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.
Friday 19 January 2018
Communities along Victoria’s state borders will benefit from the services of a dedicated Cross Border Commissioner under an elected Liberal Nationals government.
People living and working in Victoria’s border communities alongside New South Wales and South Australia face unique problems, including with access to services, licencing and coordination of emergency services.
Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh is in Mildura today to make the announcement.
“A lot changes when you travel across the border and for our business owners and residents in border communities this is an added complication to everyday life,” Mr Walsh said.
“It means our tradespeople have to get two separate licences to operate their business, while farmers and transport operators require two separate permits to move agricultural equipment.
“It also makes it harder for our police officers and emergency services to share the information they need to do their job.
“An elected Liberal Nationals government would ensure our communities have a dedicated Cross Border Commissioner based in regional Victoria to identify and solve these problems.”
Areas the Cross Border Commissioner would focus on include regulation and licensing, legal systems, emergency services and service delivery.
“The Liberal Nationals want to make it easier for border communities to go about their business,” Mr Walsh said.
“New South Wales already has a Cross Border Commissioner and has signed agreements with both Queensland and the ACT.
“It’s time for Victoria to take action to resolve our cross border issues with South Australia and New South Wales.”
Wednesday 17 January 2018
The Nationals have announced nominations for preselection for the seat of Morwell in November’s State Election will open on February 5.
Nationals State President Neil Pankhurst said The Nationals are seeking candidates who are committed to fighting in the best interests of the Morwell electorate.
“The 2018 state election is an opportunity for the Latrobe Valley to elect a representative who will stand up for them on the issues that are important to the community and make sure their voice is heard,” Mr Pankhurst said.
Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said The Nationals were committed to delivering for the Latrobe Valley community.
“The Latrobe Valley has suffered because of disastrous decisions from the city-centric Andrews Labor Government and it is vital that the electorate of Morwell has a strong voice in State Parliament,” Ms Bath said.
Nominations will open on Monday, February 5 and will close at 5pm on Thursday, February 15 2018.
All members of The Nationals are eligible to nominate. For further information or to obtain a nomination form, interested parties should contact The Nationals Head Office on 03 9600 1424.
Melina Bath 03 5174 7066
Wednesday 10 January 2018
An elected Liberal Nationals government will help Victoria’s High Country communities immortalise their heritage in a new High Country Hall of Fame.
Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh will announce the Liberal-Nationals’ commitment at Omeo this weekend at the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria Annual Get Together.
“Just as Banjo Patterson immortalised the region in his poem The Man from Snowy River, the High Country Hall of Fame will pay tribute to the people and industries that have shaped this unique region’s history,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Hall of Fame will preserve and celebrate the High Country’s heritage, including the indigenous culture, exploration, the iconic mountain cattlemen, conservation, winter sports and other aspects of high country history, industry and life.
“It will be another attraction and asset to one of Victoria’s iconic tourism regions.”
The Hall of Fame would be established in close consultation with High Country communities to determine the best location and design for the complex.
“Our plan is for a two-step process,” Mr Walsh said.
“Firstly, an expressions of interest phase where interested communities can put forward a bid; and secondly, a shortlist phase where the best three bids would receive financial assistance and help from Regional Development Victoria to prepare detailed business cases.
“High Country communities will have a say on the best location and design for a Hall of Fame that will share their stories with locals and visitors alike.
“If the Liberal Nationals are elected at the November State Election we will ensure the rich history of this iconic region, and the people and industries that have defined it, are preserved and celebrated.
“This will be a place our communities can be proud of and it will add to the outstanding tourism attractions that already draw more than one million people to the High Country every year.”
Friday 22 December 2017
This morning I have spoken to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to convey the seriousness of the impact of India’s 30 per cent tariff on chickpeas and lentils on Victorian farmers.
Victoria’s chickpea and lentil farmers have battled frost, hail and heavy rains in the past months. India’s decision to impose a 30 per cent tariff, effective immediately, has hit our hard working farmers at the worst possible time.
The imposition of a tariff, without warning and during harvest time, is not the way to manage trade relationships.
I have encouraged the Federal Government to take the strongest possible action on behalf of Victoria’s chickpea and lentil farmers.
Wednesday 13 December 2017
Daniel Andrews continues to stand by while his union mates stop our hardworking farmers from exporting their goods.
In Parliament today, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford failed to acknowledge the economic and reputational damage a union blockade at the Port of Melbourne has forced on Victorian businesses.
Ms Pulford failed to explain why she had refused requests for assistance from Victorian businesses with produce stranded at Webb Dock.
Ms Pulford didn’t acknowledge the businesses, instead washing her hands of the issue.
There are 1000 shipping containers of goods, including agricultural product, stranded at the Port of Melbourne after the three-week union blockade.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews has made it clear he isn’t willing to lift a finger against his union mates, even if they are damaging farmers’ bottom line and threatening Victoria’s agricultural exports.
Our farmers slog their guts out from dawn to dusk and turn out the best produce in the world but this union picket is wrecking their livelihoods and Victoria’s international reputation as a reliable exporter.
Daniel Andrews and his Agriculture Minister should be right in the thick of getting this resolved but yet again the people and industries of country Victoria are being sacrificed for Labor’s union mates.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan
It’s disgraceful that when hard-working businesses like Kyvalley Dairy at Kyabram go directly to Labor’s Agriculture Minister appealing for help, the Minister’s minders tell them the Andrews Government doesn’t want to get involved.
