Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath recently visited health service providers in East Gippsland and listened to concerns about attracting and retaining medical professionals in country areas.
Ms Bath met with health professionals at Omeo District Health, Orbost Regional Health and Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre to learn more about the health providers and listen to any concerns they may have.
“It was really a pleasure to meet these wonderful hard-working professionals and hear how they manage to cater for the needs of country people with what can often be limited resources,” Ms Bath said.
“There was a common theme that our rural areas are still struggling to entice and retain doctors and medical specialists and this is an area that deserves attention from the Victorian State Government.”
Ms Bath said federally the Coalition had recently introduced new payments to help rural, regional and remote towns across Australia.
As of July 1st the highest incentive paid to a doctor to work in remote Australia jumped from $47,000 a year to $60,000 a year and the maximum incentive to work in a town less than 5,000 increased from $12,000 to $23,000.
“While this is fantastic news I believe the State Government can also do more to assist small country towns, such as those in East Gippsland, to attract and retain health professionals,” Ms Bath said.
She believes increased job security would assist in achieving this goal.
“I am of the understanding that many of the allied health professionals who move to these areas are contracted on a yearly basis and I was told that if these contracts were offered for longer periods there would be more incentive for these people to work in our country hospitals and health centres,” Ms Bath said.
The Nationals MP said East Gippsland health providers were also working hard to service an increasing ageing population.
“Orbost Regional Health is desperately seeking funding to upgrade its high care nursing home section,” Ms Bath said.
“As Orbost has an ageing population there is more demand for this type of care and the facilities and infrastructure need to be updated to cater for this demand.”
Ms Bath said an upgrade was also needed for the hospital to improve its care for dialysis patients.
“I really have to commend the people at Orbost Regional Health and Omeo District Health for their wonderful passion and care for the people they look after.
“I hope we can work together to ensure that the facilities at these centres can match the high quality of the people working there.”
Ms Bath also enjoyed meeting the staff at Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre.
“This is a wonderful one-stop health centre used by the community for a variety of health reasons including for maternal child and health,” Ms Bath said.
“It was fantastic to see the board and staff at Swifts Creek working together to provide the best service possible for local residents.
“I’m committed to working hard with the people of East Gippsland’s health sector to ensure that regional communities have access to quality health and medical services.”
Photo Caption: Swift Creek Bush Nursing Centre office administrator Daryl Millard, nurse manager Sue Carroll, committee of management president Peter Brick and Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath during her visit to Swift Creek Bush Nursing Centre.
The need for funding to rebuild Korumburra Secondary College has been highlighted in Parliament this week with a petition tabled calling on the Melbourne Labor Government to fund the upgrade.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said the school was in a state of disrepair and urgently needed to be rebuilt.
“Neglected by previous Labor governments for many years, the former Coalition Government provided $5.6 million for the planning and first stage of works at the college,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The Education Minister James Merlino needs to have the vision of the Coalition Government and provide the necessary funds to complete the job."
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath, who presented the petition to Parliament, said staff did a great job providing a quality education to students, but despite their best efforts, the current condition was not a conducive environment to learn in.
“As a teacher, I know that the environment students are learning in greatly influences their educational outcomes and these students need a facility that is much more contemporary,” Ms Bath said.
“The college services not only Korumburra, but communities such as Loch, Nyora and Poowong, where the population is growing.
These families need to be assured that their children will have access to a facility that caters for their needs now, and into the future.”
Mr O’Brien said the community would know that in addition to the $5.6 million for stage one, the Coalition Government made an election commitment of $9 million to fund the remainder of the rebuild.
“Labor now needs to come to the party and provide the funds to complete a new school,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It’s not fair that the students of Korumburra Secondary College are overlooked by Melbourne Labor just because they live in the country.”
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.”
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.”
TAFE annual reports released this week demonstrate the legacy of failure of Labor’s training sector reforms.
Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan said that in 2008, Labor introduced an uncontrolled, fully contestable market which forced TAFEs to compete with private providers for students and funding.
“It is Labor’s training sector reforms dating from when Daniel Andrews was sitting around the cabinet table that are the number one cause of our TAFEs’ current financial situation,” Ms Ryan said.
“Labor failed to support TAFEs to ensure they could adapt to the new competitive environment it imposed upon them.
"It took a Coalition Government to deliver almost $250 million to help TAFEs with the transition.
"Andrews needs to support skills training - both public and private. Both have a right of place in the delivery of training courses.
