Media releases Community Services

The Nationals launch Shepparton community preselection

Wednesday 22 November 2017

The Nationals have announced key dates for Victoria’s first community preselection, to be held in the seat of Shepparton leading up to the 2018 State Election.

Leader of The Nationals in Victoria Peter Walsh and State President Neil Pankhurst were in Shepparton today to announce candidate nominations for the community preselection will open on 12 February 2018 and close on March 9.

Voters registered for the seat of Shepparton will vote in the preselection on April 14 next year, ahead of the State Election in November.

Mr Pankhurst said he was looking forward to opening nominations.

“The community preselection gives the people who know the region best a leading role in choosing who will be The Nationals candidate in the 2018 State Election,” Mr Pankhurst said.

“I look forward to working with the Shepparton Branch and Peter Walsh on this unique opportunity for a truly democratic preselection process.”

The Nationals’ community preselection will be the first ever held in Victoria, giving the Shepparton region a full vote on their elected representative.

“People who live and work in the Shepparton region have a deep understand of what matters to local people,” Mr Walsh said.

“We are looking for candidates who are prepared to be a strong voice for the region in State Parliament and fight for the community’s best interests.”

Candidate nominations will open on 12 February 2018 and close on March 9. The community preselection will be held on April 14.

For more information visit www.sheppartonvotes.com

 

KEY DATES

Candidate nominations open

12 February 2018

Candidate nominations close

9 March 2018

Shepparton community preselection

14 April 2018

Agriculture Environment Media releases Community Services

Farmers face skyrocketing diesel prices to keep the lights on

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Daniel Andrews’ desperate bid to plug the hole in Victoria’s power supply couldn’t come at a worse time for Victorian farmers.

The Andrews Labor Government’s failure to stop the closure of Hazelwood Power Station or make up the loss of power supply means Victoria will need expensive diesel generators to keep the lights on in summer.

Today in Parliament, Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio refused to answer questions on the impact the diesel generators would have on diesel prices, leading up to a busy grain harvest.

Victorian grain farmers will be paying the price for Daniel Andrews’ incompetence.

When an additional 500,000 litres of diesel a day is needed to keeping the lights and air-conditioning on, it will mean huge pressure on diesel prices at a time when our grain farmers need it most.

Agriculture Environment Media releases Community Services

Labor must commit to 12 month extension on eID

Friday 10 November 2017

The Andrews Labor Government’s late announcement today of a price for electronic identification (eID) tags for sheep and goats next year is long overdue.

Jaala Pulford promised to give primary producers certainty ‘in the first half’ of 2017, only to force them to wait until nearly Christmas.

Today’s announcement fails to recognise serious concerns saleyard operators and the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) have with Labor’s slow progress on developing the software and physical infrastructure needed to read and upload data to the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

The Agriculture Minister must stop ignoring saleyard operators’ concerns and grant them a 12 month extension past the March 2018 deadline to rollout eID.

Jaala Pulford is burying her head in the sand and assuming eID will implement itself, but it’s clear that’s not the case.

Victoria’s biosecurity is too important for a half-baked Labor rush job.

Media releases

Statement on Melina Bath

Friday 10 November 2017

 The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath is recovering in hospital after she was involved in a road accident on Wednesday afternoon.

Melina was driving from a meeting in Maffra when another car collided with her vehicle. She was taken to Latrobe Regional Hospital for treatment, where she remained overnight.

Melina is in good spirits and remains in hospital where she is being treated for a fracture in the shoulder.

On behalf of The Nationals, I wish Melina the very best in her recovery.

We look forward to having her back on deck soon.

Thanks also to the emergency services staff who attended on Wednesday and the medical team at Latrobe Regional Hospital for taking care of our hard-working and dedicated Member for Eastern Victoria.

Infrastructure Agriculture Environment Media releases

Rural drainage strategy goes down the gurgler

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

Infrastructure Agriculture Environment Media releases

Neville must demand Labor senators stand up for Victoria

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.”

Regional Development Transport Infrastructure Media releases

Rail Freight Advisory Council

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Rail Freight Advisory Council

If Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan is genuinely committed to making Victoria’s freight rail network as ‘efficient and safe as possible’ Labor should fund upgrades at level crossings on the Maryborough to Mildura line.

The Andrews Labor Government today announced the appointment of a Rail Freight Advisory Council to advise on rail industry issues.

Freight rail is the vital link between Victoria’s producers and ports that send our high quality produce across the world.

But Labor’s slow progress to start work on the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project and last year’s ridiculous heat restrictions are making it harder for farmers to run their business.

The city-centric Andrews Labor Government is obsessed with looking inwards to Melbourne and regional Victoria is missing out.

 

Education and Skills Media releases Community Services

Labor cuts funding to sign language courses

Wednesday 1 November 2017

 

The Andrews Labor Government has cut funding for Australian sign language (AUSLAN) courses.

From January 1 next year, Melbourne Polytechnic, as the sole provider of accredited AUSLAN qualifications in Victoria, will no longer be subsidised by the Victorian Government to deliver a Certificate II, III and IV or Diploma in Auslan.

The decision to cut funding for Auslan was revealed in changes to the Andrews Government’s 2018 funded course list.

The course was first accredited in 2011 by the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) to enable the acquisition of skills by members of the deaf community.

In 2012 as Labor’s spokesperson for Skills and Training, Steve Herbert stated: “Clearly there’s a need for this training, and the government should simply fund at TAFE to provide it from the start of next year”.

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

Victoria’s deaf community deserve better than Daniel Andrews’ callous funding cuts.

From the start of next year, Victorians will have to pay more than $5000 to gain these important skills.

Daniel Andrews should immediately reinstate this qualification to ensure it can continue to be delivered as an accredited qualification next year.

Infrastructure Agriculture Environment Media releases

Statement on GMW advisory panel

Friday 27 October 2017

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan

The Minister for Water must come clean on what has prompted another review into Goulburn Murray Water.

The advisory panel announced today is the third body created in two years to advise on GMW projects and strategic direction, and suggests the Government lacks confidence in the organisation.

The Minister must explain to customers and key stakeholders exactly what the issues are, and provide an opportunity for the community to contribute to the review process.

She must also explain why her dime-a-dozen reviews have so far failed to achieve any results.

The Minister has had three years to address the concerns of GMW and northern Victoria and it’s time we start seeing action and results, not just more reviews.

Agriculture Environment Media releases

Dog breeders slam Labor’s secrecy on change

Thursday 26 October 2017

Background

Alarm bells are ringing for Victorian dog breeders as the Andrews Labor Government dithers on its proposed Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms And Pet Shops) Bill 2016.

Breeders and stakeholder groups continue to highlight an ongoing lack of consultation and secrecy on changes to the original Bill.

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford was forced into an embarrassing backdown in June, after admitting the Bill was “unlikely to pass the Parliament in its current form”.

It followed a highly critical Legislative Council report handed down in December 2016 that found “consultation with relevant stakeholders in regard to this Bill was inadequate” and recommended the Bill be withdrawn.

The Parliamentary Report also recommended the Government “abandon limiting breeders to 10 fertile females” as evidence from multiple witnesses confirmed there was no scientific basis to the number that had been selected by Labor for its election promise of 2014.

The Government indicated it planned to debate the Bill in the Legislative Assembly in September, but that never happened and no explanation was given.

Comments from Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh

Dog breeders and stakeholders are rightly frustrated, suspicious and angry with the ongoing secrecy from the Andrews Labor Government.

If Jaala Pulford has nothing to hide, she should immediately release the house amendments in draft form so that dog breeders and other stakeholders know exactly what is going on.