Media Centre

A Better Vocational Education for School Students

The Andrews Government will overhaul Victoria's school-based vocational education with a new integrated end-of-school certificate - ensuring wherever they school, every student will be able to do both academic and vocational subjects. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests $38 million to develop a new single VCE integrated senior secondary certificate – meaning students no longer have to choose between VCE and VCAL – and fund new Jobs, Skills and Pathways Coordinators in government secondary schools. The move to an integrated certificate follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth that found the change would provide all Victorian students with the best opportunity to develop both academic and practical vocational skills.  It was an honour to accept the invitation of the Minister of Education, James Merlino, to chair the expert Reference Group for this Review, comprised of practitioners from all sectors. As a former, long-term secondary educator, I am passionate about the changes our review promoted, and proud to see them implemented through the newly delivered Budget. Further details, including the review report and the Government response to the report may be found here.

A Better Vocational Education for School Students

The Andrews Government will overhaul Victoria's school-based vocational education with a new integrated end-of-school certificate - ensuring wherever they school, every student will be able to do both academic and vocational subjects. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invests $38 million to develop a new single VCE integrated senior secondary certificate – meaning students no longer have to choose between VCE and VCAL – and fund new Jobs, Skills and Pathways Coordinators in government secondary schools. The move to an integrated certificate follows a review by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority CEO John Firth that found the change would provide all Victorian students with the best opportunity to develop both academic and practical vocational skills.  It was an honour to accept the invitation of the Minister of Education, James Merlino, to chair the expert Reference Group for this Review, comprised of practitioners from all sectors. As a former, long-term secondary educator, I am passionate about the changes our review promoted, and proud to see them implemented through the newly delivered Budget. Further details, including the review report and the Government response to the report may be found here.

Welcome, New and Re-elected Boroondara Councillors

The recent local council elections are bringing forth exciting times in Boroondara. In Parliament last week, I expressed my congratulations and best wishes to the six women and five men who will have the privilege of serving this great community. In particular, the seven councillors who I will be working closely with in my patch of Hawthorn; across the wards of Maling, Riversdale, Gardiner, Glenferrie, Junction, Lynden and Solway. I look forward to a continued strong and productive relationship. Watch my formal congratulations below. [video width="1600" height="900" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/MS-Councillors.mp4"][/video]

Welcome, New and Re-elected Boroondara Councillors

The recent local council elections are bringing forth exciting times in Boroondara. In Parliament last week, I expressed my congratulations and best wishes to the six women and five men who will have the privilege of serving this great community. In particular, the seven councillors who I will be working closely with in my patch of Hawthorn; across the wards of Maling, Riversdale, Gardiner, Glenferrie, Junction, Lynden and Solway. I look forward to a continued strong and productive relationship. Watch my formal congratulations below. [video width="1600" height="900" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/MS-Councillors.mp4"][/video]

Standing Up in the Windfarm Debate

It was brought to my attention, from a member of the opposition, that apparently people in Hawthorn are not interested in effective action on climate and transitioning to renewable energy. This has not been my experience. Since becoming the Member for Hawthorn, and well before that too, I have found the issue of climate and the environment to be very much front-of-mind in this electorate. I also observe that people will act and vote accordingly, on what sort of leadership or lack of leadership is being demonstrated on this issue. The Andrews Government's investment of $1.6 billion to establish six Renewable Energy Zones, kickstart offshore wind, and deliver the Victorian Renewable Energy target is a strong indication of the type of leadership being shown by this government and one I am proud to represent. I spoke in Parliament this past Tuesday, the 24th of November, to commend the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment Bill, which is part of a package of reforms that will improve the regulation of wind farm noise in Victoria and create confidence for communities. The amendment also addresses a particular risk to investor confidence in constructing wind energy facilities in Victoria. Since being elected in 2014, the Government has been committed to providing reliable, affordable and clean energy for Victorians. With the boom in renewable energy across Victoria and with the construction of new wind and solar farms, this bill is timely. The facts speak for themselves as to the Andrews government’s achievement in renewable energy, and most particularly in meeting the government’s energy target of 25 per cent renewables by 2020. Given the lamentable disinterest of the previous government, this has been a monumental achievement as we now move to 40 per cent renewable by 2025, 50 per cent by 2030 and net greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. It has been necessary for local councils to expend significant sums in responding to turbine noise complaints. Most councils do not have the in-house skills required to perform the months-long, complex acoustic investigation of a complaint, including background noise testing and analysis of wind speed and direction. Clearly it is contrary to the public interest for the unnecessary duplication of wind turbine compliance claims to divert scarce local government funds from the core works of council—dare I say local roads, rubbish collection, the important public libraries and so on and so forth. In addressing these issues, the Bill amends the existing legislation to exclude complaints regarding the emissions and noise from wind turbines at wind energy facilities from that legislation's complaints and nuisance provisions. In the same way that industrial and commercial noise is considered and regulated within environmental protection policy, so too it is felt far more appropriate for the experienced regulators of the EPA to assume oversight of wind turbine noise. I really find it extraordinary that we are still trying to build the EPA as somehow the enemy of peace. Given the high capital investment costs involved, it is only fair for the wind farm industry and Victoria’s councils to have the operational certainty and clarity which will result from the EPA developing a specialist regulatory framework—a key effect of the Bill. It is anticipated that the investment environment associated with or assisted by the certainty achieved by the bill will boost both investor confidence in the development of Victoria’s future wind energy construction and in the government achieving its renewable energy targets.  View an excerpt on my contribution to this debate here.

Standing Up in the Windfarm Debate

It was brought to my attention, from a member of the opposition, that apparently people in Hawthorn are not interested in effective action on climate and transitioning to renewable energy. This has not been my experience. Since becoming the Member for Hawthorn, and well before that too, I have found the issue of climate and the environment to be very much front-of-mind in this electorate. I also observe that people will act and vote accordingly, on what sort of leadership or lack of leadership is being demonstrated on this issue. The Andrews Government's investment of $1.6 billion to establish six Renewable Energy Zones, kickstart offshore wind, and deliver the Victorian Renewable Energy target is a strong indication of the type of leadership being shown by this government and one I am proud to represent. I spoke in Parliament this past Tuesday, the 24th of November, to commend the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment Bill, which is part of a package of reforms that will improve the regulation of wind farm noise in Victoria and create confidence for communities. The amendment also addresses a particular risk to investor confidence in constructing wind energy facilities in Victoria. Since being elected in 2014, the Government has been committed to providing reliable, affordable and clean energy for Victorians. With the boom in renewable energy across Victoria and with the construction of new wind and solar farms, this bill is timely. The facts speak for themselves as to the Andrews government’s achievement in renewable energy, and most particularly in meeting the government’s energy target of 25 per cent renewables by 2020. Given the lamentable disinterest of the previous government, this has been a monumental achievement as we now move to 40 per cent renewable by 2025, 50 per cent by 2030 and net greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. It has been necessary for local councils to expend significant sums in responding to turbine noise complaints. Most councils do not have the in-house skills required to perform the months-long, complex acoustic investigation of a complaint, including background noise testing and analysis of wind speed and direction. Clearly it is contrary to the public interest for the unnecessary duplication of wind turbine compliance claims to divert scarce local government funds from the core works of council—dare I say local roads, rubbish collection, the important public libraries and so on and so forth. In addressing these issues, the Bill amends the existing legislation to exclude complaints regarding the emissions and noise from wind turbines at wind energy facilities from that legislation's complaints and nuisance provisions. In the same way that industrial and commercial noise is considered and regulated within environmental protection policy, so too it is felt far more appropriate for the experienced regulators of the EPA to assume oversight of wind turbine noise. I really find it extraordinary that we are still trying to build the EPA as somehow the enemy of peace. Given the high capital investment costs involved, it is only fair for the wind farm industry and Victoria’s councils to have the operational certainty and clarity which will result from the EPA developing a specialist regulatory framework—a key effect of the Bill. It is anticipated that the investment environment associated with or assisted by the certainty achieved by the bill will boost both investor confidence in the development of Victoria’s future wind energy construction and in the government achieving its renewable energy targets.  View an excerpt on my contribution to this debate here.

Climate Cost – Doing Nothing Versus Taking Action

The cost of doing nothing In its recent paper on Australia's Clean Economy Future: Costs and Benefits the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) predicted that the Australia’s cumulative damages from climate change current global emissions patterns if we do nothing are more than $5 trillion ($5,000 billion) from now until 2100 . This is broadly consistent with more recent work by Deloitte. The MSSI amount is conservative because it excludes the bulk of costs of floods and bush fires, pollution, damage to environmental assets and biodiversity losses. The MSSI Report concluded that the benefits of mitigating the impacts of climate change and its damages far outweigh the costs. Investment pays off AEMO’s recent cost-benefit analysis showed that the optimal pathway (wind, solar and battery storage) would deliver $11 billion in net market benefits over the next two decades. Wind and solar power generation are already cheaper than gas generation, household solar in Melbourne pays for itself in under 5 years; and by 2035 there could be periods in which nearly 90% of demand is met by renewable generation. The answer is YES, we can afford it.  What we cannot afford is inaction. How quickly should we act? We need to act now as restricting temperature rise to below 1.5°C is a must. At 1.5°C warming, about 14 percent of Earth’s population will be exposed to severe heatwaves at least once every five years, while at 2 degrees warming that number jumps to 37 percent. The quicker we reduce emissions the better. School Strike 4 Climate and Youth for Climate Action are growing global movements and it’s our children and grandchildren who will face the worst impacts of climate change.  As Anna Skarbek, Executive Director of ClimateWorks, says, “We have the technologies, all we need is the political will. With the right policy settings, investment will come.” Accountability The Paris Agreement brought all nations together to tackle climate change. Sadly, Australia has still not set a 2050  emissions target and has tried to use carry-over credits from the Kyoto agreement to reduce its commitments. Even worse, it is now fast-tracking gas development despite new findings that emissions from gas are much higher than previously thought.  Given the stakes, Australia should be aiming to outperform its targets rather than looking for loopholes. But what can I do? Young Australians are anxious about climate change. When they take action they feel better, so supporting their actions is helpful. Joining with others to write to MPs is effective. Local group, Lighter Footprints has a letter-writing group. Find out more here. Talking with others about climate change can be challenging. While over two-thirds of Australians are very concerned about climate change, some still have misconceptions and believe myths. A first step is to get informed. The Lighter Footprints website hosts a brilliant talk by climate scientist Johan Rockström. Also see the work of Dr Rebecca Huntley, “How to talk about climate change in a way that makes a difference”. Because Australians have one of the highest emissions per-capita, personal action to reduce emissions is important. This can be achieved by reducing consumption, walking and cycling more, and driving and flying less. Consider shifting to a super fund or bank that does not invest in fossil fuels. Also consider electrifying your house, going solar, investing in a solar farm, or purchasing 100% renewable electricity. If you rent, talk to your landlord about solar rebates. Investigate shifting to a low-carbon diet. Emissions that can’t be reduced can be offset. If we act together, we can make a difference.

Climate Cost – Doing Nothing Versus Taking Action

The cost of doing nothing In its recent paper on Australia's Clean Economy Future: Costs and Benefits the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) predicted that the Australia’s cumulative damages from climate change current global emissions patterns if we do nothing are more than $5 trillion ($5,000 billion) from now until 2100 . This is broadly consistent with more recent work by Deloitte. The MSSI amount is conservative because it excludes the bulk of costs of floods and bush fires, pollution, damage to environmental assets and biodiversity losses. The MSSI Report concluded that the benefits of mitigating the impacts of climate change and its damages far outweigh the costs. Investment pays off AEMO’s recent cost-benefit analysis showed that the optimal pathway (wind, solar and battery storage) would deliver $11 billion in net market benefits over the next two decades. Wind and solar power generation are already cheaper than gas generation, household solar in Melbourne pays for itself in under 5 years; and by 2035 there could be periods in which nearly 90% of demand is met by renewable generation. The answer is YES, we can afford it.  What we cannot afford is inaction. How quickly should we act? We need to act now as restricting temperature rise to below 1.5°C is a must. At 1.5°C warming, about 14 percent of Earth’s population will be exposed to severe heatwaves at least once every five years, while at 2 degrees warming that number jumps to 37 percent. The quicker we reduce emissions the better. School Strike 4 Climate and Youth for Climate Action are growing global movements and it’s our children and grandchildren who will face the worst impacts of climate change.  As Anna Skarbek, Executive Director of ClimateWorks, says, “We have the technologies, all we need is the political will. With the right policy settings, investment will come.” Accountability The Paris Agreement brought all nations together to tackle climate change. Sadly, Australia has still not set a 2050  emissions target and has tried to use carry-over credits from the Kyoto agreement to reduce its commitments. Even worse, it is now fast-tracking gas development despite new findings that emissions from gas are much higher than previously thought.  Given the stakes, Australia should be aiming to outperform its targets rather than looking for loopholes. But what can I do? Young Australians are anxious about climate change. When they take action they feel better, so supporting their actions is helpful. Joining with others to write to MPs is effective. Local group, Lighter Footprints has a letter-writing group. Find out more here. Talking with others about climate change can be challenging. While over two-thirds of Australians are very concerned about climate change, some still have misconceptions and believe myths. A first step is to get informed. The Lighter Footprints website hosts a brilliant talk by climate scientist Johan Rockström. Also see the work of Dr Rebecca Huntley, “How to talk about climate change in a way that makes a difference”. Because Australians have one of the highest emissions per-capita, personal action to reduce emissions is important. This can be achieved by reducing consumption, walking and cycling more, and driving and flying less. Consider shifting to a super fund or bank that does not invest in fossil fuels. Also consider electrifying your house, going solar, investing in a solar farm, or purchasing 100% renewable electricity. If you rent, talk to your landlord about solar rebates. Investigate shifting to a low-carbon diet. Emissions that can’t be reduced can be offset. If we act together, we can make a difference.

Young Hawthorn Winner of the Parliamentary Prize

I didn’t know anything about the Parliament Prize before my teacher asked me if I wanted to participate.  However, after reading the information, I saw it as not just a public speaking competition, but also an opportunity for me to voice my opinions on a given topic. The competition itself requires you to  “Submit a video of a 90-second statement you would make to Parliament if you were an MP. Tell us about the issues you care about affecting your community. ” In preparing my statement I knew that I wanted to express my thoughts on a topical concern, but not one centred around the worldwide pandemic which took so much of our focus this year. Instead I chose racism or, more specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement. For me, the Black Lives Matter movement transcends the concept of a mere “topic”. Not only is my sister an avid supporter of the movement towards total racial equality, but too has one of my friends been subject to degrading discrimination in public.  I appreciate these don’t come close to what those who experience racial injustice feel, but they moved me towards the topic. As I mention in my speech, internalised prejudices stem from ignorance and real change is contingent on acknowledgement and respectful conversation. And so, in my speech, I supported the need for change by acknowledging current inequalities through some shocking statistics. I proposed that the Australian government, or any form of government for that matter, should hold educational groups to help, slowly but surely, deconstruct each of our internalised prejudices. Finally, I feel very proud to be the first Scotch boy recipient of the winning prize. Ben Garson – Year 11 Scotch College Watch Ben's speech here.

Young Hawthorn Winner of the Parliamentary Prize

I didn’t know anything about the Parliament Prize before my teacher asked me if I wanted to participate.  However, after reading the information, I saw it as not just a public speaking competition, but also an opportunity for me to voice my opinions on a given topic. The competition itself requires you to  “Submit a video of a 90-second statement you would make to Parliament if you were an MP. Tell us about the issues you care about affecting your community. ” In preparing my statement I knew that I wanted to express my thoughts on a topical concern, but not one centred around the worldwide pandemic which took so much of our focus this year. Instead I chose racism or, more specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement. For me, the Black Lives Matter movement transcends the concept of a mere “topic”. Not only is my sister an avid supporter of the movement towards total racial equality, but too has one of my friends been subject to degrading discrimination in public.  I appreciate these don’t come close to what those who experience racial injustice feel, but they moved me towards the topic. As I mention in my speech, internalised prejudices stem from ignorance and real change is contingent on acknowledgement and respectful conversation. And so, in my speech, I supported the need for change by acknowledging current inequalities through some shocking statistics. I proposed that the Australian government, or any form of government for that matter, should hold educational groups to help, slowly but surely, deconstruct each of our internalised prejudices. Finally, I feel very proud to be the first Scotch boy recipient of the winning prize. Ben Garson – Year 11 Scotch College Watch Ben's speech here.

The Biggest Day of the Year: Budget Day on Spring St

In typical 2020 fashion, one usually reliable element of ‘business as usual’ has been necessarily on hold for much of the year – Budget Day. Typically delivered in May, the Budget waited while Victoria pulled through a crisis – and so we have! Writing this on Friday the 27th of November, we mark 28 days with no new cases, and four days with no active cases at all – for the first time since February 29th. What a testament to the resilience of Victorians. It was a proud day for all Members of Government on Spring St this Tuesday, as we watched the Treasurer, my colleague Tim Pallas, deliver a Budget that is acutely aware of the recovery that needs to take place for Victoria, and not merely aware but active in putting in place sturdy structures and resources to support recovering Victorians through the coming months. Particularly in Hawthorn we saw big spending on education – later in this newsletter you’ll read of the millions awarded to a couple of deserving local schools, both primary and secondary. I’m always proud of the quality of education delivered in Hawthorn and am pleased to see that the infrastructure in which learning takes place will both reflect and further support that quality. Another highlight was the delivery of a big housing build, of which one of the first sites to be developed will be Bills Street in Hawthorn. As the incoming Chair of the Bills Street Hawthorn Consultative Committee, I couldn't be happier that this local land will be a front-runner in such a broadly beneficial initiative across the State. Christmas – New Year In coming weeks those of you in the Hawthorn electorate will receive my Christmas newsletter by post, a reflection on the unique year we’ve had in this community and a look to the future, with further detail on the Budget’s local impact. Please contact me by phone or email, or drop into our new Electorate Office, 197-199 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn (with onsite parking and opposite Australia Post Parcel Depot) if you wish to respond to the newsletter, or raise any issue. The Electorate Office closes for 2020 at 1pm on Wednesday the 23rd of December and reopens for 2021 on Monday the 11th of January.  During 24 December – 10 January emails and telephone messages will be checked periodically.

The Biggest Day of the Year: Budget Day on Spring St

In typical 2020 fashion, one usually reliable element of ‘business as usual’ has been necessarily on hold for much of the year – Budget Day. Typically delivered in May, the Budget waited while Victoria pulled through a crisis – and so we have! Writing this on Friday the 27th of November, we mark 28 days with no new cases, and four days with no active cases at all – for the first time since February 29th. What a testament to the resilience of Victorians. It was a proud day for all Members of Government on Spring St this Tuesday, as we watched the Treasurer, my colleague Tim Pallas, deliver a Budget that is acutely aware of the recovery that needs to take place for Victoria, and not merely aware but active in putting in place sturdy structures and resources to support recovering Victorians through the coming months. Particularly in Hawthorn we saw big spending on education – later in this newsletter you’ll read of the millions awarded to a couple of deserving local schools, both primary and secondary. I’m always proud of the quality of education delivered in Hawthorn and am pleased to see that the infrastructure in which learning takes place will both reflect and further support that quality. Another highlight was the delivery of a big housing build, of which one of the first sites to be developed will be Bills Street in Hawthorn. As the incoming Chair of the Bills Street Hawthorn Consultative Committee, I couldn't be happier that this local land will be a front-runner in such a broadly beneficial initiative across the State. Christmas – New Year In coming weeks those of you in the Hawthorn electorate will receive my Christmas newsletter by post, a reflection on the unique year we’ve had in this community and a look to the future, with further detail on the Budget’s local impact. Please contact me by phone or email, or drop into our new Electorate Office, 197-199 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn (with onsite parking and opposite Australia Post Parcel Depot) if you wish to respond to the newsletter, or raise any issue. The Electorate Office closes for 2020 at 1pm on Wednesday the 23rd of December and reopens for 2021 on Monday the 11th of January.  During 24 December – 10 January emails and telephone messages will be checked periodically.

Budget 2020/21: Putting People First in Hawthorn

When the Andrews Labor Government was elected, we promised to put people first. As our state begins its recovery from the global pandemic, people will continue to be our priority. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 delivers on the investments that will see our community recover – and come back even stronger. As kids get back into the classroom, this Budget delivers the single biggest investment ever in our schools – making sure students have the classrooms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. This includes a $10.13 million investment for Auburn High School, with students to benefit from the delivery of Stage 2 of the school’s master plan. Auburn South Primary School will also benefit from a Budget boost with a $3.3 million investment to upgrade and modernise the school’s main wing. Camberwell Primary School will also be able to turn their car park into open space for students to enjoy, with a $709,000 investment. The Government's investment will also support local jobs, with our school infrastructure build expected to create more than 6,400 jobs across the state. This Budget is kicking off work on the Suburban Rail Loop, with $2.2 billion for initial and early works on Stage One of the project between Cheltenham and Box Hill, creating an initial 800 jobs. Once complete, the project will link every major train line between Frankston and Werribee via Melbourne Airport. It's the biggest ever rail project in Victoria's history – creating up to 20,000 jobs during construction – setting Victoria up for a successful recovery. To help get more Victorians back into work, the Labor Government is setting itself an ambitious target – creating 400,000 new jobs by 2025, half of them by 2022. Our new Jobs for Victoria initiative will help locals find a new job – and with it, security, stability and certainty. This includes $250 million to partner with employers to cover the wages of at least 10,000 new workers. These positions will be for Victorians hardest hit by this pandemic, including women, young people, retrenched workers and people who have been long-term unemployed. This investment will also deliver targeted and tailored support for those who need it – such as mentoring, career counselling or more intensive support. And because we know too many Victorians are having to choose between going to work sick and losing wages, the Labor Government will invest $5 million to develop a new Secure Work Pilot Scheme. Once in place, the two-year pilot will provide up to five days of sick and carer’s pay at the national minimum wage for casual or insecure workers in priority industries. This year’s Budget will help nearly one million families save hundreds on their power bill. Concession card holders, such as Victorians receiving JobSeeker payments, will be eligible for a one-off $250 payment to help cover the cost of their energy bills. An extra 250,000 low-income households will benefit from new more efficient heating and cooling, while heating, cooling or hot water systems will be upgraded across an extra 35,000 social housing homes – reducing bills for tenants and making winter and summer more comfortable. The Labor Government’s Solar Homes will also be expanded to an extra 42,000 rooftop solar rebates plus 14,500 solar batteries, cutting power bills for local families. And for the very first time, small businesses will also be eligible. We’re also delivering the biggest investment in public and community housing in Australia, ever. This investment will build more than 12,000 new homes – making sure thousands of Victorians have a place to call home, and thousands more Victorians have a job. The City of Boroondara is a priority for investment, with procurement starting straight away to build new homes. The redevelopment site at Bills Street in Hawthorn will host some of our community’s new homes, with a range of new and improved housing solutions being delivered. Even with kids back at school, the balancing act that many families know all too well isn’t easy. That’s why this Budget will make kinder free in 2021 and deliver outside school hours care at up to 400 extra schools, saving parents money and giving them greater flexibility when it comes to work and care. And because Victorians have well and truly earned a holiday, the Labor Government is offering up to 120,000 $200 vouchers to encourage families to take a break in regional Victoria. The scheme is expected to be up and running by December, supporting local economies and local jobs into summer and beyond. 2020 has also reminded us of what matters most in life – the health and wellbeing of the people we love. As we begin our state’s recovery, that will continue to be our focus. This Budget will ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system.  That includes nearly $870 million for mental health, including to implement the Royal Commission into Mental Health’s interim report findings and recommendations and deliver care for local families. We’re also investing more than $1 billion for children and families at risk, including targeted support to help families stay together. A further $235 million will build our Recovery Workforce, creating 500 new jobs across mental health, family violence, health and child protection with hundreds more new training opportunities, so Victorians have the support they need as we recover from this pandemic. We also want to make sure we continue to give patients flexibility in their care, allowing them to choose what is best for them and their families. This Budget will invest $121 million for ‘Better at Home’, increasing the delivery of hospital services in patients’ homes – ensuring these Victorians can recuperate in the comfort of their own home. We’ll also strengthen and expand virtual care technology, making it easier for busy families to access support. This is a Budget to repair, recover and make us stronger than before. This is a Budget, and a Government, that puts people first. Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy "I understand profoundly – when we invest in our schools, we invest in our kids and their futures. That's why these upgrades and improvements matter so much." “People in our community have been impacted deeply by this pandemic. As we recover, looking after those people will be my priority.”

