• 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

MEN’S SHEDS HELPING LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN MONBULK

Communities around Victoria are set to benefit from more Men’s Sheds, thanks to $879,000 in funding from the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP said the grants will help communities provide a space for men to meet, reconnect and participate in their local communities. Men’s sheds also give men the opportunity help their local communities, from creating nesting boxes for endangered species and doing maintenance work for pensioners. With over 350 men’s sheds already operating across Victoria, this funding will provide more opportunities for men to participate locally and interact in a safe and inclusive environment. Importantly, the sheds also provide community support especially during periods of economic and social change. Grants of up to $60,000 are available for communities to build a new shed, or up to $30,000 to refurbish an existing one. Community groups and local councils are encouraged to apply, especially those from rural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and areas that are experiencing significant economic and social change. The Labor Government provides $1 million per year through the Men’s Shed program, including funding to support the Victorian Men’s Shed’s Association in strengthening the capacity of men’s sheds. For more information visit http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-business-and-community/community-involvement/men-in-the-community/mens-sheds Quotes attributable to James Merlino MP, State Member for Monbulk “Men’s sheds are a huge asset for local communities – they give men the opportunity to interact in a safe space and give back to their communities.” “This new funding will help provide more spaces like this around the state.”

MEN’S SHEDS HELPING LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN MONBULK

Communities around Victoria are set to benefit from more Men’s Sheds, thanks to $879,000 in funding from the Andrews Labor Government. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP said the grants will help communities provide a space for men to meet, reconnect and participate in their local communities. Men’s sheds also give men the opportunity help their local communities, from creating nesting boxes for endangered species and doing maintenance work for pensioners. With over 350 men’s sheds already operating across Victoria, this funding will provide more opportunities for men to participate locally and interact in a safe and inclusive environment. Importantly, the sheds also provide community support especially during periods of economic and social change. Grants of up to $60,000 are available for communities to build a new shed, or up to $30,000 to refurbish an existing one. Community groups and local councils are encouraged to apply, especially those from rural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and areas that are experiencing significant economic and social change. The Labor Government provides $1 million per year through the Men’s Shed program, including funding to support the Victorian Men’s Shed’s Association in strengthening the capacity of men’s sheds. For more information visit http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-business-and-community/community-involvement/men-in-the-community/mens-sheds Quotes attributable to James Merlino MP, State Member for Monbulk “Men’s sheds are a huge asset for local communities – they give men the opportunity to interact in a safe space and give back to their communities.” “This new funding will help provide more spaces like this around the state.”

THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: MORE JOBS, GREAT CAUSES

Australia’s first-ever strategy for social enterprises has been unveiled by the Andrews Labor Government to strengthen the sector and create more employment opportunities for disadvantaged Victorians. Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan today launched the Social Enterprise Strategy while meeting workers at Yarra View Nursery in Mount Evelyn – a wholesale supplier of tens of thousands of plants for the re-vegetation of the Bayswater Level Crossing Removal Project. Victoria is now home to Australia’s largest collection of social enterprises, with more than 5,000 operating state-wide, employing more than 75,000 Victorians. They’re addressing the biggest social and economic challenges in our community by offering products, skills and training, and creating new jobs for disadvantaged Victorians. The Social Enterprise Strategy identifies key areas for action including increasing the impact and innovation of social enterprise, building business capacity and skills, and improving market access. The Labor Government will spend $5 million to implement eight key initiatives including: establishing a new Social Enterprise Network across Victoria to better connect the sector building an online market to connect buyers with social enterprises training opportunities and support for more than 100 social enterprises to expand their business A new social procurement framework will also be developed to allow government contracts to purchase goods and services from social enterprises. The Government has consulted with more than 160 social enterprises and stakeholders to ensure the strategy reflects the needs of the sector. You can access the Social Enterprise Strategy at www.economicdevelopment.vic.gov.au/social-enterprise Quotes attributable to Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan “Victoria has a nation-leading social enterprise sector, and the future of this industry couldn’t be brighter.” “This is a landmark strategy that supports initiatives to grow jobs, boost market access and support the growth of social enterprises.” Quotes attributable to Minister of Finance Robin Scott “We want to encourage more social enterprises into the market by giving the Government greater access to their goods and services.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “Yarra View Nursery in Mount Evelyn is an outstanding example of a social enterprise making a huge difference in the local community – creating jobs for disadvantaged Victorians and producing high quality plants.”

THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: MORE JOBS, GREAT CAUSES

Australia’s first-ever strategy for social enterprises has been unveiled by the Andrews Labor Government to strengthen the sector and create more employment opportunities for disadvantaged Victorians. Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan today launched the Social Enterprise Strategy while meeting workers at Yarra View Nursery in Mount Evelyn – a wholesale supplier of tens of thousands of plants for the re-vegetation of the Bayswater Level Crossing Removal Project. Victoria is now home to Australia’s largest collection of social enterprises, with more than 5,000 operating state-wide, employing more than 75,000 Victorians. They’re addressing the biggest social and economic challenges in our community by offering products, skills and training, and creating new jobs for disadvantaged Victorians. The Social Enterprise Strategy identifies key areas for action including increasing the impact and innovation of social enterprise, building business capacity and skills, and improving market access. The Labor Government will spend $5 million to implement eight key initiatives including: establishing a new Social Enterprise Network across Victoria to better connect the sector building an online market to connect buyers with social enterprises training opportunities and support for more than 100 social enterprises to expand their business A new social procurement framework will also be developed to allow government contracts to purchase goods and services from social enterprises. The Government has consulted with more than 160 social enterprises and stakeholders to ensure the strategy reflects the needs of the sector. You can access the Social Enterprise Strategy at www.economicdevelopment.vic.gov.au/social-enterprise Quotes attributable to Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan “Victoria has a nation-leading social enterprise sector, and the future of this industry couldn’t be brighter.” “This is a landmark strategy that supports initiatives to grow jobs, boost market access and support the growth of social enterprises.” Quotes attributable to Minister of Finance Robin Scott “We want to encourage more social enterprises into the market by giving the Government greater access to their goods and services.” Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino “Yarra View Nursery in Mount Evelyn is an outstanding example of a social enterprise making a huge difference in the local community – creating jobs for disadvantaged Victorians and producing high quality plants.”

