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

    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.

  • GETTING RID OF TWO MORE LEVEL CROSSINGS IN MELBOURNE’S EAST

    The Andrews Labor Government will build rail bridges to remove two more dangerous and congested level crossings in Melbourne’s East. Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan joined Member for Monbulk James Merlino to reveal designs for the Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale level crossing removals.

  • DELIVERING FOR MONBULK

    The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promises and delivering for the people of Monbulk, with major investments in local schools, roads, health and public transport in the Victorian Budget 2019/20.

  • MORE CAR PARKS AT BELGRAVE STATION A STEP CLOSER

    Geotechnical works will take place at Belgrave Station car park from next week, as the Andrews Labor Government gets on with building more spaces for passengers to park.

  • FREE TAFE KICKS OFF IN MONBULK

    Students and job seekers from Monbulk can now take up Free TAFE training under the Andrews Labor Government’s $172 million program to make 30 priority TAFE courses and 20 pre-apprenticeship courses tuition fee free from this year.

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

    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

MATER CHRISTI COLLEGE STUDENTS HONOURED IN PREMIER’S VCE AWARDS

Mater Christi College students have been recognised alongside the state’s best performing VCE students in the Premier’s VCE Awards. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today congratulated Lucy Fenton and Lillie Park Jenkinson on their outstanding achievement. • Lucy Fenton was recognised with an award in Outdoor and Environmental Studies. • Lillie Park Jenkinson was recognised with an award in History Revolutions. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at Premier's VCE Awards (education.vic.gov.au). Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “I congratulate the students from Mater Christi on these fantastic achievements. The success of these students is a credit to not only their hard work and abilities, but also to the support of their families, friends and school community.”

MATER CHRISTI COLLEGE STUDENTS HONOURED IN PREMIER’S VCE AWARDS

Mater Christi College students have been recognised alongside the state’s best performing VCE students in the Premier’s VCE Awards. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today congratulated Lucy Fenton and Lillie Park Jenkinson on their outstanding achievement. • Lucy Fenton was recognised with an award in Outdoor and Environmental Studies. • Lillie Park Jenkinson was recognised with an award in History Revolutions. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at Premier's VCE Awards (education.vic.gov.au). Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “I congratulate the students from Mater Christi on these fantastic achievements. The success of these students is a credit to not only their hard work and abilities, but also to the support of their families, friends and school community.”

Top Students Recognised In Premier’s VCE Awards

Victoria’s best performing VCE students have been recognised with Premier’s VCE Awards, celebrating their outstanding efforts and achievements in their final year of schooling amidst the challenges of 2020. Minister for Education James Merlino congratulated the high-achieving students, which include a young musician with her sights set on the world stage, a creative designer who won a competition creating an outfit she designed for vision-impaired teenagers, and a profoundly deaf student now studying to become a teacher for deaf children. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at education.vic.gov.au/vceawards. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “We’re delivering on our promise to build the Education State, making sure every Victorian student in every community across the state has the opportunity to achieve their best.” Download the media release

Top Students Recognised In Premier’s VCE Awards

Victoria’s best performing VCE students have been recognised with Premier’s VCE Awards, celebrating their outstanding efforts and achievements in their final year of schooling amidst the challenges of 2020. Minister for Education James Merlino congratulated the high-achieving students, which include a young musician with her sights set on the world stage, a creative designer who won a competition creating an outfit she designed for vision-impaired teenagers, and a profoundly deaf student now studying to become a teacher for deaf children. A total of 297 Victorian students received 323 awards across 90 subjects, including 297 Study Awards, 23 Top All-Round VCE High Achiever Awards and three Top International Student Awards. The Top All-Round VCE High Achiever awards recognise those students who achieved study scores of 46 or higher out of 50 in at least five VCE subjects, while Study Awards recognise the best performers in individual VCE subjects. The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to build the Education State so every Victorian student can get a great education. The Labor Government’s $60.2 million investment Student Excellence Program is equipping schools with the resources, tools and professional learning opportunities needed to support high-ability students. Every government school now has a high-ability practice leader to coordinate their school’s participation in these programs and to support their high-ability students. A full list of the Premier’s VCE Awards recipients is available at education.vic.gov.au/vceawards. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “A massive congratulations to our top-performing 2020 VCE students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results in their final year of school – I hope you are all so proud of your achievements.” “These award winners are a testament to how well Victorian students, teachers and school communities adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic, and still produced outstanding results.” “We’re delivering on our promise to build the Education State, making sure every Victorian student in every community across the state has the opportunity to achieve their best.” Download the media release

Mental Health Building Blitz Begins In Geelong

Residents in Greater Geelong will soon have access to better local mental health support with a construction blitz now underway on two major projects thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Work on a new world-class 16-bed acute mental health facility at Barwon Health’s McKellar Centre will create and sustain more than 230 local construction jobs when Victorians need them most. It will also deliver on a key recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The facility’s frame will be constructed as individual modules off-site, then transported and completed on-site – reducing disruption to the operational hospital and local residents while construction is underway. Designed in consultation with people with lived experience of the mental health system, the facility will deliver more than 5,800 days of care – which equates to approximately 355 people each year. The facility will reduce pressure on University Hospital Geelong’s emergency department, delivering inpatient acute mental health services and community-based care in a contemporary, safe and high-quality hospital setting. Geelong-based Lyons Construction has also begun work on the $16 million Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services Community Hub in central Geelong, with construction on track to be completed in late 2022. Operated by Barwon Health, the five-storey hub will provide better access to treatment and support services for people experiencing mental ill-health and addiction – further supporting them on their recovery journey. The hub will consolidate existing services onto one contemporary, fit-for-purpose site. Clinicians will provide telephone, online, walk-in, at-home and outreach services over extended operating hours – and the facility will also include space clinicians and researchers to collaborate to improve mental health outcomes across the region. The Labor Government invested$3.8 billion in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to transform Victoria’s mental health system, in the single largest investment in mental health by any state government. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We know the system isn’t keeping up with demand. That’s why we are going to implement every single recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System – because lives depend on it.” Quote attributable to Member for Lara John Eren “When complete, more residents and their families in this region are going to be able to access the mental health treatment and support they need – close to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens “Integrated mental health treatment and support services will make a real difference in the Geelong region to help respond to the growing needs of the community – and we are proud to be getting it done.” Quote attributable to Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman “These important local mental health services will ensure members of our community experiencing mental ill-health have access to the support and care they need, close to home in the Greater Geelong region.” Quote attributable to Acting Member for Bellarine Gayle Tierney “These significant infrastructure projects are expected to create and sustain hundreds of local jobs, providing a boost to the local economy as we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”  Download the media release