Budget 2020/21: Putting People First in Hawthorn

When the Andrews Labor Government was elected, we promised to put people first. As our state begins its recovery from the global pandemic, people will continue to be our priority. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 delivers on the investments that will see our community recover – and come back even stronger. As kids get back into the classroom, this Budget delivers the single biggest investment ever in our schools – making sure students have the classrooms, libraries and learning spaces they deserve. This includes a $10.13 million investment for Auburn High School, with students to benefit from the delivery of Stage 2 of the school’s master plan. Auburn South Primary School will also benefit from a Budget boost with a $3.3 million investment to upgrade and modernise the school’s main wing. Camberwell Primary School will also be able to turn their car park into open space for students to enjoy, with a $709,000 investment. The Government's investment will also support local jobs, with our school infrastructure build expected to create more than 6,400 jobs across the state. This Budget is kicking off work on the Suburban Rail Loop, with $2.2 billion for initial and early works on Stage One of the project between Cheltenham and Box Hill, creating an initial 800 jobs. Once complete, the project will link every major train line between Frankston and Werribee via Melbourne Airport. It's the biggest ever rail project in Victoria's history – creating up to 20,000 jobs during construction – setting Victoria up for a successful recovery. To help get more Victorians back into work, the Labor Government is setting itself an ambitious target – creating 400,000 new jobs by 2025, half of them by 2022. Our new Jobs for Victoria initiative will help locals find a new job – and with it, security, stability and certainty. This includes $250 million to partner with employers to cover the wages of at least 10,000 new workers. These positions will be for Victorians hardest hit by this pandemic, including women, young people, retrenched workers and people who have been long-term unemployed. This investment will also deliver targeted and tailored support for those who need it – such as mentoring, career counselling or more intensive support. And because we know too many Victorians are having to choose between going to work sick and losing wages, the Labor Government will invest $5 million to develop a new Secure Work Pilot Scheme. Once in place, the two-year pilot will provide up to five days of sick and carer’s pay at the national minimum wage for casual or insecure workers in priority industries. This year’s Budget will help nearly one million families save hundreds on their power bill. Concession card holders, such as Victorians receiving JobSeeker payments, will be eligible for a one-off $250 payment to help cover the cost of their energy bills. An extra 250,000 low-income households will benefit from new more efficient heating and cooling, while heating, cooling or hot water systems will be upgraded across an extra 35,000 social housing homes – reducing bills for tenants and making winter and summer more comfortable. The Labor Government’s Solar Homes will also be expanded to an extra 42,000 rooftop solar rebates plus 14,500 solar batteries, cutting power bills for local families. And for the very first time, small businesses will also be eligible. We’re also delivering the biggest investment in public and community housing in Australia, ever. This investment will build more than 12,000 new homes – making sure thousands of Victorians have a place to call home, and thousands more Victorians have a job. The City of Boroondara is a priority for investment, with procurement starting straight away to build new homes. The redevelopment site at Bills Street in Hawthorn will host some of our community’s new homes, with a range of new and improved housing solutions being delivered. Even with kids back at school, the balancing act that many families know all too well isn’t easy. That’s why this Budget will make kinder free in 2021 and deliver outside school hours care at up to 400 extra schools, saving parents money and giving them greater flexibility when it comes to work and care. And because Victorians have well and truly earned a holiday, the Labor Government is offering up to 120,000 $200 vouchers to encourage families to take a break in regional Victoria. The scheme is expected to be up and running by December, supporting local economies and local jobs into summer and beyond. 2020 has also reminded us of what matters most in life – the health and wellbeing of the people we love. As we begin our state’s recovery, that will continue to be our focus. This Budget will ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need as we get on with fixing a broken system.  That includes nearly $870 million for mental health, including to implement the Royal Commission into Mental Health’s interim report findings and recommendations and deliver care for local families. We’re also investing more than $1 billion for children and families at risk, including targeted support to help families stay together. A further $235 million will build our Recovery Workforce, creating 500 new jobs across mental health, family violence, health and child protection with hundreds more new training opportunities, so Victorians have the support they need as we recover from this pandemic. We also want to make sure we continue to give patients flexibility in their care, allowing them to choose what is best for them and their families. This Budget will invest $121 million for ‘Better at Home’, increasing the delivery of hospital services in patients’ homes – ensuring these Victorians can recuperate in the comfort of their own home. We’ll also strengthen and expand virtual care technology, making it easier for busy families to access support. This is a Budget to repair, recover and make us stronger than before. This is a Budget, and a Government, that puts people first. Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy "I understand profoundly – when we invest in our schools, we invest in our kids and their futures. That's why these upgrades and improvements matter so much." “People in our community have been impacted deeply by this pandemic. As we recover, looking after those people will be my priority.”

Budget 2020/21: Upgrading Auburn South Primary School

This year, Hawthorn East families have done an incredible job in supporting students to learn from home. As kids get back into the classroom, we want to make sure they have the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve. The Andrews Labor Government has built and upgraded more schools than any government in our state’s history, and the Victorian Budget 2020/21 continues that record of investment. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy today announced Auburn South Primary School will receive a $3.3 million upgrade as part of the upcoming Victorian Budget 2020-2021. Following the $336,000 announced through the Infrastructure Planning and Acceleration Fund, the Victorian Government is providing a further $3.3 million to Auburn South Primary School to upgrade and modernise the school, including the Main Wing. This investment builds on the $1.18 billion as part of the Building Works Package announced earlier this year, which is creating space for more than 21,000 extra students in Victoria’s education system and creating around 1,600 local construction jobs. Across Victoria, the Labor Government is delivering 1,460 school upgrades – investing in new classrooms, fixing old buildings and delivering the learning spaces our kids deserve. The Labor Government’s unprecedented $7.2 billion investment in Victorian school infrastructure is not only creating 7,500 jobs – it is ensuring that ensuring every child has a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an investment in our kids and their future. Because every child, no matter where they go to school, deserves access to state-of-the-art facilities.” “Schools are the heart of our communities, so it makes sense that we’re investing in upgrades to support local jobs to drive our economic recovery.” Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy "Families in Hawthorn East have done a phenomenal job in supporting student to learn from home. As kids return to their classrooms, we want to make Auburn South Primary School better than before.” “Not only will this make sure our kids are getting a great education – it’ll create new local jobs.” End.

Budget 2020/21: Upgrading Auburn South Primary School

This year, Hawthorn East families have done an incredible job in supporting students to learn from home. As kids get back into the classroom, we want to make sure they have the fantastic new learning spaces they deserve. The Andrews Labor Government has built and upgraded more schools than any government in our state’s history, and the Victorian Budget 2020/21 continues that record of investment. Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy today announced Auburn South Primary School will receive a $3.3 million upgrade as part of the upcoming Victorian Budget 2020-2021. Following the $336,000 announced through the Infrastructure Planning and Acceleration Fund, the Victorian Government is providing a further $3.3 million to Auburn South Primary School to upgrade and modernise the school, including the Main Wing. This investment builds on the $1.18 billion as part of the Building Works Package announced earlier this year, which is creating space for more than 21,000 extra students in Victoria’s education system and creating around 1,600 local construction jobs. Across Victoria, the Labor Government is delivering 1,460 school upgrades – investing in new classrooms, fixing old buildings and delivering the learning spaces our kids deserve. The Labor Government’s unprecedented $7.2 billion investment in Victorian school infrastructure is not only creating 7,500 jobs – it is ensuring that ensuring every child has a great local school where they can achieve their best. Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino “This is an investment in our kids and their future. Because every child, no matter where they go to school, deserves access to state-of-the-art facilities.” “Schools are the heart of our communities, so it makes sense that we’re investing in upgrades to support local jobs to drive our economic recovery.” Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy "Families in Hawthorn East have done a phenomenal job in supporting student to learn from home. As kids return to their classrooms, we want to make Auburn South Primary School better than before.” “Not only will this make sure our kids are getting a great education – it’ll create new local jobs.” End.

Big Housing Build for Hawthorn

The Victorian Government is making sure more Victorians have the security and stability of a home, with our state's – and Australia’s – biggest ever investment in public and community housing. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will deliver a historic $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to build more than 12,000 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria, as well as supporting around 10,000 jobs, per year over the next four years, to supercharge Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic and beyond. This package will boost our state’s social housing supply by 10 per cent in just four years – providing a stable foundation for thousands of Victorians to build their lives. The City of Boroondara has been identified as one of 21 priority areas across Victoria, with expressions of interest now being sought from the housing and building sectors. Read more: 2006743_B_more_homes_for_more_victorians_v38 The investment will deliver 9,300 new social housing homes across the state – including replacing 1,100 old public housing units. This investment will help Aboriginal Victorians, pensioners, Victorians with disability, family violence victims and single parent families find their feet. Of these new homes, 2,000 will be for Victorians living with mental illness, reflecting our commitment to mental health and fixing a broken system. A further 2,900 new affordable and low-cost homes will be built to help low-to-moderate income earners live closer to where they work and provide options for private rental. The program will deliver secure, modern, and affordable homes throughout Victoria – with 25 per cent of funding to be allocated to regional Victoria. The new homes will meet 7-star energy efficiency standards, making them more comfortable during summer and winter, and saving tenants on their power bills. The unprecedented investment will boost Victoria’s economic recovery, generating an estimated $6.7 billion in economic activity and supporting a peak of more than 18,000 jobs – with 10 per cent of the work on major projects to be done by apprentices, cadets and trainees. Hundreds of new jobs will be created for women, Aboriginal Victorians, people with disability, social housing tenants and people from diverse backgrounds through social procurement targets. Combined with new housing from existing investments such as the Public Housing Renewal Program and Social Housing Growth Fund, construction of more than 15,800 new homes will begin over the next four years. Quotes attributable Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy “This profound investment will make the world of difference to people in our community who need the stability and safety to get ahead and thrive.” “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to call home – this record funding will deliver exactly that.” “I am delighted that funding has been secured for Bills Street, Hawthorn with works to commence thereafter” “I am looking forward to chairing the reconstituted Bills Street Hawthorn Consultative Committee, which will be restarting its work shortly after the Budget on 24 November” Quotes attributable to the Minister for Housing Richard Wynne “This unprecedented housing blitz will deliver new homes and jobs across Melbourne and regional Victoria.” “We’re delivering the biggest investment in social housing Victoria has ever seen – we’re not just investing in bricks and mortar, but the lives of Victorians for decades to come.” End

Big Housing Build for Hawthorn

The Victorian Government is making sure more Victorians have the security and stability of a home, with our state's – and Australia’s – biggest ever investment in public and community housing. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will deliver a historic $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to build more than 12,000 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria, as well as supporting around 10,000 jobs, per year over the next four years, to supercharge Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic and beyond. This package will boost our state’s social housing supply by 10 per cent in just four years – providing a stable foundation for thousands of Victorians to build their lives. The City of Boroondara has been identified as one of 21 priority areas across Victoria, with expressions of interest now being sought from the housing and building sectors. Read more: 2006743_B_more_homes_for_more_victorians_v38 The investment will deliver 9,300 new social housing homes across the state – including replacing 1,100 old public housing units. This investment will help Aboriginal Victorians, pensioners, Victorians with disability, family violence victims and single parent families find their feet. Of these new homes, 2,000 will be for Victorians living with mental illness, reflecting our commitment to mental health and fixing a broken system. A further 2,900 new affordable and low-cost homes will be built to help low-to-moderate income earners live closer to where they work and provide options for private rental. The program will deliver secure, modern, and affordable homes throughout Victoria – with 25 per cent of funding to be allocated to regional Victoria. The new homes will meet 7-star energy efficiency standards, making them more comfortable during summer and winter, and saving tenants on their power bills. The unprecedented investment will boost Victoria’s economic recovery, generating an estimated $6.7 billion in economic activity and supporting a peak of more than 18,000 jobs – with 10 per cent of the work on major projects to be done by apprentices, cadets and trainees. Hundreds of new jobs will be created for women, Aboriginal Victorians, people with disability, social housing tenants and people from diverse backgrounds through social procurement targets. Combined with new housing from existing investments such as the Public Housing Renewal Program and Social Housing Growth Fund, construction of more than 15,800 new homes will begin over the next four years. Quotes attributable Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy “This profound investment will make the world of difference to people in our community who need the stability and safety to get ahead and thrive.” “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to call home – this record funding will deliver exactly that.” “I am delighted that funding has been secured for Bills Street, Hawthorn with works to commence thereafter” “I am looking forward to chairing the reconstituted Bills Street Hawthorn Consultative Committee, which will be restarting its work shortly after the Budget on 24 November” Quotes attributable to the Minister for Housing Richard Wynne “This unprecedented housing blitz will deliver new homes and jobs across Melbourne and regional Victoria.” “We’re delivering the biggest investment in social housing Victoria has ever seen – we’re not just investing in bricks and mortar, but the lives of Victorians for decades to come.” End

Funding for Multicultural Communities in Hawthorn

I was delighted to hear from my colleague Ros Spence, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, that funding for a great organisation in Hawthorn has been granted from the CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Communities Taskforce. This funding is focused on organisations who support multicultural communities, and thus I was pleased to see it allocated to Hawthorn's branch of AHEPA, a Hellenic association which has really stepped up to the plate to back its community during a challenging time. "AHEPA VICTORIA is very grateful to receive the grant from the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities Taskforce which will assist our members to continue to support the hundreds of families in Melbourne who are facing desperate times due to the second lockdown in Victoria due to COVID-19" said Elias Doufas, the chairperson of the AHEPA VICTORIA Philanthropy Committee. AHEPA has been raising its own funds tirelessly, in order to provide substantial quantities of basic food items such as meat, milk, and vegetables which were distributed by volunteers to over 140 food packages to families in need Melbourne. Thank you for your work, AHEPA. We are proud, as a Government, to invest in communities like this one.

Funding for Multicultural Communities in Hawthorn

I was delighted to hear from my colleague Ros Spence, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, that funding for a great organisation in Hawthorn has been granted from the CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Communities Taskforce. This funding is focused on organisations who support multicultural communities, and thus I was pleased to see it allocated to Hawthorn's branch of AHEPA, a Hellenic association which has really stepped up to the plate to back its community during a challenging time. "AHEPA VICTORIA is very grateful to receive the grant from the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities Taskforce which will assist our members to continue to support the hundreds of families in Melbourne who are facing desperate times due to the second lockdown in Victoria due to COVID-19" said Elias Doufas, the chairperson of the AHEPA VICTORIA Philanthropy Committee. AHEPA has been raising its own funds tirelessly, in order to provide substantial quantities of basic food items such as meat, milk, and vegetables which were distributed by volunteers to over 140 food packages to families in need Melbourne. Thank you for your work, AHEPA. We are proud, as a Government, to invest in communities like this one.

Free Kinder 2021: Saving Parents Thousands and Supporting Women in the Workforce

As a former educator, a parent, and a grandfather, I could not be more pleased with our latest commitment as a government to deliver free kinder in 2021 and increase outside school hours care. This will save parents thousands of dollars and help more women get back to work. The impending Victorian budget will spend up to $169.6 million on making kinder free next year, which saves families around $2,000 for every child enrolled in a participating kinder program. This investment will not only make sure more kids can access a great early childhood education, it will make it easier for parents – particularly women – to return to the workforce as we recover from the pandemic. Families with children enrolled in kinder programs at a long day care centre will also benefit from a saving of around $2000 in fees, and fees for unfunded three-year-old programs in sessional kindergartens will be reduced too. We are building on our commitment as a Government to deliver kinder for every three-year-old, reaching every part of the State by 2022, because we know how fundamental these years are to a child’s development. To further help parents return to work or increase their hours, the Government will invest $81.6 million to increase the availability of before and after school care. Schools that currently do not have outside school hours care programs can apply to receive a grant of up to $75,000.

Free Kinder 2021: Saving Parents Thousands and Supporting Women in the Workforce

As a former educator, a parent, and a grandfather, I could not be more pleased with our latest commitment as a government to deliver free kinder in 2021 and increase outside school hours care. This will save parents thousands of dollars and help more women get back to work. The impending Victorian budget will spend up to $169.6 million on making kinder free next year, which saves families around $2,000 for every child enrolled in a participating kinder program. This investment will not only make sure more kids can access a great early childhood education, it will make it easier for parents – particularly women – to return to the workforce as we recover from the pandemic. Families with children enrolled in kinder programs at a long day care centre will also benefit from a saving of around $2000 in fees, and fees for unfunded three-year-old programs in sessional kindergartens will be reduced too. We are building on our commitment as a Government to deliver kinder for every three-year-old, reaching every part of the State by 2022, because we know how fundamental these years are to a child’s development. To further help parents return to work or increase their hours, the Government will invest $81.6 million to increase the availability of before and after school care. Schools that currently do not have outside school hours care programs can apply to receive a grant of up to $75,000.

Introducing Your Local Chapter of the Australian Conservation Foundation

I have had the pleasure in recent weeks to meet with the Boroondara chapter of the Australian Conservation Foundation to hear about the work they do protecting our local environment. They will be providing for your perusal, a ten-article series to be released in each edition of my Fortnightly Newsletter. This first of this very informative new installment is below -   The Australian Conservation Foundation (The ACF) is a proudly independent, non-partisan organisation that is funded by members and donors. The ACF was established over 50 years ago and now has a national membership of over 700,000 supporters. ACF also supports 41 independently organised ACF Community groups in almost all states and territories. Here in the Boroondara area we have established ACF Community Boroondara – a vibrant group with a broad cross section of ages, disciplines, experience and expertise. We are all guided by common values. We believe it is important to protect and restore our water, air, climate, soils, and our biodiversity for current and future generations. This means actively making a difference by joining with likeminded people, to demonstrate those values, and advocate for change. As the ACF Community Boroondara group, we are passionate about and focussed on solving the climate and extinction crises. That’s why we want to see an economic recovery that is good for people and our planet. We’re inspired by the ACF’s Recover, Rebuild, Renew plan that highlights a Covid-19 economic recovery that is more sustainable, makes us more resilient and generates thousands of sustainability jobs. Jobs that help connect, protect and restore nature for a cleaner, healthier, fairer and more vibrant world. This is the first in a series of short articles written by members of our local Boroondara community. Through these articles we’ll explore the plan to Recover, Rebuild and Renew, as well as issues about climate and biodiversity that are affecting us all, with a focus on mitigation, adaptation and resilience building. We want to highlight practical solutions that can make our communities safer and more resilient, caring for the vulnerable, and looking after our planet. This includes potential skills, jobs and emerging and innovative sustainable industries and infrastructure. We’ll highlight examples of individuals and businesses in the Boroondara area who are already tackling climate and biodiversity issues locally. We’ll also provide links with more information and ways to get involved, including with us! We always welcome new members! For more information about: The ACF Recover, Rebuild and Renew plan: acf.org.au/economic_recovery_petition To get involved with likeminded Boroondara ACF members: acf.org.au/group_boroondara About the ACF: https://www.acf.org.au/who_we_are ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

Introducing Your Local Chapter of the Australian Conservation Foundation

I have had the pleasure in recent weeks to meet with the Boroondara chapter of the Australian Conservation Foundation to hear about the work they do protecting our local environment. They will be providing for your perusal, a ten-article series to be released in each edition of my Fortnightly Newsletter. This first of this very informative new installment is below -   The Australian Conservation Foundation (The ACF) is a proudly independent, non-partisan organisation that is funded by members and donors. The ACF was established over 50 years ago and now has a national membership of over 700,000 supporters. ACF also supports 41 independently organised ACF Community groups in almost all states and territories. Here in the Boroondara area we have established ACF Community Boroondara – a vibrant group with a broad cross section of ages, disciplines, experience and expertise. We are all guided by common values. We believe it is important to protect and restore our water, air, climate, soils, and our biodiversity for current and future generations. This means actively making a difference by joining with likeminded people, to demonstrate those values, and advocate for change. As the ACF Community Boroondara group, we are passionate about and focussed on solving the climate and extinction crises. That’s why we want to see an economic recovery that is good for people and our planet. We’re inspired by the ACF’s Recover, Rebuild, Renew plan that highlights a Covid-19 economic recovery that is more sustainable, makes us more resilient and generates thousands of sustainability jobs. Jobs that help connect, protect and restore nature for a cleaner, healthier, fairer and more vibrant world. This is the first in a series of short articles written by members of our local Boroondara community. Through these articles we’ll explore the plan to Recover, Rebuild and Renew, as well as issues about climate and biodiversity that are affecting us all, with a focus on mitigation, adaptation and resilience building. We want to highlight practical solutions that can make our communities safer and more resilient, caring for the vulnerable, and looking after our planet. This includes potential skills, jobs and emerging and innovative sustainable industries and infrastructure. We’ll highlight examples of individuals and businesses in the Boroondara area who are already tackling climate and biodiversity issues locally. We’ll also provide links with more information and ways to get involved, including with us! We always welcome new members! For more information about: The ACF Recover, Rebuild and Renew plan: acf.org.au/economic_recovery_petition To get involved with likeminded Boroondara ACF members: acf.org.au/group_boroondara About the ACF: https://www.acf.org.au/who_we_are ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

Supporting People Experiencing Homelessness

We know it's been a volatile year for everybody, and financially vulnerability is being felt by more people. Often it is the support of community organisations that keeps people experiencing unstable housing or homelessness in a safe place. This is why our government is utilising the Working for Victoria fund to create jobs which strengthen these systems of outreach. $10 million from the Working for Victoria fund will be designated to the creation of 211 new jobs in 35 housing and homelessness organisations, including: 144 positions will provide additional social support for people living in emergency accommodation, assisting with referrals and linking to health and community services. 33 jobs will be created at Sacred Heart Mission – including extra workers in their kitchen to make and deliver takeaway meals and support to ensure their op shops operate in a Covid-Safe way. 11 new jobs will be created at Unison Housing that will reduce the wait time for repairs and improve the turnaround for vacant properties. 23 roles at Tenants Victoria will be created to help meet the significant increase in demand for support from tenants in private rental accommodation who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This support for housing and homelessness builds on a series of investments from the Victorian Government during the pandemic. For more information or to register for Working for Victoria go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria .

Supporting People Experiencing Homelessness

We know it's been a volatile year for everybody, and financially vulnerability is being felt by more people. Often it is the support of community organisations that keeps people experiencing unstable housing or homelessness in a safe place. This is why our government is utilising the Working for Victoria fund to create jobs which strengthen these systems of outreach. $10 million from the Working for Victoria fund will be designated to the creation of 211 new jobs in 35 housing and homelessness organisations, including: 144 positions will provide additional social support for people living in emergency accommodation, assisting with referrals and linking to health and community services. 33 jobs will be created at Sacred Heart Mission – including extra workers in their kitchen to make and deliver takeaway meals and support to ensure their op shops operate in a Covid-Safe way. 11 new jobs will be created at Unison Housing that will reduce the wait time for repairs and improve the turnaround for vacant properties. 23 roles at Tenants Victoria will be created to help meet the significant increase in demand for support from tenants in private rental accommodation who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This support for housing and homelessness builds on a series of investments from the Victorian Government during the pandemic. For more information or to register for Working for Victoria go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria .

We’re Building A Recovery Workforce

In the upcoming budget, our Government will be supporting the professionals that have been there for us every day of this difficult year- mental health professionals, family violence specialists and child support workers. We know sometimes money speaks louder than words – we’re investing $235 million to build Victoria’s Recovery Workforce. Its value: This will create 500 new jobs across mental health, family violence, health, and child protection. We will generate new, accelerated training pathways and internships for around 875 people. Growing the pipeline of workers gives Victorians access to the support they need as we recover from this pandemic. In mental health this includes additional positions for child and youth psychiatry registrars, and funding for new part-time positions and cadetships for people with a lived experience of mental health. We’re also increasing the number of available mental health nurse graduate positions across Victoria with $4.3 million, so we have more workers on the ground caring for Victorians. Other inclusions: -  $4.6 million will be provided to support employment pathways in the community services, disability and aged care sector. - $25.62 million to employ new specialist alcohol and other drug workers. - $8.1 million to build our family violence and sexual assault support workforce, supporting the coordination of up to 240 traineeships across the state. - $40 million will support a service delivery fund for Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisations to boost services that will provide targeted support. - $3.7 million for a new child protection student employment program, which will give students on the job experience, providing a future pathway to employment and financial support while they finish their studies. In addition to this, the Budget will deliver $106.7 million over four years to recruit 239 new child protection practitioners, which will include graduates and experienced professionals who will be placed around Victoria to protect our young people.