Back To School: Slow Down And Cross Safely

Drivers are being urged to slow down and be cautious around school zones next week as the back to school rush gets underway. Reduced speed limits will be back in place outside schools across Victoria from Tuesday 31 January, to keep kids safe as they head back to school for 2017. Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan visited Richmond Primary School to urge drivers to slow down and take extra care around schools. Speed limits will drop to either 40km/h or 60km/h outside schools in the morning from 8am to 9.30am, and in the afternoon from 2.30pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday. School speed zones are designed to improve road safety and keep our children safe, while taking into account issues such as high traffic volumes, peak school pedestrian hours and school holidays. The school speed zone limits are clearly signposted with permanent speed limit signs, advance warning signs, time based signs or electronic variable signs. Mr Merlino also called on Victorians to get active and encourage children to walk or ride to school. Allowing children to get to places on their own helps them develop self-confidence and independence, get to know their neighbourhoods and get their recommended one hour of physical activity a day. School speed limits will apply from Tuesday 31 January to the end of the school year on Friday 22 December (Monday to Friday, except for school holidays and public holidays). Drivers must obey reduced speed limits outside all schools on these days even if an individual school is closed. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Walking or riding to school is a great way for children to keep active, but it also means drivers need to take extra care around school zones and look out for kids on bikes and scooters, as well as on foot.” “A small reduction in speed can dramatically increase the chance of a child surviving if they are hit by a car.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan “Going back to school is an exciting time for students, but we mustn’t forget that they can be unpredictable, fast and difficult to see.” “We’re urging parents to talk to their children about safely crossing the road and encouraging the basics of road safety.” Download the Media Release (351 kB)

Back To School: Slow Down And Cross Safely

Drivers are being urged to slow down and be cautious around school zones next week as the back to school rush gets underway. Reduced speed limits will be back in place outside schools across Victoria from Tuesday 31 January, to keep kids safe as they head back to school for 2017. Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan visited Richmond Primary School to urge drivers to slow down and take extra care around schools. Speed limits will drop to either 40km/h or 60km/h outside schools in the morning from 8am to 9.30am, and in the afternoon from 2.30pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday. School speed zones are designed to improve road safety and keep our children safe, while taking into account issues such as high traffic volumes, peak school pedestrian hours and school holidays. The school speed zone limits are clearly signposted with permanent speed limit signs, advance warning signs, time based signs or electronic variable signs. Mr Merlino also called on Victorians to get active and encourage children to walk or ride to school. Allowing children to get to places on their own helps them develop self-confidence and independence, get to know their neighbourhoods and get their recommended one hour of physical activity a day. School speed limits will apply from Tuesday 31 January to the end of the school year on Friday 22 December (Monday to Friday, except for school holidays and public holidays). Drivers must obey reduced speed limits outside all schools on these days even if an individual school is closed. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Walking or riding to school is a great way for children to keep active, but it also means drivers need to take extra care around school zones and look out for kids on bikes and scooters, as well as on foot.” “A small reduction in speed can dramatically increase the chance of a child surviving if they are hit by a car.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan “Going back to school is an exciting time for students, but we mustn’t forget that they can be unpredictable, fast and difficult to see.” “We’re urging parents to talk to their children about safely crossing the road and encouraging the basics of road safety.” Download the Media Release (351 kB)

Emergency Workers Receive Australia Day Honours

Twelve Victorian emergency service members have made the 2017 Australia Day Honours List for their dedicated service to the people of Victoria. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today congratulated the staff and volunteers receiving the prestigious medals in fire and emergency services. Nine staff and volunteer members of the Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP) received the Australian Fire Service Medal for distinguished service in Australian fire services. William Bowery, CFA volunteer and Australia Day Citizen of the Year 2012, was among the list of this year’s Australian Fire Service Medal recipients. Mr Bowery, a Life Member of Kangaroo Flat CFA, was honoured for 67 years of service and commended for his work in community education and the Fire Safe Kids program. Australian Fire Service Medal recipient Kendra Dean was honoured for her 30 years of service in operational policy and forest management roles with DEWLP. Ms Dean held the position of State Agency Commander from 2008 until 2016, and led the response to the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission on behalf of the department. Emergency Service Medal recipient John Retchford, Bush Search and Rescue’s longest serving Field Organiser, was honoured for 55 years of volunteer service. He lead numerous searches in Victoria and interstate including a 10-day search through difficult terrain in Wilsons Promontory in 1987. A Victorian volunteer from the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) and a volunteer from the Volunteer Marine Rescue were also awarded the Emergency Services Medals. For more information on all of the 2017 Australia Day honorees, visit www.gg.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Our medal recipients have long-spanning careers in fire and emergency services and I am proud to see their dedication to protecting Victorians’ communities is being rewarded through our nation’s highest honours system.” “On behalf of the Victorian Government and indeed all Victorians, I congratulate every one of these twelve medal recipients for this well-deserved recognition.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “The staff and volunteers honoured today display a level of passion and commitment to fire and emergency services that goes above and beyond what is expected of them.” 2017 Australian Fire Services Medal recipients Name Agency Years of service Region Kendra Dean DEWLP 30 years Melbourne Phil Pringuer DELWP 16+ years Melbourne Adam Dalrymple MFB 32 years Melbourne Paul Leslie King CFA 30+ years Wodonga – Indigo Shire. Henry Charles Barton CFA 45 years Warrnambool Anthony Reginald Archer CFA volunteer 32 years Kilmore William Bowery CFA volunteer 67 years Kangaroo Flat Graham Petrie CFA volunteer 57 years Kara Kara James Donald Robertson CFA volunteer 35 years Strathkellar – Southern Grampians 2017 Emergency Services Medal recipients Name Agency Years of service Region Shane Lapworth VICSES volunteer 15 years Whittlesea John Retchford Bush Search and Rescue volunteer 55 years Melbourne Garry Moncrieff Volunteer Marine Rescue 36 years Mornington   Download the Media Release (351 kB)

Emergency Workers Receive Australia Day Honours

Twelve Victorian emergency service members have made the 2017 Australia Day Honours List for their dedicated service to the people of Victoria. Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio today congratulated the staff and volunteers receiving the prestigious medals in fire and emergency services. Nine staff and volunteer members of the Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP) received the Australian Fire Service Medal for distinguished service in Australian fire services. William Bowery, CFA volunteer and Australia Day Citizen of the Year 2012, was among the list of this year’s Australian Fire Service Medal recipients. Mr Bowery, a Life Member of Kangaroo Flat CFA, was honoured for 67 years of service and commended for his work in community education and the Fire Safe Kids program. Australian Fire Service Medal recipient Kendra Dean was honoured for her 30 years of service in operational policy and forest management roles with DEWLP. Ms Dean held the position of State Agency Commander from 2008 until 2016, and led the response to the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission on behalf of the department. Emergency Service Medal recipient John Retchford, Bush Search and Rescue’s longest serving Field Organiser, was honoured for 55 years of volunteer service. He lead numerous searches in Victoria and interstate including a 10-day search through difficult terrain in Wilsons Promontory in 1987. A Victorian volunteer from the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) and a volunteer from the Volunteer Marine Rescue were also awarded the Emergency Services Medals. For more information on all of the 2017 Australia Day honorees, visit www.gg.gov.au. Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino “Our medal recipients have long-spanning careers in fire and emergency services and I am proud to see their dedication to protecting Victorians’ communities is being rewarded through our nation’s highest honours system.” “On behalf of the Victorian Government and indeed all Victorians, I congratulate every one of these twelve medal recipients for this well-deserved recognition.” Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio “The staff and volunteers honoured today display a level of passion and commitment to fire and emergency services that goes above and beyond what is expected of them.” 2017 Australian Fire Services Medal recipients Name Agency Years of service Region Kendra Dean DEWLP 30 years Melbourne Phil Pringuer DELWP 16+ years Melbourne Adam Dalrymple MFB 32 years Melbourne Paul Leslie King CFA 30+ years Wodonga – Indigo Shire. Henry Charles Barton CFA 45 years Warrnambool Anthony Reginald Archer CFA volunteer 32 years Kilmore William Bowery CFA volunteer 67 years Kangaroo Flat Graham Petrie CFA volunteer 57 years Kara Kara James Donald Robertson CFA volunteer 35 years Strathkellar – Southern Grampians 2017 Emergency Services Medal recipients Name Agency Years of service Region Shane Lapworth VICSES volunteer 15 years Whittlesea John Retchford Bush Search and Rescue volunteer 55 years Melbourne Garry Moncrieff Volunteer Marine Rescue 36 years Mornington   Download the Media Release (351 kB)

