Thursday 19 July 2018
New Livestock and Rural Crime Squad to help protect farmers’ assets
A Liberal Nationals Government will establish a new Livestock and Rural Crime Squad to specialise in dealing with rural crime including farm and livestock theft.
A Liberal Nationals Government will work with Victoria Police to establish a dedicated Livestock and Rural Crime Squad with 20 new specialist rural crime investigators. The allocation of 20 new specialist roles will boost dedicated rural crime police numbers by 40 per cent.
Stock theft is becoming a huge business for criminals and its hurting hard working families on the land.
Instances of stock theft rose 40% in 2017 and between April 2017 and March 2018 there were 232 instances of ‘Burglary/Break and Enter’ and ‘Theft’ offences recorded where livestock were stolen. Just 10 of these crimes resulted in an arrest or summons.
Labor has failed to act on rural crime, including livestock theft. Warrnambool Police Inspector Paul Marshall recently described stock theft:
“It’s big business… Traditionally farmers have been left a little bit short on the service they are getting so we’re really trying to correct that and treat stock theft for what it is. It’s a serious organised crime.”
The Livestock and Rural Crime Squad will be based throughout regional Victoria. Victoria Police will inform the final operational structure of the specialist unit however it is intended that the roles will be located throughout regional Victoria, ensuring unit members will be working in the rural communities they will be protecting.
These 20 new investigation positions will merge with the existing Livestock and Farm Crime Specialist Group and the 48 Agricultural Liaison Officers (AGLOs) to create the new Livestock and Rural Crime Squad.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:
“The skyrocketing numbers of farm and livestock thefts aren’t just statistics; they are the livelihoods of families which is why I am so determined to get tough on these crimes.
A Liberal Nationals Government will muscle-up on farm and livestock thefts.
A Livestock and Rural Crime Squad will give the Police the resources they need to put more focus on farm and livestock thefts and protect the livelihoods of our farmers.
Daniel Andrews and his regional Labor MPs don’t seem to think farm and livestock thefts are an issue and after nearly four years they still haven’t done anything about it.
A Liberal Nationals Government will keep all Victorians safe and secure.”
Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh:
“Daniel Andrews is the Premier for Melbourne, the Liberal Nationals will govern for all of Victoria. At the moment because of Labor’s cuts to police, there are only ever a handful of arrests made for farm and livestock theft and that sends a message to criminals that they can probably get away with it.
A Liberal Nationals Government will send a strong message to potential criminals that if they are thinking about farm and livestock theft you will get caught and you will get punished.
Victoria’s agricultural industry can’t afford another four more years of Daniel Andrews and Labor’s lack of action on farm and livestock theft.”
Thursday 28 June 2018
Daniel Andrews’ secret plan to dismantle V/Line
Daniel Andrews and his failed Public Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan, must come clean on their secret plan to swallow up country rail services into the struggling metropolitan PTV system.
The Andrews Labor Government has appointed Jeroen Weimar, CEO of Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to the role of V/Line Board Chairman from 1 July.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh
Only a Premier for Melbourne would orchestrate the takeover of our country rail services by Melbourne-focused bureaucrats.
Our regional communities want their rail services strengthened, not swallowed up by a city-focused administration that is preoccupied solving Melbourne’s commuter crush.
As Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan recently tried to take over and centralise bus services and only failed because private bus operators fought back against a raw deal that would have disadvantaged country communities.
Now its revealed Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan also have a secret plan for centralising our country rail services.
It’s time for Labor to come clean and tell us exactly what they are planning for our rail services because Regional Victoria can’t afford any more dud deals from the Premier for Melbourne.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Public Transport David Davis
Make no mistake, Daniel Andrews and his Public Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan, are beginning the process of destroying V/Line, Victoria’s country rail operator.
Not content with smashing its performance, they are now putting in an urban Board Chair with clear riding instructions to make V/Line fit the Metro mould.
How will Mr Weimar deal with this clear conflict of interest when the priority of Metro trains conflict with country rail – V/Line – services? Whose side will he take?
The fear is that Metro services will repeatedly override country trains.
Background: Victoria’s Rail Performance
Daniel Andrews’ city-centric government has crushed country rail performance since coming to government on almost every measure. The performance on country rail has collapsed since November 2014.
- Punctuality has reached the lowest level in over five years and one of the lowest levels on record across the V/Line network.
