Media releases Education and Skills

No report from Gippsland’s Federation Training

Friday 5 May 2017

Daniel Andrews has abandoned Gippsland’s Federation Training at a time when a strong and stable training system has never been more important to the Latrobe Valley.

Skills and Training Minister Gayle Tierney tabled TAFE annual reports on Tuesday, minutes before the 2017-18 Victorian State Budget was announced.

For the second year in a row Federation Training has failed to publish an annual report.

Shadow Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Steph Ryan said Daniel Andrews must immediately step in.

“The Latrobe Valley community can have no confidence in Federation Training’s financial stability, governance or performance when its annual report is more than 700 days late,” Ms Ryan said.

“At a time when youth unemployment has risen to 14.9 per cent, it’s important young people can have confidence in local training options.

“Student numbers have declined drastically across the Valley and after leaving the organisation to fend for itself for two years Daniel Andrews needs to step in and fix this crisis immediately.”

There were 2400 fewer Gippsland students in training in 2015, compared to 2014, according to the 2015 Victorian Training Market Data report.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said higher education offered vital opportunities to reskill and upskill in the Latrobe Valley, after significant local business closures.

“At a time when we’ve lost 750 jobs at Hazelwood and hundreds more in the local forestry industry are facing uncertainty, we need a strong training system to make sure local people can reskill or upskill,” Mr Northe said.

“Daniel Andrews and Gayle Tierney must urgently offer Federation Training the support it needs to get the books sorted out.”

The 2017-18 State Budget papers reveal the Andrews Government has now cut $45 million from training and will review typical transparency measures that show there’s been a significant drop in students enrolled in training.

“Gayle Tierney is so distracted dealing with Victoria’s crime tsunami that she has dropped the ball on training,” Ms Ryan said.

“Daniel Andrews must immediately step in to offer Fed Training the support it needs to get up-to-date.” 

Media releases Agriculture Environment

Taxes up 20% but Daniel Andrews cuts $32 million from agriculture

Thursday 4 May 2017

Despite slugging country Victorians for ten new taxes, Daniel Andrews has slashed Victoria’s Agriculture budget.

Labor has cut $32 million from the Agriculture spend in the 2017-18 State Budget, despite pushing up taxes by 22 per cent.

No amount of Labor spin can hide this reduction and fears of Agriculture being swallowed up within the super department are ringing true.

Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford are bragging about a surplus, but have failed to put any new funds into productivity-focussed research and development programs.

Instead they are misleading Victorians on a ‘new’ $85 million biosecurity spend on existing programs and re-announcing funds already flagged for Labor’s go-it-alone eID scheme.

This Budget confirms the Andrews Government has no vision for the future of Victoria’s agriculture sector.

Yet again Labor has splashed cash on Melbourne while giving regional communities the scraps off the table.

Community Services Media releases Education and Skills

Taxes up 20%, but Daniel Andrews cuts $45m from training

Wednesday 3 May 2017 

Victorians are now paying for ten new taxes under Daniel Andrews, but the funds won’t be used to fix the state’s broken training sector. 

Instead, Labor has cut $45 million from the state’s training budget, while thousands of young people drop out of vocational education in Victoria.

Under Daniel Andrews, there are now:

  • 122,597 fewer students enrolled in government-subsidised training
  • 168,432 fewer government-subsidised course enrolments
  • 56 million fewer student contact hours delivered

The participation of young people in training has also declined by 6.6 per cent.

Labor is so desperate to hide its failed TAFE ‘rescue’, that it plans to stop publishing training enrolment numbers and other key performance measures (Budget Paper No. 3, Output Performance Measures for Review, p363).

Daniel Andrews’ cuts to training are hurting young people who want to work towards a new career and the most vulnerable in our society. 

Community Services Media releases Health and Aged Care

Taxes up 20% but cuts to mental health

Tuesday 2 May 2017 

Daniel Andrews has announced ten new taxes in two years but has effectively cut the number of residential mental health beds. 

The Government's own budget papers show that Daniel Andrews is failing Victorians struggling with mental illness by cutting the number of mental health beds.

Buried away on page 244 of Budget Paper number 3 is the disclosure that the government fell around 16,000 short on residential bed days this year and have wound back their target next year by a further 12,000 bed days.

Daniel Andrews likes to brag about his doctored Code 1 ambulance figures, but his own budget papers show that Victorians in the midst of a mental health crisis are being let down.

The Andrews Government has failed to meet its target of 75 per cent of emergency patients being admitted to a mental health bed within eight hours - falling a whopping 15 per cent short.