World-First Education Target For Victorian Students

Victoria will be the first jurisdiction in the world to set a target for students in critical and creative thinking. The world-first target aims for a 25 per cent increase in Year 10 students with excellent critical and creative thinking skills by 2025. Achieving this target will mean more than 20 per cent of Victorian Year 10 students will be assessed to have excellent critical and creative thinking skills by 2025. This includes analytial skills, reasoning processes, the ability to unpack problems and build logical, compelling arguments. Critical and Creative Thinking was introduced into the curriculum for prep to Year 10 students in 2016 and an online assessment tool to test these skills was trialled at 52 schools last year. The assessment tool was developed by the Department of Education and Training and the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority, and covers a range of skills relating to questions and possibilities, reasoning and meta-cognition. Students are tested on a range of hypothetical situations or problems that require critical and creative thinking skills to answer. Year 10 students will start taking the online assessment annually from this year. The ability to think critically and creatively will help students improve in all subjects and give our students the skills they need for jobs in a global, high-tech and changing economy. The Andrews Labor Government has set a number of targets to lift student performance as part of its plan to make Victoria the Education State. This includes targets in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subject with a 25 per cent increase in the number of Year 9 students reaching the highest level of achievement in maths and 33 per cent more 15-year-olds reaching the highest levels in science by 2025. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Many of the jobs our kids will have in the future do not even exist right now – that’s why we need to give them high-tech skills and the ability to think critically and creatively so they can thrive in the changing, global economy.” “Setting these ambitious targets in areas like science, maths, literacy, critical and creative thinking will give our kids the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”  Download the Media Release (143 kB)

World-First Education Target For Victorian Students

Victoria will be the first jurisdiction in the world to set a target for students in critical and creative thinking. The world-first target aims for a 25 per cent increase in Year 10 students with excellent critical and creative thinking skills by 2025. Achieving this target will mean more than 20 per cent of Victorian Year 10 students will be assessed to have excellent critical and creative thinking skills by 2025. This includes analytial skills, reasoning processes, the ability to unpack problems and build logical, compelling arguments. Critical and Creative Thinking was introduced into the curriculum for prep to Year 10 students in 2016 and an online assessment tool to test these skills was trialled at 52 schools last year. The assessment tool was developed by the Department of Education and Training and the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority, and covers a range of skills relating to questions and possibilities, reasoning and meta-cognition. Students are tested on a range of hypothetical situations or problems that require critical and creative thinking skills to answer. Year 10 students will start taking the online assessment annually from this year. The ability to think critically and creatively will help students improve in all subjects and give our students the skills they need for jobs in a global, high-tech and changing economy. The Andrews Labor Government has set a number of targets to lift student performance as part of its plan to make Victoria the Education State. This includes targets in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subject with a 25 per cent increase in the number of Year 9 students reaching the highest level of achievement in maths and 33 per cent more 15-year-olds reaching the highest levels in science by 2025. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Many of the jobs our kids will have in the future do not even exist right now – that’s why we need to give them high-tech skills and the ability to think critically and creatively so they can thrive in the changing, global economy.” “Setting these ambitious targets in areas like science, maths, literacy, critical and creative thinking will give our kids the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”  Download the Media Release (143 kB)

Back to school

Next week students return to school for another year and for our preps this can be an exciting but daunting experience. My son Josh will be starting his first day of school, a day we will never forget. Unfortunately, many families in the local area and across Victoria will find this time of year puts a lot of pressure on household expenses. After you factor in school fees, new school supplies like books, pens and pencils as well as school uniforms, sporting equipment and upcoming school excursions it can really add up. It’s particularly challenging for families with multiple kids heading back to school. That forces some people to make some impossible decisions – like whether buying school supplies means not being able to pay the bills. It’s vital that we give these families a helping hand. That’s why as Education Minister I made sure that there were programs in place to do just that. Over the last two years we have given 25,000 kids a free breakfast so they can concentrate properly at school. Our Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund has helped 180,000 students take parts in camps and excursions. Meanwhile, we have provided 50,000 Victorian families more than 210,000 school uniform items under the Affordable School Uniforms Program over the past two years. We are also set to provide 70,000 students with regular access to healthcare through the Doctors in Secondary School program – another expense that can pinch at this time of year. No child should miss out on the complete school experience, whether they are starting prep or finishing high school. Every step is important and every year of development counts. Last week I chatted to students at a secondary college who were getting news of their first round university of TAFE offers. They were thrilled to be moving on to the next stage of their lives and it was fantastic to talk to them about their plans. One student was off to study law at a prestigious university, others were set to take up a vocational trade. These students wouldn’t be in a position to embark on a chosen career if they hadn’t received a strong education from prep to the last day of year 12. Every student deserves access to a high quality school with good facilities and bright, motivated teachers. A reminder too for everyone – keep a close eye on the roads when walking or cycling to school. There is a 40 kilometre an hour zone covering all roads around our schools but you can never be too careful. So keep an eye out for each other, particularly younger students who may be walking or cycling to school for the first time. If you are dropping the kids off at school or just driving near a school during school hours remind to be extra careful. Unfortunately, children and traffic just aren’t a good mix. They are more easily distracted and have poor peripheral vision so keep a close eye out and slow down. Good luck to all families with children returning to school, especially for those starting out at prep on their first day.