We’re Building A Recovery Workforce

In the upcoming budget, our Government will be supporting the professionals that have been there for us every day of this difficult year- mental health professionals, family violence specialists and child support workers. We know sometimes money speaks louder than words – we’re investing $235 million to build Victoria’s Recovery Workforce. Its value: This will create 500 new jobs across mental health, family violence, health, and child protection. We will generate new, accelerated training pathways and internships for around 875 people. Growing the pipeline of workers gives Victorians access to the support they need as we recover from this pandemic. In mental health this includes additional positions for child and youth psychiatry registrars, and funding for new part-time positions and cadetships for people with a lived experience of mental health. We’re also increasing the number of available mental health nurse graduate positions across Victoria with $4.3 million, so we have more workers on the ground caring for Victorians. Other inclusions: -  $4.6 million will be provided to support employment pathways in the community services, disability and aged care sector. - $25.62 million to employ new specialist alcohol and other drug workers. - $8.1 million to build our family violence and sexual assault support workforce, supporting the coordination of up to 240 traineeships across the state. - $40 million will support a service delivery fund for Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisations to boost services that will provide targeted support. - $3.7 million for a new child protection student employment program, which will give students on the job experience, providing a future pathway to employment and financial support while they finish their studies. In addition to this, the Budget will deliver $106.7 million over four years to recruit 239 new child protection practitioners, which will include graduates and experienced professionals who will be placed around Victoria to protect our young people.

Parliamentary Praise for Hawthorn Heroes

It was a joy to take a moment in this sunny week in Parliament to celebrate some of Hawthorn’s wonderful constituents. Even in the most challenging times, as the COVID winter behind us has certainly been, I am constantly amazed by the selflessness and generosity shown by many of my constituents - whom I like to dub the Hawthorn Heroes. People like Ricky Kuruppu. Armed with his typewriter, he has been leaving tiny pieces of paper around the area with grabs of his poetry and uplifting messages of support, with the purpose of trying to inject some positivity into the world. During the pandemic, people who found these notes, expressed the joy it brought to their day while giving them a sense of optimism in trying times. You can find some of his inspiring work here. Then there is early childhood educator, Lucille Kent from Hawthorn Early Years. During the pandemic, Lucy wanted to do something special for her colleagues to show them that they are appreciated and to promote positive mental health. So, she created wellness packs for fellow childhood educators, who as we know, can often be the unsung heroes in the community, but whose work is vital. In Lucy’s words, one of her goals is to connect further with the wider community, something she believes is important, that we are all aware of the world around us -  offering our support and kindness where we can. You can read about her initiative here. And finally, there is Year 11 Scotch College student, Ben Garson - a conscientious young man who recently won the Victorian Parliamentary Prize for his 90-second members statement, which might just be even better than this one. His inspiring speech can be found here.    

Parliamentary Praise for Hawthorn Heroes

It was a joy to take a moment in this sunny week in Parliament to celebrate some of Hawthorn’s wonderful constituents. Even in the most challenging times, as the COVID winter behind us has certainly been, I am constantly amazed by the selflessness and generosity shown by many of my constituents - whom I like to dub the Hawthorn Heroes. People like Ricky Kuruppu. Armed with his typewriter, he has been leaving tiny pieces of paper around the area with grabs of his poetry and uplifting messages of support, with the purpose of trying to inject some positivity into the world. During the pandemic, people who found these notes, expressed the joy it brought to their day while giving them a sense of optimism in trying times. You can find some of his inspiring work here. Then there is early childhood educator, Lucille Kent from Hawthorn Early Years. During the pandemic, Lucy wanted to do something special for her colleagues to show them that they are appreciated and to promote positive mental health. So, she created wellness packs for fellow childhood educators, who as we know, can often be the unsung heroes in the community, but whose work is vital. In Lucy’s words, one of her goals is to connect further with the wider community, something she believes is important, that we are all aware of the world around us -  offering our support and kindness where we can. You can read about her initiative here. And finally, there is Year 11 Scotch College student, Ben Garson - a conscientious young man who recently won the Victorian Parliamentary Prize for his 90-second members statement, which might just be even better than this one. His inspiring speech can be found here.    

PANDA Week – Supporting New and Expecting Parents

Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Action (PANDA) Week 2020 will be running from Sunday November 8 to Saturday November 14. It is important to bring this this issue to light, particularly given the youthful nature of the Hawthorn electorate and the sheer number of young families. 16 thousand families were counted here in the 2016 census. PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia – have provided the below information on what perinatal mental illness is, what it can look like, how common it is, how to recognise it and some ways to cope with it. The organisation does wonderful work supporting the emotional and mental wellbeing of expecting and new parents. Information to access help is included below, and you can support the organisation here. What is perinatal mental illness? Perinatal mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are common and can be serious. One in five expecting or new mothers and one in ten expecting or new fathers will experience anxiety and/or depression, affecting around 100,000 families across Australia every year. Left untreated, perinatal mental illness can have long-lasting impacts on parents, partners, baby and the rest of the family. The key to getting help is being able to recognise that something is wrong and being brave enough to ask for help – to ‘tell someone who cares’.  That might be talking to your partner, child and family health nurse, doctor or PANDA’s National Helpline. What does perinatal mean? The term ‘perinatal’ refers to the period from the conception of a child through to the first year after birth. ‘Antenatal’ refers to the pregnancy period. ‘Postnatal’ refers to the first year after birth. More than general ups and downs Being pregnant or becoming a new parent can be both exciting and challenging. Having trouble adjusting to the changes that come with impending parenthood or the arrival of a new baby is natural. Feeling a little ‘teary’, anxious or irritable for a few days in the weeks after the birth – often referred to as the ‘baby blues’ – is common. However, if you are an expecting or new parent and a low mood, feelings of anxiousness or other troubling thoughts or feelings start to cause you concerns or stop you from functioning normally, it might be time to ‘tell someone who cares’. What’s the difference between anxiety and depression? In general terms anxiety refers to an aroused mood – panic, agitation, frustration or anger. Depression is often associated with low mood, sadness, hopelessness or withdrawal. Many expecting and new parents experience both anxiety and depression at the same time. Talking about it Many parents experiencing perinatal mental health challenges feel overwhelmed, confused, isolated and ashamed about how they’re feeling. If this is you, try to remember that these thoughts are common, you are not alone and that help is available.   It can be hard to recognise that something is wrong and it takes courage to seek help. Community expectations and stigma can make it difficult to acknowledge that you are struggling and seek the support you need. But it’s important to get help early so you can get support to take the first steps to recovery. That’s the best outcome for you as well as your baby and partner. Admitting you need help and seeking treatment or advice is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you want the best for yourself and your family. Recognising perinatal mental illness Perinatal mental illnesses like anxiety and depression can be difficult to recognise for a whole range of reasons. Symptoms are often dismissed as normal parts of pregnancy or early parenthood. Shame and stigma can lead to a ‘mask of coping’. Symptoms can look different for each person. Signs may include: Feeling sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health or wellbeing of your baby Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky Being easily annoyed or irritated Withdrawing from friends and family Difficulties sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping Abrupt mood swings Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy Physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, lack of appetite Having little or no interest in the things that normally bring you joy Fear of being alone or with others Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember Increased alcohol or drug use Panic attacks (racing heart, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking or feeling physically ‘detached’ from your surroundings) Developing obsessive or compulsive behaviours Thoughts of death, suicide or harming your baby. There are also many other symptoms not listed here. If you or someone close to you experiences any symptoms or feelings that worry you and impact your ability to cope, please seek support. Postnatal psychosis Postnatal psychosis is a rare but serious illness that affects one to two new mums in every 1000 and can put both mother and baby at risk. It almost always requires hospital admission. The symptoms often arrive suddenly and can include extreme mood swings, significant behaviour changes and loss of touch with reality. If you suspect a new mum you know may have postnatal psychosis, you can: take her to a doctor take her to the nearest hospital emergency department call PANDA’s National Helpline – 1300 726 306 Where to seek help for perinatal mental illness We know that everyone experiences postnatal anxiety and depression differently. The best way for people who are struggling to start feeling better will depend on their own experience – what their symptoms are and how strongly they feel them. What we do know is that the sooner people seek support, the sooner they can start feeling better. It’s important for expecting and new parents who are worried about their emotional and mental wellbeing to seek support. They can speak with a trusted health professional such as a doctor or family health nurse, or call PANDA’s free National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline. PANDA’s National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline 1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Friday (AEST/AEDT). The Helpline is also open from now until the end of February 2021 on Saturdays 9am – 7.30pm. There is also important and up-to-date information about perinatal anxiety and depression and postnatal psychosis on PANDA’s websites: www.panda.org.au www.howisdadgoing.org.au PANDA’s Mental Health Checklist for Expecting and New Parents It can be hard to know what emotions and experiences are normal and which ones should give you cause for concern. PANDA’s Mental Health Checklist for Expecting and New Parents is a free, anonymous online tool on PANDA’s website that asks questions about your thoughts and feelings and will give an indication of whether your experiences could be a reason to seek help. PANDA’s Checklist is accessible and user friendly and its content was created with direct input from people who experienced mental health difficulties as expecting or new parents, as well as experts in perinatal mental illness from PANDA’s counselling and research teams. The Checklist asks questions about changes you may have noticed since starting the journey to becoming a parent – in your body and behaviour; in your thoughts and feelings; and in your relationships. Upon completing the Checklist you will receive a Results summary that can be taken to appointments with care providers to help you talk to them about how you’ve been feeling. You can also opt to send your results directly to PANDA and request a call back.

PANDA Week – Supporting New and Expecting Parents

Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Action (PANDA) Week 2020 will be running from Sunday November 8 to Saturday November 14. It is important to bring this this issue to light, particularly given the youthful nature of the Hawthorn electorate and the sheer number of young families. 16 thousand families were counted here in the 2016 census. PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia – have provided the below information on what perinatal mental illness is, what it can look like, how common it is, how to recognise it and some ways to cope with it. The organisation does wonderful work supporting the emotional and mental wellbeing of expecting and new parents. Information to access help is included below, and you can support the organisation here. What is perinatal mental illness? Perinatal mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are common and can be serious. One in five expecting or new mothers and one in ten expecting or new fathers will experience anxiety and/or depression, affecting around 100,000 families across Australia every year. Left untreated, perinatal mental illness can have long-lasting impacts on parents, partners, baby and the rest of the family. The key to getting help is being able to recognise that something is wrong and being brave enough to ask for help – to ‘tell someone who cares’.  That might be talking to your partner, child and family health nurse, doctor or PANDA’s National Helpline. What does perinatal mean? The term ‘perinatal’ refers to the period from the conception of a child through to the first year after birth. ‘Antenatal’ refers to the pregnancy period. ‘Postnatal’ refers to the first year after birth. More than general ups and downs Being pregnant or becoming a new parent can be both exciting and challenging. Having trouble adjusting to the changes that come with impending parenthood or the arrival of a new baby is natural. Feeling a little ‘teary’, anxious or irritable for a few days in the weeks after the birth – often referred to as the ‘baby blues’ – is common. However, if you are an expecting or new parent and a low mood, feelings of anxiousness or other troubling thoughts or feelings start to cause you concerns or stop you from functioning normally, it might be time to ‘tell someone who cares’. What’s the difference between anxiety and depression? In general terms anxiety refers to an aroused mood – panic, agitation, frustration or anger. Depression is often associated with low mood, sadness, hopelessness or withdrawal. Many expecting and new parents experience both anxiety and depression at the same time. Talking about it Many parents experiencing perinatal mental health challenges feel overwhelmed, confused, isolated and ashamed about how they’re feeling. If this is you, try to remember that these thoughts are common, you are not alone and that help is available.   It can be hard to recognise that something is wrong and it takes courage to seek help. Community expectations and stigma can make it difficult to acknowledge that you are struggling and seek the support you need. But it’s important to get help early so you can get support to take the first steps to recovery. That’s the best outcome for you as well as your baby and partner. Admitting you need help and seeking treatment or advice is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you want the best for yourself and your family. Recognising perinatal mental illness Perinatal mental illnesses like anxiety and depression can be difficult to recognise for a whole range of reasons. Symptoms are often dismissed as normal parts of pregnancy or early parenthood. Shame and stigma can lead to a ‘mask of coping’. Symptoms can look different for each person. Signs may include: Feeling sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health or wellbeing of your baby Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky Being easily annoyed or irritated Withdrawing from friends and family Difficulties sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping Abrupt mood swings Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy Physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, lack of appetite Having little or no interest in the things that normally bring you joy Fear of being alone or with others Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember Increased alcohol or drug use Panic attacks (racing heart, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking or feeling physically ‘detached’ from your surroundings) Developing obsessive or compulsive behaviours Thoughts of death, suicide or harming your baby. There are also many other symptoms not listed here. If you or someone close to you experiences any symptoms or feelings that worry you and impact your ability to cope, please seek support. Postnatal psychosis Postnatal psychosis is a rare but serious illness that affects one to two new mums in every 1000 and can put both mother and baby at risk. It almost always requires hospital admission. The symptoms often arrive suddenly and can include extreme mood swings, significant behaviour changes and loss of touch with reality. If you suspect a new mum you know may have postnatal psychosis, you can: take her to a doctor take her to the nearest hospital emergency department call PANDA’s National Helpline – 1300 726 306 Where to seek help for perinatal mental illness We know that everyone experiences postnatal anxiety and depression differently. The best way for people who are struggling to start feeling better will depend on their own experience – what their symptoms are and how strongly they feel them. What we do know is that the sooner people seek support, the sooner they can start feeling better. It’s important for expecting and new parents who are worried about their emotional and mental wellbeing to seek support. They can speak with a trusted health professional such as a doctor or family health nurse, or call PANDA’s free National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline. PANDA’s National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline 1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Friday (AEST/AEDT). The Helpline is also open from now until the end of February 2021 on Saturdays 9am – 7.30pm. There is also important and up-to-date information about perinatal anxiety and depression and postnatal psychosis on PANDA’s websites: www.panda.org.au www.howisdadgoing.org.au PANDA’s Mental Health Checklist for Expecting and New Parents It can be hard to know what emotions and experiences are normal and which ones should give you cause for concern. PANDA’s Mental Health Checklist for Expecting and New Parents is a free, anonymous online tool on PANDA’s website that asks questions about your thoughts and feelings and will give an indication of whether your experiences could be a reason to seek help. PANDA’s Checklist is accessible and user friendly and its content was created with direct input from people who experienced mental health difficulties as expecting or new parents, as well as experts in perinatal mental illness from PANDA’s counselling and research teams. The Checklist asks questions about changes you may have noticed since starting the journey to becoming a parent – in your body and behaviour; in your thoughts and feelings; and in your relationships. Upon completing the Checklist you will receive a Results summary that can be taken to appointments with care providers to help you talk to them about how you’ve been feeling. You can also opt to send your results directly to PANDA and request a call back.

Rising to Speak on A Bill to Support Victims of Crime

*Content Warning: mentions sexual assault. Speaking my support for the Justice Legislation Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Bill was another true honour in Parliament this week. Whether through institutional abuse or in the criminal justice system more generally, the often-shattering effect of crime upon its victims cries out for our understanding and for the legislative recognition and remediation only we in Parliament can give, and we will through this Bill. The Justice Legislation Amendment Bill addresses issues upon which I believe there is widespread community acknowledgement and even a consensus, that more should be done for the victims of crime. The Bill does a great deal more. In brief, a key feature of the Bill is its provision for public identification of a victim-survivor in a range of ways, and most particularly to; Permit the public identification of a victim/survivor of a sexual offence should they give written consent, without requiring permission from the court; Ensure that victim/survivors are able to self-identify in a public way, including online; Identify child victim/survivors, but only when a qualified independent expert, such as a doctor or psychologist, formally certifies that the child comprehends the consequences of identification and has the capacity to consent; and Permit the court to allow identification by the media of deceased victim/survivors and those lacking in decision making capacity. Different provisions will be necessary for those under the age of 18 years. Accordingly, the Bill provides a detailed scheme as to self-identification for adults and for young people. For adult victim-survivors the Bill makes it clear that they may self-publish in ways which identify them as a victim-survivor of a sexual offence. This may be done on social media, which is thought likely to be part of their process of recovery and healing. The Bill will specify that this conduct does not constitute an offence. Importantly, however, even though a victim-survivor may have self-published their story (and consequently self-identified), their having done so does not constitute permission generally for a third party to similarly publish. Allied to the provisions benefitting the survivors of sexual abuse, are the Bill’s amendments to the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996, (the VOC Act), allowing delegation of certain duties and authority of the staff of the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT). This body fulfils a vital social need in providing valuable financial assistance to those in our community whose lives are affected by violent crime. Ultimately, this is a lengthy and detailed Bill with multiple amendments which as a collective body, strengthens the systems and processes in place to support victims of crime, and affords them the autonomy over their own stories that they have always deserved. The Andrews Labor Government will always stand with victims of crime and their families, and we are proud to deliver them advocacy through this proposed legislation.

Rising to Speak on A Bill to Support Victims of Crime

*Content Warning: mentions sexual assault. Speaking my support for the Justice Legislation Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Bill was another true honour in Parliament this week. Whether through institutional abuse or in the criminal justice system more generally, the often-shattering effect of crime upon its victims cries out for our understanding and for the legislative recognition and remediation only we in Parliament can give, and we will through this Bill. The Justice Legislation Amendment Bill addresses issues upon which I believe there is widespread community acknowledgement and even a consensus, that more should be done for the victims of crime. The Bill does a great deal more. In brief, a key feature of the Bill is its provision for public identification of a victim-survivor in a range of ways, and most particularly to; Permit the public identification of a victim/survivor of a sexual offence should they give written consent, without requiring permission from the court; Ensure that victim/survivors are able to self-identify in a public way, including online; Identify child victim/survivors, but only when a qualified independent expert, such as a doctor or psychologist, formally certifies that the child comprehends the consequences of identification and has the capacity to consent; and Permit the court to allow identification by the media of deceased victim/survivors and those lacking in decision making capacity. Different provisions will be necessary for those under the age of 18 years. Accordingly, the Bill provides a detailed scheme as to self-identification for adults and for young people. For adult victim-survivors the Bill makes it clear that they may self-publish in ways which identify them as a victim-survivor of a sexual offence. This may be done on social media, which is thought likely to be part of their process of recovery and healing. The Bill will specify that this conduct does not constitute an offence. Importantly, however, even though a victim-survivor may have self-published their story (and consequently self-identified), their having done so does not constitute permission generally for a third party to similarly publish. Allied to the provisions benefitting the survivors of sexual abuse, are the Bill’s amendments to the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996, (the VOC Act), allowing delegation of certain duties and authority of the staff of the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT). This body fulfils a vital social need in providing valuable financial assistance to those in our community whose lives are affected by violent crime. Ultimately, this is a lengthy and detailed Bill with multiple amendments which as a collective body, strengthens the systems and processes in place to support victims of crime, and affords them the autonomy over their own stories that they have always deserved. The Andrews Labor Government will always stand with victims of crime and their families, and we are proud to deliver them advocacy through this proposed legislation.

Safely Connecting Multicultural Seniors during Coronavirus

I am very proud to say that Victoria’s multicultural seniors have built the social, economic and cultural backbone of our state and made it the place we proudly call home. They have seen and overcome so much, but a global pandemic is a brand-new challenge and one they should not face alone. That is why the Andrews government has announced $2.1 million in funding to support multicultural seniors groups to help keep them safely connected. We have provided almost 900 Victorian multicultural seniors groups grants of $2000, to purchase IT equipment, run programs to support multicultural seniors and to provide the timely distribution of coronavirus information. Alongside this funding comes liability insurance and personal accident cover for 2021, saving organisations up to $5,000 each. I am very pleased that the following seniors groups in the Hawthorn electorate have been included in the Coronavirus Support for Multicultural Seniors program: Associazione Amica Pensionati Italiani Di Hawthorn Boroondara Camberwell Greek Senior Citizens Club Camberwell Senior Citizens Club German Senior Citizens Club Glen Iris/Burwood Greek Senior Citizens Club Ex-servicemen’s Greek Elderly Citizens Club of Kew Stonnington Indian Seniors Club It was a delight to chat on the phone with each group and inform them of this well-earned news. I gave a Member's Statement to the House of Representatives on the 28th of October to express my pride in this funding.

Safely Connecting Multicultural Seniors during Coronavirus

I am very proud to say that Victoria’s multicultural seniors have built the social, economic and cultural backbone of our state and made it the place we proudly call home. They have seen and overcome so much, but a global pandemic is a brand-new challenge and one they should not face alone. That is why the Andrews government has announced $2.1 million in funding to support multicultural seniors groups to help keep them safely connected. We have provided almost 900 Victorian multicultural seniors groups grants of $2000, to purchase IT equipment, run programs to support multicultural seniors and to provide the timely distribution of coronavirus information. Alongside this funding comes liability insurance and personal accident cover for 2021, saving organisations up to $5,000 each. I am very pleased that the following seniors groups in the Hawthorn electorate have been included in the Coronavirus Support for Multicultural Seniors program: Associazione Amica Pensionati Italiani Di Hawthorn Boroondara Camberwell Greek Senior Citizens Club Camberwell Senior Citizens Club German Senior Citizens Club Glen Iris/Burwood Greek Senior Citizens Club Ex-servicemen’s Greek Elderly Citizens Club of Kew Stonnington Indian Seniors Club It was a delight to chat on the phone with each group and inform them of this well-earned news. I gave a Member's Statement to the House of Representatives on the 28th of October to express my pride in this funding.

Welcome Back to Life, Hawthorn Businesses!

It has been such a joy to watch local businesses throughout Hawthorn spring back to life and throw open their doors this week, under the latest step in our Roadmap to Recovery. I personally will be making up for lost time by dining out and continuing to support these businesses, safely of course! Last night my wife Bronwyn, son Patrick and I were delighted to be back at Choi's, our new neighbours in Riversdale Rd. Prior to that we reconnected with Alan the proprietor of Gibson Wine Bar in Burwood Rd. Details as to Metro Melbourne's latest steps in the Roadmap can be found here. For retail, hospitality, and beauty services, industry restart guidelines are here. I look forward to seeing the Hawthorn community slowly and safely reunite throughout the coming weeks, over coffee, brunch or dinner and drinks. If you are looking for local businesses to support as they get back on their feet, consider some of these wonderful Hawthorn venues:  

Welcome Back to Life, Hawthorn Businesses!

