces have been constructed and work done to repair staff room, toilets, reception and classrooms. Wattle Glen’s oval has been resurfaced with artificial turf and turned into a soccer pitch. The upgrades will ensure local families can access a great local school equipped to deliver the best possible education. The brand new sports facilities will help the school meet Education State targets of increasing physical activity among students. This includes increasing the proportion of kids doing physical activity five times a week increased by 20 per cent. The Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $2.5 billion in schools with 1,000 school upgrades currently underway and 56 new school being built across the state. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are undertaking the largest reform of Victorian schools in nearly 150 years, and I’m determined that the benefits apply across all sectors of our education system.” “We are investing in our students no matter where they live, building sports and cultural facilities that the whole community can be proud of.” Quote attributable to Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green “These building projects will ensure that our communities thrive and prosper. It’s not only students that will benefit from the new sports facilities and amphitheatre, community groups will also enjoy these upgrades.” Download the Media Release (354 KB)

New Facilities For Students In Melbourne’s North East

Families in Melbourne’s North East are getting the first rate facilities they deserve. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green today visited Wattle Glen Primary School to mark the grand opening of more than $1.8 million in school upgrades. Students at the Nillumbik school will benefit from a new accessibility ramp, staff car park and resurfaced basketball and multi-purpose courts – one of which has a new roof and amphitheatre-style seating The school’s walkways and paths have levelled and resurfaced and pedestrian gates and fences repaired. New learning terraces have been constructed and work done to repair staff room, toilets, reception and classrooms. Wattle Glen’s oval has been resurfaced with artificial turf and turned into a soccer pitch. The upgrades will ensure local families can access a great local school equipped to deliver the best possible education. The brand new sports facilities will help the school meet Education State targets of increasing physical activity among students. This includes increasing the proportion of kids doing physical activity five times a week increased by 20 per cent. The Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $2.5 billion in schools with 1,000 school upgrades currently underway and 56 new school being built across the state. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are undertaking the largest reform of Victorian schools in nearly 150 years, and I’m determined that the benefits apply across all sectors of our education system.” “We are investing in our students no matter where they live, building sports and cultural facilities that the whole community can be proud of.” Quote attributable to Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green “These building projects will ensure that our communities thrive and prosper. It’s not only students that will benefit from the new sports facilities and amphitheatre, community groups will also enjoy these upgrades.” Download the Media Release (354 KB)

Grants to Help Business Cut Energy Costs by up to $50,000

James Merlino MP, Member for Monbulk is encouraging local businesses to save money on their energy bills with the Andrews Labor Government’s Boosting Business Productivity Energy Assessment Grants. Small businesses spending more than $20,000 a year on energy could apply for a basic energy assessment up to $2,000 and a detailed energy assessment up to $6,000. A $3,000 implementation bonus is also available to both grant types to carry out one or more of the recommendations from their assessment. These might include fitting variable speed drives to fan drives on existing variable air volume heating, ventilating, or air conditioning systems. Another option may be to install fast rolling doors or clear plastic strips to prevent heat gain or loss on large warehouse doors. “An energy assessment can be extremely beneficial to your business. Undertaken by experts, they will provide tailored advice on how you can cut your energy costs and improve productivity”. “Businesses can save, on average, more than $50,000 each year on energy bills alone,” James Merlino said. A further $630,000 was allocated to the Boosting Business Productivity grants program in the recent Budget. Small and medium sized manufacturers can now apply for a Materials Efficiency Grant of up $13,000 to improve materials efficiency, reducing waste sent to landfill. Grant applications are now open. For more information visit www.sustainability.vic.gov.au, or call 1300 363 744 to speak to a Boosting Productivity adviser.