Back to school

Next week students return to school for another year and for our preps this can be an exciting but daunting experience. My son Josh will be starting his first day of school, a day we will never forget. Unfortunately, many families in the local area and across Victoria will find this time of year puts a lot of pressure on household expenses. After you factor in school fees, new school supplies like books, pens and pencils as well as school uniforms, sporting equipment and upcoming school excursions it can really add up. It’s particularly challenging for families with multiple kids heading back to school. That forces some people to make some impossible decisions – like whether buying school supplies means not being able to pay the bills. It’s vital that we give these families a helping hand. That’s why as Education Minister I made sure that there were programs in place to do just that. Over the last two years we have given 25,000 kids a free breakfast so they can concentrate properly at school. Our Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund has helped 180,000 students take parts in camps and excursions. Meanwhile, we have provided 50,000 Victorian families more than 210,000 school uniform items under the Affordable School Uniforms Program over the past two years. We are also set to provide 70,000 students with regular access to healthcare through the Doctors in Secondary School program – another expense that can pinch at this time of year. No child should miss out on the complete school experience, whether they are starting prep or finishing high school. Every step is important and every year of development counts. Last week I chatted to students at a secondary college who were getting news of their first round university of TAFE offers. They were thrilled to be moving on to the next stage of their lives and it was fantastic to talk to them about their plans. One student was off to study law at a prestigious university, others were set to take up a vocational trade. These students wouldn’t be in a position to embark on a chosen career if they hadn’t received a strong education from prep to the last day of year 12. Every student deserves access to a high quality school with good facilities and bright, motivated teachers. A reminder too for everyone – keep a close eye on the roads when walking or cycling to school. There is a 40 kilometre an hour zone covering all roads around our schools but you can never be too careful. So keep an eye out for each other, particularly younger students who may be walking or cycling to school for the first time. If you are dropping the kids off at school or just driving near a school during school hours remind to be extra careful. Unfortunately, children and traffic just aren’t a good mix. They are more easily distracted and have poor peripheral vision so keep a close eye out and slow down. Good luck to all families with children returning to school, especially for those starting out at prep on their first day.

GRANTS TO HONOUR THE SERVICE AND SACRIFICE OF MONBULK’S VETERANS

The Andrews Labor Government is giving communities all over Monbulk new opportunities to honour and commemorate the service of our veterans. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP opened a new series of grants today designed to give locals a chance to reflect on their connections with Australia’s wartime history. Our Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenues of Honour grants program helps communities all over Victoria update tired honour rolls and avenues of honour that commemorate the service of local veterans. Grants of up to $20,000 are available. There are more than 1200 war memorials across Victoria, and many more honour rolls. Of the 325 Avenues of Honour planted since World War I, approximately 50 remain – but many are either overgrown or in need of repair. So many Victorians have a connection with World War I. We’re helping deliver the projects or commemorative activities that commemorate the war that helped shape our history, and the many wars and peacekeeping conflicts since. Grants of up to $80,000 are available for communities to put together the projects that leave a lasting legacy of our veterans and help young people learn about their service. The Anzac Centenary Community Grants Program is administered by the Victorian Veterans Council and is designed to leave a lasting legacy for future generations to cherish. Grants of up to $20,000 per project are available. Grant applications can be made at www.veterans.vic.gov.au/grants prior to February 14. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “We have a proud wartime history in Monbulk and it’s our duty to preserve that legacy.” “This is a great opportunity for local organisations to complete the projects or initiatives that give our veterans the fitting commemoration they deserve.”

GRANTS TO HONOUR THE SERVICE AND SACRIFICE OF MONBULK’S VETERANS

The Andrews Labor Government is giving communities all over Monbulk new opportunities to honour and commemorate the service of our veterans. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP opened a new series of grants today designed to give locals a chance to reflect on their connections with Australia’s wartime history. Our Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenues of Honour grants program helps communities all over Victoria update tired honour rolls and avenues of honour that commemorate the service of local veterans. Grants of up to $20,000 are available. There are more than 1200 war memorials across Victoria, and many more honour rolls. Of the 325 Avenues of Honour planted since World War I, approximately 50 remain – but many are either overgrown or in need of repair. So many Victorians have a connection with World War I. We’re helping deliver the projects or commemorative activities that commemorate the war that helped shape our history, and the many wars and peacekeeping conflicts since. Grants of up to $80,000 are available for communities to put together the projects that leave a lasting legacy of our veterans and help young people learn about their service. The Anzac Centenary Community Grants Program is administered by the Victorian Veterans Council and is designed to leave a lasting legacy for future generations to cherish. Grants of up to $20,000 per project are available. Grant applications can be made at www.veterans.vic.gov.au/grants prior to February 14. Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “We have a proud wartime history in Monbulk and it’s our duty to preserve that legacy.” “This is a great opportunity for local organisations to complete the projects or initiatives that give our veterans the fitting commemoration they deserve.”

PAYING TRIBUTE TO MONBULK SPORTING HEROES

The Monbulk community is being urged to recognise local athletes, clubs, coaches, officials and volunteers that make grassroots sport in Monbulk thrive. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP today encouraged the community to nominate its local sporting heroes for the Victorian Sport Awards, supported by the Andrews Labor Government. The awards bring together the best of the prestigious Vicsport Awards and the Community Sport and Recreation Awards in one special ceremony on 30 March 2017. This marks the start of an exciting new era where we can honour our local sports heroes, from the grassroots to the elite. The awards will showcase excellence in community sport and recreation, side-by-side with achievements in professional sport. Categories include: Coach of the Year, with separate categories for community and elite levels Official of the Year, with separate categories for community and elite levels Community Sporting Club of the Year Community Sporting Event of the Year Young Volunteer of the Year Young Athlete of the Year Masters Sport Award Team of the Year Young Team of the year Male Athlete of the Year Female Athlete of the Year Local Government Initiative of the Year Outdoor/Active Recreation Initiative of the Year Service to Victorian Community Sport & Recreation Now there’s even more opportunity to nominate and honour Victoria’s top performing local athletes, administrators, coaches, officials and organisations for outstanding work in sport and recreation at the community and professional level. Every club, council, team or individual involved in sport and recreation in Monbulk is eligible to be nominated. Nominations are now open and close on January 27. For more information and to submit a nomination go to https://vicsport.com.au/victorian-sport-awards-nominations Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “Grassroots sport is the heart and soul of the Monbulk community. It is the hard work and dedication of local coaches, officials and volunteers that truly make a difference.” “These awards are a chance to recognise those grassroots sport champions who make community sport great. They also honour our inspirational elite sporting heroes that shine on the world stage.” “I urge everyone to consider nominating an athlete, coach, official, volunteer, organisation, club, initiative or event that deserves to be recognised for outstanding achievements in 2016.”

PAYING TRIBUTE TO MONBULK SPORTING HEROES

The Monbulk community is being urged to recognise local athletes, clubs, coaches, officials and volunteers that make grassroots sport in Monbulk thrive. Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP today encouraged the community to nominate its local sporting heroes for the Victorian Sport Awards, supported by the Andrews Labor Government. The awards bring together the best of the prestigious Vicsport Awards and the Community Sport and Recreation Awards in one special ceremony on 30 March 2017. This marks the start of an exciting new era where we can honour our local sports heroes, from the grassroots to the elite. The awards will showcase excellence in community sport and recreation, side-by-side with achievements in professional sport. Categories include: Coach of the Year, with separate categories for community and elite levels Official of the Year, with separate categories for community and elite levels Community Sporting Club of the Year Community Sporting Event of the Year Young Volunteer of the Year Young Athlete of the Year Masters Sport Award Team of the Year Young Team of the year Male Athlete of the Year Female Athlete of the Year Local Government Initiative of the Year Outdoor/Active Recreation Initiative of the Year Service to Victorian Community Sport & Recreation Now there’s even more opportunity to nominate and honour Victoria’s top performing local athletes, administrators, coaches, officials and organisations for outstanding work in sport and recreation at the community and professional level. Every club, council, team or individual involved in sport and recreation in Monbulk is eligible to be nominated. Nominations are now open and close on January 27. For more information and to submit a nomination go to https://vicsport.com.au/victorian-sport-awards-nominations Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk, James Merlino MP “Grassroots sport is the heart and soul of the Monbulk community. It is the hard work and dedication of local coaches, officials and volunteers that truly make a difference.” “These awards are a chance to recognise those grassroots sport champions who make community sport great. They also honour our inspirational elite sporting heroes that shine on the world stage.” “I urge everyone to consider nominating an athlete, coach, official, volunteer, organisation, club, initiative or event that deserves to be recognised for outstanding achievements in 2016.”