Mental Health Building Blitz Begins In Geelong

Residents in Greater Geelong will soon have access to better local mental health support with a construction blitz now underway on two major projects thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Work on a new world-class 16-bed acute mental health facility at Barwon Health’s McKellar Centre will create and sustain more than 230 local construction jobs when Victorians need them most. It will also deliver on a key recommendation made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The facility’s frame will be constructed as individual modules off-site, then transported and completed on-site – reducing disruption to the operational hospital and local residents while construction is underway. Designed in consultation with people with lived experience of the mental health system, the facility will deliver more than 5,800 days of care – which equates to approximately 355 people each year. The facility will reduce pressure on University Hospital Geelong’s emergency department, delivering inpatient acute mental health services and community-based care in a contemporary, safe and high-quality hospital setting. Geelong-based Lyons Construction has also begun work on the $16 million Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services Community Hub in central Geelong, with construction on track to be completed in late 2022. Operated by Barwon Health, the five-storey hub will provide better access to treatment and support services for people experiencing mental ill-health and addiction – further supporting them on their recovery journey. The hub will consolidate existing services onto one contemporary, fit-for-purpose site. Clinicians will provide telephone, online, walk-in, at-home and outreach services over extended operating hours – and the facility will also include space clinicians and researchers to collaborate to improve mental health outcomes across the region. The Labor Government invested$3.8 billion in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to transform Victoria’s mental health system, in the single largest investment in mental health by any state government. Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “We know the system isn’t keeping up with demand. That’s why we are going to implement every single recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System – because lives depend on it.” Quote attributable to Member for Lara John Eren “When complete, more residents and their families in this region are going to be able to access the mental health treatment and support they need – close to home.” Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens “Integrated mental health treatment and support services will make a real difference in the Geelong region to help respond to the growing needs of the community – and we are proud to be getting it done.” Quote attributable to Member for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman “These important local mental health services will ensure members of our community experiencing mental ill-health have access to the support and care they need, close to home in the Greater Geelong region.” Quote attributable to Acting Member for Bellarine Gayle Tierney “These significant infrastructure projects are expected to create and sustain hundreds of local jobs, providing a boost to the local economy as we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”  Download the media release

Expert Forum Shapes Victoria’s Mental Health Workforce

Experts across Victoria’s mental health sector have been invited to have their say on how the state will develop a sustainable and diverse workforce to support the rebuild of the mental health system at a key online forum. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today welcomed attendees to the Mental Health Workforce Strategy Forum, championing the efforts of the mental health workforce and emphasising the crucial role the sector plays in helping shape the future workforce of Victoria’s mental health system. More than 100 representatives from clinical and community workforces, mental health representatives and peak bodies joined the forum to discuss ideas, innovation and solutions in addressing workforce challenges relating to wellbeing, supply, capability, and rural and regional issues. The forum is part of a direct response to the report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recommended a statewide Mental Health Workforce Strategy be delivered by the end of 2021. The strategy will provide a roadmap of workforce recommendations and initiatives to be implemented as part of the 10-year reform journey in rebuilding the state’s broken mental health system from the ground up. The strategy’s development will be guided by a special committee and chaired by Lyn Morgain, CEO of Oxfam Australia, who brings exceptional leadership to this important work from a background in community health and the NGO sector. The workforce strategy forum is the start of an ongoing conversation between the Andrews Labor Government and diverse sector stakeholders in working together to create a system that will nurture, grow and support the mental health workforce so that every Victorian gets the care they deserve. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support, including $206 million towards initial investment in workforce supports. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Our mental health workforce is critical to delivering high quality mental health treatment, care and support to Victorians – without their care and dedication, the system would not operate.” “The leadership of Lyn Morgain will be invaluable in helping shape the Mental Health Workforce Strategy to meet the needs of dedicated workers and the Victorians who seek their treatment, support and care.” Quote attributable to Mental Health Workforce Strategy Chairperson Lyn Morgain “Having a statewide strategy for our mental health workforce is one way we will ensure quality care and support is delivered everywhere for all Victorians”   Download the media release

Expert Forum Shapes Victoria’s Mental Health Workforce

Experts across Victoria’s mental health sector have been invited to have their say on how the state will develop a sustainable and diverse workforce to support the rebuild of the mental health system at a key online forum. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino today welcomed attendees to the Mental Health Workforce Strategy Forum, championing the efforts of the mental health workforce and emphasising the crucial role the sector plays in helping shape the future workforce of Victoria’s mental health system. More than 100 representatives from clinical and community workforces, mental health representatives and peak bodies joined the forum to discuss ideas, innovation and solutions in addressing workforce challenges relating to wellbeing, supply, capability, and rural and regional issues. The forum is part of a direct response to the report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recommended a statewide Mental Health Workforce Strategy be delivered by the end of 2021. The strategy will provide a roadmap of workforce recommendations and initiatives to be implemented as part of the 10-year reform journey in rebuilding the state’s broken mental health system from the ground up. The strategy’s development will be guided by a special committee and chaired by Lyn Morgain, CEO of Oxfam Australia, who brings exceptional leadership to this important work from a background in community health and the NGO sector. The workforce strategy forum is the start of an ongoing conversation between the Andrews Labor Government and diverse sector stakeholders in working together to create a system that will nurture, grow and support the mental health workforce so that every Victorian gets the care they deserve. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 invested a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing services and support, including $206 million towards initial investment in workforce supports. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “Our mental health workforce is critical to delivering high quality mental health treatment, care and support to Victorians – without their care and dedication, the system would not operate.” “The leadership of Lyn Morgain will be invaluable in helping shape the Mental Health Workforce Strategy to meet the needs of dedicated workers and the Victorians who seek their treatment, support and care.” Quote attributable to Mental Health Workforce Strategy Chairperson Lyn Morgain “Having a statewide strategy for our mental health workforce is one way we will ensure quality care and support is delivered everywhere for all Victorians”   Download the media release

Victoria’s Teaching Excellence Program Takes Shape

The Andrews Labor Government is encouraging Victoria’s best and brightest teachers to apply for the prestigious Teaching Excellence Program at the new Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the opening of applications for the Australian-first program of advanced professional learning for high-performing teachers across government, Catholic and independent schools. The Labor Government has invested $148.2 million over four years to establish the Academy – a new statutory authority which will support our best teachers to remain in the classroom and further develop their skills to become recognised as leaders in teaching excellence. The Teaching Excellence Program is a one-year program that will take up to 250 teachers in its first year, increasing to 500 per year once the Academy is fully operational, and advance their professional practice through research in learning and discipline-based content knowledge. The program will enable teachers to share their best ideas, experiences and resources, further raising the calibre and status of Victoria’s teaching workforce. The most exceptional graduates, or Academy Fellows, have the opportunity to become Master Teachers and undertake research fellowships to lead the design and delivery as the program continues. The program will start in Term 1, 2022. Teachers can apply at bastow.vic.edu.au/professional-learning. The Academy will open in the Treasury Precinct in January 2022, with the historic building to be transformed with flexible learning spaces and enhanced technology for contemporary professional learning. Further Academy campuses will be established in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton, ensuring rural and regional teachers can access high-quality professional development close to their schools. In addition to delivering the Teaching Excellent Program, the Academy builds on the work of the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership to deliver an expanded suite of leadership programs for government school leaders. The Academy forms part of the Labor Government’s commitment to building the Education State to ensure all Victorian students can access a great local school and receive an excellent education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This Australian-first program will ensure our best and brightest teachers can access specialised professional learning and development to take back and share with their colleagues and in their classrooms.” “Developing high-performing teachers is key to delivering long-term improvements in student outcomes, so this investment in our teachers is a profound investment in our students.” Download the media release