Grants to Help Business Cut Energy Costs by up to $50,000

James Merlino MP, Member for Monbulk is encouraging local businesses to save money on their energy bills with the Andrews Labor Government’s Boosting Business Productivity Energy Assessment Grants. Small businesses spending more than $20,000 a year on energy could apply for a basic energy assessment up to $2,000 and a detailed energy assessment up to $6,000. A $3,000 implementation bonus is also available to both grant types to carry out one or more of the recommendations from their assessment. These might include fitting variable speed drives to fan drives on existing variable air volume heating, ventilating, or air conditioning systems. Another option may be to install fast rolling doors or clear plastic strips to prevent heat gain or loss on large warehouse doors. “An energy assessment can be extremely beneficial to your business. Undertaken by experts, they will provide tailored advice on how you can cut your energy costs and improve productivity”. “Businesses can save, on average, more than $50,000 each year on energy bills alone,” James Merlino said. A further $630,000 was allocated to the Boosting Business Productivity grants program in the recent Budget. Small and medium sized manufacturers can now apply for a Materials Efficiency Grant of up $13,000 to improve materials efficiency, reducing waste sent to landfill. Grant applications are now open. For more information visit www.sustainability.vic.gov.au, or call 1300 363 744 to speak to a Boosting Productivity adviser.

A STRONGER, BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR STUDENTS IN MONBULK

Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP, today announced that the Andrews Labor Government is providing support to make sure young people at risk of disadvantage in Monbulk can continue their education and face a brighter future. Applications open today for a $1,100 Victorian Government scholarship, to students who live in public or community housing, or who are at risk of homelessness. There are 230 scholarships available, designed to assist with expenses such as books, laptops and course fees. The scholarship program provides financial support to help young people to continue their secondary education. Students are eligible to apply for a scholarship if they are under 21 years of age, experiencing financial hardship, and living in social housing or at risk of homelessness. Students must be studying in Year 11 or Year 12 at a Victorian Government school - or the equivalent at TAFE - for the 2018 academic year. Successful recipients of the scholarship will have the potential to achieve a good attendance record and successful educational outcomes during the year, and must be supported within their school by a staff member such as a well-being coordinator or counsellor. Administered by Kids under Cover, a not-for-profit organisation that assists young people at risk of homelessness, the scholarships have assisted 1,300 students in the last seven years. Teachers are invited to nominate eligible young people in their school or TAFE. Applications can be made between 22 May and 30 June 2017. For more information go to www.kuc.org.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley “These scholarships are just one small way we are able to support young people no matter their background or where they live, in order for them to focus on their education and realise their potential.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “These scholarships will allow schools in Monbulk to really make a difference in the lives of their students who may be experiencing disadvantage, so all young people can have the best possible chance at success.” “It’s important that young people in Monbulk are given every opportunity to remain in school and see education as a way of achieving their dreams.”

A STRONGER, BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR STUDENTS IN MONBULK

Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP, today announced that the Andrews Labor Government is providing support to make sure young people at risk of disadvantage in Monbulk can continue their education and face a brighter future. Applications open today for a $1,100 Victorian Government scholarship, to students who live in public or community housing, or who are at risk of homelessness. There are 230 scholarships available, designed to assist with expenses such as books, laptops and course fees. The scholarship program provides financial support to help young people to continue their secondary education. Students are eligible to apply for a scholarship if they are under 21 years of age, experiencing financial hardship, and living in social housing or at risk of homelessness. Students must be studying in Year 11 or Year 12 at a Victorian Government school - or the equivalent at TAFE - for the 2018 academic year. Successful recipients of the scholarship will have the potential to achieve a good attendance record and successful educational outcomes during the year, and must be supported within their school by a staff member such as a well-being coordinator or counsellor. Administered by Kids under Cover, a not-for-profit organisation that assists young people at risk of homelessness, the scholarships have assisted 1,300 students in the last seven years. Teachers are invited to nominate eligible young people in their school or TAFE. Applications can be made between 22 May and 30 June 2017. For more information go to www.kuc.org.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley “These scholarships are just one small way we are able to support young people no matter their background or where they live, in order for them to focus on their education and realise their potential.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “These scholarships will allow schools in Monbulk to really make a difference in the lives of their students who may be experiencing disadvantage, so all young people can have the best possible chance at success.” “It’s important that young people in Monbulk are given every opportunity to remain in school and see education as a way of achieving their dreams.”