This union action is costing our farm export businesses dollars and their trading reputations and yet Daniel Andrews refuses to act.
Tuesday 5 December 2017
Today, Labor’s Roads Minister Luke Donnellan detailed his ‘bold plan’ to fix country Victoria’s deteriorating road network – a new website.
Country Victorians don’t need a website to tell us regional and rural roads have been seriously neglected by the Andrews Labor Government.
What’s worse is that Luke Donnellan’s ‘bold plan’ doesn’t include a cent of new investment to fix country roads.
Despite the potholes and dangerously uneven surfaces littering our country road network, the Andrews Labor Government refuses to reverse its decision to axe the Liberal Nationals’ successful $160 million Country Roads and Bridges Program.
The only ‘bold’ part of Labor’s plan is its absolute determination to ignore the needs of country Victorians.
Thursday 30 November 2017
The Premier and Agriculture Minister today continued to refuse to answer questions in Parliament on Labor’s reported Northcote by-election preference deal with the Animal Justice Party.
AJP Northcote candidate Nina Lenk has said AJP preferenced Labor ahead of the Greens in Northcote “because they were offering us a Victorian welfare group for animals” and “$500,000 for animal organisations and community organisations”.
AJP’s policies include ending livestock farming for a “long-term, total transition to plant-based agriculture” and urge the withdrawal of Government support for animal product industries.
Jaala Pulford continues to evade questions on her decision to announce a new public sector group, Animal Welfare Victoria, and $500,000 of grants on the same day early voting opened for the Northcote by-election.
The Liberal Nationals’ questions have gone unanswered in Parliament this week, including:
- What stakeholders did she consult with before making the decision to form Animal Welfare Victoria?
- Why didn’t she consult the Victorian Farmers Federation, the Australian Veterinary Association or even the RSPCA?
- Was the Minister aware that her decision to form Animal Welfare Victoria and commit $500,000 worth of grants would result in the Animal Justice Party preferencing Labor ahead of The Greens at the Northcote by-election?
- Why didn’t the Minister inform the Livestock Industry Consultative Committee of her decision to form Animal Welfare Victoria, which met with Chief Veterinary Officer Charles Milne four days before AWV was announced?
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford have serious questions to answer on this alleged cash for votes deal with the AJP ahead of the Northcote by-election.
Daniel Andrews is proving time and time again he is the Premier for Melbourne and will sell out regional Victorians at any cost.
Friday 3 November 2017
Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan is encouraging landholders to make their views known on the Andrews Labor Government’s draft Rural Drainage Strategy.
Ms Ryan said she was concerned the strategy failed to provide greater clarity around the management of rural drainage schemes.
Labor’s strategy proposes that rural drainage schemes will be managed in four ways:
· By individual landholders;
· Collectively through amicable agreements;
· Collectively through written agreements; and
· Collectively through written agreements with support from government agencies and with councils offering administrative support where landholders are prepared to pay for that service.
“By putting forward every option, the government is actually putting forward no option at all,” Ms Ryan said.
“Water Minister Lisa Neville clearly has no interest in fixing the uncertainty surrounding the management of rural drainage schemes,” Ms Ryan said.
The former Liberal Nationals Government tasked a Parliamentary committee to investigate rural drainage schemes which reported in 2013.
The committee found that the responsibilities of local government and catchment management authorities had been confused, with both groups being reluctant to take on unfunded activities.
It recommended the Victorian Government develop a rural drainage strategy which outlined the role of State Government, CMAs, councils and community committees.
The strategy was also supposed to outline the process for identifying the lead drainage body in a given areas, cost sharing principles, how to strike a tariff, the nominating agency to raise and disburse the tariff, management structure options to be adopted by the responsible authority, a policy for regulating new drainage works and systems and the standards to apply.
“Labor have had almost three years to develop this strategy, yet the result is a dog’s breakfast that provides no clear direction for landholders,” Ms Ryan said.
Landholders who wish to provide feedback on the strategy can attend a regional forum or make a submission online atwww.engage.vic.gov.au/ruraldrainage
Thursday 2 November 2017
Water Minister Lisa Neville must insist Labor’s senators stand up for the interests of Victoria’s Basin communities.
Labor’s Victorian senators Kim Carr, Jacinta Collins, Gavin Marshall and Kimberley Kitching have been completely silent about where they stand on the recovery of the 450GL of up water from the Southern Basin.
In 2013 The Nationals moved amendments in the Senate which would have prevented the 450 GL of up water from being recovered through water buybacks and to amend the target from a concrete 450 GL of water to ‘up to’ 450 GL.
Victoria’s Labor senators voted against the interests of Victoria’s Basin communities by voting the amendments down.
Minister Neville seems unable or unwilling to garner even an ounce of support from her federal colleagues when it comes to defending Victoria’s interests.
These Victorian Senators will have a chance to redeem themselves as Victoria looks for support to prevent more water leaving our irrigation districts towards the 450 GL.
Comments attributable to Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan
“Labor’s Victorian senators have a history of putting party politics ahead of the interests of Victoria’s Basin communities when it comes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“If Labor had supported The Nationals’ amendments in 2013, Victorian irrigators would have the certainty of knowing the 450 gigalitres of up water could not be recovered through buybacks.
“Lisa Neville needs to reassure northern Victorian irrigators that her Federal colleagues will not sell them down the river yet again.”