 

Principals Of Victoria’s Newest Schools Celebrate Opening

More than 2,700 students will start the 2017 school year in brand new schools thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in education. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Yuroke Ros Spence today joined the principals of Victoria’s 10 new schools to officially open Newbury Primary School. The Craigieburn school will be headed up by principal Michelle Bromfield, who has more than 17 years of teaching experience. It will initially have 297 students with the capacity to accommodate 475 in total. Newbury Primary was designed in partnership with local educational leaders and the community. It features several modern environmental initiatives including high efficiency hydronic heating and extensive insulation. The school has high quality sporting facilities, a video production lab, student kitchen, arts, STEM and digital technologies facilities as well as an adventure playground and outdoor camping learning area. Other new schools to open in 2017 are: Harvest Home Primary School, Mernda Park Primary School, Mernda Central P-12 College, Tulliallan Primary School, Wilandra Rise Primary School, Barton Primary School, John Henry Primary School, Featherbrook P-9 College and Morwell Central Primary School. The new schools will be located within Melbourne’s growth areas of Mernda, Point Cook, Cranbourne North, Cranbourne West, Clyde North and Epping North, as well as in Pakenham and Morwell. The Labor Government has delivered unprecedented investment to build and upgrade schools across Victoria to meet surging enrolments as an extra 90,000 students enter the school system over the next five years. There are now 42 new schools in the construction pipeline – including the 10 brand new government schools opening in 2017 – and more than 1,000 school upgrade projects under way across the state thanks to a $1.8 billion investment in infrastructure. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We have invested more than $1.8 billion in school infrastructure to ensure that all Victorian students have access to a first-rate education.” “Ten new schools will be opening their doors this year and it was inspiring listening to the principals’ visions for their new schools.” Quote attributable to Member for Yuroke Ros Spence “Craigieburn is booming and enrolments are surging. By building this new school we are providing local families with the facilities they deserve and creating bright futures for our students.” Download the Media Release (357 kB)

Principals Of Victoria’s Newest Schools Celebrate Opening

More than 2,700 students will start the 2017 school year in brand new schools thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in education. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Yuroke Ros Spence today joined the principals of Victoria’s 10 new schools to officially open Newbury Primary School. The Craigieburn school will be headed up by principal Michelle Bromfield, who has more than 17 years of teaching experience. It will initially have 297 students with the capacity to accommodate 475 in total. Newbury Primary was designed in partnership with local educational leaders and the community. It features several modern environmental initiatives including high efficiency hydronic heating and extensive insulation. The school has high quality sporting facilities, a video production lab, student kitchen, arts, STEM and digital technologies facilities as well as an adventure playground and outdoor camping learning area. Other new schools to open in 2017 are: Harvest Home Primary School, Mernda Park Primary School, Mernda Central P-12 College, Tulliallan Primary School, Wilandra Rise Primary School, Barton Primary School, John Henry Primary School, Featherbrook P-9 College and Morwell Central Primary School. The new schools will be located within Melbourne’s growth areas of Mernda, Point Cook, Cranbourne North, Cranbourne West, Clyde North and Epping North, as well as in Pakenham and Morwell. The Labor Government has delivered unprecedented investment to build and upgrade schools across Victoria to meet surging enrolments as an extra 90,000 students enter the school system over the next five years. There are now 42 new schools in the construction pipeline – including the 10 brand new government schools opening in 2017 – and more than 1,000 school upgrade projects under way across the state thanks to a $1.8 billion investment in infrastructure. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We have invested more than $1.8 billion in school infrastructure to ensure that all Victorian students have access to a first-rate education.” “Ten new schools will be opening their doors this year and it was inspiring listening to the principals’ visions for their new schools.” Quote attributable to Member for Yuroke Ros Spence “Craigieburn is booming and enrolments are surging. By building this new school we are providing local families with the facilities they deserve and creating bright futures for our students.” Download the Media Release (357 kB)

Digital Curriculum To Prepare Kids For Jobs Of Tomorrow

Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Sydenham Natalie Hutchins today marked the start of the new Digital Technologies curriculum with a tour of Taylors Lakes Primary School’s new Coding and Technology space. The space will be used by students and teachers from Taylors Lakes Primary and surrounding schools to hone their digital coding and critical thinking skills. The school will draw on funding it has received under the Andrews Labor Government’s $566 million equity funding boost to employ a full-time specialist coding teacher in 2017. The new Victorian curriculum – which will be implemented in government and Catholic schools this year –  includes a strong focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. One of the new learning areas, Digital Technologies, focuses on developing students’ thought processes in order to unravel problems, and then design and generate digital solutions. The Labor Government is investing $21.6 million to support teachers implementing the new curriculum and has set ambitious targets to boost student performance. This includes a 25 per cent increase in the number of year nine students reaching the highest level of achievement in maths and 33 per cent more 15-year-olds reaching the highest levels in science. The Government is also investing $125 million to create 10 Tech Schools, which will provide a shared campus for students from neighbouring secondary schools to access leading edge technology and resources for STEM subjects. The STEM Catalysts initiative is training 60 teachers across 30 secondary schools to become experts who help fellow teachers bring science, technology, engineering and maths alive for Year 7 and 8 students. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want all Victorian kids to have the opportunity to develop the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.” “The Digital Technologies curriculum will enable students to become confident and creative developers of digital solutions through computer coding and other advanced skills.” Quote attributable to Minister for Innovation Philip Dalidakis “Introducing coding and an understanding of digital technology in the school curriculum is a game-changer. It will give students the skills they need today, to do the jobs of tomorrow.” Quotes attributable to Member for Sydenham Natalie Hutchins “Taylors Lakes Primary School is a wonderful school and students are really grasping the opportunity to learn more about coding and critical thinking.” “All students at the school participated in coding activities in their classrooms throughout 2016 and they are thriving in the Coding and Technology space.”     Download the Media Release (360 kB)