"Coalition support helped thousands more people to secure skills training than under the last year of the previous Labor Government."
Ms Ryan said as well as the TAFE reforms, Labor introduced a botched ICT system in 2008 that had cost TAFEs $44.4 million in write-downs.
“Almost half of the operating deficit of TAFEs this year was the result of another bungled Labor ICT project,” Ms Ryan said.
“It's time Daniel Andrew stopped playing politics with TAFEs and focused on ensuring skills training that builds job opportunities for Victorians.”
"Daniel Andrews seems to have forgotten it was the former Labor Government that opened up the skills training sector to competition and forced TAFEs to compete with private providers. (Page 7, Labor's 2008 Skills plan).
"That decision by Labor has seen private training providers now account for 56 per cent of total government subsidised enrolments while TAFEs account for 25 per cent. (Page 36, Victorian Training Market Report 2014).
"The Coalition was funding $1.2 billion a year in vocational education training - compared with just over $800 million in the former Labor government's last budget - meaning the Coalition increased funding for skills training by 50 per cent.
"Daniel Andrews needs some skills training on telling the truth."
- Re-elected Coalition Government will invest $9 million to complete the redevelopment of Korumburra Secondary College
- Follows $5 million provided in the State Budget earlier this year
- Coalition Government building a better education system
Korumburra Secondary College will be completely rebuilt with $9 million from a re-elected Victorian Coalition Government.
Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan visited the school today to announce the funding commitment.
“Korumburra Secondary College desperately needs this funding to rebuild its ageing and deteriorating school buildings,” Mr Ryan said.
“This project has been a priority of mine for many years as the local Member of Parliament.
“In May this year I was proud to announce $5 million from the State Budget for planning and the first stage of works, and at that time I said we would provide the remaining funding in coming budgets.
“It is great to be back here today to deliver on that commitment and announce that a re-elected Coalition Government will provide the remaining $9 million needed complete the rebuild.
“It is vital that all students in Victoria – whether they live in the city or country – get a quality education and that our teachers are supported with first-class facilities to deliver the best outcomes for their students.
“By building better schools, like Korumburra Secondary College, we are investing in the future of our young people.”
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien said the Coalition Government was able to commit $9 million to support this project thanks to strong financial management over the past four years.
“Unfortunately the former Labor government failed to invest enough funding to rebuild the school despite years of requests from the local community,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The former Labor government left a $420 million school maintenance backlog when the Coalition came to government in 2010.
“This government has been able to turn that around and will invest a total of $1.2 billion in capital funding for new schools and school upgrades across Victoria if re-elected.”
- A re-elected Coalition Government will invest $15 million to complete new Sale Specialist School
- Investment builds on land purchase and first $4 million which was made available in the May Victorian Budget
- Victorian Coalition Government is building better regional 4communities
A re-elected Coalition Government will invest $15 million to complete the new Sale Specialist School, Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan announced today.
Mr Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Danny O’Brien at the new site of the Sale Specialist School to make the announcement.
Mr Ryan said the $15 million commitment would fund the complete development of the new school, and follows Coalition Government investments to purchase the new site and the $4 million that was invested through the 2014-15 Victorian Budget for planning and design, and stage one works.
“This is great news for the students, parents and teachers at the Sale Specialist School,” Mr Ryan said.
“We said we would fund the development of a new school, and if re-elected we will do it.
“This new school will be a game changer for students, who are currently based at three different campuses in Sale.
“It will deliver for them the school they need and deserve, which is truly a great outcome.
“We have been able to secure a great site here on the Princes Highway just north of Sale, and once complete this school will be the envy of other communities.
“This project has been one I have been very keen to support and I am very pleased we have been able to secure this further commitment.”
Mr Bull echoed Mr Ryan’s comments and said the new school would benefit students from across the region.
“Whether students live in Sale, Stratford, Maffra, Heyfield or any other nearby communities, they will have access to what will be a magnificent facility,” Mr Bull said.
“The new school will make an enormous difference to students with special needs, their families and those who teach them.”
Mr O’Brien said the $15 million investment would deliver a modern learning environment.
“Having students across a number of different campuses is not the ideal environment for delivering the best learning outcomes,” Mr O’Brien said.
“To have the students located at the one site, with modern classrooms and facilities, and plenty of room to play and move about is what was needed and it is what this government is delivering.
“Securing this commitment is the result of a lot of hard work from parents, teachers and all those involved with the school and I congratulate them for their efforts – a great outcome.”