Daniel Andrews is not only the highest taxing Premier in Victoria’s history, he’s the highest taxing Premier in Australia.  Despite being the highest taxing state, with a $10 billion windfall from the Port of Melbourne lease, this budget fails to deliver for on the ground mental health support for people in crisis. 

Media releases Regional Development Transport Infrastructure

Country Victorians duped on regional rail announcement

Monday 1 May 2017

Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan announced a $1.45 billion regional rail package on Sunday, but have refused to spend a cent of state government money.

The media stunt, which has no plan, no business case and no funding, was badged as a ‘huge investment’.

Just two years ago, Daniel Andrews claimed a business case was essential for every project, but now expects the Federal Government to hand over $1.45bn for a project with no plan and no business case.

Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh

This was a cynical media stunt from Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan, designed to mislead regional Victorians.

There’s no plan, there’s no business case, there’s no state government funding – this is just another empty promise from a Premier who loves to tax regional Victoria but refuses to invest in our communities.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Public Transport David Hodgett

Daniel Andrews has ignored country Victorians for two years and now he’s ignored his own advice, making huge promises and then failing to provide a business case or invest a cent of state government money. 

The Andrews Government has left the regional rail network to deteriorate and now expects the Federal Government to foot the bill to fix it.

Media releases Infrastructure Regional Development Transport

Nationals secure final $220 million for Murray Basin Rail Project

Friday 28th April 2017

The Murray Basin Rail Project – a critical project proudly driven by Victoria’s National Party – passed another milestone this week with official signoff of the Federal Government’s $220 million contribution.

Federal Infrastructure Minister and The Nationals Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester this week approved the Commonwealth’s $220 million contribution which will secure the upgrade of this vital freight rail link between north-west Victoria and the state’s ports.

The Murray Basin Rail Project will standardise and upgrade the Mildura, Manangatang and Sea Lake lines and standardise the Murrayville line.

Leader of The Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh commended the Federal Government for delivering the $220 million needed to complete the project, alongside the $220 million allocated by the former Liberal Nationals state government in 2014.

“State and Federal Nationals are proud to have secured and delivered the $440 million needed to deliver this vital upgrade for north-west Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to standardise and repair freight rail in western and northern Victoria, and make it more efficient for farmers to get their product to port.

“It is disappointing that the Andrews Labor Government hasn’t followed through with the same strong support as we’ve seen from the Federal Liberal Nationals Government.

“But now the final $220 million has been officially signed off, there aren’t any more go slow excuses for the State Labor Government.”

The remaining funding was delivered through the Federal Liberal Nationals Government’s $3 billion Victorian Infrastructure Investment Package.

The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad said the rail upgrade would improve freight efficiency for producers in the Wimmera, Mallee and Mildura regions.

“Approximately $3 billion worth of food, fibre and minerals is exported from the Murray Basin annually,” Mr Broad said.

“These works will provide measured improvement in productivity and connectivity, and significantly enhance international competitiveness of Murray Basin producers.”

The Nationals State Member for Mildura Peter Crisp welcomed the flow of funding and said the Andrews Labor Government must now deliver the project on time and on budget.

“The Nationals at the State and Federal levels have worked hard to secure a project that will transform the way we get our agricultural products and other freight from north-west Victoria to the rest of the world,” Mr Crisp said.

“Importantly, this critical project will also reduce the number of trucks on our highways, making our roads safer for all road users.”

Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said these works would make it more economical for farmers to do business in western and northern Victoria.

“These works are firmly aimed at better connecting goods produced in north-west Victoria with the ports of Melbourne, Geelong and Portland,” Senator McKenzie said.

“The Murray Basin Rail Project will open new export opportunities for our producers and businesses in north-west Victoria by providing a reliable and efficient way to get their product to market.”

The project schedule indicates the works should be completed by late 2018.

 

Photo: Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, Wakefield Transport Group Managing Director Ken Wakefield and Member for Mildura Peter Crisp.

Media releases Regional Development Infrastructure Environment Agriculture

Heyfield mill

Friday 17 May 2017 

The Andrews Government has disgracefully abandoned 260 workers at Australian Sustainable Hardwoods’ Heyfield mill by failing to guarantee a viable timber supply.

Labor’s half-baked offer to purchase the mill at the 11th hour again confirms Daniel Andrews has no problem playing political games with Victorian jobs.

Instead, Daniel Andrews has chosen green preferences over real jobs, sitting on his hands and costing the people of Heyfield their livelihoods.