Digital Curriculum To Prepare Kids For Jobs Of Tomorrow

Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Sydenham Natalie Hutchins today marked the start of the new Digital Technologies curriculum with a tour of Taylors Lakes Primary School’s new Coding and Technology space. The space will be used by students and teachers from Taylors Lakes Primary and surrounding schools to hone their digital coding and critical thinking skills. The school will draw on funding it has received under the Andrews Labor Government’s $566 million equity funding boost to employ a full-time specialist coding teacher in 2017. The new Victorian curriculum – which will be implemented in government and Catholic schools this year –  includes a strong focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. One of the new learning areas, Digital Technologies, focuses on developing students’ thought processes in order to unravel problems, and then design and generate digital solutions. The Labor Government is investing $21.6 million to support teachers implementing the new curriculum and has set ambitious targets to boost student performance. This includes a 25 per cent increase in the number of year nine students reaching the highest level of achievement in maths and 33 per cent more 15-year-olds reaching the highest levels in science. The Government is also investing $125 million to create 10 Tech Schools, which will provide a shared campus for students from neighbouring secondary schools to access leading edge technology and resources for STEM subjects. The STEM Catalysts initiative is training 60 teachers across 30 secondary schools to become experts who help fellow teachers bring science, technology, engineering and maths alive for Year 7 and 8 students. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want all Victorian kids to have the opportunity to develop the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.” “The Digital Technologies curriculum will enable students to become confident and creative developers of digital solutions through computer coding and other advanced skills.” Quote attributable to Minister for Innovation Philip Dalidakis “Introducing coding and an understanding of digital technology in the school curriculum is a game-changer. It will give students the skills they need today, to do the jobs of tomorrow.” Quotes attributable to Member for Sydenham Natalie Hutchins “Taylors Lakes Primary School is a wonderful school and students are really grasping the opportunity to learn more about coding and critical thinking.” “All students at the school participated in coding activities in their classrooms throughout 2016 and they are thriving in the Coding and Technology space.”     Download the Media Release (360 kB)

Building The Education State In Albert Park

Albert Park College students heading back to school this year will be joined by construction workers, with a $900,000 upgrade underway thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Today, construction started on two new classrooms above the College’s gymnasium to help accommodate growing enrolments. Plans for the new classrooms have been drawn up by Six Degrees Architects and Stokes Rousseau have been appointed builders. The classrooms are expected to be ready around mid-2017. More than 90,000 students are forecast to enter our schools over the next five years due to Victoria’s population boom and there is a growing demand across the inner city. Last October the Labor Government announced a further four new schools for inner city families, as well as extra classrooms for Albert Park College. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following our record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. You can find information on more than 1000 building projects going on across Victoria on the Victorian School Building Authority’s website: http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/home.aspx Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are transforming Victoria into the Education State so that every child can access a great school – no matter where they live.” “A high-quality education system must be matched by learning environments where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers – and that’s exactly what these new facilities at Albert Park  will provide.” Quote attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “Teachers and students will thrive in these fantastic new facilities and reap their benefits for years to come.” Download the Media Release (355 kB)

Building The Education State In Albert Park

Albert Park College students heading back to school this year will be joined by construction workers, with a $900,000 upgrade underway thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Today, construction started on two new classrooms above the College’s gymnasium to help accommodate growing enrolments. Plans for the new classrooms have been drawn up by Six Degrees Architects and Stokes Rousseau have been appointed builders. The classrooms are expected to be ready around mid-2017. More than 90,000 students are forecast to enter our schools over the next five years due to Victoria’s population boom and there is a growing demand across the inner city. Last October the Labor Government announced a further four new schools for inner city families, as well as extra classrooms for Albert Park College. There are now 42 new government schools and hundreds of school upgrades in the construction pipeline following our record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. This school building boom will create 4000 construction jobs and ensure all Victorian families have access to a great school no matter where they live. You can find information on more than 1000 building projects going on across Victoria on the Victorian School Building Authority’s website: http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/pages/home.aspx Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are transforming Victoria into the Education State so that every child can access a great school – no matter where they live.” “A high-quality education system must be matched by learning environments where students are engaged, stimulated and encouraged to be creative thinkers – and that’s exactly what these new facilities at Albert Park  will provide.” Quote attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “Teachers and students will thrive in these fantastic new facilities and reap their benefits for years to come.” Download the Media Release (355 kB)

Next Phase Of Doctors In Secondary Schools Rollout

Thousands of Victorian students will have access to the healthcare they need 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 Eaglehawk Secondary College in Bendigo to release the starting dates for the remaining 80 schools taking part in the Doctors in Secondary Schools program. In October last year the first 20 schools providing on-site GP services were announced. Another 40 schools, including Eaglehawk Secondary College, will commence from term three 2017 and the final 40 schools from term one 2018. Participating schools will be partnered with local doctors who will visit up to one day a week, giving students the support they need early on before health problems affect their studies – including referrals to specialists. The Australian-first program will help tackle barriers preventing young Victorians from accessing healthcare, including concerns about confidentiality, cost and not knowing where to go. Of the 100 participating schools, 51 will be in rural and regional areas where accessing healthcare can be particularly challenging. Mr Merlino also announced the program’s consent and confidentiality policy, which was developed in consultation with experts and stakeholders including the Australian Medical Association, Victorian Association of Secondary School Principals and the Australian Education Union and Parents Victoria. As is the case with all GPs in the community, doctors will decide whether students are mature enough to consent to treatment or whether parent or carer consent is needed. The health information of young people will be confidential and managed according to law. Families with children at participating schools can find further information about the program, as well as a fact sheet at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/doctors-secondary-schools.aspx. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know young people have some of the lowest GP attendance rates, meaning many are missing out on the vital healthcare they need. This will help address barriers preventing young Victorians from seeing a doctor.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan “Students at Eaglehawk Secondary will be able to see a GP on-site and get on top of health problems early, including mental health issues.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards “We understand the obstacles many young people in the region face in seeing a GP and we are acting to help those most at risk.” Download the Media Release (355 kB)

Next Phase Of Doctors In Secondary Schools Rollout

Thousands of Victorian students will have access to the healthcare they need 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 Eaglehawk Secondary College in Bendigo to release the starting dates for the remaining 80 schools taking part in the Doctors in Secondary Schools program. In October last year the first 20 schools providing on-site GP services were announced. Another 40 schools, including Eaglehawk Secondary College, will commence from term three 2017 and the final 40 schools from term one 2018. Participating schools will be partnered with local doctors who will visit up to one day a week, giving students the support they need early on before health problems affect their studies – including referrals to specialists. The Australian-first program will help tackle barriers preventing young Victorians from accessing healthcare, including concerns about confidentiality, cost and not knowing where to go. Of the 100 participating schools, 51 will be in rural and regional areas where accessing healthcare can be particularly challenging. Mr Merlino also announced the program’s consent and confidentiality policy, which was developed in consultation with experts and stakeholders including the Australian Medical Association, Victorian Association of Secondary School Principals and the Australian Education Union and Parents Victoria. As is the case with all GPs in the community, doctors will decide whether students are mature enough to consent to treatment or whether parent or carer consent is needed. The health information of young people will be confidential and managed according to law. Families with children at participating schools can find further information about the program, as well as a fact sheet at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/doctors-secondary-schools.aspx. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We know young people have some of the lowest GP attendance rates, meaning many are missing out on the vital healthcare they need. This will help address barriers preventing young Victorians from seeing a doctor.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan “Students at Eaglehawk Secondary will be able to see a GP on-site and get on top of health problems early, including mental health issues.” Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards “We understand the obstacles many young people in the region face in seeing a GP and we are acting to help those most at risk.” Download the Media Release (355 kB)