It has been such a joy to watch local businesses throughout Hawthorn spring back to life and throw open their doors this week, under the latest step in our Roadmap to Recovery. I personally will be making up for lost time by dining out and continuing to support these businesses, safely of course! Last night my wife Bronwyn, son Patrick and I were delighted to be back at Choi's, our new neighbours in Riversdale Rd. Prior to that we reconnected with Alan the proprietor of Gibson Wine Bar in Burwood Rd. Details as to Metro Melbourne's latest steps in the Roadmap can be found here. For retail, hospitality, and beauty services, industry restart guidelines are here. I look forward to seeing the Hawthorn community slowly and safely reunite throughout the coming weeks, over coffee, brunch or dinner and drinks. If you are looking for local businesses to support as they get back on their feet, consider some of these wonderful Hawthorn venues:  

Important Amendments for VCE

I was pleased to speak in Parliament this Wednesday, the 29th of October, commending the Education and Training Reform Amendment Bill to the Legislative Assembly. It was also a joy to take the opportunity in my opening to thank educators, students and parents alike for their resilience throughout 2020. While the Bill makes minor technical adjustments to the 2006 legislation, the changes bear a broader legacy in supporting the Assessment Authority as it continues the most essential services to Victoria’s senior secondary schools. Essentially, the Bill seeks to amend the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (ETRA) to clarify the employment powers of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).  The Bill does this by making technical amendments arising from changes to the Children’s Services Act 1996 regarding early childhood teacher staffing requirements in children’s services. The proposed changes deliver on our commitment as a Government, to ensure that bodies such as the VCAA are properly resourced and staffed, enabled to maximise delivery for secondary students at such a crucial time in their schooling. The amendments provided for in the Bill, further enhance - even if technically - Victoria’s reputation as the Education State. Watch my full speech here. [video width="1600" height="900" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Untitled-design-2.mp4"][/video]

Important Amendments for VCE

I was pleased to speak in Parliament this Wednesday, the 29th of October, commending the Education and Training Reform Amendment Bill to the Legislative Assembly. It was also a joy to take the opportunity in my opening to thank educators, students and parents alike for their resilience throughout 2020. While the Bill makes minor technical adjustments to the 2006 legislation, the changes bear a broader legacy in supporting the Assessment Authority as it continues the most essential services to Victoria’s senior secondary schools. Essentially, the Bill seeks to amend the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (ETRA) to clarify the employment powers of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).  The Bill does this by making technical amendments arising from changes to the Children’s Services Act 1996 regarding early childhood teacher staffing requirements in children’s services. The proposed changes deliver on our commitment as a Government, to ensure that bodies such as the VCAA are properly resourced and staffed, enabled to maximise delivery for secondary students at such a crucial time in their schooling. The amendments provided for in the Bill, further enhance - even if technically - Victoria’s reputation as the Education State. Watch my full speech here. [video width="1600" height="900" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Untitled-design-2.mp4"][/video]

Climate Series: Why We Should Take Action

The previous article in the series explained where greenhouse gas emissions come from. We are already witnessing the early signs of climate change: arctic ice and glaciers are melting, oceans are warming, oceans are becoming more acidic causing coral bleaching, sea-levels are rising’ and rising temperatures lead to an increase in the number, duration and severity of heatwaves and bushfires. While it may not be possible to predict exactly how fast our climate will change with global warming, scientists have produced forecasts which have been remarkably accurate to date. The impacts of global warming Almost all nations signed the Paris Agreement which has a central aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise to well below 2°C and below 1.5°C if possible. Figure 1 shows that the difference between rises of 1.5°C and 2°C has a significant impact on our climate. Figure 1: Impact of half a degree difference (Source: World Resources Institute) Worldwide action While the world has been slow to take decisive action there are now clear signs that world leaders have realised the consequences of inaction and are setting meaningful emissions targets to ensure that the targets underpinning the Paris agreement are met or bettered: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown her weight behind the European Commission’s proposal to increase the bloc’s climate target to a 55% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030; China has set a target of net zero by 2060. This is an aggressive target as China is experiencing high growth; Many countries have set targets of net zero by 2050 or earlier; Top Indian companies have reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change by taking bold emission reduction targets and promoting renewable energy; The US is currently at a crossroads. If Joe Biden wins the election the US will implement a green new deal; Most Australian states and territories have set targets for net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. What can Australia do? In the electricity sector (33% of emissions) fossil fuels can be replaced overtime by renewable energy like wind and solar, incorporating energy efficiency, demand management and energy storage (like batteries and pumped hydro). In the transport sector (19%) we can shift to public and active transport alternatives and move towards electric cars, bikes, trucks and buses. Biofuels and renewable hydrogen may also play a role. Stationary energy emissions (19%) are on the rise due to LNG, coal and iron ore exports. Increasing the use of renewable energy and improvements in energy efficiency can lower emissions. However, the LNG plants built recently are costly to change and, with expected lives of 30 to 50 years, will make reductions in this sector difficult. Reducing fugitive emissions (11%) and emissions in agriculture (13%) are more challenging. Solutions and pathways are discussed thoroughly in Australia’s Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Climate Council) and Decarbonisation Futures (ClimateWorks) We know how to reduce emissions in key sectors but how quickly can we reduce emissions and what is the cost?  We will consider this in the next article.

Climate Series: Why We Should Take Action

The previous article in the series explained where greenhouse gas emissions come from. We are already witnessing the early signs of climate change: arctic ice and glaciers are melting, oceans are warming, oceans are becoming more acidic causing coral bleaching, sea-levels are rising’ and rising temperatures lead to an increase in the number, duration and severity of heatwaves and bushfires. While it may not be possible to predict exactly how fast our climate will change with global warming, scientists have produced forecasts which have been remarkably accurate to date. The impacts of global warming Almost all nations signed the Paris Agreement which has a central aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise to well below 2°C and below 1.5°C if possible. Figure 1 shows that the difference between rises of 1.5°C and 2°C has a significant impact on our climate. Figure 1: Impact of half a degree difference (Source: World Resources Institute) Worldwide action While the world has been slow to take decisive action there are now clear signs that world leaders have realised the consequences of inaction and are setting meaningful emissions targets to ensure that the targets underpinning the Paris agreement are met or bettered: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown her weight behind the European Commission’s proposal to increase the bloc’s climate target to a 55% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030; China has set a target of net zero by 2060. This is an aggressive target as China is experiencing high growth; Many countries have set targets of net zero by 2050 or earlier; Top Indian companies have reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change by taking bold emission reduction targets and promoting renewable energy; The US is currently at a crossroads. If Joe Biden wins the election the US will implement a green new deal; Most Australian states and territories have set targets for net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. What can Australia do? In the electricity sector (33% of emissions) fossil fuels can be replaced overtime by renewable energy like wind and solar, incorporating energy efficiency, demand management and energy storage (like batteries and pumped hydro). In the transport sector (19%) we can shift to public and active transport alternatives and move towards electric cars, bikes, trucks and buses. Biofuels and renewable hydrogen may also play a role. Stationary energy emissions (19%) are on the rise due to LNG, coal and iron ore exports. Increasing the use of renewable energy and improvements in energy efficiency can lower emissions. However, the LNG plants built recently are costly to change and, with expected lives of 30 to 50 years, will make reductions in this sector difficult. Reducing fugitive emissions (11%) and emissions in agriculture (13%) are more challenging. Solutions and pathways are discussed thoroughly in Australia’s Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Climate Council) and Decarbonisation Futures (ClimateWorks) We know how to reduce emissions in key sectors but how quickly can we reduce emissions and what is the cost?  We will consider this in the next article.

We have moved!

Yes, we are now at 197 Riversdale Rd, opposite Australia Post in Hawthorn and on tram routes 70 and 75.  New facilities include the Community Meeting Room comfortably seating 12 of our 65,000 constituents and 45,000 electors.  I look forward to resuming face-to-face contact with groups and individuals composing this vibrant Hawthorn community.  Stay tuned for open house invitations! In the meantime, two Electorate Officers are forming on-site skeleton staffing here on my behalf to take your personal calls (9882 4088), emails (John.Kennedy@parliament.vic.gov.au) and postal mail (Suite 1, 197-199 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122).  If you see me around, such as at Colin’s Catch for the fish and chips on Fridays, on the tram to the Electorate Office or train to Parliament, do say hello (albeit masked and at safe physical distance). Last Week in Parliament Living with my wife Bronwyn Lane in a residential village it was a delight to speak on amendments to the Retirement Villages Act 1986.  We still have a little way to go in bringing about greater clarity in contractual and financial arrangements in retirement villages, both the not-for-profit and privately owned entities. Elsewhere in this fortnightly you can read about Men’s Sheds and my Member’s Statement.

We have moved!

Yes, we are now at 197 Riversdale Rd, opposite Australia Post in Hawthorn and on tram routes 70 and 75.  New facilities include the Community Meeting Room comfortably seating 12 of our 65,000 constituents and 45,000 electors.  I look forward to resuming face-to-face contact with groups and individuals composing this vibrant Hawthorn community.  Stay tuned for open house invitations! In the meantime, two Electorate Officers are forming on-site skeleton staffing here on my behalf to take your personal calls (9882 4088), emails (John.Kennedy@parliament.vic.gov.au) and postal mail (Suite 1, 197-199 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122).  If you see me around, such as at Colin’s Catch for the fish and chips on Fridays, on the tram to the Electorate Office or train to Parliament, do say hello (albeit masked and at safe physical distance). Last Week in Parliament Living with my wife Bronwyn Lane in a residential village it was a delight to speak on amendments to the Retirement Villages Act 1986.  We still have a little way to go in bringing about greater clarity in contractual and financial arrangements in retirement villages, both the not-for-profit and privately owned entities. Elsewhere in this fortnightly you can read about Men’s Sheds and my Member’s Statement.

Embracing Her Voice: International Day of the Girl

It was a pleasure on Sunday the 11th of October, International Day of the Girl, to join in an important discussion with a small group of diverse women from the EMBRACE program at the Les Twentyman Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to helping and supporting vulnerable youth, and their EMBRACE leadership program enables participants to better understand themselves and others, build their confidence, self-worth and personal qualities, whilst furthering their resilience. The ‘EMBRACE her voice’ online event platformed a number of diverse young women as they provided their important perspectives on what it means to be a young woman in Australia. One particularly poignant point made in the discussion was about the father being the “first love” of a daughter, which as a father myself, I consider very true and important. I valued this conversation very much and am grateful to have organisations such as the Les Twentyman Foundation as part of our community, supporting the Girls that play an important role in the future of Hawthorn and beyond. You can learn more about the Foundation here and support them here .

Embracing Her Voice: International Day of the Girl

It was a pleasure on Sunday the 11th of October, International Day of the Girl, to join in an important discussion with a small group of diverse women from the EMBRACE program at the Les Twentyman Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to helping and supporting vulnerable youth, and their EMBRACE leadership program enables participants to better understand themselves and others, build their confidence, self-worth and personal qualities, whilst furthering their resilience. The ‘EMBRACE her voice’ online event platformed a number of diverse young women as they provided their important perspectives on what it means to be a young woman in Australia. One particularly poignant point made in the discussion was about the father being the “first love” of a daughter, which as a father myself, I consider very true and important. I valued this conversation very much and am grateful to have organisations such as the Les Twentyman Foundation as part of our community, supporting the Girls that play an important role in the future of Hawthorn and beyond. You can learn more about the Foundation here and support them here .

Advocating for Equitable Social Housing

Today I was pleased to speak on the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2020, to ensure equity and to right system-inadequacy for some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged citizens. You can watch my speech here. Ensuring that social and affordable housing continues to be available to as many as possible, and to regulate the proper allocation of such vital housing, is fundamental to the values of the Andrews Government. Victoria under past Labor governments has a proud history of the provision of public housing. I am particularly pleased to also support amendments to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018, and the Retirement Villages Act 1986. As some in the parliament like to remind me from time to time, I do have some experience in living in retirement villages, so I was well placed to deliver these remarks today!

Advocating for Equitable Social Housing

Today I was pleased to speak on the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2020, to ensure equity and to right system-inadequacy for some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged citizens. You can watch my speech here. Ensuring that social and affordable housing continues to be available to as many as possible, and to regulate the proper allocation of such vital housing, is fundamental to the values of the Andrews Government. Victoria under past Labor governments has a proud history of the provision of public housing. I am particularly pleased to also support amendments to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018, and the Retirement Villages Act 1986. As some in the parliament like to remind me from time to time, I do have some experience in living in retirement villages, so I was well placed to deliver these remarks today!

Celebrating Diwali, Festival of Lights, with Swinburne University

I was delighted to represent Minister Ros Spence recently at the Diwali, Festival of Lights celebration at Swinburne University (via Zoom). You can view a portion of my speech here. Diwali, from the Sanksrit word dipavali meaning “row or series of lights”, is a five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Diwali, which for some also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. In that spirit, I was very pleased to offer remarks alongside various dignitaries including; Professor Pascale Quester (Vice Chancellor, Swinburne University), Raj Kumar (Consul-General of India), Trent Smyth (Hon Consul of Malawi), Kapila Fonseka (Consul-General of Sri Lanka), Andrew Crisp (Emergency Management Commissioner, Victoria Police) and Neil Angus MP for Forest Hill. I would like to commend Swinburne University and in particular the Swinburne Punjabi Club for their leadership in utilising online platforms. The Swinburne Punjabi club has hosted numerous online events in 2020 which has gone a long way in keeping the community connected and has partnered with organisations such as the Sikh Community of Victoria and Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria.

Celebrating Diwali, Festival of Lights, with Swinburne University

I was delighted to represent Minister Ros Spence recently at the Diwali, Festival of Lights celebration at Swinburne University (via Zoom). You can view a portion of my speech here. Diwali, from the Sanksrit word dipavali meaning “row or series of lights”, is a five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Diwali, which for some also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. In that spirit, I was very pleased to offer remarks alongside various dignitaries including; Professor Pascale Quester (Vice Chancellor, Swinburne University), Raj Kumar (Consul-General of India), Trent Smyth (Hon Consul of Malawi), Kapila Fonseka (Consul-General of Sri Lanka), Andrew Crisp (Emergency Management Commissioner, Victoria Police) and Neil Angus MP for Forest Hill. I would like to commend Swinburne University and in particular the Swinburne Punjabi Club for their leadership in utilising online platforms. The Swinburne Punjabi club has hosted numerous online events in 2020 which has gone a long way in keeping the community connected and has partnered with organisations such as the Sikh Community of Victoria and Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria.

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

It is very pleasing to speak in support of such important legislation as is currently before the Assembly. The Bill contains far-ranging provisions designed to both ensure equity and to right system inadequacy for some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged citizens. In ensuring that social and affordable housing continues to be available to as many of those eligible to benefit from it as possible and to regulate the proper allocation of such vital housing stock is fundamental to the values of the Andrews government. Victoria under past Labor governments has a proud history of the provision of public housing. Vitally, our attitudes to social and affordable housing, to its provision for the most vulnerable in our midst has meant reform and innovation, eliminating old ways of thinking - which, in earlier days, had stereotyped the tenants and led to anomalies and inadequacies now sought to be remedied in the Bill before us. An examination of the provisions of the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2020, which seeks to amend the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 and the Retirement Villages Act 1986, reflects the wide-ranging scope of these reforms. Members may recall that on a previous occasion I noted that my wife and I have lived for some years in what many would identify as a retirement village. So, while there may be some subjectivity in the remarks to follow, one notes too, that many in the Chamber may be likely to follow a similar path in times to come! It follows that I turn today to focus today upon the amendments proposed for the Retirement Villages Act 1986 (RV Act). Many will be aware of widespread community concerns as to ‘in-going’ contributions, as variously titled, paid by those seeking admission to one of Victoria’s many retirement villages. Whatever other criticisms may be made in regard to these in-going payments, very serious difficulties have arisen for former residents of those retirement villages which, regrettably, have ceased to operate through insolvency, in recouping their in-going contributions. It should be appreciated that the compulsory payment of these contributions, a condition precedent to village entry, involves in each case, amounts of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Under the RV Act presently, these refundable contributions are returned to the resident in the event the resident leaves the village, or to their estate in the event the resident passes away. The significant quantities of money involved are held by the proprietor as a charge against the land upon which the village is built. Where a previous resident is in dispute over the return of their in-going fee, s.31of the RV Act provides that that dispute be heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The current process requires the previous resident to make application for an Order of the Court which has the affect of assuring the previous resident’s contribution against the retirement village’s land. Most regrettably, this arrangement has not proved effective for many of the previous residents of Berkeley Living, a retirement village previously located at Paterson Lakes. That retirement village, now in liquidation, closed in 2017 and its complex corporate structure has hindered the payment of the moneys to those previous residents. While the plight of these entirely innocent citizens is sought by this legislation to be put right, it should be appreciated that a more general protection is sorely needed, particularly when insolvency arises and the corporate veil proves an obstruction. The Berkeley Living case has highlighted regrettable shortcomings in the legislative scheme. These include that under the RV Act, the Supreme Court is restricted in providing relief to such former residents. First, the prime RV Act remedy, a s.31 Order, is contingent upon an affected resident making application in the Court - which for many individuals would be a daunting and costly exercise. Second, the resident must, as the Minister’s Second Reading Speech makes clear, have already ‘been unsuccessful in enforcing a judgement debt’ as to the in-going contribution. Third, the Court must consider the s.31 Order to be in the interests of all residents, not just the applicant/s. Amidst these obstacles for the previous resident, is the further proviso, that state assistance, by the supporting intervention in the Court by the Director of Consumer Affairs, Victoria, can occur only after the action has commenced in the Court. Our approach has been to eliminate these technicalities - which served no evident purpose, other than to make unnecessarily burdensome and costly, the remedial steps for a former resident in recovering what was always their money. For many residents the $300,000 to $500,000 involved will represent the bulk of their superannuation or savings, without the benefit of which they will be in dire straits at a time when there will be very few available options. Against all this is the Bill, not dissimilar to its NSW equivalent, which will no longer require an applicant to have unsuccessfully enforced a judgement debt before the Supreme Court can make a s.31 Order. Importantly too, the Court in considering the making of such an Order will be required to satisfy itself that doing so would be in the interests of a majority of residents, not all residents.  (One can readily imagine, in a multi-unit village, the effect of a proprietor retaining a right or influence over one or more previous residents.) The effect of the new scheme provided for in the Bill, will be to empower the Court to make the necessary orders, when it is in the interests of the majority to do so, if: the owners of the retirement village land are insolvent; or should there be more than one retirement village landowner, one, or more, of the owners is insolvent and the Court considers it to be just and equitable to grant the application; or, where even part of the village land is vested in ASIC or the Commonwealth - owing to previous ownership in a registered company. Centrally important too is the Bill’s enablement for the Director of Consumer Affairs, Victoria, where it is in the public interest for the Director to do so, to make and advocate the application in the Supreme Court, for an Order enforcing the charge (against the land) in the favour of the previous residents.  It will be abundantly clear that some, so unfortunately affected by their village being affected by insolvency, would not be in a financial position to commence such a proceeding as is currently required. And one might ask, why should there have been such obstacles in the way of redress? Whose interests were served by such legal form and technicality? It is also proper in pursuing this vital reform, that regard be had for the cost to the public purse which may be incurred in taking the application in the Supreme Court, obtaining the Order, seeing to the sale of the land and executing the original order (over the land) by distributing the funds realised to the previous residents. To achieve this objective, and consistent with legal principle, the order in which funds realised is eventually distributed, will be headed by the State of Victoria. It should be noted that in considering these matters that there has been consultation with Victorian residents of retirement villages and with the relevant peak councils, the Victorian Division of the Property Council of Australia, Land Use Victoria and the Consumer Action Law Centre. I commend the Bill to the house.

Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

It is very pleasing to speak in support of such important legislation as is currently before the Assembly. The Bill contains far-ranging provisions designed to both ensure equity and to right system inadequacy for some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged citizens. In ensuring that social and affordable housing continues to be available to as many of those eligible to benefit from it as possible and to regulate the proper allocation of such vital housing stock is fundamental to the values of the Andrews government. Victoria under past Labor governments has a proud history of the provision of public housing. Vitally, our attitudes to social and affordable housing, to its provision for the most vulnerable in our midst has meant reform and innovation, eliminating old ways of thinking - which, in earlier days, had stereotyped the tenants and led to anomalies and inadequacies now sought to be remedied in the Bill before us. An examination of the provisions of the Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2020, which seeks to amend the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 and the Retirement Villages Act 1986, reflects the wide-ranging scope of these reforms. Members may recall that on a previous occasion I noted that my wife and I have lived for some years in what many would identify as a retirement village. So, while there may be some subjectivity in the remarks to follow, one notes too, that many in the Chamber may be likely to follow a similar path in times to come! It follows that I turn today to focus today upon the amendments proposed for the Retirement Villages Act 1986 (RV Act). Many will be aware of widespread community concerns as to ‘in-going’ contributions, as variously titled, paid by those seeking admission to one of Victoria’s many retirement villages. Whatever other criticisms may be made in regard to these in-going payments, very serious difficulties have arisen for former residents of those retirement villages which, regrettably, have ceased to operate through insolvency, in recouping their in-going contributions. It should be appreciated that the compulsory payment of these contributions, a condition precedent to village entry, involves in each case, amounts of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Under the RV Act presently, these refundable contributions are returned to the resident in the event the resident leaves the village, or to their estate in the event the resident passes away. The significant quantities of money involved are held by the proprietor as a charge against the land upon which the village is built. Where a previous resident is in dispute over the return of their in-going fee, s.31of the RV Act provides that that dispute be heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The current process requires the previous resident to make application for an Order of the Court which has the affect of assuring the previous resident’s contribution against the retirement village’s land. Most regrettably, this arrangement has not proved effective for many of the previous residents of Berkeley Living, a retirement village previously located at Paterson Lakes. That retirement village, now in liquidation, closed in 2017 and its complex corporate structure has hindered the payment of the moneys to those previous residents. While the plight of these entirely innocent citizens is sought by this legislation to be put right, it should be appreciated that a more general protection is sorely needed, particularly when insolvency arises and the corporate veil proves an obstruction. The Berkeley Living case has highlighted regrettable shortcomings in the legislative scheme. These include that under the RV Act, the Supreme Court is restricted in providing relief to such former residents. First, the prime RV Act remedy, a s.31 Order, is contingent upon an affected resident making application in the Court - which for many individuals would be a daunting and costly exercise. Second, the resident must, as the Minister’s Second Reading Speech makes clear, have already ‘been unsuccessful in enforcing a judgement debt’ as to the in-going contribution. Third, the Court must consider the s.31 Order to be in the interests of all residents, not just the applicant/s. Amidst these obstacles for the previous resident, is the further proviso, that state assistance, by the supporting intervention in the Court by the Director of Consumer Affairs, Victoria, can occur only after the action has commenced in the Court. Our approach has been to eliminate these technicalities - which served no evident purpose, other than to make unnecessarily burdensome and costly, the remedial steps for a former resident in recovering what was always their money. For many residents the $300,000 to $500,000 involved will represent the bulk of their superannuation or savings, without the benefit of which they will be in dire straits at a time when there will be very few available options. Against all this is the Bill, not dissimilar to its NSW equivalent, which will no longer require an applicant to have unsuccessfully enforced a judgement debt before the Supreme Court can make a s.31 Order. Importantly too, the Court in considering the making of such an Order will be required to satisfy itself that doing so would be in the interests of a majority of residents, not all residents.  (One can readily imagine, in a multi-unit village, the effect of a proprietor retaining a right or influence over one or more previous residents.) The effect of the new scheme provided for in the Bill, will be to empower the Court to make the necessary orders, when it is in the interests of the majority to do so, if: the owners of the retirement village land are insolvent; or should there be more than one retirement village landowner, one, or more, of the owners is insolvent and the Court considers it to be just and equitable to grant the application; or, where even part of the village land is vested in ASIC or the Commonwealth - owing to previous ownership in a registered company. Centrally important too is the Bill’s enablement for the Director of Consumer Affairs, Victoria, where it is in the public interest for the Director to do so, to make and advocate the application in the Supreme Court, for an Order enforcing the charge (against the land) in the favour of the previous residents.  It will be abundantly clear that some, so unfortunately affected by their village being affected by insolvency, would not be in a financial position to commence such a proceeding as is currently required. And one might ask, why should there have been such obstacles in the way of redress? Whose interests were served by such legal form and technicality? It is also proper in pursuing this vital reform, that regard be had for the cost to the public purse which may be incurred in taking the application in the Supreme Court, obtaining the Order, seeing to the sale of the land and executing the original order (over the land) by distributing the funds realised to the previous residents. To achieve this objective, and consistent with legal principle, the order in which funds realised is eventually distributed, will be headed by the State of Victoria. It should be noted that in considering these matters that there has been consultation with Victorian residents of retirement villages and with the relevant peak councils, the Victorian Division of the Property Council of Australia, Land Use Victoria and the Consumer Action Law Centre. I commend the Bill to the house.

Community Food Relief Fund To Support The Vulnerable

The Victorian Government is strengthening food relief services across the state ensuring healthy food reaches Victorians in need. The $5 million Community Food Relief Fund is part of the recently announced $11.3 million investment to boost food relief activities for vulnerable Victorians. The Fund supports local community organisations supplying food to Victorians made vulnerable by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One-off grants of up to $75,000 are available to assist community food relief organisations with a range of challenges due to increased demand, increasing our state’s capacity to source and distribute food relief. The grants are open to all Victorian community food relief organisations, including those in partnership with local councils. The package builds on $7.4 million already announced earlier this year to expand food relief operations and deliver more free and nutritious meals, which is creating 119 new food relief jobs. To apply, or find more information on the grants please visit the DHHS site.

