Wednesday 9 August 2017
The Andrews Labor Government is burying key data showing the extent of its cuts to Victoria’s struggling training system.
Asked about the delay of the 2016 training market report in Parliament, Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney claimed the report could not be completed until the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) published its 2016 data on training activity.
The NCVER published that information on July 12 this year.
Gayle Tierney is either engaged in a cover up or she is so incompetent that she is unaware of key events in her own portfolio.
The 2015 report, published in May 2016, showed Victoria’s training system has gone into steep decline under Labor.
Labor cut $45 million from the state’s training budget in its May budget and, on the last available figures, the number of students enrolled in government-subsidised training in Victoria has declined by 122,597 since December 2014.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Steph Ryan
Gayle Tierney is hiding this report because it shows that Victoria’s training system has gone down the gurgler under Labor.
Daniel Andrews used TAFE to get elected, but now he’s Premier he isn’t interested in helping students get the skills they need to get a job.
Victorian students have been left in the dark for eight months because Labor wants to keep its failed TAFE ‘rescue’ a secret.
The sector has lost more than 122,000 students since Labor was elected and Daniel Andrews’ answer is to cut $45 million from the training budget.
Monday 31 July 2017
Reports today show Victoria’s drug crisis is continuing to worsen, with heroin-related deaths expected to surpass the road toll within two or three years if current trends continue.
Figures from the Coroners Court show 190 people died from heroin-related overdoses in Victoria in 2016, up 71 per cent since 2012.
A recent report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission found drug manufacture in Victoria was rising. One in four clandestine laboratories detected in Australia in 2015-16 was in Victoria, up 10 per cent since Daniel Andrews came to office.
The report also showed Victoria recorded among the highest drug usage rates in the country.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy
Reports of the rising toll of insidious drugs like ice and heroin is more evidence of Victoria’s growing crime and drugs crisis.
Drug dealers prey on the most vulnerable people in our community but the Andrews Labor Government refuses to take the action needed to toughen sentences for traffickers. Anyone who deals or trafficks hard drugs should be locked up for a very long time.
Under Daniel Andrews we are seeing drug-related crime spiral out of control, drug use skyrocket, but drug rehabilitation wait lists have blown out to over a year.
Only the Liberal Nationals have a plan to tackle the drug epidemic through targeted education, better access to drug treatment and bringing down the drug kingpins that prey on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
Monday 31 July 2017
The $440m Murray Basin Rail Project is steaming ahead with Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister and The Nationals MP for Gippsland Darren Chester announcing Stage 2 construction works will begin today.
Stage 2 works on the project – which has been proudly driven by Victoria’s National Party MPs – will see upgrades and conversion of track from Dunolly to Yelta, and Ouyen to Murrayville from broad gauge to standard gauge.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh welcomed the project’s progress, after the Andrews Labor Government initially stalled works.
Mr Walsh said the Basin Rail Project would deliver critical upgrades to provide better rail access between the Murray Basin and Victoria’s major ports at Portland, Geelong and Melbourne.
“This is an 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,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Nationals’ State and Federal MPs are proud to have secured and delivered the $440 million needed to deliver this vital upgrade for north-west Victoria.”
The former Victorian Liberal Nationals government got the project underway in 2014 with a $220 million allocation, and the Federal Liberal Nationals Government delivered the final $220 million needed in April 2017.
Member for Mildura Peter Crisp said farmers in Victoria’s north-west would benefit from increased maximum freight volumes, which will see more efficient transport of agricultural products to port.
“The Murray Basin Rail Project will take trucks off our country roads and provide a more efficient way to transport our products to port,” Mr Crisp said.
“The Nationals at the State and Federal levels have worked hard to secure this Project and I am pleased to see it take the next step forward in better connecting our agricultural communities in north-west Victoria with the rest of the world.”
Wednesday 12 July 2017
Victoria’s timber industry has been given a glimmer of hope in the latest report into the Leadbeater’s Possum protection measures but the Andrews Labor Government now needs to step up.
The review of the effectiveness and impact of timber harvesting exclusion zones around Leadbeater's Possum colonies has finally been released after months of delay.
