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.
"Daniel Andrews seems to have forgotten it was the former Labor Government that opened up the skills training sector to competition and forced TAFEs to compete with private providers. (Page 7, Labor's 2008 Skills plan).
"That decision by Labor has seen private training providers now account for 56 per cent of total government subsidised enrolments while TAFEs account for 25 per cent. (Page 36, Victorian Training Market Report 2014).
"The Coalition was funding $1.2 billion a year in vocational education training - compared with just over $800 million in the former Labor government's last budget - meaning the Coalition increased funding for skills training by 50 per cent.
"Daniel Andrews needs some skills training on telling the truth."
It is illogical that Daniel Andrews is undertaking a costly review of Regional Development Victoria while at the same time slashing funding for regional Victoria itself.
The Andrews Labor Government has appointed a panel, headed by former Labor State Premier John Brumby, to review regional development.
In fact, Regional Development Victoria (RDV) remains an efficient link between all levels of government, the business sector and our communities, and has a track record of delivering fantastic outcomes for regional Victoria.
We don’t know how much this RDV review is going to cost, or what will happen to regional investment programs in the meantime. There is a fear it will put the regional investment on hold completely.
Meanwhile, Premier Andrews is cutting the hugely popular $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which provided funding to communities for their priority projects such as upgrading recreational facilities, parks and CBDs.
The fund secured $3 worth of investment for every $1 contributed by government and created almost 23,000 jobs right across regional and rural Victoria.
Premier Andrews is also cutting the Country Roads and Bridges Program, which provided $40 million a year to local councils so they could fix their priority roads.
Without this vital funding, those councils must either find that money within their budgets by sacrificing other community programs, or simply abandon local road maintenance projects.
It beggars belief that Daniel Andrews would cut funding for these programs while wasting money on an expensive review of RDV.
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Instead of media stunts and endless panels and reviews, the city-centric Andrews Labor Government must step up and actually deliver something for regional Victorians.
The Nationals have heard the concerns of our communities and will demand stronger safeguards for landholders regarding onshore coal seam gas operations should the industry ever develop in Victoria.
The Nationals support landowners having the right to say no to coal seam gas extraction activity on their property.
We also believe the regions where mining takes place should share the benefits from the activity. The Nationals support the introduction of a landowner and community benefit structure, so that when mining activity takes place the local community and landowner get a share of the wealth to invest in local priorities.
The Victorian Nationals will never support any activity that risks harm to our state’s water or land assets. Victoria’s agricultural industries are the lifeblood of our regional communities and are too valuable to jeopardise.
The previous Victorian Coalition Government, of which we were part, introduced a sensible moratorium to stop any hydraulic fracking activity and stop any new coal seam gas exploration or extraction licences until more is known about this activity and how it might affect our water and land assets.
The previous Victorian Coalition Government also brought in legislation so that BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene) chemicals can never be used in any future fracking practice.
In January this year Premier Daniel Andrews indicated the current moratorium would be extended until a public Parliamentary Inquiry is conducted.
The Nationals support maintaining the moratorium, and believe there should be no coal seam gas mining or extraction in Victoria until thorough scientific assessment and community consultation has been completed.
The Nationals also believe we need to better protect landowners. The concerns of our community are important to us, and Victoria’s farming resources are too valuable to lose.
The Nationals position on onshore unconventional gas:
· Maintain Victoria’s moratorium on coal seam gas
· Only if science proves CSG is safe should industry proceed
· Ensure water resources and the environment are protected
· Farmers should have the right to say no to CSG extraction on their land
· Farmers should get fair compensation for and complete rehabilitation of any CSG activities
· Any CSG activity must deliver a benefit to the land owner
· Any CSG activity must deliver a benefit to the local community
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
Thursday 4 December 2014
The Hon. Peter Walsh MP has been elected Leader of The National in Victoria.
Steph Ryan has been elected Deputy Leader.
“I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of Peter Ryan, who set a leadership standard I aim to emulate,” Mr Walsh said.
“As Leader, I am determined to show to the people of regional Victoria that it is The Nationals who have their best interest at heart. I firmly believe The Nationals are the only party that truly represents regional Victoria.
“It is The Nationals that are committed to working with regional communities to ensure we have the services, the infrastructure, the industries and the opportunities that we need for a prosperous and productive future. It is The Nationals that have the strongest voice for regional Victoria in the Victorian Parliament.
"I want The Nationals to rebuild their on the ground connection with rural and regional people.
“The Nationals will fight tooth and nail during the next four years to ensure regional Victoria does not suffer at the hands of a city-focused, union-influenced Labor Government.”
Mr Walsh welcomed the election of Steph Ryan to the position of Deputy Leader.
- $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.