Community Food Relief Fund To Support The Vulnerable

The Victorian Government is strengthening food relief services across the state ensuring healthy food reaches Victorians in need. The $5 million Community Food Relief Fund is part of the recently announced $11.3 million investment to boost food relief activities for vulnerable Victorians. The Fund supports local community organisations supplying food to Victorians made vulnerable by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One-off grants of up to $75,000 are available to assist community food relief organisations with a range of challenges due to increased demand, increasing our state’s capacity to source and distribute food relief. The grants are open to all Victorian community food relief organisations, including those in partnership with local councils. The package builds on $7.4 million already announced earlier this year to expand food relief operations and deliver more free and nutritious meals, which is creating 119 new food relief jobs. To apply, or find more information on the grants please visit the DHHS site.

Where Do Our Emissions Come From?

The previous article in the series explained how global warming is caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that the industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 412 parts per million in the last 150 years, their highest level in 800,000 years. Closer to home the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 (Figure 1) shows total net emissions and emissions by sector in Victoria from 1990 to 2017. Victoria has set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and will legislate interim targets for 2025 and 2030 shortly.   Figure 1: Victoria’s emissions by sector   The major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria are electricity generation (mainly brown coal powered generation) and transport.  The area that demonstrates carbon capture possibilities is LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry). Fugitive emissions   When looking at Australia’s emissions the impacts of fugitive emissions[1] become apparent as shown in Figure 2. Fugitive emissions are understated.  In late June, the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, amended laws to reflect the scientific consensus that fugitive methane – a highly potent but relatively short-lived greenhouse gas – plays a greater role than previously thought. The improved measurement of fugitive methane is expected to increase Australia’s reported annual emissions by about 3%. The Guardian reported that if the methane emitted in Australia was measured according to the latest science it would increase Australia’s annual emissions by more than 50 million tonnes a year, the equivalent of Sweden’s total annual carbon emissions.   Figure 2: Australia’s emissions by sector Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to the greenhouse gases produced by human activities. In the next article we look at what we can do to slow the change and why it is critical to make the effort. *** [1] From the production, processing, transport, storage, transmission and distribution of coal, crude oil and gas

Where Do Our Emissions Come From?

The previous article in the series explained how global warming is caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that the industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 412 parts per million in the last 150 years, their highest level in 800,000 years. Closer to home the Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2019 (Figure 1) shows total net emissions and emissions by sector in Victoria from 1990 to 2017. Victoria has set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and will legislate interim targets for 2025 and 2030 shortly.   Figure 1: Victoria’s emissions by sector   The major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria are electricity generation (mainly brown coal powered generation) and transport.  The area that demonstrates carbon capture possibilities is LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry). Fugitive emissions   When looking at Australia’s emissions the impacts of fugitive emissions[1] become apparent as shown in Figure 2. Fugitive emissions are understated.  In late June, the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, amended laws to reflect the scientific consensus that fugitive methane – a highly potent but relatively short-lived greenhouse gas – plays a greater role than previously thought. The improved measurement of fugitive methane is expected to increase Australia’s reported annual emissions by about 3%. The Guardian reported that if the methane emitted in Australia was measured according to the latest science it would increase Australia’s annual emissions by more than 50 million tonnes a year, the equivalent of Sweden’s total annual carbon emissions.   Figure 2: Australia’s emissions by sector Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to the greenhouse gases produced by human activities. In the next article we look at what we can do to slow the change and why it is critical to make the effort. *** [1] From the production, processing, transport, storage, transmission and distribution of coal, crude oil and gas

Member’s Statement – Funding for Men’s Sheds

14 October, 2020 I was delighted with the government’s recent announcement that $870 000 would be directed towards upgrading men’s sheds across Victoria. Men’s sheds are safe and productive spaces for men to work on common projects and participate in their local community. They are a fantastic source of community engagement and support, as they mentor young people as well as use woodwork or machinery skills to create items for organisations and residents in need. In my electorate, I am proud of the work of the Hawthorn Men’s Shed, which is one of four men’s sheds in the City of Boroondara and just a stone’s throw away from where I live. The Hawthorn Men’s Shed is a popular community hub in my electorate. So many constituents will no doubt have a story or two of how they have been assisted greatly by these fine chaps. Many activities pre-COVID undertaken there include woodworking, gardening and book club, as well as regular lunches and barbecues. It is a sad reality that Men’s Sheds across Victoria have struggled financially because they have not been able to undertake normal fundraising activities. I am pleased that these grants will help the Hawthorn Men’s Shed and many others emerge strongly from the pandemic.

Member’s Statement – Funding for Men’s Sheds

14 October, 2020 I was delighted with the government’s recent announcement that $870 000 would be directed towards upgrading men’s sheds across Victoria. Men’s sheds are safe and productive spaces for men to work on common projects and participate in their local community. They are a fantastic source of community engagement and support, as they mentor young people as well as use woodwork or machinery skills to create items for organisations and residents in need. In my electorate, I am proud of the work of the Hawthorn Men’s Shed, which is one of four men’s sheds in the City of Boroondara and just a stone’s throw away from where I live. The Hawthorn Men’s Shed is a popular community hub in my electorate. So many constituents will no doubt have a story or two of how they have been assisted greatly by these fine chaps. Many activities pre-COVID undertaken there include woodworking, gardening and book club, as well as regular lunches and barbecues. It is a sad reality that Men’s Sheds across Victoria have struggled financially because they have not been able to undertake normal fundraising activities. I am pleased that these grants will help the Hawthorn Men’s Shed and many others emerge strongly from the pandemic.

Member’s Statement – Funding for Men’s Sheds

Statement made 14th October, 2020. [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Members-Statement-1-1.mp4"][/video]

Supporting Men’s Sheds Around Hawthorn

I was delighted with the government’s recent announcement that $870 000 would be directed towards upgrading men’s sheds across Victoria. Under these grants, local men’s sheds can receive funding of up to $2,300, funding which will undoubtedly benefit the Hawthorn community. Men’s Sheds are valuable to our community by providing safe and productive spaces for men to work on common projects and participate in their local community. The impacts of the pandemic have led many of them to struggle financially while unable to fund raise, amplifying the importance of government support. Applications for the grants close on the 30th of November, and can be accessed via the DHHS here. I was proud to speak further in support of this funding in a Member’s Statement in Parliament this past Wednesday, the 14th of October 2020. [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Members-Statement-.mp4"][/video]

Supporting Men’s Sheds Around Hawthorn

I was delighted with the government’s recent announcement that $870 000 would be directed towards upgrading men’s sheds across Victoria. Under these grants, local men’s sheds can receive funding of up to $2,300, funding which will undoubtedly benefit the Hawthorn community. Men’s Sheds are valuable to our community by providing safe and productive spaces for men to work on common projects and participate in their local community. The impacts of the pandemic have led many of them to struggle financially while unable to fund raise, amplifying the importance of government support. Applications for the grants close on the 30th of November, and can be accessed via the DHHS here. I was proud to speak further in support of this funding in a Member’s Statement in Parliament this past Wednesday, the 14th of October 2020. [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Members-Statement-.mp4"][/video]

A Sparkling New Hawthorn!

  On Wednesday (7 October) we move from Camberwell Rd to a brand new home at 197-199 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn (opposite Australia Post).  Facilities include an enlarged community room and off-street parking.  We look forward to maximizing and enhancing our engagement with Hawthorn constituents.  Hopefully you will visit us once restrictions on walk-in callers are lifted.  In the meantime do not hesitate to ring our enthusiastic onsite duty staff, Patrick and Ariel  – our number is still 9882 4088. In moving further along Tram Route 75 I wish to thank our near neighbours especially Camberwell Police Station, Boroondara Council Offices and Library, moving 1 Dry Cleaners and favourite takeaways, Chapter 21 and Legacy.     Staying In Touch With Hawthorn Constituents There are 44,828 electors in Hawthorn.  Over April-September just under half of one per cent of this number (= 224) sent emails on the handling of Covid by the Victorian and Australian Governments.  There has been a range of opinions regarding actions taken and not taken. In addition we have received emails and calls seeking clarification on restrictions, special cases, exemptions and related matters.  Throughout April-September we have, during business hours (9-5, Monday to Friday), proudly maintained onsite skeleton staffing with full telephone, email, mail and delivery services even if we couldn’t accept callers through the front door. As for the MP: I have been a factionally non-aligned member of the Labor Party since joining in 2011, following a career as foundation principal of a non-government secondary school.  Like you I have endured hardship in fighting Covid; eg unable to visit our first grandchild (Elsie) in nearby Rosanna but more than 5km from where we live in Hawthorn.  From my life and work experience I join others (eg as reported in polls and from emails) in saluting Governments in overall handling of the Covid crisis even if there are things that would have been better done differently (eg Federal Aged Care Royal Commission findings, disastrous State provisions in 2 of Melbourne’s 20 quarantine hotels). I encourage you to sign up to our Fortnightly Update (see here) and peruse a few editions via the website, www.johnkennedymp.com.au  - “Where to Find John Kennedy” is also on the website.  

A Sparkling New Hawthorn!

  On Wednesday (7 October) we move from Camberwell Rd to a brand new home at 197-199 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn (opposite Australia Post).  Facilities include an enlarged community room and off-street parking.  We look forward to maximizing and enhancing our engagement with Hawthorn constituents.  Hopefully you will visit us once restrictions on walk-in callers are lifted.  In the meantime do not hesitate to ring our enthusiastic onsite duty staff, Patrick and Ariel  – our number is still 9882 4088. In moving further along Tram Route 75 I wish to thank our near neighbours especially Camberwell Police Station, Boroondara Council Offices and Library, moving 1 Dry Cleaners and favourite takeaways, Chapter 21 and Legacy.     Staying In Touch With Hawthorn Constituents There are 44,828 electors in Hawthorn.  Over April-September just under half of one per cent of this number (= 224) sent emails on the handling of Covid by the Victorian and Australian Governments.  There has been a range of opinions regarding actions taken and not taken. In addition we have received emails and calls seeking clarification on restrictions, special cases, exemptions and related matters.  Throughout April-September we have, during business hours (9-5, Monday to Friday), proudly maintained onsite skeleton staffing with full telephone, email, mail and delivery services even if we couldn’t accept callers through the front door. As for the MP: I have been a factionally non-aligned member of the Labor Party since joining in 2011, following a career as foundation principal of a non-government secondary school.  Like you I have endured hardship in fighting Covid; eg unable to visit our first grandchild (Elsie) in nearby Rosanna but more than 5km from where we live in Hawthorn.  From my life and work experience I join others (eg as reported in polls and from emails) in saluting Governments in overall handling of the Covid crisis even if there are things that would have been better done differently (eg Federal Aged Care Royal Commission findings, disastrous State provisions in 2 of Melbourne’s 20 quarantine hotels). I encourage you to sign up to our Fortnightly Update (see here) and peruse a few editions via the website, www.johnkennedymp.com.au  - “Where to Find John Kennedy” is also on the website.  

Victorian Police – Remembrance Day Last Tuesday

Victorian Police – Remembrance Day Last Tuesday   Last Tuesday was Police Remembrance Day. Whilst it is incredibly important each year to reflect on the bravery of the men and women in blue; it is particularly poignant in 2020 and also ‘Close to Home.’ Our next-door neighbours at the Electorate Office is the Camberwell Police Station and my daughter, is a member of the force after joining Victoria Police seven years ago after Arts/Law degrees and other life experiences. Also, the tragic deaths of the four police officers in the line of duty were on the nearby Eastern Freeway. Flowers were delivered on behalf of Hawthorn constituents at Camberwell Police station.  Tributes were paid to Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Glen Humphris and Constable Joshua Prestney by their colleagues last Tuesday. On Snr Constable Lynette Taylor: “When Lyn came into the room, she would just brighten my day. I knew my day would be better with her around,“ Leading Senior Constable McMorron said. On Snr Constable Kevin King: “Kevin was an older head with a lot of life experience. He always made good judgement calls and decisions,” Senior Bradford Peters said. On Constable Glen Humphris: “It was evident straight away that he was in it to help people. Some people get into the job to catch crooks or for a career change, but Glen just wanted to help,” Constable Jessie George said. On Constable Joshua Prestney: “He was methodical, he was cluey, he would make a really good detective. Josh, you were and always will be a brother in blue. You make me proud to be a police officer and you were an incredible man. I’ll miss your cheeky smile and your one-liners,” Constable Ty Christy said. Their dedicated service to the community is respected. They and their deeds will be remembered. Police Remembrance Day Order of Service booklet can be found here, and you can watch the service here.  

Victorian Police – Remembrance Day Last Tuesday

Victorian Police – Remembrance Day Last Tuesday   Last Tuesday was Police Remembrance Day. Whilst it is incredibly important each year to reflect on the bravery of the men and women in blue; it is particularly poignant in 2020 and also ‘Close to Home.’ Our next-door neighbours at the Electorate Office is the Camberwell Police Station and my daughter, is a member of the force after joining Victoria Police seven years ago after Arts/Law degrees and other life experiences. Also, the tragic deaths of the four police officers in the line of duty were on the nearby Eastern Freeway. Flowers were delivered on behalf of Hawthorn constituents at Camberwell Police station.  Tributes were paid to Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Glen Humphris and Constable Joshua Prestney by their colleagues last Tuesday. On Snr Constable Lynette Taylor: “When Lyn came into the room, she would just brighten my day. I knew my day would be better with her around,“ Leading Senior Constable McMorron said. On Snr Constable Kevin King: “Kevin was an older head with a lot of life experience. He always made good judgement calls and decisions,” Senior Bradford Peters said. On Constable Glen Humphris: “It was evident straight away that he was in it to help people. Some people get into the job to catch crooks or for a career change, but Glen just wanted to help,” Constable Jessie George said. On Constable Joshua Prestney: “He was methodical, he was cluey, he would make a really good detective. Josh, you were and always will be a brother in blue. You make me proud to be a police officer and you were an incredible man. I’ll miss your cheeky smile and your one-liners,” Constable Ty Christy said. Their dedicated service to the community is respected. They and their deeds will be remembered. Police Remembrance Day Order of Service booklet can be found here, and you can watch the service here.  

The Reality of Global Warming

The two previous articles addressed global warming and its relationship to climate change, but is it real and what are the causes? Scientists attribute the global warming, observed since the mid-20th century, to particular gases in the atmosphere that trap and prevent heat from radiating from Earth. This is known as the Greenhouse Effect. While the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapour: it is short lived, it increases with global warming caused by the other greenhouse gases (GHG) and according to the American Chemical Society this feedback can amplify the warming effect of other greenhouse gases. Of the gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere, the most significant GHG is carbon dioxide (CO2). But other GHG are methane and nitrous oxide. Base levels of carbon dioxide are released through natural processes such as breakdown of plant material, volcanic eruptions and bushfires, but according to NASA the human activities of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas, over the last century are mainly responsible for increasing the levels of CO2.  NASA’s chart below shows the current level of CO2 compared to levels over the last 800,000 years determined from ice cores. While CO2 levels have fluctuated in long-lasting cycles, the current spike is a clear breakout beyond any previous cycle. This chart, and the Berkeley Earth temperature chart in the first article of the series, both show a rapid increase in the last 50 years.  The 2014 IPCC report (p. 47) concluded that the probability that the last 50 years of global warming have been caused mostly by human activities is greater than 95 per cent. This is known as anthropogenic global warming. The next article in the series will address humanity’s contribution to climate change.

The Reality of Global Warming

The two previous articles addressed global warming and its relationship to climate change, but is it real and what are the causes? Scientists attribute the global warming, observed since the mid-20th century, to particular gases in the atmosphere that trap and prevent heat from radiating from Earth. This is known as the Greenhouse Effect. While the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapour: it is short lived, it increases with global warming caused by the other greenhouse gases (GHG) and according to the American Chemical Society this feedback can amplify the warming effect of other greenhouse gases. Of the gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere, the most significant GHG is carbon dioxide (CO2). But other GHG are methane and nitrous oxide. Base levels of carbon dioxide are released through natural processes such as breakdown of plant material, volcanic eruptions and bushfires, but according to NASA the human activities of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas, over the last century are mainly responsible for increasing the levels of CO2.  NASA’s chart below shows the current level of CO2 compared to levels over the last 800,000 years determined from ice cores. While CO2 levels have fluctuated in long-lasting cycles, the current spike is a clear breakout beyond any previous cycle. This chart, and the Berkeley Earth temperature chart in the first article of the series, both show a rapid increase in the last 50 years.  The 2014 IPCC report (p. 47) concluded that the probability that the last 50 years of global warming have been caused mostly by human activities is greater than 95 per cent. This is known as anthropogenic global warming. The next article in the series will address humanity’s contribution to climate change.

Improved Aged Care Services for Auburn House

The Victorian Government is upgrading more than 50 public sector residential aged care services, delivering hundreds of new jobs and ensuring thousands of older Victorians continue to get the care and comfort they deserve. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan today announced $30 million in funding to improve Victoria’s public sector residential aged care services, home to some of our most vulnerable older Victorians. The package will deliver $20 million to upgrade 33 facilities that collectively operate 1,787 aged care beds – including 267 beds that are dedicated to supporting the mental health of older Victorians. This includes $15 million shared by 17 metropolitan facilities to upgrade buildings, replace infrastructure and improve accessibility for residents and staff. Another $5 million will see 16 regional facilities also undertake important upgrades, including new flooring, refurbishing communal living areas and replacing equipment. A further $10 million will deliver 20 improvement projects across 19 regional facilities, funded through the fourth round of the Government’s landmark $350 Regional Health Infrastructure Fund (RHIF) Included in the funding announcement is over $1 million for St Vincent’s Hospital – Auburn House in Hawthorn to undertake various maintenance works to improve resident and staff amenity, accessibility, building fabric and associated infrastructure. The $20 million funding is part of the Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works program – getting thousands of people back to work across our state as Victoria recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Quote attributable to John Kennedy - Member for Hawthorn: “The Andrews Labor government is committed to providing quality public sector aged care and local jobs. This important and critical investment will deliver improved facilities for older people at Auburn House, in Hawthorn and I am very pleased that residents will receive the care and dignity that they deserve.” End.

Improved Aged Care Services for Auburn House

The Victorian Government is upgrading more than 50 public sector residential aged care services, delivering hundreds of new jobs and ensuring thousands of older Victorians continue to get the care and comfort they deserve. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan today announced $30 million in funding to improve Victoria’s public sector residential aged care services, home to some of our most vulnerable older Victorians. The package will deliver $20 million to upgrade 33 facilities that collectively operate 1,787 aged care beds – including 267 beds that are dedicated to supporting the mental health of older Victorians. This includes $15 million shared by 17 metropolitan facilities to upgrade buildings, replace infrastructure and improve accessibility for residents and staff. Another $5 million will see 16 regional facilities also undertake important upgrades, including new flooring, refurbishing communal living areas and replacing equipment. A further $10 million will deliver 20 improvement projects across 19 regional facilities, funded through the fourth round of the Government’s landmark $350 Regional Health Infrastructure Fund (RHIF) Included in the funding announcement is over $1 million for St Vincent’s Hospital – Auburn House in Hawthorn to undertake various maintenance works to improve resident and staff amenity, accessibility, building fabric and associated infrastructure. The $20 million funding is part of the Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works program – getting thousands of people back to work across our state as Victoria recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Quote attributable to John Kennedy - Member for Hawthorn: “The Andrews Labor government is committed to providing quality public sector aged care and local jobs. This important and critical investment will deliver improved facilities for older people at Auburn House, in Hawthorn and I am very pleased that residents will receive the care and dignity that they deserve.” End.

Extra support for mental health, alcohol and other drugs services

The Victorian Government is ensuring non-government organisations who deliver mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) services are ready to respond and to prevent possible outbreaks, as coronavirus case numbers come down, and we take steps to COVID Normal. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley recently announced over $21 million in funding to support the ongoing safe operation of mental health and AOD services across the state. In an effort to reduce the need for staff to work across multiple mental health and AOD sites, we will provide $5 million to increase hourly rates or provide retainers for NGO workers, as well as funding consistent backfill for staff who may be unable to work due to exposure or contraction of coronavirus. $1 million is also being invested to extend operating hours to support access for clients after hours, to reduce the number of people accessing the service at once. More that $6.5 million in grants will be made available for practical minor infrastructure upgrades to reduce contamination risk such as installing sensor taps, or air conditioning to improve air flow and modifying  outdoor facilities. Over $8.6 million will support increased cleaning and sanitation capacity for the sector, and equip staff with infection control training – with funding available for backfill staff to make training attendance easier. Mental health and AOD services share some common risk factors as those in general health services and aged care and disability residential services, such as shared facilities and servicing vulnerable cohorts. This funding will ensure these vital services are able to safely care for Victorians during the coronavirus pandemic and through recovery. These initiatives were established as a result of feedback provided by community sector services through a series of roundtables with the Government. This new funding builds on the almost $200 million the Victorian Government has already invested in targeted mental health support during the pandemic to boost and consolidate surge capacity for frontline services, fast track recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and tailor support for small businesses and schools. One of the many programs this funding has supported includes the new Partners in Wellbeing service. This is a free, statewide one-on-one counselling service providing Victorians with ongoing well-being coaching and emotional support. The service helps people explore the reasons causing stress and anxiety helping them get back in control. Partners in Wellbeing service is available to anyone in Victoria by contacting 1300 375 330. Support continues to be available through Lifeline Australia (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

Extra support for mental health, alcohol and other drugs services

The Victorian Government is ensuring non-government organisations who deliver mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) services are ready to respond and to prevent possible outbreaks, as coronavirus case numbers come down, and we take steps to COVID Normal. Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley recently announced over $21 million in funding to support the ongoing safe operation of mental health and AOD services across the state. In an effort to reduce the need for staff to work across multiple mental health and AOD sites, we will provide $5 million to increase hourly rates or provide retainers for NGO workers, as well as funding consistent backfill for staff who may be unable to work due to exposure or contraction of coronavirus. $1 million is also being invested to extend operating hours to support access for clients after hours, to reduce the number of people accessing the service at once. More that $6.5 million in grants will be made available for practical minor infrastructure upgrades to reduce contamination risk such as installing sensor taps, or air conditioning to improve air flow and modifying  outdoor facilities. Over $8.6 million will support increased cleaning and sanitation capacity for the sector, and equip staff with infection control training – with funding available for backfill staff to make training attendance easier. Mental health and AOD services share some common risk factors as those in general health services and aged care and disability residential services, such as shared facilities and servicing vulnerable cohorts. This funding will ensure these vital services are able to safely care for Victorians during the coronavirus pandemic and through recovery. These initiatives were established as a result of feedback provided by community sector services through a series of roundtables with the Government. This new funding builds on the almost $200 million the Victorian Government has already invested in targeted mental health support during the pandemic to boost and consolidate surge capacity for frontline services, fast track recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and tailor support for small businesses and schools. One of the many programs this funding has supported includes the new Partners in Wellbeing service. This is a free, statewide one-on-one counselling service providing Victorians with ongoing well-being coaching and emotional support. The service helps people explore the reasons causing stress and anxiety helping them get back in control. Partners in Wellbeing service is available to anyone in Victoria by contacting 1300 375 330. Support continues to be available through Lifeline Australia (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

Members Statement – RUOK Day and Hawthorn AFC

Speaker, Last Thursday was RUOK day, an important day to empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life. In recognition of this day I want to acknowledge and share some of the great work being done in the mental health space by the Hawthorn Amateur Football club of which I am proudly a ‘Wings Member.; The Hawthorn ‘ammos’ are a VAFA club in my electorate and field 4 teams, both Men’s and Women’s. They are an inclusive, welcoming club that pride themselves on Respect, Progressiveness, Resilience and Integrity. The Hawks set up the wings player welfare program after they were directly touched by the devastating and far-reaching effects of depression. The wings mental health fund was created to provide the club community with the tools and resources to improve their overall mental and physical well-being and removing the financial barrier to receiving treatment. The program is strengthened by the active work of its wings ambassadors who are trained in mental health first aid and are equipped to know what to look for, how to respond and where to best direct someone looking for help. We know all too well, that so many people suffer in silence and sometimes it is because they do not know how or where to access support. I commend the Hawthorn Amateurs for this important work and pay tribute to its President, Sam Waldron, Vice-President Sarah Delbosc, Head of Player Welfare Sarah Ward and I thank Pat Clancey and other wings ambassadors for their continued advocacy of mental health.