South Melbourne Vertical School Gets First Principal

The inaugural principal has been appointed to lead Victoria’s first vertical government school. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley congratulated Noel Creece on being appointed principal of the new $44 million award-winning Ferrars St South Melbourne Primary School. Mr Creece will start work in February, one year ahead of the school opening in 2018, to set up the unique school and to ensure that families living in Melbourne’s booming inner-south have certainty about the new school’s future. Mr Creece brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and a strong history building thriving schools, as well as a passion for helping students and their communities. He has worked in a variety of contexts including country, city and international schools, as well as small and large schools. He is currently principal at Lara Lake Primary School, where he has grown a school of 375 students to almost 700. The five-storey South Melbourne Primary School is the first vertical government school in Victoria, and includes open space on each level and indoor and outdoor competition grade netball courts. It is one of 42 new government schools in the construction pipeline following a record $1.8 billion investment by the Andrews Labor Government in new schools and school upgrades around the state. The school design was recently awarded the Future Project of the Year at the 2016 World Architecture Festival Awards held in Berlin. As well as giving students in South Melbourne state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities it will also incorporate an early childhood centre and spaces and services for the local community. Enrolments are due to open in July 2017 for all year levels, ahead of the school opening in January 2018. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “It is exciting that someone like Noel Creece, with his extensive experience building thriving school communities, will be the inaugural principal of South Melbourne Primary School.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “Appointing Ferrars St South Melbourne Primary School’s principal a year early gives local families in booming suburbs the certainty they need about their new school and their kids’ enrolment for the 2018 school year.” “This will be a wonderful school and I’m sure that local families will be pleased with this news.” Download the Media Release (356 kB)

South Melbourne Vertical School Gets First Principal

The inaugural principal has been appointed to lead Victoria’s first vertical government school. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley congratulated Noel Creece on being appointed principal of the new $44 million award-winning Ferrars St South Melbourne Primary School. Mr Creece will start work in February, one year ahead of the school opening in 2018, to set up the unique school and to ensure that families living in Melbourne’s booming inner-south have certainty about the new school’s future. Mr Creece brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and a strong history building thriving schools, as well as a passion for helping students and their communities. He has worked in a variety of contexts including country, city and international schools, as well as small and large schools. He is currently principal at Lara Lake Primary School, where he has grown a school of 375 students to almost 700. The five-storey South Melbourne Primary School is the first vertical government school in Victoria, and includes open space on each level and indoor and outdoor competition grade netball courts. It is one of 42 new government schools in the construction pipeline following a record $1.8 billion investment by the Andrews Labor Government in new schools and school upgrades around the state. The school design was recently awarded the Future Project of the Year at the 2016 World Architecture Festival Awards held in Berlin. As well as giving students in South Melbourne state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities it will also incorporate an early childhood centre and spaces and services for the local community. Enrolments are due to open in July 2017 for all year levels, ahead of the school opening in January 2018. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “It is exciting that someone like Noel Creece, with his extensive experience building thriving school communities, will be the inaugural principal of South Melbourne Primary School.” Quotes attributable to the Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “Appointing Ferrars St South Melbourne Primary School’s principal a year early gives local families in booming suburbs the certainty they need about their new school and their kids’ enrolment for the 2018 school year.” “This will be a wonderful school and I’m sure that local families will be pleased with this news.” Download the Media Release (356 kB)

MAKING BILLANOOK PRIMARY SCHOOL BETTER PREPARED FOR BUSHFIRES

Students at Billanook Primary School will be safer this summer with the Andrews Labor Government making sure schools in the state’s highest fire danger areas are better prepared for bushfires. James Merlino MP today inspected Billanook Primary School in MONBULK, which will have its bushfire shelter area audited and upgraded under the $10 million program. Fire shelter areas at 200 government schools in high-risk areas around the state will be upgraded under the program, including vegetation removal, gutter cleaning, and the installation of gutter guards, door and window fire shutters, water tanks and sprinklers. Bushfire preparation audits have already been completed at 51 high-priority schools and work is underway to make sure they are bushfire ready for the first day of term one, 2017. Forty more schools will have their shelter areas audited next month, with the final 109 school audits completed by June. School shelters are being audited and upgraded based on risk, with work being completed first at higher-risk schools. These bushfire safety upgrades – combined with the newly funded school emergency SMS service and existing school emergency plans like closing on Code Red days and off-site evacuation protocols – mean students at Victoria’s high bushfire risk schools are safer than ever. The Labor Government is building the Education State so every Victorian student gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. There are now 42 new government schools in the construction pipeline and more than 1000 school building projects going on across Victoria following the Labor Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. To find out more visit http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Bushfire-Risk-and-Readiness.aspx Quotes attributable to Jam “Students at Billanook Primary School will be safer this summer thanks to this vital bushfire safety upgrade, which will make a real difference for families in MONBULK.” Quotes attributable Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “Every Victorian government school has a place to shelter from bushfires as a last resort, and this program will make sure the shelters at 200 schools in the highest fire risk areas are even safer.” Quotes attributable to Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley "Children are in school at a critical time of the year when it comes to fire risk in Victoria, and these very practical measures have the potential to protect children when they need it most."

MAKING BILLANOOK PRIMARY SCHOOL BETTER PREPARED FOR BUSHFIRES

Students at Billanook Primary School will be safer this summer with the Andrews Labor Government making sure schools in the state’s highest fire danger areas are better prepared for bushfires. James Merlino MP today inspected Billanook Primary School in MONBULK, which will have its bushfire shelter area audited and upgraded under the $10 million program. Fire shelter areas at 200 government schools in high-risk areas around the state will be upgraded under the program, including vegetation removal, gutter cleaning, and the installation of gutter guards, door and window fire shutters, water tanks and sprinklers. Bushfire preparation audits have already been completed at 51 high-priority schools and work is underway to make sure they are bushfire ready for the first day of term one, 2017. Forty more schools will have their shelter areas audited next month, with the final 109 school audits completed by June. School shelters are being audited and upgraded based on risk, with work being completed first at higher-risk schools. These bushfire safety upgrades – combined with the newly funded school emergency SMS service and existing school emergency plans like closing on Code Red days and off-site evacuation protocols – mean students at Victoria’s high bushfire risk schools are safer than ever. The Labor Government is building the Education State so every Victorian student gets the opportunity for a great education and every community has access to a great school. There are now 42 new government schools in the construction pipeline and more than 1000 school building projects going on across Victoria following the Labor Government’s record $1.8 billion investment in school infrastructure. To find out more visit http://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Bushfire-Risk-and-Readiness.aspx Quotes attributable to Jam “Students at Billanook Primary School will be safer this summer thanks to this vital bushfire safety upgrade, which will make a real difference for families in MONBULK.” Quotes attributable Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “Every Victorian government school has a place to shelter from bushfires as a last resort, and this program will make sure the shelters at 200 schools in the highest fire risk areas are even safer.” Quotes attributable to Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley "Children are in school at a critical time of the year when it comes to fire risk in Victoria, and these very practical measures have the potential to protect children when they need it most."

