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Liberal Nationals commit to securing jobs in the Valley

Wednesday 17 May 2017

An elected Liberal Nationals government would be committed to keeping jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

Unemployment was up 50 per cent in the past two years in the Valley, even before 750 people lost their job at Hazelwood Power Station in March.

Wood processor Carter Holt Harvey yesterday flagged closure of its Morwell sawmill which would mean a further 160 people would lose their jobs.

The Treasurer claimed just two weeks ago Labor is ‘creating jobs, but we’re also focused on protecting jobs’.

Instead, Labor’s destructive policies and ideology has led the Latrobe Valley into a jobs crisis.

Comments attributable to Opposition Leader Matthew Guy

The Morwell community has been hit hard by Daniel Andrews’ tax on coal that shutdown Hazelwood and forced 750 people out of work.

A government I lead would make sure Victoria has a secure and affordable electricity supply into the future by keeping the Loy Yang and Yallourn power stations open.

Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh

Daniel Andrews’ desperation for greens preferences in the city has created turmoil in our forestry industry.

A Liberal Nationals government would work with industry to return confidence to our forestry businesses, and that includes a commitment to work with Australia Paper to ensure this major employer has a strong future in the Valley and a secure supply of timber.

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Federal Govt delivers what Andrews Labor Govt refuses to

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Country Victorians will get the vital investments they need after the Federal Liberal Nationals Government delivered for the projects that Daniel Andrews refuses to fund.

Investments in rail and road infrastructure projects in regional Victoria and new agriculture initiatives for our primary producers were welcome commitments in Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

The $8bn inland freight rail line from Melbourne to Brisbane will take trucks off our roads and cut the cost for farmers to transport their product to port.

While Daniel Andrews refuses to spend a cent of State Government money on his $1.45bn wish list for regional rail, the Federal Liberal Nationals Government has invested $1bn in regional rail and other infrastructure projects.

This includes a $100 million investment in the north east rail line – five times more than was allocated in Labor’s unfunded wish list – and $290m for track duplications and upgrades on the Gippsland line.

These projects are fully funded and will deliver real benefits for country rail passengers who are sick of the Andrews Labor Government’s announce first, fund later approach.

I welcome the more than $4.1 billion investment in agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors and the $4bn Regional Investment Corporation which will support growth in our rural and regional communities.

The Federal Liberal Nationals have delivered where the Andrews Labor Government refuses to.

Regional Victorians deserve better than Labor’s offer of scraps off the table after the $9.7 billion sale of the Port of Melbourne lease.

The Federal Budget delivers funding and vision for infrastructure and rail for country Victorians who have been abandoned by the Labor Premier for Melbourne.

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Community celebrates dumping of the dump

Friday, 5 May 2017

The Nationals MPs Danny O’Brien and Melina Bath have congratulated the South Gippsland community on a successful campaign to ‘dump the dump’ at Leongatha South.

Mr O’Brien and Ms Bath joined community campaigners at the site after news that multinational waste firm Veolia had abandoned any plans it had to pursue the proposed rubbish dump in a disused quarry.

“This was a project that was sprung on the community by Veolia and presented as something of a done deal. What the company didn’t anticipate was the fantastic community campaign that mobilised almost instantly to oppose the dump,” said Mr O’Brien.

“I was please to table in State Parliament almost 3,000 petitions against the proposal and the community campaign made it clear that South Gippsland did not want Melbourne’s waste.”

Ms Bath said, as a local resident, she was equally concerned about what the dump would have meant.

“I give great credit to the Dump the Dump group which pounded the pavement, collected signatures and prepared a significant campaign against the dump idea.

“I also pay tribute to the businesses that hosted the petitions and leant their support to the campaign.”

Mr O’Brien said neither the Gippsland nor metropolitan waste planning groups had accepted the need for the dump at Leongatha South, denting any credibility it had to proceed.

“We know we have to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and Gippsland will accept the responsibility for dealing with its own waste - Melbourne should too.

“I am disappointed that having raised community anxiety about this issue, that it took follow up from us to confirm it was now dead. That is disrespectful to the community and Veolia’s behaviour in this case has been poor.”