Members Statement – RUOK Day and Hawthorn AFC

Speaker, Last Thursday was RUOK day, an important day to empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life. In recognition of this day I want to acknowledge and share some of the great work being done in the mental health space by the Hawthorn Amateur Football club of which I am proudly a ‘Wings Member.; The Hawthorn ‘ammos’ are a VAFA club in my electorate and field 4 teams, both Men’s and Women’s. They are an inclusive, welcoming club that pride themselves on Respect, Progressiveness, Resilience and Integrity. The Hawks set up the wings player welfare program after they were directly touched by the devastating and far-reaching effects of depression. The wings mental health fund was created to provide the club community with the tools and resources to improve their overall mental and physical well-being and removing the financial barrier to receiving treatment. The program is strengthened by the active work of its wings ambassadors who are trained in mental health first aid and are equipped to know what to look for, how to respond and where to best direct someone looking for help. We know all too well, that so many people suffer in silence and sometimes it is because they do not know how or where to access support. I commend the Hawthorn Amateurs for this important work and pay tribute to its President, Sam Waldron, Vice-President Sarah Delbosc, Head of Player Welfare Sarah Ward and I thank Pat Clancey and other wings ambassadors for their continued advocacy of mental health.

Working and Living with Covid Restrictions

Last Thursday and Friday as a “permitted worker” at Parliament I spoke in the Legislative Assembly on the Police and Emergency Legislation Amendment Bill.  Victorian Police and Protective Services Officers continue great work in looking after our community during these difficult times.  This legislation enhances their work on our behalf. It is a privilege and blessing to be a “permitted worker” at both Parliament and Hawthorn Electorate Office in Camberwell, to have a break from the confines of home lockdown.  However, I am certainly sharing with you much of the lockdown pain.  For example, last October I became a grandfather for the very first time!  However, over these months there has been no journeying from my home in Hawthorn to Elsie’s home in Rosanna and vice versa; thank goodness for facetime! While we really miss siting down at Elgin Inn, Tea House on Burke, Chois, Viet Star and others we are so grateful for our takeaways including Colin’s Catch, Lady Dan’s, Double Zero, Chapter 21, Legacy and Mother Dough.

Working and Living with Covid Restrictions

Last Thursday and Friday as a “permitted worker” at Parliament I spoke in the Legislative Assembly on the Police and Emergency Legislation Amendment Bill.  Victorian Police and Protective Services Officers continue great work in looking after our community during these difficult times.  This legislation enhances their work on our behalf. It is a privilege and blessing to be a “permitted worker” at both Parliament and Hawthorn Electorate Office in Camberwell, to have a break from the confines of home lockdown.  However, I am certainly sharing with you much of the lockdown pain.  For example, last October I became a grandfather for the very first time!  However, over these months there has been no journeying from my home in Hawthorn to Elsie’s home in Rosanna and vice versa; thank goodness for facetime! While we really miss siting down at Elgin Inn, Tea House on Burke, Chois, Viet Star and others we are so grateful for our takeaways including Colin’s Catch, Lady Dan’s, Double Zero, Chapter 21, Legacy and Mother Dough.

R U OK Day and the Amazing Work of Hawthorn Amateur Football Club

On Thursday 10 September we marked R U OK day. R U OK day is an important day to empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life. In recognition of this significant day I thought I would share some of the great work being done by Hawthorn Amateur Football Club of which I am proudly a 'Wings Member.' Hawthorn ‘Ammos’ are a VAFA club in my electorate and field 4 teams, both Men’s and Women’s. They are an inclusive, welcoming club that pride themselves on important values of Family, Respect, Progressiveness, Resilience & Integrity. Wins and losses come and go, but what sporting clubs do ‘off-field’ is of far greater consequence to the community in which they are part of. The Hawks set up the Wings Player Welfare program after they were directly touched by the devastating and far-reaching effects of depression. The Wings mental health fund was created to provide the Club community with the tools and resources to improve their overall mental and physical well-being and removing the financial barrier to receiving treatment. Additionally, the program is strengthened by the active work of its Wings Ambassadors; a cross section of the Club’s community who are trained in mental health first aid and are equipped to know what to look for, how to respond and where to best direct someone looking for help. We know all too well, that so many people suffer in silence and sometimes it is because they do not know how or where to access support. I commend the Hawthorn Amateurs for this important work and particularly want to acknowledge Sam Waldron (President), Sarah Delbosc (Vice-President), Sarah Ward (Player Welfare) as well as Wings Ambassadors: Pat Clancey, Matt Tanis, Daniel Grieves and James Ridley who are all passionate advocates of mental health. For more information on the Wings Program: https://www.hafc.com.au/wings Also, hear from Pat Clancey on the VAFA Podcast: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=727481 If this post has raised any issues for you, please visit www.beyondblue.org.au or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.  

R U OK Day and the Amazing Work of Hawthorn Amateur Football Club

On Thursday 10 September we marked R U OK day. R U OK day is an important day to empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life. In recognition of this significant day I thought I would share some of the great work being done by Hawthorn Amateur Football Club of which I am proudly a 'Wings Member.' Hawthorn ‘Ammos’ are a VAFA club in my electorate and field 4 teams, both Men’s and Women’s. They are an inclusive, welcoming club that pride themselves on important values of Family, Respect, Progressiveness, Resilience & Integrity. Wins and losses come and go, but what sporting clubs do ‘off-field’ is of far greater consequence to the community in which they are part of. The Hawks set up the Wings Player Welfare program after they were directly touched by the devastating and far-reaching effects of depression. The Wings mental health fund was created to provide the Club community with the tools and resources to improve their overall mental and physical well-being and removing the financial barrier to receiving treatment. Additionally, the program is strengthened by the active work of its Wings Ambassadors; a cross section of the Club’s community who are trained in mental health first aid and are equipped to know what to look for, how to respond and where to best direct someone looking for help. We know all too well, that so many people suffer in silence and sometimes it is because they do not know how or where to access support. I commend the Hawthorn Amateurs for this important work and particularly want to acknowledge Sam Waldron (President), Sarah Delbosc (Vice-President), Sarah Ward (Player Welfare) as well as Wings Ambassadors: Pat Clancey, Matt Tanis, Daniel Grieves and James Ridley who are all passionate advocates of mental health. For more information on the Wings Program: https://www.hafc.com.au/wings Also, hear from Pat Clancey on the VAFA Podcast: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=727481 If this post has raised any issues for you, please visit www.beyondblue.org.au or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.  

Climate Change Series – The link between Global Warming and Climate Change

The first article in the series, “Climate change – the basics”, showed the rapid rise in Australia’s average temperature since 1950. This article addresses the link between global warming and climate change and the elements of our climate that are influenced by global warming. According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), global warming is undeniable, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes in the climate system are unprecedented over millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have both warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea levels have risen.[1] Observable impacts of climate change are: warming oceans; shrinking ice sheets; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; extreme weather events (e.g. more extreme bushfires).[2] A clarification Now is probably the time to point out that weather and climate variations should not be confused with climate change.  Australia’s weather is influenced by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). El Niño is associated with a sustained period of warming in the Pacific Ocean and La Niña with cooling. The cycle operates over timescales from one to eight years. Effects of El Niño on Australia include reduced rainfall, warmer temperatures, shift in temperature extremes, increased frost risk, reduced tropical cyclone numbers, later monsoon onset, increased fire danger in southeast Australia and decreased alpine snow depths. Recent modelling suggests however, that climate change may enhance the impact of the ENSO cycle. Summary Global warming is causing rapid changes in our climate system. The next article in the series will explore the cause of global warming.     [1] IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for policymakers https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ [2] https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Climate Change Series – The link between Global Warming and Climate Change

The first article in the series, “Climate change – the basics”, showed the rapid rise in Australia’s average temperature since 1950. This article addresses the link between global warming and climate change and the elements of our climate that are influenced by global warming. According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), global warming is undeniable, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes in the climate system are unprecedented over millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have both warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea levels have risen.[1] Observable impacts of climate change are: warming oceans; shrinking ice sheets; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; extreme weather events (e.g. more extreme bushfires).[2] A clarification Now is probably the time to point out that weather and climate variations should not be confused with climate change.  Australia’s weather is influenced by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). El Niño is associated with a sustained period of warming in the Pacific Ocean and La Niña with cooling. The cycle operates over timescales from one to eight years. Effects of El Niño on Australia include reduced rainfall, warmer temperatures, shift in temperature extremes, increased frost risk, reduced tropical cyclone numbers, later monsoon onset, increased fire danger in southeast Australia and decreased alpine snow depths. Recent modelling suggests however, that climate change may enhance the impact of the ENSO cycle. Summary Global warming is causing rapid changes in our climate system. The next article in the series will explore the cause of global warming.     [1] IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for policymakers https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ [2] https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Camberwell Shopping Strip recieves $100,000 boost

In great news this week Boroondara Council's proposed Camberwell Highfield Streetscape Improvements will recieve $100,000 in funding from the State Government. This is an excellent boost for our local businesses as we begin the journey to reopening. The on-ground works will create local jobs, while supporting local businesses, including retailers, cafes, restaurants and service providers. Boroondara Council describes the details of the project writing: "The improvements are intended to enhance the shopping centre’s appearance and character and create a safe, functional and pedestrian-friendly environment. It is anticipated these measures will improve user satisfaction and support local businesses by creating an attractive setting for customers to enjoy." The draft concept plan aims to: create opportunities for longer stays with public spaces for sitting, relaxing and outdoor eating enhance the green, leafy character and streetscape appearance with new plantings and the use of consistent materials and street furniture improve pedestrian amenity with new footpath surfaces, furniture and shade from trees. To create these new public spaces and garden beds, it is proposed to widen the footpath in some sections of the shopping centre. There will be no change to the current number of car parks. Read more information about the project on the Boroondara Council's website : www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/about-council/have-your-say/all-consultations/highfield-road-shopping-centre-improvements  The upgrades to the Highfield Road Streetscape are part of the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund. This $3 million fund is providing dozens of local suburban shopping strips with grants to stimulate business activity, support local jobs and improve both public amenity and confidence to accelerate post-coronavirus recovery. The Victorian Government is working in partnership with local government to provide this much needed support to local businesses and the community. The Victorian Government is supporting businesses through the $534 million Business Support Package. This is in addition to $6billion in economic relief invested since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Camberwell Shopping Strip recieves $100,000 boost

In great news this week Boroondara Council's proposed Camberwell Highfield Streetscape Improvements will recieve $100,000 in funding from the State Government. This is an excellent boost for our local businesses as we begin the journey to reopening. The on-ground works will create local jobs, while supporting local businesses, including retailers, cafes, restaurants and service providers. Boroondara Council describes the details of the project writing: "The improvements are intended to enhance the shopping centre’s appearance and character and create a safe, functional and pedestrian-friendly environment. It is anticipated these measures will improve user satisfaction and support local businesses by creating an attractive setting for customers to enjoy." The draft concept plan aims to: create opportunities for longer stays with public spaces for sitting, relaxing and outdoor eating enhance the green, leafy character and streetscape appearance with new plantings and the use of consistent materials and street furniture improve pedestrian amenity with new footpath surfaces, furniture and shade from trees. To create these new public spaces and garden beds, it is proposed to widen the footpath in some sections of the shopping centre. There will be no change to the current number of car parks. Read more information about the project on the Boroondara Council's website : www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/about-council/have-your-say/all-consultations/highfield-road-shopping-centre-improvements  The upgrades to the Highfield Road Streetscape are part of the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund. This $3 million fund is providing dozens of local suburban shopping strips with grants to stimulate business activity, support local jobs and improve both public amenity and confidence to accelerate post-coronavirus recovery. The Victorian Government is working in partnership with local government to provide this much needed support to local businesses and the community. The Victorian Government is supporting businesses through the $534 million Business Support Package. This is in addition to $6billion in economic relief invested since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

New Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Hawthorn is an education hub.  Our  district is home to 45 primary schools including 12 prep to Year 12 (P-12) schools and 21 secondary schools. Also, Hawthorn is  home to Swinburne University which offers TAFE courses and higher education degrees for not only our community but all of Australian. The Swinburne Hawthorn campus has around 3,500 students enrolled in vocational courses and 14,500 students enrolled in higher education courses. Our area is full of intelligent, skilled and hard-working people who value education. At this time there is a desperate need for more trainees and apprenticeships, especially amongst young people. Recent statistics from Boroondara Council and the ABS found around 800 youth (Ages 15-24) living in the Hawhtorn area are disengaged.  Young people are considered disengaged if they are not in the labour force, employment or training. With these figures in mind I am very happy to promote the Victorian Government is supporting of 300 young Victorians into apprenticeships and traineeships as part of its $500 million Working for Victoria Fund. The new apprentices and trainees, aged between 15 and 24, will be placed with public sector employers across the state including local councils, hospitals, schools, TAFEs and water authorities. As part of the drive, the Government has joined with the Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) to increase the participation rate of young people in the workforce while assisting communities to meet future skill and employment needs. The network will coordinate 26 group training organisations to place young people into roles at government hubs in regional centres such as Ballarat and Geelong and state government departments and agencies including WorkSafe Victoria, Victorian Regional Channels Authority and Ambulance Victoria. Since its launch in April, Working for Victoria has created more than 10,000 jobs for people who have lost their jobs including those that have been impacted by coronavirus, while delivering a valuable community service. For more information or to register for Working for Victoria go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.

New Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Hawthorn is an education hub.  Our  district is home to 45 primary schools including 12 prep to Year 12 (P-12) schools and 21 secondary schools. Also, Hawthorn is  home to Swinburne University which offers TAFE courses and higher education degrees for not only our community but all of Australian. The Swinburne Hawthorn campus has around 3,500 students enrolled in vocational courses and 14,500 students enrolled in higher education courses. Our area is full of intelligent, skilled and hard-working people who value education. At this time there is a desperate need for more trainees and apprenticeships, especially amongst young people. Recent statistics from Boroondara Council and the ABS found around 800 youth (Ages 15-24) living in the Hawhtorn area are disengaged.  Young people are considered disengaged if they are not in the labour force, employment or training. With these figures in mind I am very happy to promote the Victorian Government is supporting of 300 young Victorians into apprenticeships and traineeships as part of its $500 million Working for Victoria Fund. The new apprentices and trainees, aged between 15 and 24, will be placed with public sector employers across the state including local councils, hospitals, schools, TAFEs and water authorities. As part of the drive, the Government has joined with the Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) to increase the participation rate of young people in the workforce while assisting communities to meet future skill and employment needs. The network will coordinate 26 group training organisations to place young people into roles at government hubs in regional centres such as Ballarat and Geelong and state government departments and agencies including WorkSafe Victoria, Victorian Regional Channels Authority and Ambulance Victoria. Since its launch in April, Working for Victoria has created more than 10,000 jobs for people who have lost their jobs including those that have been impacted by coronavirus, while delivering a valuable community service. For more information or to register for Working for Victoria go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.

Climate Change Series – The basics.

Throughout the upcoming additions of our Fortnightly Update we will be including articles that walk us through the issue of climate change. During a time in which we are starting to consider our world post COVID-19, we have a great opportunity to plan for a world in which we confront the issue of climate change. I would encourage you to take this time to learn and even re-learn the realities of climate change. The more we all know that better we can address these issues. In this article we will define global warming and climate change and show evidence of global warming. “Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. Global temperature shows a well-documented rise since the early 20th century and most notably since the late 1970s. “Climate change” encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet. These include rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times. Both global warming and climate change refer to movements in long term averages.  One cool summer does not mean that global warming is not occurring. Evidence of global warming: Average temperature variations are shown in the chart below.  According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), it is likely that 1983–2013 was the warmest 30-year period for 1,400 years. Source: http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/regions/australia# Scientists noted that the current rate of change in temperature is not normal and that this might impact our climate. As scientists do, they investigated the changes further, looked for causes and impacts of the changes including links to climate change. More on that next time.

Climate Change Series – The basics.

Throughout the upcoming additions of our Fortnightly Update we will be including articles that walk us through the issue of climate change. During a time in which we are starting to consider our world post COVID-19, we have a great opportunity to plan for a world in which we confront the issue of climate change. I would encourage you to take this time to learn and even re-learn the realities of climate change. The more we all know that better we can address these issues. In this article we will define global warming and climate change and show evidence of global warming. “Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. Global temperature shows a well-documented rise since the early 20th century and most notably since the late 1970s. “Climate change” encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet. These include rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times. Both global warming and climate change refer to movements in long term averages.  One cool summer does not mean that global warming is not occurring. Evidence of global warming: Average temperature variations are shown in the chart below.  According to the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), it is likely that 1983–2013 was the warmest 30-year period for 1,400 years. Source: http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/regions/australia# Scientists noted that the current rate of change in temperature is not normal and that this might impact our climate. As scientists do, they investigated the changes further, looked for causes and impacts of the changes including links to climate change. More on that next time.

Helping Hawthorn’s Sporting Clubs Survive & Thrive

Sport is an integral part of the Hawthorn community and this support will help our clubs, leagues and associations pay the bills and make an eventual return to play that little bit easier. The Victorian Government is ramping up support for state sporting associations, leagues, clubs and state sporting bodies doing it tough through the second round of the Community Sport Sector COVID-19 Survival Package.  It is with great delight that I announce applications are open for Hawthorn associations and leagues to apply for up to $2,000 and clubs for up to $1,000. Also, clubs in Hawthorn that received a $1,000 boost in the first round can expect a $500 top-up, and leagues and associations funded in the first round can expect a $1,000 top-up, within the next two weeks. From the conversations I have had with various sporting clubs, it is very clear that every bit of support helps. I am absolutely delighted that some 40 sporting clubs in Hawthorn will receive a small boost to their bottom line through this package. The first round of funding rolled out more than 5,000 of the $1,000 grants to support individual clubs, with 200 leagues and associations securing a share in $1.4 million as well as almost 70 state sporting associations, regional academies and sport bodies scoring more than $12.7 million through the program.   Successful recipients in Hawthorn:   For further information on the Community Sport Sector COVID-19 Survival Package, please visit: https://sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding

Helping Hawthorn’s Sporting Clubs Survive & Thrive

Sport is an integral part of the Hawthorn community and this support will help our clubs, leagues and associations pay the bills and make an eventual return to play that little bit easier. The Victorian Government is ramping up support for state sporting associations, leagues, clubs and state sporting bodies doing it tough through the second round of the Community Sport Sector COVID-19 Survival Package.  It is with great delight that I announce applications are open for Hawthorn associations and leagues to apply for up to $2,000 and clubs for up to $1,000. Also, clubs in Hawthorn that received a $1,000 boost in the first round can expect a $500 top-up, and leagues and associations funded in the first round can expect a $1,000 top-up, within the next two weeks. From the conversations I have had with various sporting clubs, it is very clear that every bit of support helps. I am absolutely delighted that some 40 sporting clubs in Hawthorn will receive a small boost to their bottom line through this package. The first round of funding rolled out more than 5,000 of the $1,000 grants to support individual clubs, with 200 leagues and associations securing a share in $1.4 million as well as almost 70 state sporting associations, regional academies and sport bodies scoring more than $12.7 million through the program.   Successful recipients in Hawthorn:   For further information on the Community Sport Sector COVID-19 Survival Package, please visit: https://sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding

Roadmap to reopening

Currently, Melbourne is in Stage 4 restrictions but from 11:59pm on 13 September, we’ll take our First Step towards COVID Normal. These steps will be guided by dates and data – with clear and articulated case targets, we’re creating “trigger points” for review for our public health team – giving Victorians even more insight into how we’re tracking. That includes the creation of a “bubble” for people living alone and single parents - allowing more isolated Victorians to nominate one other person – a friend or family member that can visit them in their home. Exercise will also be expanded. Under the First Step, it will also be lengthened to two hours every day. This could be a two-hour block or split into two one-hour blocks. You can continue exercising with one other person outside your household – or those you live with. We’ll also expand this to include “social interaction”. These are activities that don’t require the reopening of a workplace or recreational facility – things like sharing a picnic in your local park or reading a book at your local beach. And for parents just as much as kids, the reopening of playgrounds. The curfew will also move back an hour to 9pm. Ahead of 28 September, and if we’re on track with our case numbers, our public health team will review our progress and ensure we can confidently move metropolitan Melbourne to the Second Step. Under the Second Step in metropolitan Melbourne, we’ll get more people back to work – some 100,000 workers across construction, manufacturing, and landscape garden and maintenance workers who operate alone. Childcare will also open without permits – making life a little less stressful for parents working from home. I know for a lot of businesses, they’ll want to know what comes next for them too, and certainty to plan for the future.  And while the current arrangements will remain in place until at least 28 September, we’ll continue meeting with you – and listening to you – to make sure you have that certainty going forward.   For Victoria's step by step, sector by sector, activity by activity breakdown please click here:      

Roadmap to reopening

Currently, Melbourne is in Stage 4 restrictions but from 11:59pm on 13 September, we’ll take our First Step towards COVID Normal. These steps will be guided by dates and data – with clear and articulated case targets, we’re creating “trigger points” for review for our public health team – giving Victorians even more insight into how we’re tracking. That includes the creation of a “bubble” for people living alone and single parents - allowing more isolated Victorians to nominate one other person – a friend or family member that can visit them in their home. Exercise will also be expanded. Under the First Step, it will also be lengthened to two hours every day. This could be a two-hour block or split into two one-hour blocks. You can continue exercising with one other person outside your household – or those you live with. We’ll also expand this to include “social interaction”. These are activities that don’t require the reopening of a workplace or recreational facility – things like sharing a picnic in your local park or reading a book at your local beach. And for parents just as much as kids, the reopening of playgrounds. The curfew will also move back an hour to 9pm. Ahead of 28 September, and if we’re on track with our case numbers, our public health team will review our progress and ensure we can confidently move metropolitan Melbourne to the Second Step. Under the Second Step in metropolitan Melbourne, we’ll get more people back to work – some 100,000 workers across construction, manufacturing, and landscape garden and maintenance workers who operate alone. Childcare will also open without permits – making life a little less stressful for parents working from home. I know for a lot of businesses, they’ll want to know what comes next for them too, and certainty to plan for the future.  And while the current arrangements will remain in place until at least 28 September, we’ll continue meeting with you – and listening to you – to make sure you have that certainty going forward.   For Victoria's step by step, sector by sector, activity by activity breakdown please click here:      

Re-opening our community safely

Over the last few weeks we have received numerous messages from the people of Hawthorn about what to expect in the future. We appreciate people reaching out to our office to give us a better idea of the thoughts, feelings, concerns and ideas of the people in this community. We understand this has been an extremely difficult period on many fronts. I, my staff and my family have all felt effects of this pandemic with you. We cannot get complacent with case number reducing and the hard work of the Victorian people paying off. Yet, we have to begin to plan for the future ahead. This Sunday, 6 September The Victorian Government will release its reopening road map. This will provide certainty and clarity to communities and businesses alike. Ahead of this release, the Government will commence an intensive, and extensive, round of discussions with industry, unions and community organisations to inform the final development of Victoria’s road map to ‘COVID Normal’. This consultation will be based around six principles for industry on a COVID. Safe re-opening, based on the best advice from our public health experts – and imperative to keeping our community safe. We need the voices of industry to inform how this re-opening can happen practically, safely and steadily. This will be vital to planning what a ‘COVID Normal’ will look like, industry by industry. Many of the key principles are things Victorian businesses and workplaces continue to practice every day: ensuring physical distancing, including following density requirements, making sure staff work from home wherever possible, limiting the total number of staff and customers in an enclosed area, and stopping carpooling wearing a face covering at all times in the workplace and ensuring full PPE is worn in high-risk settings requiring hygienic workplaces, with high-touch points regularly cleaned, staff regularly washing their hands, and hand sanitisers available for all staff and customers continuing to act quickly if staff become unwell by having a strict policy that supports them to stay home and get tested, even if they have mild symptoms. All places of work need to have a plan to act immediately if there is a confirmed case and records must be kept of all staff, customers and visitors. Recognising there is no one size fits all solution, the Government will commit to tailoring guidance to different industries as part of the roadmap. Additionally, wherever possible, workforce bubbles should be created to limit the number of staff who have prolonged and close contact with each other. To achieve this, teams of staff could be rostered on the same shifts, with no overlap in shift changes and a reduction in staff working across multiple sites. Under the proposed framework, meetings and lunchtimes could also look different, with enclosed spaces avoided wherever possible.  Opening doors and windows for airflow rather than relying only on recirculated air and moving tearooms and lunch breaks outside – along with meetings and team catch-ups – all help to reduce risk. As part of our work to finalise a road map, the Government will also consult with community support organisations on the impacts of social isolation on Victorians. The Government will also seek feedback on the current worker permit system and childcare arrangements – and these insights will be vital as we transition to a ‘COVID Normal.’ Engagement with industry, unions and community organisations will take place from today, with advice to then be provided to Victoria’s public health team who will consider feedback as work on the road map continues. Based on the outcomes of these consultations, the Government and our health experts will finalise the plan for re-opening by the end of the week. For more information about consultations contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15 or visit www.business.vic.gov.au

