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Kealy calls for nominations to Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Emma Kealy, Nationals Member for Lowan is calling for local nominations to the 2016 Victorian Honour Roll of Women (the Honour Roll).

Since its commencement in 2001, the Honour Roll has acknowledged and celebrated the outstanding achievements of 562 Victorian women who have contributed to change across a broad spectrum of passions and interests.

“In my work across the Lowan Electorate I meet many remarkable women, who through their leadership and commitment are making lasting contributions to their regional and rural communities,” Ms Kealy said.

"We have a great depth of talent in many fields of endeavour and the Honour Roll is an excellent initiative to ensure these women receive the recognition they deserve,” she said.

The successful nominees will be announced at a special event in March 2016, to coincide with International Women’s Day celebrations and Ms Kealy said it would be tremendous to see some regional and rural nominations there.

For information on the Honour Roll, including how to nominate, please visit
http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/index.php/news-publications/victorian-honour-roll-of-women or phone Ms Marina Henley, Manager, Women and Equality on 9651 1102.

Nominations close at 5 pm Friday 21 August 2015.

Regional Development Media releases Community Services

McCurdy welcomes improved mobile phone coverage for Ovens Valley

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

Education and Skills Media releases Community Services

Labor’s ‘Back to Work’ Fund failing

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."

 

Education and Skills Media releases Community Services

Labor is all talk and no action on skills training

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.”

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Drum demands detail on sport funds

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.”

Media releases Sport and Recreation Community Services Health and Aged Care

Labor drops the ball on country sport: Drum

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.”

Education and Skills Media releases Community Services

Andrews plays politics with students’ futures

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.”

Education and Skills Media releases

TAFE finances are a legacy of Labor reforms

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.”

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ANDREWS RIPS OFF REGIONAL 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.”

Media releases

Melina Bath endorsed as new Member for Eastern Region

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.