Thursday 8 February 2018
In his opening remarks to the 2012 regional sitting of the Legislative Assembly in Ballarat then Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews remarked:
“The regional sitting program is a wonderful program, and I congratulate the Premier for continuing the efforts of previous governments.”
“The regional sitting programs are very important, not just because the communities get a better sense of what the legislature does but also because they are a great opportunity for us to spend time collectively in regional Victoria, to show our strong support for regional Victoria as a Parliament and to celebrate all the great things that are happening in regional Victoria.”
(Hansard, 6 September 2012)
Former Labor Premier Steve Bracks said of the Regional Parliament in 2000 that the regional sittings recognised:
“…the crucial role that regional Victoria played in the history of Victoria, the nation and the formation of the Federation”.
(Hansard, 26 October 2000)
Yet, not one regional sitting has been held during the current Andrews Labor Government’s term.
Thursday 8 February 2018
Communities in Regional Victoria would host Victorian Parliament for the first time since 2012, under an elected Liberal Nationals government.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh announced the commitment today at State Parliament, in the first sitting week of 2018.
The Liberal Nationals commitment would see two regional sittings of each chamber held in the next term of government.
“You can’t fix country Victoria’s problems from behind a desk in Spring Street. Labor scrapped Regional Parliament, the Liberal Nationals will bring it back,” Mr Guy said.
“Regional sittings offer country communities a unique opportunity to be the focus of Parliament and are an important opportunity for city-based parliamentarians to learn more about regional communities.”
The commitment would see Mildura, Shepparton, Warrnambool and the Latrobe Valley host parliamentarians from one chamber of Parliament – either the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council – for one sitting week each.
Mr Walsh said Daniel Andrews’ decision to scrap Regional Parliament was more proof he can’t see beyond Melbourne’s tram tracks.
“Daniel Andrews’ city-centric focus has denied our school children and communities in regional Victoria a chance to be part of Victoria’s democratic process,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals will put an end to the absolute contempt Labor has shown our country communities and make sure our regional communities can be part of the parliamentary process.”
The last regional sittings were held by the former Liberal Nationals government in 2012.
Thursday 1 February 2018
Daniel Andrews' promise to 'rescue' TAFE was a lie.
Instead of a rescue, Daniel Andrews is conducting a raid cutting $123 million from the sector in the past 12 months alone.
A report from the Productivity Commission released today shows the Andrews Labor Government cut recurrent funding to Victoria's VET sector to $698.7 million in 2016.
This is half the investment under the former Liberal Nationals government, with $1.57 billion spent on training in 2012.
The Report on Government Services 2018 also showed students continue to lose confidence in Victoria’s training sector.
Government-funded VET student numbers dropped to 338,400, from 460,500 in 2014.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan
As student numbers plummet, the Andrews Labor Government is investing less in our state’s training sector.
It’s ironic that Daniel Andrews promised to 'rescue' TAFE and then halved the state’s training spend.
Under Labor, Victoria’s training system is weaker, not stronger.
Friday 19 January 2018
Communities along Victoria’s state borders will benefit from the services of a dedicated Cross Border Commissioner under an elected Liberal Nationals government.
People living and working in Victoria’s border communities alongside New South Wales and South Australia face unique problems, including with access to services, licencing and coordination of emergency services.
Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh is in Mildura today to make the announcement.
“A lot changes when you travel across the border and for our business owners and residents in border communities this is an added complication to everyday life,” Mr Walsh said.
“It means our tradespeople have to get two separate licences to operate their business, while farmers and transport operators require two separate permits to move agricultural equipment.
“It also makes it harder for our police officers and emergency services to share the information they need to do their job.
“An elected Liberal Nationals government would ensure our communities have a dedicated Cross Border Commissioner based in regional Victoria to identify and solve these problems.”
Areas the Cross Border Commissioner would focus on include regulation and licensing, legal systems, emergency services and service delivery.
“The Liberal Nationals want to make it easier for border communities to go about their business,” Mr Walsh said.
“New South Wales already has a Cross Border Commissioner and has signed agreements with both Queensland and the ACT.
“It’s time for Victoria to take action to resolve our cross border issues with South Australia and New South Wales.”
Wednesday 17 January 2018
The Nationals have announced nominations for preselection for the seat of Morwell in November’s State Election will open on February 5.
Nationals State President Neil Pankhurst said The Nationals are seeking candidates who are committed to fighting in the best interests of the Morwell electorate.
“The 2018 state election is an opportunity for the Latrobe Valley to elect a representative who will stand up for them on the issues that are important to the community and make sure their voice is heard,” Mr Pankhurst said.
Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said The Nationals were committed to delivering for the Latrobe Valley community.
“The Latrobe Valley has suffered because of disastrous decisions from the city-centric Andrews Labor Government and it is vital that the electorate of Morwell has a strong voice in State Parliament,” Ms Bath said.