This is a massive kick in the guts to Heyfield workers, their families and the local community.

The timber supply is there, what is lacking is will from Daniel Andrews to act.

Daniel Andrews has failed the people of Heyfield and his government’s policies are creating a massive jobs crisis for the people of Gippsland.

Media releases Agriculture Environment

Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016

Wednesday 8 February 2017

The Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 will pass Parliament.

In 2012 the Liberal Nationals Government announced a gas moratorium and in 2015 we committed to an extension of the existing onshore gas moratorium until 30 June 2020. 

The Liberal Nationals support the ban on fracking.  Indeed, fracking has never occurred under a Liberal Nationals Government.  In contrast, the previous Victorian Labor Government issued 73 licences for unconventional gas exploration and approved 23 fracking operations without public consultation.

The Liberal Nationals have always said we will never allow anything to happen that puts at risk the quality or quantity of our groundwater because we know how important it is to our state.

Food and fibre production is one the powerhouses of Victoria’s economy and we must always ensure the land and water resources these vital industries need are protected, now and for the future. 

Increasing gas and electricity costs to industry and Victorian households mean work must be done to ensure our state has a secure and competitive supply of energy in the future. 

That is why we believe during the period of the moratorium, the energy sector needs to work with rural communities and have a sensible discussion about the use of conventional gas beyond the expiration of the moratorium in 2020.  Conventional gas has over 30 years of successful co-existence with Victorian country communities.

Whether it is gas or electricity, Daniel Andrews has a political plan but not a cost of living and cost of business plans.

The policies of the Andrews Labor Government have forced the closure of Hazelwood which has already seen an increase in household electricity prices of around 10% and over 20% for some businesses. 

One of Daniel Andrews’ greatest failings as Premier is that he has not even tried to attempt to find a way to curb the dramatic increases in energy costs in Victoria.  If energy prices continue to sky rocket at current rates it will result in businesses closing as well as putting enormous cost of living pressures on households.

Media releases Regional Development Agriculture Infrastructure enviroment Community Services

Labor failing our forestry workers

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has failed to explain why the Andrews Government refuses to stand up for thousands of jobs in Victoria’s forestry industry.

In Parliament’s Upper House today, Nationals members Luke O’Sullivan and Melina Bath directly asked Ms Pulford why Labor’s Forestry Industry Taskforce, which the Premier said would ‘sustain jobs’, had failed to do so.

“Victoria’s timber industry workers are angry that Daniel Andrews bailed out Alcoa workers, but won’t do the same to save their jobs,” Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said.

“By starving the industry of resource, Daniel Andrews is creating the Great Forest National Park by stealth.

“The Premier is more concerned about saving his own job than the thousands of jobs of people who work in our timber industries.

“The timber is there, what’s missing is the will of Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford to keep this industry open. If Jaala Pulford can’t resolve this issue, Daniel Andrews must step in to secure a future for East Gippsland’s forestry industry.”

VicForests has offered Australian Sustainable Hardwoods just 80,000 cubic metres of timber next year, far less than the 130,000 cubic metres required for the mill to be viable. The Andrews Government has also failed to ensure adequate supply to Auswest Timber in Orbost and Bairnsdale, threatening a further 65 jobs.

Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said the forestry industry was the backbone of many communities in East Gippsland.

“Many of the workers whose jobs are at risk have worked in the forestry industry for years, if not much of their life and everyone has grave concerns for the future of our communities in East Gippsland if the industry is lost,” Mr Bull said.

“Daniel Andrews must immediately stop putting politics and green preferences ahead of East Gippsland jobs.

“A town hall meeting heard there was nothing stopping the minister guaranteeing supply to ASH for at least the next five to seven years.

“It’s time for the Premier and the Minister to act in the best interests of our communities.”

Media releases Agriculture Environment

Great Forest National Park

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Background

A motion for a five-year moratorium on establishing national parks in Victoria’s Central Highlands was defeated in the Legislative Council today.

The motion called for no new national parks to be established in the region, including the Great Forest National Park, until further work was done on the availability of resources, impacts on existing stakeholders, fire management and the management of invasive species.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh

By voting against this motion, Labor’s let the cat out of the bag – they have no intention of supporting the tens of thousands of Victorians who rely on the timber industry to support their family and pay the bills.

By voting against this motion Labor has abandoned 21,000 Victorian jobs.

The city-centric Labor Government has shown again they have no intention of fighting for the best interests of the people who live and work in regional Victoria.