- Punctuality is far below that achieved in 2014 (79.3% vs 90.8% Nov 2014).
- Nearly 10 times as many services were cancelled in May (335) across the V/Line system than in Nov 2014 (36).
- The 92% target for punctuality has never been achieved over the last 4 years under Labor.
The May performance of V/Line is shocking but the solution is not a take-over of country rail by Daniel Andrews’ city-rail expert. The terrible fact is that city-rail performance has also declined.
Jeroen Weimar’s performance in conjunction with Minister Allan’s has seen:
- Punctuality well below 2014 – 90% in May 2018 vs 94.3% in November 2014.
- Punctuality fell to second lowest level in the last four years in May 2018.
- Punctuality continues to trend down since 2014.
- Punctuality is below the 92% target on 12 of the 16 metro lines.
- Labor is running over 3,000 less services on time in May 2018 across the Metro system than the previous Coalition Government did in November 2014.
Wednesday 18 April 2018
Liberal Nationals will bring back Country Roads and Bridges Program
An elected Liberal Nationals government will fix country roads and save country lives.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure David Hodgett announced today if elected, the Liberal Nationals will bring back the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program.
By contrast, Daniel Andrews axed the program when he was elected in 2014, leaving councils struggling to meet the cost of maintaining local roads.
Approximately $1 million in grants will be provided to Victoria’s 40 rural shires each year over four years.
The grants will help restore and rehabilitate council-maintained roads and bridges, which have deteriorated under Labor’s neglect.
People in rural Victoria are over-represented in the road toll. In 2017, 156 lives were lost on roads in rural Victoria, compared to 102 on roads in Melbourne.
The Country Roads and Bridges Program will give rural Victorians the safe and reliable infrastructure they deserve.
Comment attributable to Opposition Leader Matthew Guy
The Liberal Nationals will get Victoria moving with the high-quality, safe roads and infrastructure regional and rural Victorians deserve.
Daniel Andrews is the Premier for Melbourne, I’ll be the Premier for all Victorians.
Comment attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh
While Daniel Andrews is reducing speed limits on country roads, the Liberal Nationals have a plan for the safe, reliable infrastructure rural Victorians deserve.
If you fix country roads, you save country lives – and that’s exactly what this program will do.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure David Hodgett
Daniel Andrews axed the Country Roads and Bridges Program, leaving Victoria’s rural councils struggling to maintain their local roads network.
The Premier for Melbourne prefers to put country infrastructure funding into improvements near his own suburban electorate, only an elected Liberal Nationals government will invest in road safety improvements in rural Victoria.
Saturday 5 May 2018
Liberal Nationals will ensure a brighter future for young rural Victorians
An elected Liberal Nationals government will give our youngest rural and regional Victorians the best start in life, lifting education opportunities through better support for parents and children in the early years of schooling.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan announced the Liberal Nationals’ $80 million Brighter Futures Fund in Shepparton today.
Mr Walsh said the Fund will be the first step in a dedicated investment to transform education for our youngest rural and regional Victorians.
“A child’s future shouldn’t be determined by where they live, but we know there’s a persistent disadvantage in education in rural communities compared to the city,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals will work to close the rural education gap because we believe the long-term prosperity of our country communities relies on our young people having a brighter future.”
The Victorian Auditor General recently found ‘there is no sign that the gap in performance is likely to narrow. Indeed, in some areas of performance, the gap is getting wider’.
Results of the most recent Australian Early Development Census show 15 of Victoria’s 20 worst performing LGAs for early childhood education are in rural and regional Victoria.
Action is needed to ensure our children have the best start in life.
Ms Ryan said the $80 million Fund will be invested in integrated education hubs – a one-stop-shop for allied health, early childhood, maternal and child health services, and tertiary education.
“A short-term plan won’t secure real change. We know real change will only happen with a dedicated generational approach,” Ms Ryan said.
“The Premier for Melbourne’s promise to make Victoria the ‘education state’ ends at Melbourne’s tram tracks.
“An elected Liberal Nationals government will do more than create number plate slogans.
“It takes a village to raise a child and we’ll help build that village to ensure children in rural and regional Victoria have a brighter future.”