Victoria’s Teaching Excellence Program Takes Shape

The Andrews Labor Government is encouraging Victoria’s best and brightest teachers to apply for the prestigious Teaching Excellence Program at the new Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the opening of applications for the Australian-first program of advanced professional learning for high-performing teachers across government, Catholic and independent schools. The Labor Government has invested $148.2 million over four years to establish the Academy – a new statutory authority which will support our best teachers to remain in the classroom and further develop their skills to become recognised as leaders in teaching excellence. The Teaching Excellence Program is a one-year program that will take up to 250 teachers in its first year, increasing to 500 per year once the Academy is fully operational, and advance their professional practice through research in learning and discipline-based content knowledge. The program will enable teachers to share their best ideas, experiences and resources, further raising the calibre and status of Victoria’s teaching workforce. The most exceptional graduates, or Academy Fellows, have the opportunity to become Master Teachers and undertake research fellowships to lead the design and delivery as the program continues. The program will start in Term 1, 2022. Teachers can apply at bastow.vic.edu.au/professional-learning. The Academy will open in the Treasury Precinct in January 2022, with the historic building to be transformed with flexible learning spaces and enhanced technology for contemporary professional learning. Further Academy campuses will be established in Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton, ensuring rural and regional teachers can access high-quality professional development close to their schools. In addition to delivering the Teaching Excellent Program, the Academy builds on the work of the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership to deliver an expanded suite of leadership programs for government school leaders. The Academy forms part of the Labor Government’s commitment to building the Education State to ensure all Victorian students can access a great local school and receive an excellent education. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This Australian-first program will ensure our best and brightest teachers can access specialised professional learning and development to take back and share with their colleagues and in their classrooms.” “Developing high-performing teachers is key to delivering long-term improvements in student outcomes, so this investment in our teachers is a profound investment in our students.” Download the media release

Supporting Our Senior Secondary Students To Succeed

The Victorian Government will continue to provide extra support to students in their final years of school, with the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process to continue in 2021 in light of continued disruptions to the school year. Once again, Victorian students have done a remarkable job adapting to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on schooling in 2021 – with coronavirus restrictions forcing students across the state back to remote learning and pushing back important school milestones. With so few Australians vaccinated, and the Delta variant causing unprecedented situations right around the country, the CED process will ensure that every student is assessed fairly, with any disruptions to learning throughout the year factored into their results. In a normal year, individual students are assessed for special consideration on a case by case basis – but the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will again use the CED process to finalise VCE results for each and every student completing one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 –4 sequence in 2021. Consistent with the approach in 2020, the process considers a range of data alongside exam results to calculate final VCE results - like the General Achievement Test (GAT), comparisons of performance across all assessments and schools and other learning data. The process will also include assessments of the individual impact of coronavirus on each student including school closures, direct impacts on student’ health, ongoing issues with remote learning and mental health challenges. All Year 12 VCAL students will also have access to individual consideration – with schools required to apply special consideration for all students who have been subject to significant disruptions. On advice from the Chief Health Officer that the current restrictions will continue until Tuesday 27 July, the GAT will be rescheduled to 12 August, pending further public health advice and logistical constraints on that date. The rescheduling of the GAT will allow schools time to organise logistics and put COVIDSafe protocols in place to make sure students and staff can participate safely with minimal disruption to their assessments. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Victorian students have done an amazing job adapting to another year of disruptions to their learning – and we’re making sure every student is assessed individually and fairly in their final years of school.” “The Delta variant of coronavirus is causing uncertainty right around Australia - but we want to make sure every student knows that no matter how much they’re impacted by the pandemic, we’re supporting them to succeed in VCE and VCAL.” Download the media release

Supporting Our Senior Secondary Students To Succeed

The Victorian Government will continue to provide extra support to students in their final years of school, with the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage process to continue in 2021 in light of continued disruptions to the school year. Once again, Victorian students have done a remarkable job adapting to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on schooling in 2021 – with coronavirus restrictions forcing students across the state back to remote learning and pushing back important school milestones. With so few Australians vaccinated, and the Delta variant causing unprecedented situations right around the country, the CED process will ensure that every student is assessed fairly, with any disruptions to learning throughout the year factored into their results. In a normal year, individual students are assessed for special consideration on a case by case basis – but the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will again use the CED process to finalise VCE results for each and every student completing one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 –4 sequence in 2021. Consistent with the approach in 2020, the process considers a range of data alongside exam results to calculate final VCE results - like the General Achievement Test (GAT), comparisons of performance across all assessments and schools and other learning data. The process will also include assessments of the individual impact of coronavirus on each student including school closures, direct impacts on student’ health, ongoing issues with remote learning and mental health challenges. All Year 12 VCAL students will also have access to individual consideration – with schools required to apply special consideration for all students who have been subject to significant disruptions. On advice from the Chief Health Officer that the current restrictions will continue until Tuesday 27 July, the GAT will be rescheduled to 12 August, pending further public health advice and logistical constraints on that date. The rescheduling of the GAT will allow schools time to organise logistics and put COVIDSafe protocols in place to make sure students and staff can participate safely with minimal disruption to their assessments. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Victorian students have done an amazing job adapting to another year of disruptions to their learning – and we’re making sure every student is assessed individually and fairly in their final years of school.” “The Delta variant of coronavirus is causing uncertainty right around Australia - but we want to make sure every student knows that no matter how much they’re impacted by the pandemic, we’re supporting them to succeed in VCE and VCAL.” Download the media release

Construction Tenders Out For 10 New Government Schools

More students and their families will soon have access to a great education in their local area thanks to the Andrews Labor Government, with 13 new schools on track to open in 2023. Tenders for construction have been put out as part of a $491.6 million investment to build 10 of the 13 new schools, contributing to the Labor Government’s promise to opening 100 new schools across the state by 2026. The 10 schools, currently known by their interim names, include: Camms Road Primary School – Cranbourne West Hayes Hill Primary School – Donnybrook Holyoake Primary School – Manor Lakes Lollypop Creek Primary School – Werribee Merrifield West Secondary School – Mickleham Officer Rix Road Primary School – Officer Riverdale East Primary School – Tarneit Rockbank Murray Road Primary School – Thornhill Park Tarneit Missen House Primary School – Tarneit Wollert West Primary School – Wollert Also included in the 13 schools for 2023 are: A new campus for North Melbourne Primary School, which has already had a builder appointed, being Hansen Yuncken. Construction on the Molesworth Street site is due to start this year. Wollert East Secondary School in Wollert, which has already gone to tender and had ADCO appointed the builder Mount Ridley Special School in Craigieburn, which will have a builder appointed later in the year. Camms Road and Wollert West primary schools, which will include early learning centres on site, have been designed as Supported Inclusion Schools, providing accessible and inclusive education for all students. These schools include a greater emphasis on supporting students with disabilities to access specialist infrastructure and teaching expertise to ensure all Victorian children can attend a great local school. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has seen $1.6 billion invested to build new schools and improve existing schools to make sure our kids have the bright futures they deserve. In the past seven years, the Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. It is now ahead of schedule in its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 62 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are building modern new schools to ensure all Victorian students and their families have access to a great education close to home” “We look forward to securing builders for these brand new schools so we can get on with the job of opening 100 new schools by 2026 and giving our students the great education they deserve.” Download the media release