Re-opening our community safely

Over the last few weeks we have received numerous messages from the people of Hawthorn about what to expect in the future. We appreciate people reaching out to our office to give us a better idea of the thoughts, feelings, concerns and ideas of the people in this community. We understand this has been an extremely difficult period on many fronts. I, my staff and my family have all felt effects of this pandemic with you. We cannot get complacent with case number reducing and the hard work of the Victorian people paying off. Yet, we have to begin to plan for the future ahead. This Sunday, 6 September The Victorian Government will release its reopening road map. This will provide certainty and clarity to communities and businesses alike. Ahead of this release, the Government will commence an intensive, and extensive, round of discussions with industry, unions and community organisations to inform the final development of Victoria’s road map to ‘COVID Normal’. This consultation will be based around six principles for industry on a COVID. Safe re-opening, based on the best advice from our public health experts – and imperative to keeping our community safe. We need the voices of industry to inform how this re-opening can happen practically, safely and steadily. This will be vital to planning what a ‘COVID Normal’ will look like, industry by industry. Many of the key principles are things Victorian businesses and workplaces continue to practice every day: ensuring physical distancing, including following density requirements, making sure staff work from home wherever possible, limiting the total number of staff and customers in an enclosed area, and stopping carpooling wearing a face covering at all times in the workplace and ensuring full PPE is worn in high-risk settings requiring hygienic workplaces, with high-touch points regularly cleaned, staff regularly washing their hands, and hand sanitisers available for all staff and customers continuing to act quickly if staff become unwell by having a strict policy that supports them to stay home and get tested, even if they have mild symptoms. All places of work need to have a plan to act immediately if there is a confirmed case and records must be kept of all staff, customers and visitors. Recognising there is no one size fits all solution, the Government will commit to tailoring guidance to different industries as part of the roadmap. Additionally, wherever possible, workforce bubbles should be created to limit the number of staff who have prolonged and close contact with each other. To achieve this, teams of staff could be rostered on the same shifts, with no overlap in shift changes and a reduction in staff working across multiple sites. Under the proposed framework, meetings and lunchtimes could also look different, with enclosed spaces avoided wherever possible.  Opening doors and windows for airflow rather than relying only on recirculated air and moving tearooms and lunch breaks outside – along with meetings and team catch-ups – all help to reduce risk. As part of our work to finalise a road map, the Government will also consult with community support organisations on the impacts of social isolation on Victorians. The Government will also seek feedback on the current worker permit system and childcare arrangements – and these insights will be vital as we transition to a ‘COVID Normal.’ Engagement with industry, unions and community organisations will take place from today, with advice to then be provided to Victoria’s public health team who will consider feedback as work on the road map continues. Based on the outcomes of these consultations, the Government and our health experts will finalise the plan for re-opening by the end of the week. For more information about consultations contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15 or visit www.business.vic.gov.au

New Orange Door for Inner East Melbourne

The average recorded family or domestic violence cases throughout Hawthorn a year is around 800 cases, with an average of 8,000 in the Eastern Metropolitan area alone.  What is even more concerning is these figures don't register incidents that may go unreported or are hidden. Family violence is ugly. It can be a very difficult subject to discuss and sometimes even harder to find support for. If family violence occurs in any form we want to ensure that's where the harm stops. One time is too many. The Victorian Government is supporting more women and children escape family violence with the rollout of the Orange Door Network in an additional five areas of the state, as we continue to implement all the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Orange Door Network will expand Melbourne to cover Hawthorn and inner-east. As well as new sites in Ovens Murray, Wimmera South-West and Outer Gippsland. Orange Door is about providing every family the specialist support they need regardless of where they live. From workers across family violence, child and family services, Aboriginal and men’s services, along with emergency and crisis services. The network is already operating in five areas across the state with our closest centre in Heidelberg covering North East Melbourne. The final four sites will be announced in coming months as work continues to ensure a local point of access for all Victorians no matter where they live. The Government has already acquitted more than two-thirds of the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission, with 166 recommendations now implemented. Most recently, the Government has launched a family violence jobs portal to ensure the sector can continue to attract people with different backgrounds, experiences and skills to support Victorians – as the sector ramps up to help end family violence. We’re also teaching medical practitioners to better deal with family violence with the development of a family violence training program. It will include undergraduate and graduate training for prevention of family violence, continuing professional development, as well as guidance on appropriate responses to people with mental illness who have suffered family violence.The training will mean a stronger approach to identification and early referral for victim survivors and more effective treatment. Acquitting another Royal Commission recommendation, Victoria Police are already trialling the use of body worn cameras during family violence incidents.The Government is also investing $3.4 million to prevent violence before it starts, with a focus on supporting women and families from Aboriginal and multicultural communities, as well as those with disability. Since the Orange Door Network opened in 2018, almost 100,000 Victorians have been referred or directly sought help for family violence.      

New Orange Door for Inner East Melbourne

The average recorded family or domestic violence cases throughout Hawthorn a year is around 800 cases, with an average of 8,000 in the Eastern Metropolitan area alone.  What is even more concerning is these figures don't register incidents that may go unreported or are hidden. Family violence is ugly. It can be a very difficult subject to discuss and sometimes even harder to find support for. If family violence occurs in any form we want to ensure that's where the harm stops. One time is too many. The Victorian Government is supporting more women and children escape family violence with the rollout of the Orange Door Network in an additional five areas of the state, as we continue to implement all the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The Orange Door Network will expand Melbourne to cover Hawthorn and inner-east. As well as new sites in Ovens Murray, Wimmera South-West and Outer Gippsland. Orange Door is about providing every family the specialist support they need regardless of where they live. From workers across family violence, child and family services, Aboriginal and men’s services, along with emergency and crisis services. The network is already operating in five areas across the state with our closest centre in Heidelberg covering North East Melbourne. The final four sites will be announced in coming months as work continues to ensure a local point of access for all Victorians no matter where they live. The Government has already acquitted more than two-thirds of the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission, with 166 recommendations now implemented. Most recently, the Government has launched a family violence jobs portal to ensure the sector can continue to attract people with different backgrounds, experiences and skills to support Victorians – as the sector ramps up to help end family violence. We’re also teaching medical practitioners to better deal with family violence with the development of a family violence training program. It will include undergraduate and graduate training for prevention of family violence, continuing professional development, as well as guidance on appropriate responses to people with mental illness who have suffered family violence.The training will mean a stronger approach to identification and early referral for victim survivors and more effective treatment. Acquitting another Royal Commission recommendation, Victoria Police are already trialling the use of body worn cameras during family violence incidents.The Government is also investing $3.4 million to prevent violence before it starts, with a focus on supporting women and families from Aboriginal and multicultural communities, as well as those with disability. Since the Orange Door Network opened in 2018, almost 100,000 Victorians have been referred or directly sought help for family violence.      

Solar for our Public Buildings

Late last year I received a letter some Year 6 students from Camberwell Primary School. They wrote to me concerned about their "energy problem" they had discovered after conducting an energy audit on the school. They wrote: Climate change is a life threatening crisis and whether we like it or not, it needs to be prevented from getting worse. Our school community wants to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses implicated through our energy use. We conducted an energy audit on our school and found that our school is not energy efficient. We are convinced that installing solar on our roof is the best possible way to become a more environmentally friendly school. I couldn't agree more! Renewable energy is here to stay and for good reason.  From primary school students to your Member for Hawthorn, we all know the positive environmental impact renewable energy. Not only this, the financial benefits of renewable energy, especially solar can be understated. As an affordable and environmentally sustainable power option we want to make solar energy available to public buildings.  This will make a huge impact on the up take of renewable energy across our state as well as saving community groups money on power bills. What is the Solar on Public Buildings program? The Solar on Public Buildings is a $9.2 million program funded by the Victorian Government. The program will install solar systems on eligible public buildings across Victoria, to help reduce energy bills, increase community energy knowledge and enhance the long-term sustainability of volunteer community groups. The program will also add value to the public land sites by carrying out energy audits on all sites, improving electrical safety on old buildings and installing an energy monitoring system to monitor the solar system performance in real time. Battery installations will be considered for some sites. The program follows the successful implementation of a similar program in the Gippsland region in 2017-19, which resulted in solar system installs on 69 public buildings that included small country halls and large multi-user recreation reserves. Who is eligible? Buildings on public land that are run by volunteer committees of management will be eligible to receive solar photo voltaic infrastructure under this program. Examples may include sport and recreation buildings and community halls. What type of Solar System will be installed? A registered solar installer accredited by the CEC will assess each building and review power bills and usage patterns on the Crown land reserve to provide recommendations on the type and size of solar system required to offset the energy needs of the facility and to meet program objectives. The solar system will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each eligible reserve. All equipment installed will be high quality (Tier One) products that are approved by the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC). Is it safe? Yes. Only Clean Energy Council (CEC) endorsed products and installers and only Australian Standard tier one photo voltaic solar panels will be used. The contractors on the panel will be local contractors where possible, who have experience in the installation of solar systems. Each system has a warranty period of at least five years, so any repairs required during the warranty period will be repaired free of charge. For more information on solar for public buildings please visit - www.forestsandreserves.vic.gov.au/grants/solar-on-public-buildings-program For information about solar energy on private residential property please visit - www.solar.vic.gov.au/solar-rebates  For information about making Government schools greener through solar energy and much more please visit - www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/GreenerGovernment

Solar for our Public Buildings

Late last year I received a letter some Year 6 students from Camberwell Primary School. They wrote to me concerned about their "energy problem" they had discovered after conducting an energy audit on the school. They wrote: Climate change is a life threatening crisis and whether we like it or not, it needs to be prevented from getting worse. Our school community wants to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses implicated through our energy use. We conducted an energy audit on our school and found that our school is not energy efficient. We are convinced that installing solar on our roof is the best possible way to become a more environmentally friendly school. I couldn't agree more! Renewable energy is here to stay and for good reason.  From primary school students to your Member for Hawthorn, we all know the positive environmental impact renewable energy. Not only this, the financial benefits of renewable energy, especially solar can be understated. As an affordable and environmentally sustainable power option we want to make solar energy available to public buildings.  This will make a huge impact on the up take of renewable energy across our state as well as saving community groups money on power bills. What is the Solar on Public Buildings program? The Solar on Public Buildings is a $9.2 million program funded by the Victorian Government. The program will install solar systems on eligible public buildings across Victoria, to help reduce energy bills, increase community energy knowledge and enhance the long-term sustainability of volunteer community groups. The program will also add value to the public land sites by carrying out energy audits on all sites, improving electrical safety on old buildings and installing an energy monitoring system to monitor the solar system performance in real time. Battery installations will be considered for some sites. The program follows the successful implementation of a similar program in the Gippsland region in 2017-19, which resulted in solar system installs on 69 public buildings that included small country halls and large multi-user recreation reserves. Who is eligible? Buildings on public land that are run by volunteer committees of management will be eligible to receive solar photo voltaic infrastructure under this program. Examples may include sport and recreation buildings and community halls. What type of Solar System will be installed? A registered solar installer accredited by the CEC will assess each building and review power bills and usage patterns on the Crown land reserve to provide recommendations on the type and size of solar system required to offset the energy needs of the facility and to meet program objectives. The solar system will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each eligible reserve. All equipment installed will be high quality (Tier One) products that are approved by the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC). Is it safe? Yes. Only Clean Energy Council (CEC) endorsed products and installers and only Australian Standard tier one photo voltaic solar panels will be used. The contractors on the panel will be local contractors where possible, who have experience in the installation of solar systems. Each system has a warranty period of at least five years, so any repairs required during the warranty period will be repaired free of charge. For more information on solar for public buildings please visit - www.forestsandreserves.vic.gov.au/grants/solar-on-public-buildings-program For information about solar energy on private residential property please visit - www.solar.vic.gov.au/solar-rebates  For information about making Government schools greener through solar energy and much more please visit - www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/GreenerGovernment

Halfway through and still here for you

We are now halfway through Stage-4 restrictions and I would like to thank all the people of Hawthorn for the communities' effort in fighting COVID-19. From simply wearing a mask to staying in touch with people, we can and have all stepped up to do our part. Yet this is not over, and we must remain vigilant. I also thank you, fellow residents, for the significant email and telephone support for the Victorian Government’s handling of COVID-19’s health, welfare and economy issues.  Notwithstanding, there have been two emails:   One cheeky “admirer”: “I’m curious as to what you’ve actually achieved...I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in the local paper...A dot point response of your achievements would be interesting & I could get an idea of your effectiveness.”   And another: “...I am wondering why we have not heard from you at all? Surely you have information and direction for us?  Are you actually working?  I believe that a lot of the anxiety and confusion that abounds within our immediate community could be alleviated somewhat with some direct input from our elected member”.   Achievements in Spring Street Hawthorn Electorate, thanks to your votes on November 2018, now has the good fortune of having its MP in the Government ranks.  As a backbencher I have been able to play my part in achievements.  The fact of being “non-aligned”, as factions go, has not precluded an active role; e.g. I was privileged to Chair the Victorian “Review into vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling”. Onsite and offsite in Hawthorn With COVID-19 onset your Electorate Office has maintained onsite skeleton staffing, Monday to Friday, 9-5. With staff working from home the burden of presence has fallen to the Member and family volunteer.  Indeed, I have been onsite for nearly every business day of the last five months.  Our lights are on, telephone calls answered, triage, deliveries, hard mail especially for those without IT capacity and other essential services, in accordance with restrictions and very much in solidarity with local traders and neighbouring schools - although still unable to accept personal callers through the door.  One enjoyable task has been personally inscribing cards for 130+ constituents each month turning 75, 80, 90 and 100+!  Whilst working from home staff have telephoned over 3000 senior constituents inquiring about health and special needs. In touch every fortnight and via www.johnkennedymp.com.au The first Hawthorn Fortnightly Update (FNU) was emailed Monday, 17 June 2019.  This 30th edition comes today with encouragement to sign up others to our subscriber list.  I also commend our website which includes plenty of current news plus times and places to meet John (albeit with some difficulty during Stage 3/4).  In my corner of Hawthorn I carry the John Kennedy red bag, silver badge on jumper and mask firmly in place whilst nodding to fellow purchasers at Colin’s Catch on Fridays and other takeaways and, as a permitted worker, travellers on the spacious Tram 75.  And there have been publications by mail; eg Information for Seniors.  However, we are always open to suggestions as to how better engage with our community.  

Halfway through and still here for you

We are now halfway through Stage-4 restrictions and I would like to thank all the people of Hawthorn for the communities' effort in fighting COVID-19. From simply wearing a mask to staying in touch with people, we can and have all stepped up to do our part. Yet this is not over, and we must remain vigilant. I also thank you, fellow residents, for the significant email and telephone support for the Victorian Government’s handling of COVID-19’s health, welfare and economy issues.  Notwithstanding, there have been two emails:   One cheeky “admirer”: “I’m curious as to what you’ve actually achieved...I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in the local paper...A dot point response of your achievements would be interesting & I could get an idea of your effectiveness.”   And another: “...I am wondering why we have not heard from you at all? Surely you have information and direction for us?  Are you actually working?  I believe that a lot of the anxiety and confusion that abounds within our immediate community could be alleviated somewhat with some direct input from our elected member”.   Achievements in Spring Street Hawthorn Electorate, thanks to your votes on November 2018, now has the good fortune of having its MP in the Government ranks.  As a backbencher I have been able to play my part in achievements.  The fact of being “non-aligned”, as factions go, has not precluded an active role; e.g. I was privileged to Chair the Victorian “Review into vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling”. Onsite and offsite in Hawthorn With COVID-19 onset your Electorate Office has maintained onsite skeleton staffing, Monday to Friday, 9-5. With staff working from home the burden of presence has fallen to the Member and family volunteer.  Indeed, I have been onsite for nearly every business day of the last five months.  Our lights are on, telephone calls answered, triage, deliveries, hard mail especially for those without IT capacity and other essential services, in accordance with restrictions and very much in solidarity with local traders and neighbouring schools - although still unable to accept personal callers through the door.  One enjoyable task has been personally inscribing cards for 130+ constituents each month turning 75, 80, 90 and 100+!  Whilst working from home staff have telephoned over 3000 senior constituents inquiring about health and special needs. In touch every fortnight and via www.johnkennedymp.com.au The first Hawthorn Fortnightly Update (FNU) was emailed Monday, 17 June 2019.  This 30th edition comes today with encouragement to sign up others to our subscriber list.  I also commend our website which includes plenty of current news plus times and places to meet John (albeit with some difficulty during Stage 3/4).  In my corner of Hawthorn I carry the John Kennedy red bag, silver badge on jumper and mask firmly in place whilst nodding to fellow purchasers at Colin’s Catch on Fridays and other takeaways and, as a permitted worker, travellers on the spacious Tram 75.  And there have been publications by mail; eg Information for Seniors.  However, we are always open to suggestions as to how better engage with our community.  

WORK STARTS ON Auburn South Primary School UPGRADES

Students at our wonderful Auburn South Primary School are a step closer to getting the facilities they need for a great start in life, with an architect appointed to design the school’s exciting upgrade. Auburn South is on of our oldest schools in the area opening its doors in 1925.  Most of the 253 pupils in the first year came from the State School 888 Camberwell. The schools now educates around 655 students. In growing area like ours schools like Auburn South need more space and facilities to continue to provide a quality education for our children. We are happy to confirm that 1:1 Architects firm has been appointed to design the school’s $336,400 upgrade. The upgrade will see and upgrade to the Main Wing at the school, providing more quality new spaces for learning. The Andrews Labor Government has invested $6.1 billion to deliver more than 1,400 school upgrades, supporting over 7,500 construction jobs for Victorians. Under the Labor Government’s school building boom, a total of 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every child has a great local school and a great start in life. The Labor Government is building the Education State to ensure that every student can access a great local school and get a quality education.

WORK STARTS ON Auburn South Primary School UPGRADES

Students at our wonderful Auburn South Primary School are a step closer to getting the facilities they need for a great start in life, with an architect appointed to design the school’s exciting upgrade. Auburn South is on of our oldest schools in the area opening its doors in 1925.  Most of the 253 pupils in the first year came from the State School 888 Camberwell. The schools now educates around 655 students. In growing area like ours schools like Auburn South need more space and facilities to continue to provide a quality education for our children. We are happy to confirm that 1:1 Architects firm has been appointed to design the school’s $336,400 upgrade. The upgrade will see and upgrade to the Main Wing at the school, providing more quality new spaces for learning. The Andrews Labor Government has invested $6.1 billion to deliver more than 1,400 school upgrades, supporting over 7,500 construction jobs for Victorians. Under the Labor Government’s school building boom, a total of 100 new schools will open by 2026, ensuring every child has a great local school and a great start in life. The Labor Government is building the Education State to ensure that every student can access a great local school and get a quality education.

Training, mentoring and cash support for business

Thousands of small businesses have taken up free online short courses and benefitted from payments of up to $20,000 as the Victorian Government backs small operators to get through to the other side of the pandemic. Upskill My Business has helped almost 25,000 users increase their capabilities and learn vital skills with webinars, articles and courses ranging from innovation to staff development. Some 128 courses are offered in partnership with education leaders including Deakin University and RMIT University. Last week the Government opened the $26 million small business mental health and wellbeing program and today we are joining with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in launching a new business mentoring initiative to help small business owners navigate the challenges posed by coronavirus. The $10 million program will match small business owners and sole traders with experienced professionals who will help them to adapt their businesses and strategies. Through the Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program, mentors will provide mentees with guidance on reducing their business costs, managing cashflow, finding new customers and maximising the benefits of online sales and marketing. VCCI will place eligible business owners and sole traders with an appropriate mentor who will conduct up to four sessions over three months, producing a detailed action plan based on the specific needs of each business. The Government has to date invested more than $10 billion in the coronavirus health response and economic supports for businesses, workers and families. The Business Support Fund has provided more than $1.3 billion to more than 75,0000 small business operators across the state, with a total of $20,000 available for eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and $15,000 available throughout the rest of Victoria. In addition, the now $450 Test Isolation Payment has provided $6.5 million in support to more than 19,500 Victorian workers who have or are self-isolating while awaiting their test results. The $1,500 Coronavirus Worker Support Payment has provided $10.4 million to more than 6,900 workers who had either tested positive for coronavirus or been a close contact with someone who has tested positive. This further support comes as Worksafe visit more and more workplaces every week to ensure they are COVIDSafe. Since the Workplace Inspection Blitz was announced on 19 July 2020, WorkSafe have visited 724 workplaces and issued 62 notices to employers, taking the total number of inspections to 4,911, conducted to check coronavirus compliance and 168 notices issued since the pandemic began. Notices issued by WorkSafe have required businesses to take actions such as; providing clear instruction and information on coronavirus risks, making hand-washing and santising materials available at all times, ensuring social distancing measures are being maintained and minimising the sharing of equipment or if this is to occur ensuring that this equipment is cleaned or sanitised regularly. More details on Upskill My Business are available at upskill.business.vic.gov.au  while to register for the Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program, go to business.vic.gov.au. The Business Victoria hotline is 13 22 15.

Training, mentoring and cash support for business

Thousands of small businesses have taken up free online short courses and benefitted from payments of up to $20,000 as the Victorian Government backs small operators to get through to the other side of the pandemic. Upskill My Business has helped almost 25,000 users increase their capabilities and learn vital skills with webinars, articles and courses ranging from innovation to staff development. Some 128 courses are offered in partnership with education leaders including Deakin University and RMIT University. Last week the Government opened the $26 million small business mental health and wellbeing program and today we are joining with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in launching a new business mentoring initiative to help small business owners navigate the challenges posed by coronavirus. The $10 million program will match small business owners and sole traders with experienced professionals who will help them to adapt their businesses and strategies. Through the Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program, mentors will provide mentees with guidance on reducing their business costs, managing cashflow, finding new customers and maximising the benefits of online sales and marketing. VCCI will place eligible business owners and sole traders with an appropriate mentor who will conduct up to four sessions over three months, producing a detailed action plan based on the specific needs of each business. The Government has to date invested more than $10 billion in the coronavirus health response and economic supports for businesses, workers and families. The Business Support Fund has provided more than $1.3 billion to more than 75,0000 small business operators across the state, with a total of $20,000 available for eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and $15,000 available throughout the rest of Victoria. In addition, the now $450 Test Isolation Payment has provided $6.5 million in support to more than 19,500 Victorian workers who have or are self-isolating while awaiting their test results. The $1,500 Coronavirus Worker Support Payment has provided $10.4 million to more than 6,900 workers who had either tested positive for coronavirus or been a close contact with someone who has tested positive. This further support comes as Worksafe visit more and more workplaces every week to ensure they are COVIDSafe. Since the Workplace Inspection Blitz was announced on 19 July 2020, WorkSafe have visited 724 workplaces and issued 62 notices to employers, taking the total number of inspections to 4,911, conducted to check coronavirus compliance and 168 notices issued since the pandemic began. Notices issued by WorkSafe have required businesses to take actions such as; providing clear instruction and information on coronavirus risks, making hand-washing and santising materials available at all times, ensuring social distancing measures are being maintained and minimising the sharing of equipment or if this is to occur ensuring that this equipment is cleaned or sanitised regularly. More details on Upskill My Business are available at upskill.business.vic.gov.au  while to register for the Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program, go to business.vic.gov.au. The Business Victoria hotline is 13 22 15.