Wednesday 21 March 2018
Liberal Nationals support deer meat for pet food industry
A Liberal Nationals Government will work with hunting groups and pet food processors to expand Victoria’s pet food processing program to include deer.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Liberal Nationals recognised the role hunters play in controlling problem deer numbers and also saw an opportunity to further support Victoria’s pet meat processing industry.
Mr Walsh said Victoria’s deer population needed appropriate management to limit negative impacts on public and private land.
“Introduced deer populations must be managed, both for environment protection and also for safety on our roads,” Mr Walsh said.
“Expanding Victoria’s pet food industry to include deer meat makes sense because it makes productive use of hunted deer that may otherwise go to waste and it also supports jobs and investment in our hunting and pet food processing sectors.”
Record numbers of deer were hunted in 2016, with Victoria’s 35,000 licenced hunters recording nearly 100,000 deer – almost twice the average since 2009. In the same year, deer hunters contributed $142.1 million for Victoria’s economy.
Both the Australian Deer Association and the Victorian Farmers Federation have expressed support for expanding the pet food industry to include deer.
A Liberal Nationals’ Government would work with hunting groups and pet food processors to support control of problem deer on private and public land and subsequent use of controlled deer carcasses as commercial pet food.
Mr Walsh said similar to the Liberal Nationals support for making the kangaroo pet food trial permanent, including deer meat in the pet food program would be good for regional jobs.
“Daniel Andrews is standing in the way of new regional industry because he is scared of growing support for the Greens in Labor’s inner-city electorates,” Mr Walsh said.
“The pet food program is common sense. It makes use of a resource that would otherwise go to waste, creating jobs and investment in regional communities.
“Only the Liberal Nationals support our hunters and will give our pet food processors investment certainty by making the kangaroo pet food trial permanent and expanding the program to include deer.”
Monday 23 April 2018
Twice as many trains and at faster speeds under the Liberal Nationals
Shepparton will finally get the rail service it has long wanted under a Liberal National plan to revitalise the city’s rail services and help decentralise Victoria’s economic and population growth.
The Liberal Nationals will double the current number of return rail services from Shepparton to Melbourne.
Through a $77 million investment the Liberal Nationals will increase the number of daily services from four to eight and track conditions will be vastly improved to allow maximum train speeds of up to 130 km/h, significantly higher than the current limit of around 95 km/h.
The Liberal Nationals’ plan will also see up to 32 road level crossings fully protected on the Shepparton line, eliminating the need to slow down and enabling maximum speeds to be maintained for as long as possible.
New remotely controlled automatic signalling will be installed on the line along with new sleepers, ballast and drainage.
The announcement is part of the Liberal Nationals’ plan to invest in heavy rail upgrades and to decentralise Victoria’s growth, creating a state of cities, not a city state.
It also follows the Liberal Nationals’ $633 million announcement to replace all diesel hauled country rail services with six carriage long haul VLocity railcars, which would operate all Shepparton services.
Gone will be the days of waiting for emergency repairs on ageing 1980s rolling stock and consistent broken air-conditioners on hot days, Shepparton will finally get a first class rail service.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:
“A government I lead will deliver faster, comfortable and more reliable rail services for Shepparton. As one of the largest cities in Victoria, Shepparton deserves no less.
“One of the most effective ways to decentralise Victoria’s population and economic growth is to upgrade our rail network and this is exactly what a Liberal National government will do.
“While Daniel Andrews is only interested in being the Premier for Melbourne, I will be the Premier for all of Victoria.”
Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh:
“The Labor Premier for Melbourne is putting billions into the Melbourne metro and leaving Shepparton on the slow train.
“This commitment, in addition to the purchase of new long-haul trains, reflects the Liberal Nationals’ vision for Shepparton becoming a major regional centre as part of our plan to grow the whole state, not just Melbourne.”
Comments attributable to Liberal Candidate for Shepparton, Cheryl Hammer:
“The Shepparton community has told us loud and clear that improved connectivity to and from Melbourne is essential for building our future.
“I am proud to be part of the Liberal Nationals team that will deliver a faster, more reliable train service giving us the opportunity to better showcase our region, and move our travelling public in the manner they deserve."
Comments attributable to The Nationals Candidate for Shepparton, Peter Schwarz:
“Modern, fast, reliable trains and more services on the Shepparton line will be a terrific asset to attract people and new businesses to our community.
