Ovens Valley communities will soon have improved mobile phone coverage as part of the construction of 109 new or upgraded mobile phone towers across the state.
Locally, new or upgraded towers have been announced for Archerton, Buffalo River, Edi Upper, Eldorado, Havilah, Moyhu and Myrrhee.
Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said the announcement would be welcomed by many residents and communities across the region which have been plagued by poor mobile phone coverage for years.
“Poor mobile phone coverage impacts on people in the operation of their businesses, day- to-day communications and during emergency situations,” Mr McCurdy said.
“For all of these reasons, improved mobile phone communication will make a significant difference.”
The federal government has announced these towers as part of its mobile blackspot program, which is being rolled out across regional Australia over three years.
“The former Coalition Government invested $40 million last year to secure funding for Victorian communities so I’m very pleased that we are seeing the result of that hard work,” Mr McCurdy said.
“Poor mobile phone service is one of the issues that is continually raised with me by members of our local communities so it is pleasing that improvements will now be forthcoming.
“Regional and rural Victorians deserve access to good quality mobile phone service and this is a great outcome for our local communities.”
A full list of locations is available at www.communications.gov.au/mobile_coverage
Labor promised 100,000 full-time jobs within two years.
"The Back To Work Act – will support the creation of 100,000 full time jobs and will be introduced during the first sitting week of the new Parliament."
Source: Daniel Andrews media statement - 6 October 2014
"The plan will help create up to 100,000 new jobs in Victoria over the next two years."
Source: Back to Work - Victorian Labor's Plan for 100,000 Jobs
Jobs data source: ABS Labour Force figures - employed full-time persons, seasonally adjusted series (download table 5 and refer to Column S in Data1 tab)
Comments from the Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan:
"Today's announcement is a stark reminder that Daniel Andrews is failing to deliver on his promise to deliver 100,000 full-time jobs in Victoria within two years of coming to office.
"The real issue here is that since Daniel Andrews came to office there are 6,000 fewer full-time jobs in Victoria.
"Daniel Andrews' announcement doesn't address the needs of the most vulnerable young people - given it relies on participants having completed their secondary school education."
On 9 February, Daniel Andrews’ Minister for Training and Skills promised he would release a VET Funding Review interim report within 100 days.
It’s been 121 days since then and there is still no sign of the report.
After spending years calling for more certainty in the sector, Daniel Andrews has left training providers in a state of limbo.
Despite all their promises Daniel Andrews is not investing one additional dollar into skills training in Victoria. His Minister for Training and Skills has even admitted that Labor’s training budget is exactly the same as the former Coalition Government’s budget.
Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan said the Andrews Labor Government was all talk and no action on skills training.
“Daniel Andrews has repeatedly said he will honour ‘each and every one’ of his promises, yet here is another one broken.
“Here we go again - saying one thing before the election, doing another thing after it.
“Labor has not invested one extra dollar in skills training courses and now it has failed to meet its own time-frames for the vocational education and training review.
“Training providers deserve to know the government’s intentions, given the Minister plans to introduce these reforms before the start of the 2016 training year.
“Labor needs to end the talk-fest and start delivering for Victorian students.”
Victorian Shadow Minister for Sport Damian Drum has demanded the Andrews Labor Government release full details of major sporting funds which failed to get a mention in this year’s State Budget.
In Parliament Mr Drum, Nationals MP for Northern Victoria, asked the Treasurer Tim Pallas to explain what had happened to:
- $9.8 million yet to be spent in the Shooting Sports Facilities Program;
- Funding for the Country Football Netball Program; and
- $18 million which had been ear-marked for two major Bendigo sport projects, the Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre and the Bendigo Tennis Centre.
Mr Drum told Parliament that Labor Sport Minister John Eren had been embarrassed at a recent budget review meeting by not being able to show where the funds had been included in this year’s Budget.
“It will be welcome news to many sporting clubs that the Andrews Labor Government has now backflipped and decided to continue the Country Football Netball Program and the Shooting Sports Facilities Program after I raised these issues publicly,” Mr Drum said.
“These are important programs that support local sporting clubs and encourage greater participation in sport across the state.
“But I am still concerned about the long-term future of the programs, with the government refusing to say how long they will continue or where the money is coming from.”
The Andrews Labor Government has today shown how little it cares about country sport.
Sport Minister John Eren today told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that the government had provided $2 million in the 2015/16 State Budget to continue the Country Football and Netball Program.
Yet when asked where that funding was written in the State Budget, he was unable to point to any reference to the program on any page. It is not listed in the budget.