Construction Tenders Out For 10 New Government Schools

More students and their families will soon have access to a great education in their local area thanks to the Andrews Labor Government, with 13 new schools on track to open in 2023. Tenders for construction have been put out as part of a $491.6 million investment to build 10 of the 13 new schools, contributing to the Labor Government’s promise to opening 100 new schools across the state by 2026. The 10 schools, currently known by their interim names, include: Camms Road Primary School – Cranbourne West Hayes Hill Primary School – Donnybrook Holyoake Primary School – Manor Lakes Lollypop Creek Primary School – Werribee Merrifield West Secondary School – Mickleham Officer Rix Road Primary School – Officer Riverdale East Primary School – Tarneit Rockbank Murray Road Primary School – Thornhill Park Tarneit Missen House Primary School – Tarneit Wollert West Primary School – Wollert Also included in the 13 schools for 2023 are: A new campus for North Melbourne Primary School, which has already had a builder appointed, being Hansen Yuncken. Construction on the Molesworth Street site is due to start this year. Wollert East Secondary School in Wollert, which has already gone to tender and had ADCO appointed the builder Mount Ridley Special School in Craigieburn, which will have a builder appointed later in the year. Camms Road and Wollert West primary schools, which will include early learning centres on site, have been designed as Supported Inclusion Schools, providing accessible and inclusive education for all students. These schools include a greater emphasis on supporting students with disabilities to access specialist infrastructure and teaching expertise to ensure all Victorian children can attend a great local school. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 has seen $1.6 billion invested to build new schools and improve existing schools to make sure our kids have the bright futures they deserve. In the past seven years, the Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and more than 1,700 school upgrades, creating around 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. It is now ahead of schedule in its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 62 new schools opening between 2019 and 2024. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We are building modern new schools to ensure all Victorian students and their families have access to a great education close to home” “We look forward to securing builders for these brand new schools so we can get on with the job of opening 100 new schools by 2026 and giving our students the great education they deserve.” Download the media release

Have Your Say On Education Reform

Victorians are being encouraged to have their say on the Andrews Labor Government’s major reforms of school-based vocational education and senior secondary education. The reforms will see the integration of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) into the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). This will give Victorian students high-quality, practical skills that delivers a pathway to Victoria’s most in-demand jobs. A new foundation certificate will be established from 2023 to support students in all settings to successfully transition to entry level VET or employment after finishing school, particularly students with a disability and additional needs. Victorians can have their say on the new certificate designs, on what units students are going to do as part of their certificate and on what the certificates will be called. The Labor Government is keen for community feedback on how to best support all students to complete a two-year certificate, the impact of mandating a minimum number of units, and ensuring forms of assessment will best support student learning. The Government is keen to hear from students, parents, caregivers, schools, TAFEs, universities and other service providers, peak bodies, industry, employers and the wider community through the Engage Victoria website. The move to the new certificates follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth. They will be complemented by broader reforms to the senior secondary system, which will improve the quality of, and access to, vocational and applied learning pathways for all students. The reforms are supported by a $38 million investment announced in the Victorian Budget 2020/21. To participate and give feedback on Senior Secondary Pathways Reform, go to https://engage.vic.gov.au/consultation-senior-secondary-reform. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want an education system that ensures our kids succeed. With a single VCE certificate that incorporates vocational and applied learning, we can ensure all kids gain the skills needed for the job they want.” “As we continue to invest in the economy of the future – we need a VET trained workforce. These changes will support more students to graduate with the skills they need for Victoria’s growing industries.” “We look forward to hearing from students, families, employers and educators on how to best support them as we make these crucial reforms.” Download the media release

Have Your Say On Education Reform

Victorians are being encouraged to have their say on the Andrews Labor Government’s major reforms of school-based vocational education and senior secondary education. The reforms will see the integration of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) into the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). This will give Victorian students high-quality, practical skills that delivers a pathway to Victoria’s most in-demand jobs. A new foundation certificate will be established from 2023 to support students in all settings to successfully transition to entry level VET or employment after finishing school, particularly students with a disability and additional needs. Victorians can have their say on the new certificate designs, on what units students are going to do as part of their certificate and on what the certificates will be called. The Labor Government is keen for community feedback on how to best support all students to complete a two-year certificate, the impact of mandating a minimum number of units, and ensuring forms of assessment will best support student learning. The Government is keen to hear from students, parents, caregivers, schools, TAFEs, universities and other service providers, peak bodies, industry, employers and the wider community through the Engage Victoria website. The move to the new certificates follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth. They will be complemented by broader reforms to the senior secondary system, which will improve the quality of, and access to, vocational and applied learning pathways for all students. The reforms are supported by a $38 million investment announced in the Victorian Budget 2020/21. To participate and give feedback on Senior Secondary Pathways Reform, go to https://engage.vic.gov.au/consultation-senior-secondary-reform. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “We want an education system that ensures our kids succeed. With a single VCE certificate that incorporates vocational and applied learning, we can ensure all kids gain the skills needed for the job they want.” “As we continue to invest in the economy of the future – we need a VET trained workforce. These changes will support more students to graduate with the skills they need for Victoria’s growing industries.” “We look forward to hearing from students, families, employers and educators on how to best support them as we make these crucial reforms.” Download the media release

 

Free Transport Extension For Shepparton Students

Shepparton students will continue to receive free bus travel in 2022 as they transition to their new world-class secondary college, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. The free bus travel extension will be available to Greater Shepparton Secondary College (GSSC) students who currently use the School Bus Program as well as those new to the program. Government secondary school students currently travelling on public transport to the new college site will also continue to have ticket costs fully reimbursed through the Conveyance Allowance Program in 2022. In addition, GSSC students who live within 4.8km of the new college will be eligible for the free bus travel ─ an added benefit which will support an estimated 55 per cent of students. The School Bus Program started in 2020, with over 1,600 GSSC students using the program in 2021. The extension of the program into 2022 is expected to assist more than 1,700 GSSC students. Construction of Greater Shepparton Secondary College is now entering its final months with the new college on track to open in time for the start of the 2022 school year. Lifting education outcomes in Shepparton is a key focus for the Victorian Government with $140 million already invested into the Shepparton Education Plan. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Extending the free bus travel program for the first operational year of the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College is our way of continuing the support for students and their families during this transitional period.” “This new college is one of the most important education projects ever seen in this region and we want to ensure that the children and young people of Shepparton and Mooroopna have the best opportunities to access and enjoy these facilities.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp “We are delivering transformational change and investing in Greater Shepparton’s young people to boost their educational outcomes and improve their opportunities in life.” Download the media release