Nominations will open on Monday, February 5 and will close at 5pm on Thursday, February 15 2018.
All members of The Nationals are eligible to nominate. For further information or to obtain a nomination form, interested parties should contact The Nationals Head Office on 03 9600 1424.
Melina Bath 03 5174 7066
Wednesday 17 January 2018
Daniel Andrews has ignored his own consultation process by imposing new restrictions on Victorian hunters in the 2018 duck season.
The Andrews Labor Government has taken no notice of advice from informed stakeholder groups that strongly argued against the restrictions.
Victorian hunters legally taking part in the duck hunting season are being penalised by a Labor Government desperate to keep the Greens on-side.
Duck hunting is a legitimate recreational activity that brings thousands of hunters and their families into regional Victoria and provides a healthy boost to our regional economies.
Daniel Andrews has shown time and time again he will always put green ideology ahead of our regional communities.
Friday 12 January 2018
Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE’s decision to cut dairy training at Warragul and Leongatha raises more questions than it answers.
The Andrews Government must come clean on the number of students who are part way through a traineeship with GOTAFE who will no longer be able to complete their training with the provider.
Given Federation Training does not currently offer these courses, Training Minister Gayle Tierney should also detail what she is doing to ensure students who are stranded can complete their qualifications.
This is the latest sign of instability in training in Gippsland, following revelations one-third of Federation Training’s workforce was sacked in Labor’s first year of government and figures showing a drop of 700,000 student contact hours.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan
Daniel Andrews and Gayle Tierney are missing in action yet again while Gippsland students are left in limbo.
The Andrews Government has failed to offer Gippsland trainees any assurances they’ll be able to complete their training.
Labor promised to ‘rescue’ TAFE, but instead have presided over a massive drop in student numbers and staff redundancies.
Comments attributable to Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien
Our dairy sector provides vital job opportunities and boosts our local economy.
At a time of great uncertainty for our local dairy sector, the Andrews Labor Government’s silence speaks volumes about their level of care for our region.
Wednesday 10 January 2018
An elected Liberal Nationals government will help Victoria’s High Country communities immortalise their heritage in a new High Country Hall of Fame.
Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh will announce the Liberal-Nationals’ commitment at Omeo this weekend at the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria Annual Get Together.
“Just as Banjo Patterson immortalised the region in his poem The Man from Snowy River, the High Country Hall of Fame will pay tribute to the people and industries that have shaped this unique region’s history,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Hall of Fame will preserve and celebrate the High Country’s heritage, including the indigenous culture, exploration, the iconic mountain cattlemen, conservation, winter sports and other aspects of high country history, industry and life.
“It will be another attraction and asset to one of Victoria’s iconic tourism regions.”
The Hall of Fame would be established in close consultation with High Country communities to determine the best location and design for the complex.
“Our plan is for a two-step process,” Mr Walsh said.
“Firstly, an expressions of interest phase where interested communities can put forward a bid; and secondly, a shortlist phase where the best three bids would receive financial assistance and help from Regional Development Victoria to prepare detailed business cases.
“High Country communities will have a say on the best location and design for a Hall of Fame that will share their stories with locals and visitors alike.
“If the Liberal Nationals are elected at the November State Election we will ensure the rich history of this iconic region, and the people and industries that have defined it, are preserved and celebrated.
“This will be a place our communities can be proud of and it will add to the outstanding tourism attractions that already draw more than one million people to the High Country every year.”
Friday 22 December 2017
This morning I have spoken to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to convey the seriousness of the impact of India’s 30 per cent tariff on chickpeas and lentils on Victorian farmers.
Victoria’s chickpea and lentil farmers have battled frost, hail and heavy rains in the past months. India’s decision to impose a 30 per cent tariff, effective immediately, has hit our hard working farmers at the worst possible time.
The imposition of a tariff, without warning and during harvest time, is not the way to manage trade relationships.
I have encouraged the Federal Government to take the strongest possible action on behalf of Victoria’s chickpea and lentil farmers.
Tuesday 19 December 2017
On behalf of the Victorian Nationals, I congratulate The Federal Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie on her elevation to Federal Cabinet as Minister for Sport, Minister for Rural Health and Minister for Regional Communications.
Bridget has proven to be a fierce advocate for our regional Victorian communities in her time in the Senate and I have no doubt she will bring this determination to the Federal Cabinet table.
I also wish to congratulate Member for Murray Damian Drum on his appointment as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, reinforcing Victoria’s strong ties with the Federal leadership team.
Thanks must go to Darren Chester for his work delivering for regional Victoria, filling the void left by Daniel Andrews and his Melbourne-centric Labor Government.
Darren’s outstanding advocacy secured Federal funding for infrastructure projects that will benefit all rural and regional Victorians, including $1.5 billion for regional rail and $240 million for the Murray Basin Rail Project.