Battin Censured: Time For Shadow Minister To Go

The Victorian Parliament has today censured the embattled Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Brad Battin for his disgraceful comments denigrating the service of Black Saturday firefighters. Mr Battin has refused to make a personal explanation for the dishonest and offensive remarks he made to the Parliament on 10 May 2017, when he said: “When we go back to February 2009, the minister should be able to tell us how many career firefighters were on the firefighting ground on 7 February for the first 5 1⁄2 hours of Black Saturday. I can tell the house that it was zero.”                            Given the chance to explain himself today, the Shadow Minister refused. Not once during the censure debate did Brad Battin apologise for his slur against our Black Saturday heroes. The time has come for Matthew Guy to show some backbone and sack the Shadow Minister. Matthew Guy refused to defend Brad Battin in the Parliament today, he should stop defending him in public. All our firefighters deserve our respect – not the insults and lies peddled by the Liberal Party. Quotes attributable to the Emergency Services Minister James Merlino “Matthew Guy needs to show some leadership and sack the embattled Brad Battin.” “If he does not do so, he stands condemned as someone who supports his Shadow Minister’s disgraceful slurs.” “Our Black Saturday firefighters are heroes – they should always be treated with honour and respect, not lied about in the Victorian Parliament.” Download the Media Release (173 KB)

Battin Censured: Time For Shadow Minister To Go

The Victorian Parliament has today censured the embattled Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Brad Battin for his disgraceful comments denigrating the service of Black Saturday firefighters. Mr Battin has refused to make a personal explanation for the dishonest and offensive remarks he made to the Parliament on 10 May 2017, when he said: “When we go back to February 2009, the minister should be able to tell us how many career firefighters were on the firefighting ground on 7 February for the first 5 1⁄2 hours of Black Saturday. I can tell the house that it was zero.”                            Given the chance to explain himself today, the Shadow Minister refused. Not once during the censure debate did Brad Battin apologise for his slur against our Black Saturday heroes. The time has come for Matthew Guy to show some backbone and sack the Shadow Minister. Matthew Guy refused to defend Brad Battin in the Parliament today, he should stop defending him in public. All our firefighters deserve our respect – not the insults and lies peddled by the Liberal Party. Quotes attributable to the Emergency Services Minister James Merlino “Matthew Guy needs to show some leadership and sack the embattled Brad Battin.” “If he does not do so, he stands condemned as someone who supports his Shadow Minister’s disgraceful slurs.” “Our Black Saturday firefighters are heroes – they should always be treated with honour and respect, not lied about in the Victorian Parliament.” Download the Media Release (173 KB)