Free Transport Extension For Shepparton Students

Shepparton students will continue to receive free bus travel in 2022 as they transition to their new world-class secondary college, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. The free bus travel extension will be available to Greater Shepparton Secondary College (GSSC) students who currently use the School Bus Program as well as those new to the program. Government secondary school students currently travelling on public transport to the new college site will also continue to have ticket costs fully reimbursed through the Conveyance Allowance Program in 2022. In addition, GSSC students who live within 4.8km of the new college will be eligible for the free bus travel ─ an added benefit which will support an estimated 55 per cent of students. The School Bus Program started in 2020, with over 1,600 GSSC students using the program in 2021. The extension of the program into 2022 is expected to assist more than 1,700 GSSC students. Construction of Greater Shepparton Secondary College is now entering its final months with the new college on track to open in time for the start of the 2022 school year. Lifting education outcomes in Shepparton is a key focus for the Victorian Government with $140 million already invested into the Shepparton Education Plan. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Extending the free bus travel program for the first operational year of the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College is our way of continuing the support for students and their families during this transitional period.” “This new college is one of the most important education projects ever seen in this region and we want to ensure that the children and young people of Shepparton and Mooroopna have the best opportunities to access and enjoy these facilities.” Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp “We are delivering transformational change and investing in Greater Shepparton’s young people to boost their educational outcomes and improve their opportunities in life.” Download the media release

FUNDING TO SUPPORT LANDCARE VOLUNTEERS IN MONBULK

The Victorian Government has announced more support for environmental volunteering and local communities by providing funding for vital Landcare jobs in Monbulk. The funding will deliver 80 Landcare facilitator jobs across the state for the next three years. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP said this includes a facilitator for the Yarra Ranges Landcare Network. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 is investing $52 million over four years to continue targeted action to improve biodiversity through grants and direct involvement by the community to protect threatened species, improve habitats and reduce threats to biodiversity. This includes $13 million to continue the successful Victorian Landcare Program, ensuring that Landcare facilitator roles are supported. A variety of organisations in rural, regional and urban areas receive funding to employ Landcare facilitators, who give support to their local environmental groups. Facilitators support around 650 Landcare and environmental volunteer groups and networks across the state to plan and deliver on-ground natural resource management works that engage local communities, build community capacity and encourage diverse participation. In Monbulk, Yarra Ranges Landcare Network support our local environment through regular events and projects such as planting local indigenous plants, Yarra4Life, Junior Landcare and much more. These actions contribute to the delivery of Protecting Victoria’s Environment - Biodiversity 2037 and Victorians Volunteering for Nature - Environmental Volunteering Plan. The Victorian Government has demonstrated further support through opening the $2.55 million 2021 Victorian Landcare Grants and by inviting nominations for the 2021 Victorian Landcare Awards to recognise the outstanding work of individuals and groups. For more information visit https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/landcare/VLFP Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP  “This funding recognises the crucial role that Landcare jobs play in the Dandenong Ranges. These positions empower our environmental volunteers and landholders to continue their valuable environmental work.” “We are committed to strengthening and building Landcare and environmental volunteering to ensure it continues to deliver real, on the ground results and meets the Dandenong Ranges’ current and future environmental needs.”  “This funding will help volunteer groups to boost their capacity and continue delivering the environmental projects that make such a different to the Dandenong Ranges’ environment.”

FUNDING TO SUPPORT LANDCARE VOLUNTEERS IN MONBULK

The Victorian Government has announced more support for environmental volunteering and local communities by providing funding for vital Landcare jobs in Monbulk. The funding will deliver 80 Landcare facilitator jobs across the state for the next three years. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP said this includes a facilitator for the Yarra Ranges Landcare Network. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 is investing $52 million over four years to continue targeted action to improve biodiversity through grants and direct involvement by the community to protect threatened species, improve habitats and reduce threats to biodiversity. This includes $13 million to continue the successful Victorian Landcare Program, ensuring that Landcare facilitator roles are supported. A variety of organisations in rural, regional and urban areas receive funding to employ Landcare facilitators, who give support to their local environmental groups. Facilitators support around 650 Landcare and environmental volunteer groups and networks across the state to plan and deliver on-ground natural resource management works that engage local communities, build community capacity and encourage diverse participation. In Monbulk, Yarra Ranges Landcare Network support our local environment through regular events and projects such as planting local indigenous plants, Yarra4Life, Junior Landcare and much more. These actions contribute to the delivery of Protecting Victoria’s Environment - Biodiversity 2037 and Victorians Volunteering for Nature - Environmental Volunteering Plan. The Victorian Government has demonstrated further support through opening the $2.55 million 2021 Victorian Landcare Grants and by inviting nominations for the 2021 Victorian Landcare Awards to recognise the outstanding work of individuals and groups. For more information visit https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/landcare/VLFP Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP  “This funding recognises the crucial role that Landcare jobs play in the Dandenong Ranges. These positions empower our environmental volunteers and landholders to continue their valuable environmental work.” “We are committed to strengthening and building Landcare and environmental volunteering to ensure it continues to deliver real, on the ground results and meets the Dandenong Ranges’ current and future environmental needs.”  “This funding will help volunteer groups to boost their capacity and continue delivering the environmental projects that make such a different to the Dandenong Ranges’ environment.”

New School Names Revealed Ahead Of 2022 Launches

The names of nine new 2022 Victorian government schools have been unveiled as more than 1 million students across the state returned to schools for the start of term 3. Minister for Education James Merlino was today joined by Member for Albert Park Martin Foley for the announcement at the site of the future Port Melbourne Secondary College. The names were chosen in collaboration with the community and Geographic Names Victoria. Criteria included elements of public interest, relevance to the local area, and the consideration of local Indigenous languages. The new school names include: Clyde Creek Primary School (formerly Clyde North Station Primary School) Clyde Secondary College (formerly Clyde North Station Secondary College) Deanside Primary School (formerly Grasslands (Deanside) Primary School) Endeavour Hills Specialist School Gilgai Plains Primary School (formerly Kalkallo Common Primary School) Greenvale Secondary College (formerly Greenvale Secondary School) Port Melbourne Secondary College (formerly Fishermans Bend Secondary School) Strathtulloh Primary School (formerly Bridge Road (Melton) Primary School) Wollert Primary School (formerly Wollert East Primary School) There are six other schools which will open their doors in 2022 including Bass Coast College – San Remo campus, Greater Shepparton Secondary College, McKinnon Secondary College – East campus, Willowbank Primary School, Fitzroy Gasworks (senior campus) (interim name). Additionally, Western Autistic School – Niddrie Campus has been renamed Niddrie Autistic School, which is now a standalone school. Wangala Primary School is the new name of the relocated Oberon South Primary School. Since 2015, the Labor Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and upgrading existing campuses, creating about 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. The Labor Government is ahead of schedule to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I’m proud to announce the names for these new schools, as we continue to deliver on our promise to build 100 new schools by 2026 – cementing Victoria as the Education State.” Quote attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “This announcement should signal to local families that they are yet another step closer to getting the great new local school – and the first-class education – they deserve.” Download the media release