 

CAPTION: The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien and Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath celebrating the dumping of the dump with concerned community members Wendy Reed and Les White.

 

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Taxes up 20%, but Daniel Andrews cuts $45m from training

Wednesday 3 May 2017 

Victorians are now paying for ten new taxes under Daniel Andrews, but the funds won’t be used to fix the state’s broken training sector. 

Instead, Labor has cut $45 million from the state’s training budget, while thousands of young people drop out of vocational education in Victoria.

Under Daniel Andrews, there are now:

  • 122,597 fewer students enrolled in government-subsidised training
  • 168,432 fewer government-subsidised course enrolments
  • 56 million fewer student contact hours delivered

The participation of young people in training has also declined by 6.6 per cent.

Labor is so desperate to hide its failed TAFE ‘rescue’, that it plans to stop publishing training enrolment numbers and other key performance measures (Budget Paper No. 3, Output Performance Measures for Review, p363).

Daniel Andrews’ cuts to training are hurting young people who want to work towards a new career and the most vulnerable in our society. 

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Taxes up 20% but cuts to mental health

Tuesday 2 May 2017 

Daniel Andrews has announced ten new taxes in two years but has effectively cut the number of residential mental health beds. 

The Government's own budget papers show that Daniel Andrews is failing Victorians struggling with mental illness by cutting the number of mental health beds.

Buried away on page 244 of Budget Paper number 3 is the disclosure that the government fell around 16,000 short on residential bed days this year and have wound back their target next year by a further 12,000 bed days.

Daniel Andrews likes to brag about his doctored Code 1 ambulance figures, but his own budget papers show that Victorians in the midst of a mental health crisis are being let down.

The Andrews Government has failed to meet its target of 75 per cent of emergency patients being admitted to a mental health bed within eight hours - falling a whopping 15 per cent short.

Daniel Andrews is not only the highest taxing Premier in Victoria’s history, he’s the highest taxing Premier in Australia.  Despite being the highest taxing state, with a $10 billion windfall from the Port of Melbourne lease, this budget fails to deliver for on the ground mental health support for people in crisis. 

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Daniel Andrews taxing regional Victoria more, but giving less

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Daniel Andrews is taxing regional Victorians more, but giving us less.

For the third year in a row, Daniel Andrews has arrogantly dished out scraps off the table for the regions.

There is no new capital investments for our country hospitals.

There is no money for new police stations or additional police officers despite the statewide crime crisis.

The Country Roads and Bridges Program still hasn’t been restored despite the appalling state of our country roads.

Too many of our country schools will again miss out on desperately needed upgrade funding.

There’s no cost of living relief for families, despite Daniel Andrews introducing nine new taxes after breaking his election eve promise not to introduce any.

There’s no plan for Victoria’s population, and no plan to help our regional cities and towns grow and realise their full potential.

Farmers will be appalled to see Labor has slashed $32 million out of the Agriculture budget. Fears that Agriculture would be swallowed up within the super department look to be true, as no amount of Labor spin can hide this drop in spending.

The Budget also confirms that despite bragging about a surplus, Daniel Andrews won’t spend a cent of State money on his hoax regional rail announcement and Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester will now be asked to fix Labor’s mess.

In fact, for a Government flush with cash after the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease, the lack of new State-funded initiatives for regional Victoria is massively disappointing.

This Budget is about politics, not people, and yet again Daniel Andrews’ contempt for the country is obvious despite Labor’s tricky spin.

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Labor failing our forestry workers

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has failed to explain why the Andrews Government refuses to stand up for thousands of jobs in Victoria’s forestry industry.

In Parliament’s Upper House today, Nationals members Luke O’Sullivan and Melina Bath directly asked Ms Pulford why Labor’s Forestry Industry Taskforce, which the Premier said would ‘sustain jobs’, had failed to do so.

“Victoria’s timber industry workers are angry that Daniel Andrews bailed out Alcoa workers, but won’t do the same to save their jobs,” Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said.