Delivering Firefighters Cancer Compensation

The Andrews Labor Government is legislating to provide presumptive rights to cancer compensation for both career and volunteer firefighters along with delivering other changes to build modern fire services for a growing Victoria. Premier Daniel Andrews and Deputy Premier James Merlino were joined by firefighters who fought on Black Saturday as the Labor Government introduces the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2017. The Bill delivers to career and volunteer firefighters who access claims for cancer compensation a legal presumption that the cause of their cancer was firefighting. These laws recognise the invaluable service provided by firefighters, which often requires them to work in inherently dangerous situations. Administered through WorkSafe, the new scheme will apply to career and volunteer firefighters who have served as firefighters for the relevant number of years, depending on the cancer type, and have been diagnosed since 1 June 2016. Rules that require firefighters to have attended a specific number of fires are problematic, so the requirements are being modelled on Queensland, which has no specific incident requirements. The scheme will also take into account exceptional exposure events, enabling firefighters who have attended such an event to qualify for the presumption even if they do not meet the minimum years of service. An expert committee will be established to advise WorkSafe on these matters. The Government will also create a dedicated assistance fund to support the very small number of people who may not fit the criteria of this scheme. The Bill will also establish Fire Rescue Victoria and further enshrine the CFA as a volunteer firefighting organisation. FRV will be led by a new Fire Rescue Commissioner, and a Strategic Advisory Committee will be established in legislation to advise FRV on a range of organisational matters. The Bill will enshrine the central role of volunteers in the CFA, by creating an additional responsibility for the CFA Board to support the recruitment, development and retention of volunteers. The Bill also proposes to alter the boundary of the Metropolitan Fire District to include outer suburban and major regional areas serviced by the 35 CFA integrated stations. The Bill will establish a Fire District Review Panel to undertake future reviews of the boundary between FRV and CFA areas. Importantly, the Bill ensures that volunteers at the 35 integrated stations transferring to FRV can continue to operate as they have under the leadership of the CFA Chief Officer, by providing additional powers that the CFA may exercise within the Fire Rescue Victoria fire district. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Firefighters risk their lives to keep us safe and they deserve our total support – making these important changes will enshrine that in law.” “No longer will firefighters have to prove the clear medical link between cancer and firefighting.” Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Long-awaited presumptive cancer rights for volunteer and career firefighters were denied by the previous Liberal Government, but they will now be delivered.” “These important changes will deliver more modern fire services for a growing Victoria, making our state even safer.” Download the Media Release (122 KB)

Delivering Firefighters Cancer Compensation

The Andrews Labor Government is legislating to provide presumptive rights to cancer compensation for both career and volunteer firefighters along with delivering other changes to build modern fire services for a growing Victoria. Premier Daniel Andrews and Deputy Premier James Merlino were joined by firefighters who fought on Black Saturday as the Labor Government introduces the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2017. The Bill delivers to career and volunteer firefighters who access claims for cancer compensation a legal presumption that the cause of their cancer was firefighting. These laws recognise the invaluable service provided by firefighters, which often requires them to work in inherently dangerous situations. Administered through WorkSafe, the new scheme will apply to career and volunteer firefighters who have served as firefighters for the relevant number of years, depending on the cancer type, and have been diagnosed since 1 June 2016. Rules that require firefighters to have attended a specific number of fires are problematic, so the requirements are being modelled on Queensland, which has no specific incident requirements. The scheme will also take into account exceptional exposure events, enabling firefighters who have attended such an event to qualify for the presumption even if they do not meet the minimum years of service. An expert committee will be established to advise WorkSafe on these matters. The Government will also create a dedicated assistance fund to support the very small number of people who may not fit the criteria of this scheme. The Bill will also establish Fire Rescue Victoria and further enshrine the CFA as a volunteer firefighting organisation. FRV will be led by a new Fire Rescue Commissioner, and a Strategic Advisory Committee will be established in legislation to advise FRV on a range of organisational matters. The Bill will enshrine the central role of volunteers in the CFA, by creating an additional responsibility for the CFA Board to support the recruitment, development and retention of volunteers. The Bill also proposes to alter the boundary of the Metropolitan Fire District to include outer suburban and major regional areas serviced by the 35 CFA integrated stations. The Bill will establish a Fire District Review Panel to undertake future reviews of the boundary between FRV and CFA areas. Importantly, the Bill ensures that volunteers at the 35 integrated stations transferring to FRV can continue to operate as they have under the leadership of the CFA Chief Officer, by providing additional powers that the CFA may exercise within the Fire Rescue Victoria fire district. Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews “Firefighters risk their lives to keep us safe and they deserve our total support – making these important changes will enshrine that in law.” “No longer will firefighters have to prove the clear medical link between cancer and firefighting.” Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Long-awaited presumptive cancer rights for volunteer and career firefighters were denied by the previous Liberal Government, but they will now be delivered.” “These important changes will deliver more modern fire services for a growing Victoria, making our state even safer.” Download the Media Release (122 KB)