New School Names Revealed Ahead Of 2022 Launches

The names of nine new 2022 Victorian government schools have been unveiled as more than 1 million students across the state returned to schools for the start of term 3. Minister for Education James Merlino was today joined by Member for Albert Park Martin Foley for the announcement at the site of the future Port Melbourne Secondary College. The names were chosen in collaboration with the community and Geographic Names Victoria. Criteria included elements of public interest, relevance to the local area, and the consideration of local Indigenous languages. The new school names include: Clyde Creek Primary School (formerly Clyde North Station Primary School) Clyde Secondary College (formerly Clyde North Station Secondary College) Deanside Primary School (formerly Grasslands (Deanside) Primary School) Endeavour Hills Specialist School Gilgai Plains Primary School (formerly Kalkallo Common Primary School) Greenvale Secondary College (formerly Greenvale Secondary School) Port Melbourne Secondary College (formerly Fishermans Bend Secondary School) Strathtulloh Primary School (formerly Bridge Road (Melton) Primary School) Wollert Primary School (formerly Wollert East Primary School) There are six other schools which will open their doors in 2022 including Bass Coast College – San Remo campus, Greater Shepparton Secondary College, McKinnon Secondary College – East campus, Willowbank Primary School, Fitzroy Gasworks (senior campus) (interim name). Additionally, Western Autistic School – Niddrie Campus has been renamed Niddrie Autistic School, which is now a standalone school. Wangala Primary School is the new name of the relocated Oberon South Primary School. Since 2015, the Labor Government has invested more than $10.9 billion in building new schools and upgrading existing campuses, creating about 13,500 jobs in construction and associated industries. The Labor Government is ahead of schedule to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “I’m proud to announce the names for these new schools, as we continue to deliver on our promise to build 100 new schools by 2026 – cementing Victoria as the Education State.” Quote attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley “This announcement should signal to local families that they are yet another step closer to getting the great new local school – and the first-class education – they deserve.” Download the media release

Student Teachers Make Their Mark On Secondary Schools

An additional cohort of high-achieving student teachers will bring their expertise to secondary schools in rural and regional areas and disadvantaged communities from the start of next year to help bolster student outcomes, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced $1.3 million would be provided to place an additional 80 Teach for Australia student teachers into schools serving low-socioeconomic areas from Term 1, 2022. The Employment Based Pathway initiative sees intern teachers with subject area knowledge complete their Master of Teaching (Professional Practice) with Australian Catholic University while on two-year placements at government secondary schools in regional, rural and disadvantaged communities. These intern teachers, known as Associates, receive coaching from teaching and leadership advisers and mentors as they attain their qualification. Teach for Australia was established in 2010 to help break the cycle of educational inequality through the provision of high-quality teachers and leaders to schools in need, with the aim of giving all students the same opportunities to excel. Victoria was the first state to partner with the not-for-profit organisation. Since then, over 600 Associates have been placed in more than 100 government secondary schools across the state. This Government investment forms part of a broader $4.8 million spend in the 2021-22 Victorian Budget 2021/22 on initiatives supporting pre-service teachers, including the establishment of two new Teaching Academies of Professional Practice (TAPP) partnerships between schools and universities. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every Victorian child deserves access to top-quality education, no matter where they live or what their background, and that’s why we’re investing in programs that deliver excellent teachers to the classrooms that need them most.” “We’re thrilled to be helping place an extra 80 enthusiastic student teachers into government secondary schools across regional and rural areas and disadvantaged communities, where they will not only help our kids thrive but in turn receive the support and mentorship they need to become great school leaders.” Download the media release

Student Teachers Make Their Mark On Secondary Schools

An additional cohort of high-achieving student teachers will bring their expertise to secondary schools in rural and regional areas and disadvantaged communities from the start of next year to help bolster student outcomes, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced $1.3 million would be provided to place an additional 80 Teach for Australia student teachers into schools serving low-socioeconomic areas from Term 1, 2022. The Employment Based Pathway initiative sees intern teachers with subject area knowledge complete their Master of Teaching (Professional Practice) with Australian Catholic University while on two-year placements at government secondary schools in regional, rural and disadvantaged communities. These intern teachers, known as Associates, receive coaching from teaching and leadership advisers and mentors as they attain their qualification. Teach for Australia was established in 2010 to help break the cycle of educational inequality through the provision of high-quality teachers and leaders to schools in need, with the aim of giving all students the same opportunities to excel. Victoria was the first state to partner with the not-for-profit organisation. Since then, over 600 Associates have been placed in more than 100 government secondary schools across the state. This Government investment forms part of a broader $4.8 million spend in the 2021-22 Victorian Budget 2021/22 on initiatives supporting pre-service teachers, including the establishment of two new Teaching Academies of Professional Practice (TAPP) partnerships between schools and universities. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “Every Victorian child deserves access to top-quality education, no matter where they live or what their background, and that’s why we’re investing in programs that deliver excellent teachers to the classrooms that need them most.” “We’re thrilled to be helping place an extra 80 enthusiastic student teachers into government secondary schools across regional and rural areas and disadvantaged communities, where they will not only help our kids thrive but in turn receive the support and mentorship they need to become great school leaders.” Download the media release

New Support Service Announced For LGBTIQ+ Community

The Andrews Labor Government is helping LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families get the support and care they need with a new state-wide counselling service called Qspace. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Equality Martin Foley today announced Drummond Street Services and its community partners across Victoria will receive $2.5 million government funding to run the new service. Qspace will provide specialist family counselling, assistance, online resources and information for LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families to help foster support and understanding. The aim of the program is to keep families together and make sure LGBTIQ+ Victorians feel safe and valued. The service will leverage from Queerspace − Drummond Street Services’ existing Melbourne-based LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing support service which provides counselling, peer support and professional development. Qspace will also be available through a network of regional and rural community partners including Anglicare Victoria (Gippsland and Kyneton), Mallee Family Care (Mildura), Upper Murray Family Care (Wodonga) and Drummond Street Service – Queerspace (Geelong). LGBTIQ+ Victorians are a diverse community and they continue to face stigma and discrimination. As a result, they are more likely than the broader community to experience poor mental health, suicidal thoughts, homelessness, substance abuse and intimate partner and family violence. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated challenges being faced by some LGBTIQ+ Victorians. The first Qspace counselling services are expected to commence in the coming months. Founded in 1887, Drummond Street Services is one of the longest-serving welfare organisations in Australia and has run counselling and groups for LGBTIQ+ people since the 1960s. Ensuring LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families have access to services when they need them is part of the Labor Government’s continued efforts to achieve equality for LGBTIQ+ communities. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This new service will ensure that all LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families, no matter where they live, can access safe and inclusive counselling to support their mental health. “Having worked with and alongside LGBTIQ+ Victorians for many years, Drummond Street Services and their expansive network is perfectly placed to lead this important work.” Quote attributable to Minister for Equality Martin Foley “We won’t rest until equality is achieved for our LGBTIQ+ communities. This service brings us another step closer to LGBTIQ+ Victorians having the same opportunities to achieve good mental health as anyone else.” Download the media release