The Country Football Netball Program has provided support for local clubs to upgrade their facilities and therefore involve more people in sport. It funded more than 110 projects during the past four years.
The Coalition made an election commitment to provide another $8 million to continue the program for four more years, and ensure local clubs have better and safer facilities and equipment.
Labor failed to make any commitment.
Comments from Shadow Sport Minister Damian Drum:
“If the Andrews Labor Government values the Country Football Netball Program then they should fund it. Sports programs can’t run with imaginary funding.
“The fact that the government doesn’t even know what it has provided to country football and netball in the budget shows just how little it cares about regional Victorians.”
Despite all his claims to “save” TAFEs and reopen campuses, Daniel Andrews doesn’t plan to attract a single additional student next year.
Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan said the 2015/16 State Budget estimated 443,687 students would be enrolled in government subsidised training next year (Budget Paper 3 p187) – the same number of students recorded in 2014.
Two months ago when releasing the 2014 Victorian Training Report, Minister Steve Herbert claimed that figure represented ‘a failure of our training system at exactly the time when our economy and people needed it the most’.
But yesterday in Question Time, he claimed ‘while numbers are one thing, training and quality are another’.
The Budget also reveals that Labor intends to cut almost 80,000 government subsidised places for young people – from 40 per cent last year down to 22.5 per cent in 2015/16 (BP3 p187).
Comments from Steph Ryan:
“Labor cares more about a political headline than delivering real outcomes for Victorian students,” Ms Ryan said.
“The former Labor government opened up the training market and forced TAFEs to compete with private providers, providing them no assistance to manage the transition.
“The Andrews Labor Government says it will spend $320 million ‘saving’ TAFEs but the government is not planning to enrol a single extra student next year.
“It is absolutely clear from its first State Budget that this government is about politics, not people.”
Daniel Andrews is ripping off regional Victoria to prop up projects in Melbourne, Shadow Minister for Regional Development Damian Drum said today.
Mr Drum said the Andrews Labor Government’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund contained no additional money for regional Victoria.
He said it was a grab-bag of regional projects that should have been covered by general departmental budgets – like health, sport and education.
“Today’s announcement from Daniel Andrews is just more spin and no substance,” Mr Drum said.
“Daniel Andrews is using his regional fund to do the essentials, so that he has more money left in department budgets to prop up projects in Melbourne.
“Daniel Andrews is ripping off regional communities while he spends billions of dollars in Melbourne.”
Creating new jobs, improving roads, upgrading health and education services for families and community safety will be the focus for The Nationals candidate for the Gippsland South by-election, Danny O’Brien.
The 40-year-old former journalist, agricultural industry executive and trade adviser was endorsed as The Nationals candidate over the weekend. He says his vision for Gippsland is focused on healthy families, more jobs, profitable small businesses and better returns for farmers.
Recently re-elected as the Upper House MP for Eastern Victoria, Mr O’Brien said he was attempting the move to the Lower House to continue the work of former Nationals Leader Peter Ryan.
“The electorate of Gippsland South is used to having a strong voice in State Parliament and I’m determined to continue the good work of Peter Ryan,” Mr O’Brien said.
“In the past four years, The Nationals delivered more than $220 million worth of projects in the electorate as part of the Coalition Government.
“It’s not just about delivering money to the region – politics is all about standing up for your community on the issues that matter to them.
“As a born and bred Gippslander, I’m passionate about our region and I want to make sure the new Labor Government doesn’t forget about us.”
Married to Vicki, with two young children, Mr O’Brien lives on a small farm near Sale and is involved in country football, Rotary and the local CFA branch. A keen traveller, he has spent time living in Indonesia and believes the Asian markets are a huge opportunity for Gippsland producers.
“We produce some of the finest agricultural goods in the world in our region and the growing middle class across Asia is keen to access our clean, green food,” Mr O’Brien said. “I’m keen to work with Federal MP Darren Chester to maximise the job opportunities across Gippsland arising from Asian demand.”
Mr Chester said he would campaign to support The Nationals candidate because the region needed a strong, united team to deliver results.
“Unfortunately, the past week in Federal Parliament has seen the Liberal Party fighting amongst themselves and it’s good to be part of a united National Party team which is focused on delivering results for Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.
“I’ve known Danny O’Brien for 20 years and he has the right mix of experience and passion to get the job done for our region in State Parliament. It helps to have your State and Federal MP working in partnership for the good of the region.
“As a local family man, he understands the cost of living and other pressure facing modern families and I’m confident we can work together for the benefit of Gippsland South residents.”