The review confirmed:
- More possums have been detected than expected.
- More than 90 per cent of the possum’s potential, or most likely occupied, habitat in the Central Highlands has never been surveyed.
- There is only limited data on the number of Leadbeater’s Possum colonies and habitat in Victoria’s National Parks and reserves.
- Further field studies across all land tenures are urgently required.
- VicForests has suffered $14 million in lost revenue as a result of the zones, and timber availability has been forecast to reduce by 65,000 cubic metres.
Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
“If the timber industry is going to survive, the Andrews Government must rapidly change its policy direction and accept that the Leadbeater’s Possum and a viable forestry sector can co-exist.
“Daniel Andrews must decide if he’s backing a $7 billion industry that support up to 50,000 jobs across Victoria, or if he’s going to sacrifice all of that in order to save a couple of inner city Labor seats with Greens preferences next election.”
Comments attributable to Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull
“There are now 618 confirmed Leadbeater’s Possum colonies, a huge increase on numbers two years ago, and that’s just from looking in a relatively small area of general public forest.
“The Andrews Government must urgently get on with recommended comprehensive survey work across all landscapes because this review makes it crystal clear past population estimates were grossly inadequate and have distorted public debate.
“The future of thousands of jobs in Victoria’s forest industry are in the hands of Daniel Andrews. Will he action the recommendations of this review, or will he continue his stealth campaign to create the Great Forest National Park in the hope of saving his own skin?”
Thursday 7 July 2017
Today’s announcement that Australian Paper will proceed with planning and pre-construction works for a waste to energy project delivers some long overdue good news for the Latrobe Valley after months of jobs losses and industry downturn.
Quotes attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh
Australian Paper is hugely important in the Latrobe Valley, not only as a direct job provider and manufacturer but also as a key player in Victoria’s forest industries and a company which generates significant flow-on economic effects throughout the Latrobe Valley.
This is an exciting development for Latrobe Valley in terms of energy supply and local job creation, and it is also has terrific potential for future waste management in our State, so it has never been more important to ensure Australian Paper continues to have a reliable and long term supply of timber resource.
As well as Australian Paper’s commitment, I also recognise the dedicated work local Nationals MPs Russell Northe and Darren Chester have been doing over many months leading up to today’s exciting announcement.
Quotes attributable to Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath
At a time when the Valley’s industries have been doing it tough, it is really encouraging to see Australian Paper making this commitment to grow its operation and remain in our region.
Cutting edge innovation and confident investors are vital to ensuring there is a strong economic future for the Latrobe Valley, and it is terrific to have the Valley’s largest employer sending such positive signals for their future in our region.
Monday 3 July 2017
Hundreds of jobs at Heyfield’s timber mill remain in jeopardy despite the Andrews Government’s claims today.
The Government’s media statement this morning says “…there will be no job losses while contractual negotiations are finalised,” but offers zero commitment beyond that period.
Minister Pulford also told ABC 774 today that the timber offer to the mill “has not changed” which confirms that future job losses at the mill are inevitable.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford have yet again failed to give Heyfield mill workers long term certainty for their jobs.
The only way to save these jobs is to increase timber supply and the Andrews Government confirmed again today that they aren’t prepared to put jobs first.
Labor starved the mill of a timber supply and caused a fire-sale and then the government bought it at bargain basement price.
Instead of seeking accolades, Daniel Andrews should get down to Heyfield, come clean and admit he has failed to save all 260 jobs.
Comments attributable to The Nationals Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull
Saying there will be “no jobs lost in transition” gives no comfort for the workers as it provides no long term security and, in fact, workers have already been told there will be job losses and redundancies due to the reduced timber supply.
It’s a disgrace for Labor to claim this is a “great day for Heyfield” and a “great relief” for workers when the Andrews Government has led from the start a process that will result in significant job losses in the town.
Thursday 29 June 2017
Victoria is the fastest growing state in Australia.
In 2016, our state grew by 146,000 people – the highest growth rate of any state in living memory.
In the past month alone, an additional 10,500 people have become residents – that’s equivalent to the population of my home town of Swan Hill moving to Victoria every month.