New Support Service Announced For LGBTIQ+ Community

The Andrews Labor Government is helping LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families get the support and care they need with a new state-wide counselling service called Qspace. Minister for Mental Health James Merlino and Minister for Equality Martin Foley today announced Drummond Street Services and its community partners across Victoria will receive $2.5 million government funding to run the new service. Qspace will provide specialist family counselling, assistance, online resources and information for LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families to help foster support and understanding. The aim of the program is to keep families together and make sure LGBTIQ+ Victorians feel safe and valued. The service will leverage from Queerspace − Drummond Street Services’ existing Melbourne-based LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing support service which provides counselling, peer support and professional development. Qspace will also be available through a network of regional and rural community partners including Anglicare Victoria (Gippsland and Kyneton), Mallee Family Care (Mildura), Upper Murray Family Care (Wodonga) and Drummond Street Service – Queerspace (Geelong). LGBTIQ+ Victorians are a diverse community and they continue to face stigma and discrimination. As a result, they are more likely than the broader community to experience poor mental health, suicidal thoughts, homelessness, substance abuse and intimate partner and family violence. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated challenges being faced by some LGBTIQ+ Victorians. The first Qspace counselling services are expected to commence in the coming months. Founded in 1887, Drummond Street Services is one of the longest-serving welfare organisations in Australia and has run counselling and groups for LGBTIQ+ people since the 1960s. Ensuring LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families have access to services when they need them is part of the Labor Government’s continued efforts to achieve equality for LGBTIQ+ communities. Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health James Merlino “This new service will ensure that all LGBTIQ+ Victorians and their families, no matter where they live, can access safe and inclusive counselling to support their mental health. “Having worked with and alongside LGBTIQ+ Victorians for many years, Drummond Street Services and their expansive network is perfectly placed to lead this important work.” Quote attributable to Minister for Equality Martin Foley “We won’t rest until equality is achieved for our LGBTIQ+ communities. This service brings us another step closer to LGBTIQ+ Victorians having the same opportunities to achieve good mental health as anyone else.” Download the media release

Supporting Victorian Students With Disability

More Victorian students with disability will get the support they need to learn, contribute and participate in their schools and classrooms, thanks to the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that all government schools across the Barwon, Loddon Campaspe and Bayside Peninsula areas, and the five supported inclusion schools across Victoria, will receive further funding support to make their school more inclusive for all students, as part of the Disability Inclusion package. These schools are in Year 1 of the five-year Disability Inclusion roll-out and will all receive a base level of funding from Term 3 this year, with additional funding provided depending on the individual school’s characteristics. This new funding support is ongoing and is in addition to support already provided through the current Program for Students with Disabilities. Schools will use this funding to implement whole-school practices that support the inclusive education of students with diverse learning needs such as autism and learning difficulties. This may include undertaking professional development for staff, employing new disability and inclusion staff, and purchasing programs, interventions or specific equipment and technology – depending on the needs of their students and the school. For example, a school may choose to use this funding to employ a new inclusive practices leader to work in classrooms with teachers or an occupational therapist to develop sensory profiles. Other schools may choose to use the funding to invest in the services of external professionals or coaches who can provide advice and training on equipment and technology to support learning for students with diverse learning needs, and implement consistent inclusive supports throughout the school. Disability Inclusion will be rolled out progressively over the next five years, reaching all Victorian government schools by 2025. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invested an unprecedented almost $1.6 billion to make sure Victorian students with disability are supported at school through the Disability Inclusion package. The record investment will transform support for students with disability in Victorian government schools – doubling the number of students receiving extra support in the classroom to 55,000 – and is expected to create up to 1,730 jobs across the state by 2025. Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “This is the biggest change in disability support in our schools Victoria has ever seen, and it will make a difference in classrooms and to kids across the state.” “This funding will enable schools to support more students with disability, so that they can get the great education they deserve.” Download the media release

Supporting Victorian Students With Disability

More Victorian students with disability will get the support they need to learn, contribute and participate in their schools and classrooms, thanks to the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that all government schools across the Barwon, Loddon Campaspe and Bayside Peninsula areas, and the five supported inclusion schools across Victoria, will receive further funding support to make their school more inclusive for all students, as part of the Disability Inclusion package. These schools are in Year 1 of the five-year Disability Inclusion roll-out and will all receive a base level of funding from Term 3 this year, with additional funding provided depending on the individual school’s characteristics. This new funding support is ongoing and is in addition to support already provided through the current Program for Students with Disabilities. Schools will use this funding to implement whole-school practices that support the inclusive education of students with diverse learning needs such as autism and learning difficulties. This may include undertaking professional development for staff, employing new disability and inclusion staff, and purchasing programs, interventions or specific equipment and technology – depending on the needs of their students and the school. For example, a school may choose to use this funding to employ a new inclusive practices leader to work in classrooms with teachers or an occupational therapist to develop sensory profiles. Other schools may choose to use the funding to invest in the services of external professionals or coaches who can provide advice and training on equipment and technology to support learning for students with diverse learning needs, and implement consistent inclusive supports throughout the school. Disability Inclusion will be rolled out progressively over the next five years, reaching all Victorian government schools by 2025. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invested an unprecedented almost $1.6 billion to make sure Victorian students with disability are supported at school through the Disability Inclusion package. The record investment will transform support for students with disability in Victorian government schools – doubling the number of students receiving extra support in the classroom to 55,000 – and is expected to create up to 1,730 jobs across the state by 2025. Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino “This is the biggest change in disability support in our schools Victoria has ever seen, and it will make a difference in classrooms and to kids across the state.” “This funding will enable schools to support more students with disability, so that they can get the great education they deserve.” Download the media release

Prize Encourages Students To Reflect On Service Of Veterans

Victorian students in Years 9-11 in Monbulk are eligible to win $2,500 as they learn about Australian service people and their history through the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize. The annual competition run by the Victorian Government aims to build greater awareness of Australia’s war and peacekeeping history and the remarkable contributions of our veterans. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today encouraged schools and students in Monbulk to participate in this great program. The prize will support educational experiences and expenses and be administered by their school. Students can enter the competition by responding to and reflecting on a prompt about the Spirit of Anzac and how it represents resilience, courage, endurance, ingenuity, mateship, and good humour. They can submit their responses in a range of formats including essay, artwork, video, audio, music, webpage or poem. Students are encouraged to explore the topic from a personal perspective and to seek out the views of veterans in their own communities if possible. The Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize began in 2005 and has since been awarded to more than 500 students. In previous years students have travelled in Australia and overseas but the COVID-19 pandemic has meant this option isn’t available. Applications for the prize in 2021 close at 5pm on Tuesday 31 August, with winners expected to be notified in October. For more information, the full topic and eligibility criteria, students and schools should visit Premier's Spirit of Anzac Prize | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au) Quotes attributable to Minister for Veterans Shaun Leane “The Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize supports young Victorians to connect with the experiences of veterans and their families, which is a connection they can carry with them for a lifetime.” “It’s so important for Victorian young people to learn about the sacrifices veterans and their families have made so that all Australians could enjoy safety, freedom and peace – so we can ensure these sacrifices are never forgotten." Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We are thrilled that the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize is encouraging our young leaders to improve their understanding and appreciation of this important aspect of history.” “I encourage teachers and schools to explore how they can encourage their students to enter and consider incorporating the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize in the classroom."