Mr O’Brien was educated in Gippsland and completed a journalism cadetship at the Gippsland Times in Sale and local television, before working in State and Federal politics as a senior trade and agricultural adviser. He is the former Chief Executive of the National Irrigators’ Council and was elected to the Upper House in 2014 to replacing retiring MP Peter Hall.
He was pre-selected unopposed as The Nationals candidate for the upcoming by-election after nominations closed on Friday, February 13. The date for the Gippsland South by-election has not been set at this stage.
For further information: Danny O’Brien 0481 013 620
Daniel Andrews and the Labor Government must ensure more young people get home safely after a night out by providing funding to expand Salvation Army Youth Street Teams.
Raising the issue in Parliament last night, Shadow Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation Russell Northe said the Youth Street Teams were ‘guardian angels’ who looked out for intoxicated or at-risk young people on Friday and Saturday nights in Melbourne’s CBD.
This includes handing out water, lollipops and footwear, and helping them into cabs.
They also provide a ‘chill-out zone’ for young people incapable of getting home, where they can spend time until they can head home safely.
The Coalition committed $400,000 to the Youth Street Teams before the election to expand the program to nightclub precincts in Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and Frankston.
“As a parent I know too well that it can be a worrying time when your kids are having a night out,” Mr Northe said.
“These Youth Street Teams provide comfort to both parents and young people that somebody is looking out for them and helping them home safely.
“But at the moment these ‘guardian angels’ are only in Melbourne’s CBD. We want to see that expanded to suburban and regional centres so that more young people can get home safely.”
Shadow Minister for Young Victorians Steph Ryan said she had visited the Youth Street Teams in Melbourne several years ago to see first-hand the difference they made.
“I was told a story about one volunteer who actually accompanied a young person in a taxi back to their home on the outskirts of Melbourne, just to make sure they got home safely,” Ms Ryan said.
“We must not forget that these are volunteers helping people simply out of the goodness of their heart, and they deserve more support.
“Daniel Andrews must realise that Victoria doesn’t end at the edge of the CBD and provide this extra funding to expand the reach of these vital Youth Street Teams,” Ms Ryan said.
Russell Northe (Shadow Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation) 0408 225 523
Steph Ryan (Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs) 0488 441 820
- $199,000 Living Victoria grant for new wetland at Violet Town Bush Nursing Centre
- Project will manage stormwater and create a biodiversity ‘hot spot’
- Napthine Coalition creating healthy waterways to build a better Victoria
Violet Town Bush Nursing Centre will be helping the health of local waterways thanks to a $199,000 grant from the Victorian Coalition Government’s Living Victoria Fund.
Minister for Water Peter Walsh, The Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan and Liberal candidate for Euroa Tony Schneider met with board members of the nursing centre on Wednesday to discuss the project.
“The $199,000 Living Victoria Fund grant will enable the creation of a wetland and biodiversity ‘hot spot’ at the Violet Town Bush Nursing Centre,” Mr Walsh said.
“This is a great project which will give centre residents and the community a vibrant natural wetland to enjoy, while at the same time improving the management of Violet Town’s stormwater runoff and the downstream health of Lambing Gunyah Creek.”
Ms Ryan said healthy waterways were the lifeblood of regional and rural communities.
“Healthy local waterways contribute to the liveability of our towns, and this project is going to create a beautiful, natural entrance for Violet Town,” Ms Ryan said.
“This project is also going to be a great way to educate our next generation about water use and waterway care and management.”
Mr Schneider said the Napthine Coalition Government had reshaped urban water policies for Victoria, to avoid costly mistakes like Labor’s North-South Pipeline and the desalination plant.
“The Living Victoria Fund is a great program which is helping communities big and small, including Violet Town, make better use of all water sources, which includes stormwater, rainwater, groundwater and recycled water,” Mr Schneider said.
“It makes sense that with a variable climate and a growing population, we need to be smart in how we manage and use all available sources of water to keep our natural environment green and thriving.”
Centre president Pat Glyn said the project would involve regenerating the paddocks to the western side of the site to create a thriving wetland.
“This project will have a significant and positive impact on the whole Violet Town community,” Mr Glyn said.
“This is a community wetlands site so we are encouraging individuals and groups to get involved in its development and use - we hope to see school groups, families and individuals also enjoying the space.
“It will also be important to engage as many volunteers as possible to lend a hand with different aspects of this exciting project, such as tree planting.”
Draft plans for the project will be circulated across the town, in locations such as the library, supermarket, and community centre and, of course, the Bush Nursing Centre.