Victorian Students Receive First Round Uni And TAFE Offers

The nervous wait is over for many Victorian students, who will find out today if they have received a first-round university or TAFE offer. This afternoon, Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney visited Kambrya College in Berwick to speak with students about their post-school options. The College, which featured in the 2016 ABC fly-on-the-wall television series Revolution School, boasts students interested in pursuing university degrees, TAFE, apprenticeships and employment. Today more than 54,000 main round offers have been made to students for undergraduate and vocational courses. In addition, VTAC has already issued 2,062 offers to international students and 7,064 early round offers, while 1,370 graduate teaching offers were made last week. Mr Merlino and Ms Tierney congratulated all students who received an offer, and noted there were plenty of options for those who were not successful this time round. Students can either wait on further rounds of VTAC offers or change their VTAC preferences. Another option is to approach an institution directly including one of Victoria’s 12 publicly owned TAFEs or four dual sector universities. These institutions offer a wealth of hands-on vocational courses, leading to great careers as well as pathways to university degrees. With the Andrews Labor Government’s new approach to training and TAFE Skills First now up and running, students who choose a training pathway can be even more confident that they are receiving high quality training. The Labor Government has invested an additional $164 million in TAFEs in 2017 with new campuses opening in Colac in Victoria’s South West and Greensborough in Melbourne’s north. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Today I’ve spoken to students pursuing a range of post-school pathways including university, TAFE and apprenticeships. It’s exciting to hear about their plans and I wish them all the best.” “We’re investing in our schools – including $3 million in the last budget for Kambrya College to upgrade facilities – so that students have the best chance of being prepared for life after school.” Quote attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney “I want to congratulate every student who has received an offer but I also want every potential student to understand that there are very many paths to the career you seek.” Download the Media Release (337 kB)

Victorian Students Receive First Round Uni And TAFE Offers

The nervous wait is over for many Victorian students, who will find out today if they have received a first-round university or TAFE offer. This afternoon, Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney visited Kambrya College in Berwick to speak with students about their post-school options. The College, which featured in the 2016 ABC fly-on-the-wall television series Revolution School, boasts students interested in pursuing university degrees, TAFE, apprenticeships and employment. Today more than 54,000 main round offers have been made to students for undergraduate and vocational courses. In addition, VTAC has already issued 2,062 offers to international students and 7,064 early round offers, while 1,370 graduate teaching offers were made last week. Mr Merlino and Ms Tierney congratulated all students who received an offer, and noted there were plenty of options for those who were not successful this time round. Students can either wait on further rounds of VTAC offers or change their VTAC preferences. Another option is to approach an institution directly including one of Victoria’s 12 publicly owned TAFEs or four dual sector universities. These institutions offer a wealth of hands-on vocational courses, leading to great careers as well as pathways to university degrees. With the Andrews Labor Government’s new approach to training and TAFE Skills First now up and running, students who choose a training pathway can be even more confident that they are receiving high quality training. The Labor Government has invested an additional $164 million in TAFEs in 2017 with new campuses opening in Colac in Victoria’s South West and Greensborough in Melbourne’s north. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Today I’ve spoken to students pursuing a range of post-school pathways including university, TAFE and apprenticeships. It’s exciting to hear about their plans and I wish them all the best.” “We’re investing in our schools – including $3 million in the last budget for Kambrya College to upgrade facilities – so that students have the best chance of being prepared for life after school.” Quote attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney “I want to congratulate every student who has received an offer but I also want every potential student to understand that there are very many paths to the career you seek.” Download the Media Release (337 kB)

SUPPORTING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS

Schools across Victoria will be better equipped to support more students with disabilities and special needs thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s $20 million Inclusive School Fund. Round two of the Fund will see 24 schools sharing in $3.6 million, which helps schools build new facilities to better support the social and educational needs of students with disabilities and special needs. Schools are encouraged to be creative with their ideas to make interesting and stimulating learning and play spaces that will benefit all students, including those with special needs. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the successful grant recipients during a visit to Gladesville Primary School, which won a grant of $117,300 to create a calm room and attached outdoor space. Gladesville Primary has a high proportion of students who have come from a background of abuse and neglect. The school has a strong focus on removing barriers for students with disabilities, trauma history and special needs. Facilities will provide a welcome sensory environment for students with disabilities, including children with trauma history. The project will also feature gardening and outdoor play, weighted blankets which help students relax and “therapy swings”. The Inclusive Schools Fund grants are on top of the $155.8 million announced in the Victorian Budget 2016/17  to improve the facilities available to students with special needs, including $58.5 million to upgrade 20 special schools across Victoria. The Fund is one of nine initiatives in the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools to ensure that students with disabilities get the same chances as other students. More information about these projects is available at: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Building the Education State means making sure everyone can access a great education – no matter their circumstances.” “Many schools across Victoria have creative ideas about how to improve their facilities to make them more inclusive and the Andrews Labor Government is helping those schools bring these ideas to life.” Quotes attributable to Member for Mordialloc and Ambassador for the Special Needs Plans Tim Richardson “The Inclusive Schools Fund assists students with injuries or disabilities access mainstream schools.” “It makes a real difference because the right facilities can not only increase participation but help students improve their learning outcomes.”

SUPPORTING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS

Schools across Victoria will be better equipped to support more students with disabilities and special needs thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s $20 million Inclusive School Fund. Round two of the Fund will see 24 schools sharing in $3.6 million, which helps schools build new facilities to better support the social and educational needs of students with disabilities and special needs. Schools are encouraged to be creative with their ideas to make interesting and stimulating learning and play spaces that will benefit all students, including those with special needs. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the successful grant recipients during a visit to Gladesville Primary School, which won a grant of $117,300 to create a calm room and attached outdoor space. Gladesville Primary has a high proportion of students who have come from a background of abuse and neglect. The school has a strong focus on removing barriers for students with disabilities, trauma history and special needs. Facilities will provide a welcome sensory environment for students with disabilities, including children with trauma history. The project will also feature gardening and outdoor play, weighted blankets which help students relax and “therapy swings”. The Inclusive Schools Fund grants are on top of the $155.8 million announced in the Victorian Budget 2016/17  to improve the facilities available to students with special needs, including $58.5 million to upgrade 20 special schools across Victoria. The Fund is one of nine initiatives in the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools to ensure that students with disabilities get the same chances as other students. More information about these projects is available at: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Building the Education State means making sure everyone can access a great education – no matter their circumstances.” “Many schools across Victoria have creative ideas about how to improve their facilities to make them more inclusive and the Andrews Labor Government is helping those schools bring these ideas to life.” Quotes attributable to Member for Mordialloc and Ambassador for the Special Needs Plans Tim Richardson “The Inclusive Schools Fund assists students with injuries or disabilities access mainstream schools.” “It makes a real difference because the right facilities can not only increase participation but help students improve their learning outcomes.”