Prize Encourages Students To Reflect On Service Of Veterans

Victorian students in Years 9-11 in Monbulk are eligible to win $2,500 as they learn about Australian service people and their history through the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize. The annual competition run by the Victorian Government aims to build greater awareness of Australia’s war and peacekeeping history and the remarkable contributions of our veterans. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP today encouraged schools and students in Monbulk to participate in this great program. The prize will support educational experiences and expenses and be administered by their school. Students can enter the competition by responding to and reflecting on a prompt about the Spirit of Anzac and how it represents resilience, courage, endurance, ingenuity, mateship, and good humour. They can submit their responses in a range of formats including essay, artwork, video, audio, music, webpage or poem. Students are encouraged to explore the topic from a personal perspective and to seek out the views of veterans in their own communities if possible. The Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize began in 2005 and has since been awarded to more than 500 students. In previous years students have travelled in Australia and overseas but the COVID-19 pandemic has meant this option isn’t available. Applications for the prize in 2021 close at 5pm on Tuesday 31 August, with winners expected to be notified in October. For more information, the full topic and eligibility criteria, students and schools should visit Premier's Spirit of Anzac Prize | Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au) Quotes attributable to Minister for Veterans Shaun Leane “The Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize supports young Victorians to connect with the experiences of veterans and their families, which is a connection they can carry with them for a lifetime.” “It’s so important for Victorian young people to learn about the sacrifices veterans and their families have made so that all Australians could enjoy safety, freedom and peace – so we can ensure these sacrifices are never forgotten." Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “We are thrilled that the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize is encouraging our young leaders to improve their understanding and appreciation of this important aspect of history.” “I encourage teachers and schools to explore how they can encourage their students to enter and consider incorporating the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize in the classroom."

A Chance To Get More Electric Vehicle Chargers In The Dandenong Ranges

The Victorian Government is calling for businesses, councils and community organisations to install electric vehicle charging stations across the state, with $5 million in funding to expand Victoria’s network of fast chargers – including chargers that give electric vehicles enough power to drive 100km after ten minutes of charging. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced the grants which will deliver more charging stations across Victoria to meet the surge in demand for zero emissions vehicles. Regional Victoria will receive 80 per cent of the funding, giving electric vehicle owners the confidence to travel across the state. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP said the $5 million in funding will deliver around 100 charging stations across Victoria, so this is a great opportunity for the Dandenong Ranges to attract Zero Emissions Vehicle drivers to the area. The Government will work with successful applicants to maximise the number of chargers that can be delivered. The Government’s support for public charging infrastructure will help meet Victoria’s target that 50 per cent of all new car sales be zero emissions vehicles by 2030 and help meet Victoria’s goal of halving carbon emissions by 2030. The transport sector accounts for 25 per cent of Victoria’s total carbon emissions. Electric vehicles will reduce emissions, while also reducing the amount of air and noise pollution, making our cities and towns more liveable. This funding will expand the extensive existing network of chargers at locations like shopping centres, hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations. By expanding the locations, particularly in regional Victoria, we are giving electric vehicle owners confidence that they can charge their cars when they need and where they need. The grants program will also support jobs across supply chains and services – including technicians, mechanics, and electricians – which brings broader economic benefits across the state. The 100 new fast chargers will be located across Victoria and will range from 11kW to 100kW. This funding is on top of $644,000 to install chargers across 17 sites in the Loddon Mallee region and $3 million to install ultra-rapid chargers connecting Euroa, Moe, Torquay, Ballarat and Horsham. These chargers are part of a comprehensive $100 million plan to drive uptake of zero emissions vehicles, which includes over 20,000 subsidies starting at $3,000 to help Victorians purchase a zero emissions vehicle – the first subsidy of its kind in Australia – and funding to drive uptake across the Government and commercial fleet. Applications are open until 5:00pm on Friday, 23 July. For more information, visit Destination Charging Across Victoria Program (energy.vic.gov.au). Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “This will make it easier for electric vehicle drivers to make the trips to the Dandenong Ranges, knowing that there will be a charging station here when they need one.” “I encourage businesses and tourist destinations in the Dandenong Ranges to take advantage of this great opportunity and apply for funding.” “Our support for electric vehicles will play a key role in halving our emissions by 2030.”

A Chance To Get More Electric Vehicle Chargers In The Dandenong Ranges

The Victorian Government is calling for businesses, councils and community organisations to install electric vehicle charging stations across the state, with $5 million in funding to expand Victoria’s network of fast chargers – including chargers that give electric vehicles enough power to drive 100km after ten minutes of charging. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio announced the grants which will deliver more charging stations across Victoria to meet the surge in demand for zero emissions vehicles. Regional Victoria will receive 80 per cent of the funding, giving electric vehicle owners the confidence to travel across the state. Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP said the $5 million in funding will deliver around 100 charging stations across Victoria, so this is a great opportunity for the Dandenong Ranges to attract Zero Emissions Vehicle drivers to the area. The Government will work with successful applicants to maximise the number of chargers that can be delivered. The Government’s support for public charging infrastructure will help meet Victoria’s target that 50 per cent of all new car sales be zero emissions vehicles by 2030 and help meet Victoria’s goal of halving carbon emissions by 2030. The transport sector accounts for 25 per cent of Victoria’s total carbon emissions. Electric vehicles will reduce emissions, while also reducing the amount of air and noise pollution, making our cities and towns more liveable. This funding will expand the extensive existing network of chargers at locations like shopping centres, hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations. By expanding the locations, particularly in regional Victoria, we are giving electric vehicle owners confidence that they can charge their cars when they need and where they need. The grants program will also support jobs across supply chains and services – including technicians, mechanics, and electricians – which brings broader economic benefits across the state. The 100 new fast chargers will be located across Victoria and will range from 11kW to 100kW. This funding is on top of $644,000 to install chargers across 17 sites in the Loddon Mallee region and $3 million to install ultra-rapid chargers connecting Euroa, Moe, Torquay, Ballarat and Horsham. These chargers are part of a comprehensive $100 million plan to drive uptake of zero emissions vehicles, which includes over 20,000 subsidies starting at $3,000 to help Victorians purchase a zero emissions vehicle – the first subsidy of its kind in Australia – and funding to drive uptake across the Government and commercial fleet. Applications are open until 5:00pm on Friday, 23 July. For more information, visit Destination Charging Across Victoria Program (energy.vic.gov.au). Quotes attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino MP “This will make it easier for electric vehicle drivers to make the trips to the Dandenong Ranges, knowing that there will be a charging station here when they need one.” “I encourage businesses and tourist destinations in the Dandenong Ranges to take advantage of this great opportunity and apply for funding.” “Our support for electric vehicles will play a key role in halving our emissions by 2030.”