“The Shepparton region has a lot to be proud of and the better public transport links that will be delivered by an elected Liberal Nationals government will help our community grow.”
Thursday 22 February 2018
First, Luke Donnellan denigrated and disrespected country Victorians. Now he is straight out lying to us.
Asked today in Parliament if Labor’s botched placement of wire rope barriers would result in workers mowing kilometres of the Hume Fwy grass verge with push mowers, the Roads Minister responded ‘no’.
But photographs of workers mowing the edges of the Hume Fwy with push mowers suggest otherwise.
Luke Donnellan’s own guidelines on wire rope barriers state that the ongoing maintenance of areas on both sides of the barrier should be taken into account when installing them.
Further they state “the cost, practicality and Occupational Health & Safety implications of the maintenance of these areas need to be considered in accordance with Section 28 of the OH&S Act 2004.”
The use of push mowers on the Hume Fwy clearly does not comply with the Minister’s own guidelines.
Luke Donnellan must explain why the botched rollout of wire rope barriers has breached his own guidelines.
Daniel Andrews and Luke Donnellan must start listening to the legitimate safety concerns of country people.
Thursday 15 February 2018
Victoria’s training budget was underspent by hundreds of millions of dollars in 2016-17 but no one seems to know where the money has gone.
Asked today how much money was returned to consolidated revenue, department officials appeared to be struck by a case of amnesia.
Department officials are not just confused about where the money’s gone, they are also unable to get their story straight on the extent of Labor’s cuts.
The figures provided at Public Accounts and Estimates Committee today don’t match up to the figures provided at hearings in May.
The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government services, released earlier this month, revealed that in 2016 Labor underspent the student training budget by a staggering $502 million.
Comments to be attributed to Shadow Training, Skills & Apprenticeships Minister Steph Ryan
Higher skills and training officials have got a serious case of the ‘umm’s.
It just isn’t believable that hundreds of millions of dollars could vanish from the department and no one knows what it’s been spent on.
Daniel Andrews cannot continue to claim he is providing record funding for training when the $1.2 billion student training budget has been cut by half a billion in just one year.
Labor’s cuts are of unprecedented magnitude and are a betrayal of his promise to ‘rescue’ TAFE.
Thursday 8 February 2018
In his opening remarks to the 2012 regional sitting of the Legislative Assembly in Ballarat then Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews remarked:
“The regional sitting program is a wonderful program, and I congratulate the Premier for continuing the efforts of previous governments.”
“The regional sitting programs are very important, not just because the communities get a better sense of what the legislature does but also because they are a great opportunity for us to spend time collectively in regional Victoria, to show our strong support for regional Victoria as a Parliament and to celebrate all the great things that are happening in regional Victoria.”
(Hansard, 6 September 2012)
Former Labor Premier Steve Bracks said of the Regional Parliament in 2000 that the regional sittings recognised:
“…the crucial role that regional Victoria played in the history of Victoria, the nation and the formation of the Federation”.
(Hansard, 26 October 2000)
Yet, not one regional sitting has been held during the current Andrews Labor Government’s term.
Thursday 8 February 2018
Communities in Regional Victoria would host Victorian Parliament for the first time since 2012, under an elected Liberal Nationals government.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh announced the commitment today at State Parliament, in the first sitting week of 2018.
The Liberal Nationals commitment would see two regional sittings of each chamber held in the next term of government.
“You can’t fix country Victoria’s problems from behind a desk in Spring Street. Labor scrapped Regional Parliament, the Liberal Nationals will bring it back,” Mr Guy said.
“Regional sittings offer country communities a unique opportunity to be the focus of Parliament and are an important opportunity for city-based parliamentarians to learn more about regional communities.”
The commitment would see Mildura, Shepparton, Warrnambool and the Latrobe Valley host parliamentarians from one chamber of Parliament – either the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council – for one sitting week each.
Mr Walsh said Daniel Andrews’ decision to scrap Regional Parliament was more proof he can’t see beyond Melbourne’s tram tracks.
“Daniel Andrews’ city-centric focus has denied our school children and communities in regional Victoria a chance to be part of Victoria’s democratic process,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals will put an end to the absolute contempt Labor has shown our country communities and make sure our regional communities can be part of the parliamentary process.”
The last regional sittings were held by the former Liberal Nationals government in 2012.