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.”
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 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.”
The new member for Eastern Region, Melina Bath, was elected on Saturday by The Nationals, to fill the place vacated by Danny O’Brien, who successfully contested the Gippsland South By-election.
Ms Bath, a former small business owner and teacher, is currently co-coordinator of Mathematics at Mirboo North Secondary College and has a very strong commitment to advancing the opportunities for youth in the Eastern Region.
“We need to do a lot more to engage our youth and give them an opportunity to be heard in the political process”, said Ms Bath.
“I am making a strong commitment to engage with youth throughout the Eastern Region, and will be taking their concerns to Parliament, Ms Bath stated.
Ms Bath has an electorate that stretches from NSW border to the Mornington Peninsula and said she would be keeping her office in Traralgon.
“Over many years Traralgon has proved to be a good central location and well received by constituents. This is a very large electorate and I intend to be working throughout Gippsland and the Mornington Peninsula”, she said.
“As a National, I will be out and about talking with people in their communities throughout Eastern Victoria, and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that Gippsland’s voice is heard and listened to in Melbourne”, said Ms Bath.
The strongly contested pre-selection was held in Traralgon on Saturday.
State Director for The Nationals, Jenny Hammett, said Ms Bath would take up the position when the Parliament sits again in April.
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.
- A re-elected Coalition Government commits $5 million to Bendigo Stadium
- Upgrade includes three new basketball courts and 12 new netball courts
- Victorian Coalition Government is building a more active Victoria
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum at Bendigo Stadium today to announce a $5 million funding boost under a re-elected Coalition Government.
Mr Ryan said the $5 million investment would be provided through the Regional Growth Fund and would be the catalyst for a $16.5 million project involving Bendigo Stadium Ltd and Bendigo City Council.
“Bendigo Stadium is a hub for community and elite sport in Bendigo and this upgrade will open up a new range of opportunities for the region,” Mr Ryan said.
“This redevelopment will see three new basketball courts that can be converted to a 3000 seat show court, along with 12 new netball courts with change facilities, catering for more than 500,000 annual sports participants.”
Mr Drum said that the upgrades would help grow participation in a number of sports.
“Basketball, Netball and Volleyball will all get additional new facilities, facilities that are needed to keep pace with demand for sport in the city,” Mr Drum said.
Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley welcomed the investment and said the upgrades would see Bendigo attract more events to put the city on the national and international stage.
“We’ve seen the Stadium successfully host the WNBL Grand Final twice, the Australian Goldfields Snooker Open and the recent Australian Diamonds netball Test, proving that Bendigo supports big events,” Mr Bickley said.
“These upgrades mean Bendigo can host big sporting and entertainment events all year round.
“Already NBL Basketball and ANZ Championship Netball are on the agenda through interest from Melbourne United and the Vixens, and in addition these benefits will be enjoyed by our own Bendigo Spirit and Bendigo Braves players and fans.”
Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon said the commitment was great news for Bendigo and the new facilities would be an economic driver locally.
“Professional sporting events are one example, but also national and international basketball, netball and volleyball underage tournaments and titles could come to Bendigo, as well as attracting big music and entertainment events,” Mr Langdon said.
“I am proud to be working as part of a strong Coalition Government team which continues to deliver for Bendigo and the Goldfields regions.”
- $4.7 million commitment to extend one of Mildura Airport’s two runways
- Will allow planes to land more often, in all weather conditions
- Only the Coalition will build a better regional Victoria
A re-elected Victorian Coalition Government will invest $4.7 million into extending one of Mildura Airport’s two runways to cater for more flights, more often.
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan joined The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp at the airport today to make the multimillion-dollar election commitment, from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
“This extension of one of the two runways at Mildura Airport will mean large commercial planes such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s will have more room to land and take off in almost all weather conditions,” Mr Ryan said.
“This will accommodate more frequent flights in and out of Mildura Airport to cater for ever-increasing passenger numbers.
“Local member Peter Crisp has been lobbying strongly for further improvements to the Mildura Airport and I am pleased to say today that it will be delivered by a re-elected Coalition.”
Minister for the Aviation Industry Gordon Rich-Phillips said the funding commitment followed $5.2 million provided by the Coalition Government for the Mildura Airport Terminal Redevelopment Project in 2012, which saw the terminal completely remodelled and brought new air services to the region.
“Thanks to the terminal redevelopment, Mildura is now serviced by three major airlines – Qantas, Virgin and Rex – with regular flights to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Broken Hill,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
“There are currently 210,000 people using the airport each year and that figure is expected to double over the next decade if patronage keeps increasing at the current rate.”
Mr Crisp said the runway extension would cater for that forecast growth by allowing planes to land and take off safely in all conditions.
“This will mean more flights, more often,” Mr Crisp said.
“The Coalition Government recognises that the Mildura Airport is at the heart of our region’s economic development and tourism.
“The Liberal-Nationals Coalition is committed to seeing Mildura become even more of a thriving, vibrant regional city and tourist destination.”