I raise a matter for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is that the minister intervenes to reinstate the remaining school improvement program (SIP) funds to Sassafras Primary School in my electorate. This is not a recent issue that I am raising with the minister. I wrote to the minister on 15 March and received a holding letter reply on 28 March, but I have still not received a considered response to this very serious issue and consider it necessary to raise it in tonight's adjournment.
I raise a matter for the Minister for Higher Education and Skills. The action I seek is that the minister immediately intervene to ensure the continued operation of Swinburne University of Technology's Lilydale TAFE and university campus.
Two schools in my electorate, Monbulk College and Upwey High School, and Billanook College just outside my electorate, have longstanding and highly successful volleyball programs. All three schools competed in the recent Victorian Volleyball Schools Cup, with 160 teams competing at the State Volleyball Centre.
The iconic 1000 steps at the foothills of the Dandenongs is well known as an important commemoration of the Kokoda campaign and is important to those who access the venue for fitness training. Unfortunately the critical importance of the role played by Parks Victoria staff in maintaining this site and parks across the state is lost on the Baillieu government.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate a great community leader, Peter Marke, on being awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in the recent Queen's Birthday honours list.
Congratulations to my old school, Mount Lilydale Mercy College, and the Old Collegians Association on the recent gala dinner where we celebrated the very first inductees into the school's Mercy honour roll.
I rise to commend the efforts of the Upwey-Tecoma Community Recreational and Sporting Hub group in pursuing a transformation of this significant reserve. The strength of the group is due to the fact that it is incredibly representative of the community -- 23 groups and clubs are working together to achieve their dream of redeveloping this site.
I want to pay tribute to Sue and Bruce Tardif, who recently concluded their five-year stint as coordinators for the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater. The helmeted honeyeater is not only critically endangered; it is Victoria's bird emblem. Since 1989 the friends group has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of the bird's plight and to protect and enhance its habitat. This has included running the group's own community native nursery. The army of volunteers has been superbly assisted by Bruce and Sue in the vast range of community, education and environmental activities the friends participate in. I thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best for the next chapter of their lives.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Knox City Council on the staging of the Knox Festival on the 3rd and 4th of March. The Knox Festival is one of the longest running community art festivals in Melbourne and also one of the most successful, with close to 40 000 people participating in this annual event. Huge rainfall significantly impacted on the festival on Saturday, but it was a packed with a happy crowd on Sunday, when my family and I enjoyed the huge array of activities. Terrific music, dance and theatre shows; plenty of kids activities; rides; workshops; circus acts; community displays; a 7-tonne sand sculpture; and a variety of sports come-and-try opportunities were on offer.
I raise a matter for the Minister for Sport and Recreation regarding the Hilltop Recreation Association and the redevelopment of Olinda Recreation Reserve. The action I seek from the minister is that he approve an application for $100 000 under the country football and netball program.
Whilst I am certainly excited to be the shadow Minister for Education, I join this debate today to grieve for education in Victoria. Education is a passion of mine. It is through education that people can transform their lives, break out of
poverty and achieve their dreams. Only governments that have an unwavering focus on education, skills, research and innovation deliver sustained economic growth, jobs and high standards of living.
I rise to congratulate a number of Yarra Ranges Shire Council Australia Day award winners. The Environmental Achiever of the Year award was awarded to Macclesfield resident Irene Pearey. Her passionate commitment to the environment was rightly applauded. Her work with the Macclesfield Landcare Group and the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater community nursery, to name just a couple of groups, shows that Irene is a worthy recipient.
I rise to speak on the Road Safety Amendment (Drinking while Driving) Bill 2011. I saw this bill for the first time yesterday at 1.00 p.m., and I saw the second reading for the first time at 8.00 a.m. today.
I rise to congratulate three organisations in my electorate that are currently conducting Christmas appeals: Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service has a bridging the gap appeal, Knox Infolink has its Share the Joy Christmas appeal and Anglicare Victoria is holding the Lilydale Christmas of Hope appeal. Christmas is a time of sunshine, happiness, precious time with family and friends and the joy of giving and receiving.
Congratulations to the Monbulk Business Network for organising the Merry Monbulk Christmas street party on Friday, 25 November. It was a great night, and congratulations to organiser Liz Dumps and her team for putting it on.
I had the honour of attending the 11th annual Time for remembering service in Queen's Hall on Sunday, 20 November. This multifaith service, organised by Road Trauma Support Services and led by the Reverend Andy Calder, was a special opportunity for families and friends to remember loved ones lost and an opportunity to give thanks to the people at the front line of responding to road trauma and striving to reduce the road toll, such as our emergency services and health-care professionals.
After that extraordinary performance it is clear that the only person who thinks this report is about us is the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security. Today I grieve for Victoria Police.
I rise to congratulate the Tecoma Village Action Group (TVAG) and the broader ommunity of the Dandenong Ranges for their extraordinary and ultimately successful efforts to stop a proposed application for a McDonald's restaurant in Tecoma.