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.
Regional jobs and businesses will be some of the hardest hit by the Andrews Labor Government’s two new public holidays, according to the state’s peak tourism body.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said despite Daniel Andrews’ claims that the new holidays would bring tourists to the regions, the truth was that most tourism businesses would not be able to afford to operate on those days.
The Victorian Tourism Industry Council’s Chief Executive Dianne Smith has now warned that: “Ultimately these public holidays will take money away from the businesses that should be supported to increase employment and create jobs.”
“Daniel Andrews is introducing these new public holidays at the expense of regional businesses and jobs,” Mr Walsh said.
“Small businesses will face the choice of either opening and taking a hit to their bottom line due to penalty rates; charging extra for their goods or services to cover the higher wages bill; or shutting their doors altogether.
“More than 353,000 casual workers are expected to lose their shifts on these new public holidays and the state’s economy will take a $1 billion hit.
“This is absolute economic vandalism by Daniel Andrews and will cost regional jobs and businesses dearly.”
Mr Walsh said the tourism body warned that: “Many businesses won’t be able to afford to operate on these public holidays due to increased wages costs and anticipated financial loss, which will be bad for tourism particularly in regional areas.”
An independent report commissioned by Daniel Andrews put the economic cost of the new public holidays at up to $898 million each year and wage payments of up to $286 million each year.
Shadow Minister for Disability Tim Bull and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Autism Bernie Finn recently met with Amaze (formerly Autism Victoria) to discuss the term of reference of its new Inquiry into services for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Inquiry, to be undertaken by the Family and Community Development Committee, will provide up to date information in a range of areas, including:
- Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Victoria;
- The availability and adequacy of services provided by the commonwealth, state and local governments across health, education, disability, housing, sport and employment services;
- The adequacy of services to be provided under the National Disability Insurance Scheme;
- Evidence of the social and economic cost of failing to provide adequate services; and
- The projected demand for services in Victoria.
“To have these matters being reviewed in a bipartisan approach is welcome and having Bernie, as the first Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Autism, on the Inquiry is very pleasing,” said Mr Bull.
“The Inquiry will draw on the work that was done in the Autism State Plan and it is pertinent that it take place now when the state is transitioning to the NDIS.”
Mr Finn said he believed the terms of reference proposed by the Coalition and approved by the Parliament would allow for all aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder to be addressed with recommendations that would be very helpful in forming state policy.
“The submission and public hearing process will provide stakeholder groups and all those touched by autism to feed their views and thoughts into the Inquiry,” Mr Finn said.
“The Family and Community Development Committee will report to the Parliament no later than 31 May 2016.”
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.
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
The Coalition is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to release its review into regional Victoria immediately.
Former Labor Premier John Brumby has provided the government with his review into ‘regional economic development and services’.
Yet his 61 recommendations will not be made public until Daniel Andrews’ Regional Development Minister, Jaala Pulford, releases her response in October – almost a year into this government.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said the report must be released now.
“Regional Victorians have every right to be very nervous about this review, considering John Brumby was the architect of the north-south pipeline and desal plant disasters,” Mr Walsh said.
“We should not have to wait for the government to now review its own review. Communities deserve to know what Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford are considering for their future.
“I already have serious concerns about their Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which is already almost half-spent and being used to cost-shift money into Melbourne.
“Now it looks like the future growth and prosperity of regional Victoria is being totally stalled until at least October.
“Regional Victorians are quickly growing sick and tired of the Andrews Labor Government’s constant spin and no substance.
“If the government has nothing to hide and regional Victorians have nothing to fear in this report, why can’t it be released?”
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."
The Liberal-Nationals Coalition cannot support the Melbourne Labor Government’s proposed sale of the Port of Melbourne in its current form.
It is a dud deal for Victorians, particularly country Victorians, and would damage the competitiveness of our export sector.
Victoria is the freight and logistics capital of Australia, with the Port of Melbourne handling around 36 per cent of the country’s container trade.
Victoria’s food and fibre industries, particularly dairy, are some of the biggest users of the port.
Daniel Andrews’ proposal exposes Victorians to a massive compensation payout if a second container port is developed in the next 50 to 70 years.
Creating a monopoly for the next 70 years by restricting the development of a second container port creates a real risk that Victoria will lose trade and jobs to Sydney and Brisbane.
It would also lead to higher costs for exporters, which would be passed straight back to farmers. We have already seen port fees tipped to rise by around 800 per cent in one hit.
This deal would be a noose around the necks of all Victorians and future governments for 70 years.
This is not the proposal that Daniel Andrews took to the election. The only debate before the election was whether Victoria’s second container port should be built at Hastings or Bay West.
The current proposal just adds to Labor’s herd of white elephants and dud deals, including the desalination plant, Myki and north-south pipeline.
This morning on the Today Show, Daniel Andrews, when discussing Melbourne’s future capacity to host major events, said: "…Victoria’s been a bit sleepy in the last three or four years, well that all changes now”.
However, during this so-called “sleepy period”, Victoria either hosted or secured hosting rights for the Cricket World Cup, the Asian Cup soccer tournament, a game at Etihad in the 2012 State of Origin series, and the Liverpool exhibition match.
In the coming months, Melbourne will also host the International Champions Cup matches at the MCG between Manchester City, Real Madrid, and AS Roma, all of which were secured under the former government during this so-called “sleepy period”.
Indeed, last night's State of Origin at the MCG also had nothing to do with Daniel Andrews, with the hosting rights negotiated several years ago.
Daniel Andrews’ capacity to misrepresent and take credit for bringing these world-class events to Melbourne is absolutely shameless.
This is just another example of Daniel Andrews’ playing politics and taking the media and public for mugs.