“By starving the industry of resource, Daniel Andrews is creating the Great Forest National Park by stealth.

“The Premier is more concerned about saving his own job than the thousands of jobs of people who work in our timber industries.

“The timber is there, what’s missing is the will of Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford to keep this industry open. If Jaala Pulford can’t resolve this issue, Daniel Andrews must step in to secure a future for East Gippsland’s forestry industry.”

VicForests has offered Australian Sustainable Hardwoods just 80,000 cubic metres of timber next year, far less than the 130,000 cubic metres required for the mill to be viable. The Andrews Government has also failed to ensure adequate supply to Auswest Timber in Orbost and Bairnsdale, threatening a further 65 jobs.

Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said the forestry industry was the backbone of many communities in East Gippsland.

“Many of the workers whose jobs are at risk have worked in the forestry industry for years, if not much of their life and everyone has grave concerns for the future of our communities in East Gippsland if the industry is lost,” Mr Bull said.

“Daniel Andrews must immediately stop putting politics and green preferences ahead of East Gippsland jobs.

“A town hall meeting heard there was nothing stopping the minister guaranteeing supply to ASH for at least the next five to seven years.

“It’s time for the Premier and the Minister to act in the best interests of our communities.”

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Labor must reinstate life-saving teacher training

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Background

Daniel Andrews has cut the delivery of life-saving anaphylaxis training in Victorian schools.

Until late 2015, Victorian teachers were required to undertake face-to-face training in the correct use of adrenaline autoinjector devices, which can also be used to treat severe asthma.

Since 2016, only two teachers per school are required to undertake face-to-face training to administer the life-saving treatment.

There is no requirement that all teachers undertake training and schools that wish to fund teachers to undertake the course face-to-face instead of online must now find the money from their own budgets.

Despite recent fatal Thunderstorm Asthma events, Health Minister Jill Hennessy today refused to commit to reinstating this life-saving training.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan

The administration of adrenaline could save kids’ lives and Daniel Andrews must reinstate this life-saving training immediately.

Only offering training to a select few not only puts Victorian students at risk, but could leave a teacher in the distressing position of being underqualified to respond in an emergency.

Labor’s reckless cuts have left Victorian schools exposed if a critical incident was to occur during school hours.

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Country Vic going backwards under Labor

Tuesday 6 December 2016

 

A report released today by SGS Economic and Planning has shown that regional Victoria’s economy shrank by 1 per cent in 2015-16, making it the only area in all of Australia to have its economy go backwards.

Shadow Minister for Regional Development Tim McCurdy said “regional Victoria is going backwards under Daniel Andrews and his city-centric Labor Government”.

“Under Daniel Andrews, country roads and bridges funding has been spent in the Premier’s own city electorate and regional rail commuters have been stranded for days due to Labor’s failure to maintain the rail lines,” Mr McCurdy said.

“Whether it is taking an axe to the Country Fire Authority or leaving country roads in disrepair, regional Victorians have been the biggest losers under Daniel Andrews’ Government.”

Mr McCurdy said Daniel Andrews has no plan to manage Victoria’s population growth.

“More than 90 per cent of Victoria’s population growth is centred on Melbourne, an unsustainable situation that hurts both the city and the country,” Mr McCurdy said.

“The Liberal Nationals are developing a comprehensive plan to manage the huge growth in Victoria’s population and make sure regional Victoria is a beneficiary of the opportunities population growth provides not a loser from it.”

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Half-year training update months overdue

The Andrews Labor Government are hiding the extent of Victoria's training crisis, failing to release the half-yearly update on the state of our TAFE and training sector.

Steve Herbert's time-keeping skills are on par with his dismal record-keeping skills.

We are nearly to the end of the year and have no idea of the state of our training system after the Andrews Labor Government failed to release the half-yearly update for 2016.

It is now months overdue.

Steve Herbert leaves a shameful legacy of plummeting training enrolments and $175 million in cuts to student training at TAFE.

Gayle Tierney has inherited a fragmented and struggling training sector from an incompetent Minister, but she shouldn’t cover for him by continuing to delay the release of the half-year data.