But our country communities take in less than 10 per cent of this growth and in some regions the population is in decline.
Despite this, the Labor Premier for Melbourne has no vision and no plan for regional Victoria.
The Liberal-Nationals have taken a completely different approach.
We established the Population Policy Taskforce to plan to decentralise Melbourne’s population and develop job opportunities, infrastructure and services in regional Victoria.
It’s the first holistic approach to planning for Victoria’s burgeoning population growth.
Chaired by Kew MP Tim Smith and deputy chair Danny O’Brien, The Nationals’ Member for Gippsland South, the Taskforce has travelled across Victoria, including to Shepparton, Mildura, the Latrobe Valley, Geelong and Ballarat to consult with our communities.
The feedback was overwhelming.
Country people are frustrated by the lack of population, a poor transport network and unreliable energy, while a deteriorating regional rail network and country roads make it hard to get from A to B.
For some businesses, energy costs have increased so much it’s impacting their ability to retain and hire staff, while the rapidly changing policy and regulatory environment is affecting business’ ability to invest.
It comes at a time when job losses are at the front of people’s minds.
Jobs are seen as the key piece of the puzzle in attracting and retaining people in regional Victoria. We’ve heard many suggestions on creating opportunities for businesses to move to the regions, including around state taxes and special economic zones.
Our agricultural communities are the backbone of our state’s economy, and we want to make sure they are recognised in plans for our future population.
Victorians can still be part of the Liberal-Nationals’ policy process, as we continue our work ahead of the 2018 election.
With the interim report now out, we welcome submissions from anyone who wants to have their say and help shape the future of our state.
Tuesday 27 June 2017
Daniel Andrews’ TAFE ‘rescue’ has been a total sham.
A third of Federation Training's workforce was sacked with 182 full time equivalent staff losing their jobs at the TAFE in Labor's first year in office.
Under Daniel Andrews the number of students undertaking training at Federation Training has reduced drastically, with 700,000 fewer student contact hours being offered.
The figures were revealed in Federation Training's 2015 annual report, which was tabled in Parliament more than a year late.
For months, Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney has refused to answer basic questions about Federation Training’s staff numbers, student enrolments and its finances, suddenly claiming the information is “commercially sensitive”.
Seven out of the state’s 12 TAFE Institutes, including Federation Training, are relying on government bailouts to stay afloat.
Gayle Tierney has supported the closure of student services, the sacking of teachers and presided over a huge reduction in student numbers at Federation Training.
Tuesday 27 June 2017
The Liberal-Nationals in Federal Government have delivered for regional Victoria where Daniel Andrews and his city-centric Labor Government failed.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester, The Nationals Member for Gippsland, has put our country communities on the right track with the Commonwealth Government's $1.42 billion investment in country rail.
Daniel Andrews disgracefully left regional communities in limbo after he announced a ‘rail revival’ plan and then refused to invest a cent of state money.
Labor has failed to maintain Victoria’s country rail network and now expects others to fix the problems.
The Premier for Melbourne would rather waste $1.2 billion not building a road in Melbourne than investing state money on these desperately needed upgrades to public transport in regional Victoria.
The Victorian Liberals and Nationals believe that as our state's population grows, upgrades to public transport will be vital to decentralise our state and encourage more people to live in regional communities.
But despite Victoria’s exploding population, the Labor Premier for Melbourne still has no vision and no plan for regional Victoria.
Wednesday 21 June 2017
The Andrews Labor Government is on notice that it must get on with native vegetation law reforms.
The Victorian Farmers Federation has warned the number of trees on Victorian farmland will continue to decline unless the system is made more workable for farmers.
A review of Victoria’s native vegetation laws was released for public comment in December last year, but this was at the same time as many farmers were busy harvesting record grain crops.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Farmers are sending a clear and sensible message, but the Andrews Government is preparing to put even more hurdles in their way.
Hardworking farmers are being bogged down in red tape and bureaucracy while the Premier for Melbourne panders to inner-city Greens voters.
The Liberal Nationals are very happy to work with the VFF and landholders in order to get the best outcome for our farmers and our productive rural environments.