A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will implement a strategy that tackles youth unemployment and gives Victoria’s young people the best chance of getting a job, Premier Denis Napthine announced today.
From April next year, the Youth Employment Strategy will support young Victorians aged 15 to 24 years, who have been unemployed for more than six months and are not enrolled in full time education or training, with the right skills and experience to gain a rewarding and meaningful job.
Highlights of the Youth Employment Strategy include:
- vouchers of $2,000 each to assist small businesses with recruitment and start-up costs;
- WorkCover premium rebates to any business that employs an eligible young Victorian for 12 months; and
- payroll tax exclusion for eligible new employees for up to 12 months.
Dr Napthine said that many young Victorians need extra support to gain employment experience.
“What young Victorians have been telling me is that they have been rejected from a job because they don’t have any experience, yet the job they are seeking would give them the experience they so desperately want,” Dr Napthine said.
“This comprehensive Youth Employment Strategy will make it more attractive for employers to give young Victorians the experience they need to go onto bigger and better things.”
Vouchers to assist small business with start-up costs
Dr Napthine announced that the Coalition will invest $40 million for up to 10,000 eligible participants per year to receive a $2,000 voucher. This voucher will be redeemed by any small business upon employing the eligible participant and will assist in covering start-up costs.
The voucher will include an upfront payment to the employer of $400, with the balance redeemed on a pro-rata basis, and fully redeemable when the participant is employed for six months.
“We understand that small businesses in particular bear a significant cost when employing additional staff,” Dr Napthine said.
“These vouchers will not only assist these businesses with costs associated with staff training, inductions and uniforms, but give young Victorians the boost they need to improve their opportunities when looking for a job.”
The participant may be employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis for a minimum average of 15 hours per week. The vouchers will be available from April 2015 for two years.
Dr Napthine also announced that the Coalition will invest $12.4 million to enable businesses that employ an eligible participant for 12 months to have a full WorkCover rebate premium for one year. This will deliver an average saving of $455 per eligible employee to each business.
“The Coalition Government’s sound financial management has delivered low WorkCover premiums compared with other states and territories. But we can always do more,” Dr Napthine said.
“This rebate will lower the cost of doing business in Victoria even further and significantly boost the job prospects of young Victorians into the future.”
Payroll Tax exclusion
The Coalition Government will invest $22.8 million for each eligible participant to be excluded from payroll tax calculations for up to 12 months.
Dr Napthine said that businesses will save an average of $1,736 per employee as a result of this initiative.
“This is about reducing business costs and giving young Victorians the help they need to get out of the Centrelink queue and into a job,” Dr Napthine said.
Building on our record
The Youth Employment Strategy builds on the Coalition Government’s record in providing unprecedented support for young people who are preparing for and starting in the workforce for the first time.
- $1.2 billion a year for skills training subsidies by the Coalition Government – a 50 per cent increase on Labor’s last budget in 2010-11. A further $5.2 billion for Victoria’s training system has been committed over four years by the Coalition Government.
The Future Skills package to provide young people with the skills for future jobs
- $41.9 million to fund future skills developed by TAFE institutes across Victoria, including $21.9 million for the Chisholm Institute’s Frankston Campus to build a new Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Trades to skill the next generation of leaders and managers in advanced manufacturing; and
- $20 million for Victorian TAFEs to innovate and better meet changing industry, student and employer demand.
Modernising TAFEs (through $200 million TAFE Structural Adjustment Fund)
- $64 million for the newly formed Bendigo Kangan Institute including a new Centre for Health and Human Services;
- more than $40 million for Federation Training in Gippsland; and
- $22.7 million investment in next generation blended learning.
Employment Start Up for Business
- $7.5 million to provide jobs for young unemployed Victorians aged 15 to 25 years old in small to medium businesses where a skills shortage exists;
- investment will help at least 1,750 unemployed young Victorians to find a job; and
- $4,000 grant to employing businesses – $1,000 when a young person is hired into a full-time role for at least 30 hours per week, and a further $3,000 after the employee has been employed for 16 weeks and is enrolled in accredited training.
$12 million Your Future, Your Choice initiative
- $9 million initiative over four years that will assist year 9 and year 10 students at risk of disengagement in schools across Victoria, gain hands on experience in vocational training. Students will attend a partner TAFE campus or training provider throughout a school term to gain exposure to future career and training options; and
- $3 million for a new phone line and website to provide support and career advice for adults, youth, parents and employers. This service will include expert advice, career direction and referral services to better inform decisions regarding employment and training.