Local Government Elections to go ahead in October

On advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, local government elections will go ahead as scheduled for Saturday, 24 October 2020. The Minister for Local Government, Shaun Lane MP, sought advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and Chief Health Officer as to how best to proceed while Victoria is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Chief Health Officer has advised that October represents a period when risk is likely to be substantially lower than at present, and there are no compelling public health grounds for the elections to be delayed. Health experts are also working closely with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) and is satisfied that appropriate physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene and workforce planning have all been considered and integrated into the VEC’s COVIDSafe plans. The VEC have advised that election preparations are already well underway and that there are no administrative or procedural barriers to the election being held on 24 October 2020. Local government is extremely important for our community and does crucial work that may go unnoticed. Running for council is great way to stand up and serve your community. The City of Boroondara Council does remarkable work in our community from waste to environment, sports grants, skills education and sustainable development. You can run for council and have a huge positive impact on our community. A set of Safe Campaigning Guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services to help candidates follow the Chief Health Officer’s directions and health advice during the campaign. These guidelines include advice on how to safely conduct permitted campaign activities, safety for campaign teams, hygiene and physical distancing. The Government has also launched its candidate training course online, which all prospective candidates will need to complete. It covers how councils are run, support available to councillors, the councillor code of conduct, conflict of interest guidelines and election donation rules. This training course is one of a suite of reforms introduced through the new Local Government Act designed to enhance integrity and build community confidence in councils. All candidates will also be able to provide voters with a 300 word statement in their ballot packs to be sent to voters. In a first for Victoria, councils will be elected by state-wide postal voting. I wish prospective candidates all the best for the upcoming campaign period, and encourage all Victorians to make their vote count. Local Government Elections – Information and Resources City of Boroondara Council election information is available at: www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/about-council/councillors-and-meetings/council-elections Ward boundaries, voting enrolment and other key information all available from the VEC website at: www.vec.vic.gov.au/voting/2020-local-council-election Safe campaigning guidelines have been updated and cover both Stage 3 and Stage 4 restrictions and will be updated if restrictions are altered by the Chief Health Officer. Candidates should check regularly for updates: www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/resilience-and-emergency-management/coronavirus-covid-19-information The mandatory Local Government Candidate Training course for the 2020 elections is now available online. The course can be found at: www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/council-governance/candidate-training Local government elections – key dates 18 August 2020 - Mandatory Candidate Training program available online 28 August 2020 - Close of electoral rolls 17 September 2020 - Opening of nominations 22 September 2020 - Close of nominations 6 October 2020 - Mail out of ballot packs 23 October 2020 - Voting closes at 6.00 pm 24 October 2020 - Election Day 13 November 2020 - Final declaration of successful candidates

Local Government Elections to go ahead in October

On advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, local government elections will go ahead as scheduled for Saturday, 24 October 2020. The Minister for Local Government, Shaun Lane MP, sought advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and Chief Health Officer as to how best to proceed while Victoria is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Chief Health Officer has advised that October represents a period when risk is likely to be substantially lower than at present, and there are no compelling public health grounds for the elections to be delayed. Health experts are also working closely with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) and is satisfied that appropriate physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene and workforce planning have all been considered and integrated into the VEC’s COVIDSafe plans. The VEC have advised that election preparations are already well underway and that there are no administrative or procedural barriers to the election being held on 24 October 2020. Local government is extremely important for our community and does crucial work that may go unnoticed. Running for council is great way to stand up and serve your community. The City of Boroondara Council does remarkable work in our community from waste to environment, sports grants, skills education and sustainable development. You can run for council and have a huge positive impact on our community. A set of Safe Campaigning Guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services to help candidates follow the Chief Health Officer’s directions and health advice during the campaign. These guidelines include advice on how to safely conduct permitted campaign activities, safety for campaign teams, hygiene and physical distancing. The Government has also launched its candidate training course online, which all prospective candidates will need to complete. It covers how councils are run, support available to councillors, the councillor code of conduct, conflict of interest guidelines and election donation rules. This training course is one of a suite of reforms introduced through the new Local Government Act designed to enhance integrity and build community confidence in councils. All candidates will also be able to provide voters with a 300 word statement in their ballot packs to be sent to voters. In a first for Victoria, councils will be elected by state-wide postal voting. I wish prospective candidates all the best for the upcoming campaign period, and encourage all Victorians to make their vote count. Local Government Elections – Information and Resources City of Boroondara Council election information is available at: www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/about-council/councillors-and-meetings/council-elections Ward boundaries, voting enrolment and other key information all available from the VEC website at: www.vec.vic.gov.au/voting/2020-local-council-election Safe campaigning guidelines have been updated and cover both Stage 3 and Stage 4 restrictions and will be updated if restrictions are altered by the Chief Health Officer. Candidates should check regularly for updates: www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/resilience-and-emergency-management/coronavirus-covid-19-information The mandatory Local Government Candidate Training course for the 2020 elections is now available online. The course can be found at: www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/council-governance/candidate-training Local government elections – key dates 18 August 2020 - Mandatory Candidate Training program available online 28 August 2020 - Close of electoral rolls 17 September 2020 - Opening of nominations 22 September 2020 - Close of nominations 6 October 2020 - Mail out of ballot packs 23 October 2020 - Voting closes at 6.00 pm 24 October 2020 - Election Day 13 November 2020 - Final declaration of successful candidates

Please keep getting tested Hawthorn!

I would like to urge not to become complacent even after successive days of lower case numbers. Since the start of the pandemic nearly two million tests have been processed, with daily numbers reaching as high as 34,000 on some days. In our local council area of Boroondara last week, there on average 80 active COVID-19 cases, according to Local Government Area data by the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services. Nothing about Hawthorn makes us immune or even safer than our fellow Victorians. This virus moves throughout communities rapidly. While it is encouraging that daily case numbers are beginning to stabilise, we have also seen a concerning drop off in testing rates in recent days. The seven days from 11 to 17 August saw 154,432 tests processed, a drop of almost 30,000 or around 17 per cent from the previous seven-day period. There has been an excellent response to restrictions throughout Hawthorn. pPeople are staying home and following the rules. Yet it should be highlighted that you are allowed to leave your home to get tested. Even if you're not going to work, even if you live by yourself or with only one other person – you should still get tested if you have any symptoms at all of coronavirus. With flu cases down 75 per cent on the same time last year, it’s far more likely that a sniffle, or scratchy throat, could be coronavirus. The most effective way to beat this deadly virus is to find every new case and isolate them as quickly as possible to stop further spread amongst the community. Getting tested is easy, free and helping to save lives! To find the most convenient testing site for you please visit: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19 Self test kits, at home testing and interactive self assessments are all available for those who may need services at home.

Please keep getting tested Hawthorn!

I would like to urge not to become complacent even after successive days of lower case numbers. Since the start of the pandemic nearly two million tests have been processed, with daily numbers reaching as high as 34,000 on some days. In our local council area of Boroondara last week, there on average 80 active COVID-19 cases, according to Local Government Area data by the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services. Nothing about Hawthorn makes us immune or even safer than our fellow Victorians. This virus moves throughout communities rapidly. While it is encouraging that daily case numbers are beginning to stabilise, we have also seen a concerning drop off in testing rates in recent days. The seven days from 11 to 17 August saw 154,432 tests processed, a drop of almost 30,000 or around 17 per cent from the previous seven-day period. There has been an excellent response to restrictions throughout Hawthorn. pPeople are staying home and following the rules. Yet it should be highlighted that you are allowed to leave your home to get tested. Even if you're not going to work, even if you live by yourself or with only one other person – you should still get tested if you have any symptoms at all of coronavirus. With flu cases down 75 per cent on the same time last year, it’s far more likely that a sniffle, or scratchy throat, could be coronavirus. The most effective way to beat this deadly virus is to find every new case and isolate them as quickly as possible to stop further spread amongst the community. Getting tested is easy, free and helping to save lives! To find the most convenient testing site for you please visit: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19 Self test kits, at home testing and interactive self assessments are all available for those who may need services at home.

Vietnam Veterans Day and Thanking our RSL

On 18 August we commemorated Vietnam Veterans Day. It was a tragic war that saw the loss of many lives and the scarring of a nation. Australians who served in Vietnam, many of whom were young, were thrown into the thick of a brutal conflict. They should be remembered and respected for the personal sacrifice they all made. The Shrine of Remembrance held a commemorative ceremony live that was streamed live to people all around Victoria who wanted to pay their respects to our Vietnam Veterans. Watch the full commemorative ceremony here: facebook.com/shrineofremembrance/videos Today provides a great opportunity to say thank you to all ex-service people in our community. I would like to especially highlight the work of the Hawthorn RSL and Camberwell City RSL who support our communities ADF veterans and current service people. Hawthorn RSL shared this message on their Facebook to mark Vietnam Veterans Day: These RSLs not only make a big difference to their members but make our local community stronger. Our veterans and current service people deserve our support Their work is nothing short of life saving. I thank the RSL for supporting Hawthorn's heroes. If you would like to find out more about our community's RSL or support their work please visit: www.hawthornrsl.com/ On a day in which we remember our Vietnam Veterans I would also like to encourage organisations in this area to apply for Victorian Government grants. Ex-service organisations, educational institutions and not-for-profit organisations can all apply for grants to support and commemorate veterans. For more information and to apply please visit: www.vic.gov.au/grants-support-and-commemorate-veterans

Vietnam Veterans Day and Thanking our RSL

On 18 August we commemorated Vietnam Veterans Day. It was a tragic war that saw the loss of many lives and the scarring of a nation. Australians who served in Vietnam, many of whom were young, were thrown into the thick of a brutal conflict. They should be remembered and respected for the personal sacrifice they all made. The Shrine of Remembrance held a commemorative ceremony live that was streamed live to people all around Victoria who wanted to pay their respects to our Vietnam Veterans. Watch the full commemorative ceremony here: facebook.com/shrineofremembrance/videos Today provides a great opportunity to say thank you to all ex-service people in our community. I would like to especially highlight the work of the Hawthorn RSL and Camberwell City RSL who support our communities ADF veterans and current service people. Hawthorn RSL shared this message on their Facebook to mark Vietnam Veterans Day: These RSLs not only make a big difference to their members but make our local community stronger. Our veterans and current service people deserve our support Their work is nothing short of life saving. I thank the RSL for supporting Hawthorn's heroes. If you would like to find out more about our community's RSL or support their work please visit: www.hawthornrsl.com/ On a day in which we remember our Vietnam Veterans I would also like to encourage organisations in this area to apply for Victorian Government grants. Ex-service organisations, educational institutions and not-for-profit organisations can all apply for grants to support and commemorate veterans. For more information and to apply please visit: www.vic.gov.au/grants-support-and-commemorate-veterans

More support to keep women and children safe

With more Victorians at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, we know there’s an increased risk for women and children experiencing family violence or abuse. The average recorded family or domestic violence cases throughout Hawthorn a year is around 800 cases, with an average of 8,000 in the Eastern Metropolitan area alone.  What is even more concerning is these figures don't register incidents that may go unreported or are hidden.  The rate of family violence has spiked during the COVID-19 lockdowns. This is a very real issue and one I find particularly concerning. Family violence is an almost silent destroyer. It destroys families, childhoods, marriages, partnerships and in some cases life. The Government is keeping family violence victim survivors safe in their own homes by investing in more early intervention programs, crisis accommodation and culturally safe supports for perpetrators. This morning, the Premier and the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams announced $20.4 million in funding to address family violence and a jump in demand for perpetrator services during the pandemic. In the past month, the Men’s Referral Service has reported an 11 per cent increase in calls compared to last year. This funding will support around 1,500 perpetrators by offering both short and long-term accommodation options, emergency crisis support, as well as early intervention and behaviour change programs for adolescents that are using violence in the home. There will also be increased funding for family violence service providers so they can continue to adapt to physical distancing rules, stay at home restrictions and deliver support when and where it’s needed.

More support to keep women and children safe

With more Victorians at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, we know there’s an increased risk for women and children experiencing family violence or abuse. The average recorded family or domestic violence cases throughout Hawthorn a year is around 800 cases, with an average of 8,000 in the Eastern Metropolitan area alone.  What is even more concerning is these figures don't register incidents that may go unreported or are hidden.  The rate of family violence has spiked during the COVID-19 lockdowns. This is a very real issue and one I find particularly concerning. Family violence is an almost silent destroyer. It destroys families, childhoods, marriages, partnerships and in some cases life. The Government is keeping family violence victim survivors safe in their own homes by investing in more early intervention programs, crisis accommodation and culturally safe supports for perpetrators. This morning, the Premier and the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams announced $20.4 million in funding to address family violence and a jump in demand for perpetrator services during the pandemic. In the past month, the Men’s Referral Service has reported an 11 per cent increase in calls compared to last year. This funding will support around 1,500 perpetrators by offering both short and long-term accommodation options, emergency crisis support, as well as early intervention and behaviour change programs for adolescents that are using violence in the home. There will also be increased funding for family violence service providers so they can continue to adapt to physical distancing rules, stay at home restrictions and deliver support when and where it’s needed.

Happy National TAFE Day

Today (August 13) we take the chance to celebrate the wonderful and life changing TAFE system. I have always advocated for and believed in strong investment in education. TAFE needs more support. This virus has only highlighted the importance of providing quality, accessible and job ready education. Thank you to all of our TAFE staff, students and supporters for making a better Australian society. I would like to particularly thank those who are involved with TAFE at Swinburne University of Technology who provide a quality education for our community and beyond. As we acknowledge the important place of TAFE in our society funding cuts to the system are hurting young workers who want to get their foot in the door, and workers who need to reskill. Youth unemployment is now above 20 per cent in parts of the country and thousands of workers lost their jobs after the Liberals and Nationals abandoned the automotive manufacturing industry. If you support ending funding cuts and fully supporting our TAFE system, sign our petition below:

Happy National TAFE Day

Today (August 13) we take the chance to celebrate the wonderful and life changing TAFE system. I have always advocated for and believed in strong investment in education. TAFE needs more support. This virus has only highlighted the importance of providing quality, accessible and job ready education. Thank you to all of our TAFE staff, students and supporters for making a better Australian society. I would like to particularly thank those who are involved with TAFE at Swinburne University of Technology who provide a quality education for our community and beyond. As we acknowledge the important place of TAFE in our society funding cuts to the system are hurting young workers who want to get their foot in the door, and workers who need to reskill. Youth unemployment is now above 20 per cent in parts of the country and thousands of workers lost their jobs after the Liberals and Nationals abandoned the automotive manufacturing industry. If you support ending funding cuts and fully supporting our TAFE system, sign our petition below:

Getting a COVID-19 test at home

We don’t want chronic illness, disability or carer responsibilities to be a barrier to Victorians getting tested if they have symptoms – so we’ve started a Call to Test program to arrange in-home tests for people unable to leave their home to get tested. Arranging a test is as simple as calling the coronavirus hotline and speaking to a clinical staff member who will assess eligibility for the service and arrange GP referral if the patient doesn’t have one from their own doctor. Nurses wearing appropriate PPE and observing all hygiene and physical distancing protocols will conduct the test on eligible patients. A carer can also request the service on behalf of the person they are caring for, but a GP referral will still be required. People can call the coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (option 9) to be assessed or have others in their care assessed for Call to Test. Call to Test is currently running in metropolitan Melbourne and work is underway to expand the service to the rest of the state. People may be eligible for the service if they have an injury, chronic health issue or frailty affecting mobility, moderate to severe physical or psychosocial disability, moderate to severe mental health or behavioural issues or carer responsibilities for a person with a moderate to severe disability – as well as individuals that are eligible and are identified by DHHS as a close contact, and have received DHHS notification to get tested.

Getting a COVID-19 test at home

We don’t want chronic illness, disability or carer responsibilities to be a barrier to Victorians getting tested if they have symptoms – so we’ve started a Call to Test program to arrange in-home tests for people unable to leave their home to get tested. Arranging a test is as simple as calling the coronavirus hotline and speaking to a clinical staff member who will assess eligibility for the service and arrange GP referral if the patient doesn’t have one from their own doctor. Nurses wearing appropriate PPE and observing all hygiene and physical distancing protocols will conduct the test on eligible patients. A carer can also request the service on behalf of the person they are caring for, but a GP referral will still be required. People can call the coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (option 9) to be assessed or have others in their care assessed for Call to Test. Call to Test is currently running in metropolitan Melbourne and work is underway to expand the service to the rest of the state. People may be eligible for the service if they have an injury, chronic health issue or frailty affecting mobility, moderate to severe physical or psychosocial disability, moderate to severe mental health or behavioural issues or carer responsibilities for a person with a moderate to severe disability – as well as individuals that are eligible and are identified by DHHS as a close contact, and have received DHHS notification to get tested.

Keeping Hawthorn clean and beautiful

Recently two initiatives have caught my attention that aim to keep rubbish out off our waterways, green spaces and streets. Really anywhere that isn't the bin. These initiatives are making a real difference in our community but need your help to fully work. Melbourne Waterway Blitz Melbourne Water are looking for hot-spot locations to collect litter, remove weeds and undertake other amenity improvements. There are already people who have jumped on board to help keep the Yarra clean through Hawthorn. Simply head to the Melbourne Water website (link below). The Waterway Blitz is part of the $500 million State Government Working for Victoria initiative. Melbourne Water has created more than 100 new jobs with the majority of those roles aimed at protecting and beautifying the city's waterways. This is a great opportunity to focus extra attention on caring for the city's waterways and land. Have your say, click here:           Boroondara Council's Quick Report Rubbish The local council in our area has recently been working hard to make it easy to report overflowing rubbish bins and other litter issues. It takes about 2 minutes to complete a form that will help the council address issues faster. Simply click here to report litter issues: service.boroondara.vic.gov.au/report-an-issue/  

Keeping Hawthorn clean and beautiful

Recently two initiatives have caught my attention that aim to keep rubbish out off our waterways, green spaces and streets. Really anywhere that isn't the bin. These initiatives are making a real difference in our community but need your help to fully work. Melbourne Waterway Blitz Melbourne Water are looking for hot-spot locations to collect litter, remove weeds and undertake other amenity improvements. There are already people who have jumped on board to help keep the Yarra clean through Hawthorn. Simply head to the Melbourne Water website (link below). The Waterway Blitz is part of the $500 million State Government Working for Victoria initiative. Melbourne Water has created more than 100 new jobs with the majority of those roles aimed at protecting and beautifying the city's waterways. This is a great opportunity to focus extra attention on caring for the city's waterways and land. Have your say, click here:           Boroondara Council's Quick Report Rubbish The local council in our area has recently been working hard to make it easy to report overflowing rubbish bins and other litter issues. It takes about 2 minutes to complete a form that will help the council address issues faster. Simply click here to report litter issues: service.boroondara.vic.gov.au/report-an-issue/  

Fast-tracked mental health support for Victorians

There are plenty of ways to support other people or be supported if you are feeling anxious or uncertain. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline Australia (13 11 14), Headspace (1800 650 890), Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800). Victoria’s mental health system will receive nearly $60 million in an additional increase to support Victorians when they need it. Now and after the pandemic is over we will continue to work together to fight this deadly virus. Building increased Hospital capacity will be vital to the well-being of all Victorians as the challenges of the global pandemic hit hard for some, especially those people already living with mental ill health. The $59.7 million in new funding will strengthen the surge capacity of clinical and community mental health services across Victoria to cope with additional presentations and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments. This ensures everyone can get the care they need, even as demand for services spikes. This funding will also fast-track delivery of more new public acute mental health beds recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system, boost community mental health services and accelerate the state-wide roll out of Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program. In the face of the current crisis, opening hours in mental health community clinics will be extended to enable  face-to-face sessions and assessments to be conducted in accordance with physical distancing requirements. This takes pressure off busy emergency departments, focusing on prevention and providing support to those who need it. More mental health staff will be embedded within Ambulance Victoria’s RefCom service to support paramedics and ensure the right advice and information is provided to frequent callers, including developing care plans as needed. Community mental health services and all 15 Melbourne based headspace centres will be provided funding to do more proactive outreach throughout the pandemic – reaching out to known mental health clients to check that they are ok and have the support they need. We’re also providing additional mental health and well-being support for our police, nurses and paramedics with Phoenix, the Centre of Excellence in Trauma, providing support to employment assistance programs. The successful HOPE post-suicide prevention program will be rolled out to seven new sites including Box Hill and Royal Melbourne Hospital close to those who live in the Hawthorn electorate. Monash Clayton, Heidelberg and Broadmeadows, Warrnambool and Mildura are also part of the state-wide roll-out. Additional clinical capacity will also be added to existing sites in Albury Wodonga and Ballarat. This new funding builds on the almost $135 million the Victorian Government has already invested in mental health during the pandemic.  

Fast-tracked mental health support for Victorians

There are plenty of ways to support other people or be supported if you are feeling anxious or uncertain. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline Australia (13 11 14), Headspace (1800 650 890), Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800). Victoria’s mental health system will receive nearly $60 million in an additional increase to support Victorians when they need it. Now and after the pandemic is over we will continue to work together to fight this deadly virus. Building increased Hospital capacity will be vital to the well-being of all Victorians as the challenges of the global pandemic hit hard for some, especially those people already living with mental ill health. The $59.7 million in new funding will strengthen the surge capacity of clinical and community mental health services across Victoria to cope with additional presentations and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments. This ensures everyone can get the care they need, even as demand for services spikes. This funding will also fast-track delivery of more new public acute mental health beds recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system, boost community mental health services and accelerate the state-wide roll out of Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) program. In the face of the current crisis, opening hours in mental health community clinics will be extended to enable  face-to-face sessions and assessments to be conducted in accordance with physical distancing requirements. This takes pressure off busy emergency departments, focusing on prevention and providing support to those who need it. More mental health staff will be embedded within Ambulance Victoria’s RefCom service to support paramedics and ensure the right advice and information is provided to frequent callers, including developing care plans as needed. Community mental health services and all 15 Melbourne based headspace centres will be provided funding to do more proactive outreach throughout the pandemic – reaching out to known mental health clients to check that they are ok and have the support they need. We’re also providing additional mental health and well-being support for our police, nurses and paramedics with Phoenix, the Centre of Excellence in Trauma, providing support to employment assistance programs. The successful HOPE post-suicide prevention program will be rolled out to seven new sites including Box Hill and Royal Melbourne Hospital close to those who live in the Hawthorn electorate. Monash Clayton, Heidelberg and Broadmeadows, Warrnambool and Mildura are also part of the state-wide roll-out. Additional clinical capacity will also be added to existing sites in Albury Wodonga and Ballarat. This new funding builds on the almost $135 million the Victorian Government has already invested in mental health during the pandemic.  

Free Kinder For Families Through Coronavirus

All kinder in Victoria will be free for Term 3, and children will be supported to learn from home thanks to a relief package to support early childhood services through the pandemic from the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced an extension to the free sessional kinder support and a further $1.6 million in grants, which will be available via the Australian-first School Readiness Funding program for kindergartens to help deliver early childhood education to children learning at home. Kinders can use the extra funding to access a range of online programs containing high-quality play-based learning activities for parents to do with their children at home. This funding will be available to services that are not yet receiving funding through the $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative and already able to access these supports. Under Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, permitted workers are able to access childcare and kinder if there is no one else in their household who is able to supervise their child. This may be for a range of reasons including the other parent could be a full-time student and must attend onsite, has a disability, or be working from home such that they cannot supervise the child, or there may be no other adults in the household. Early childhood care and education services in regional and rural Victoria can continue to operate as normal under Stage 3 restrictions, with appropriate safety measures in place. The Government will increase funding for sessional kinder services across regional and rural Victoria, meaning parents across the state will be able to send their children to kindergarten for free during Term 3. This is already the case for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Sessional kinders in regional and rural areas can also now access support for unfunded three-year-old kindergarten programs. The funding will be available for not-for-profit services, including community-based, local government and school providers that are offering sessional programs and are not already receiving JobKeeper payments. The Government will also provide any funded kindergarten service directed to close due to a confirmed COVID-19 case with extra funding to undertake an infectious clean before re-opening. This is in addition to cleaning grants worth between $900 and $1,500 that have been offered to all services delivering a funded kinder program. This additional funding is part of an up to $45 million support package for sessional kindergarten providers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Free Kinder For Families Through Coronavirus

All kinder in Victoria will be free for Term 3, and children will be supported to learn from home thanks to a relief package to support early childhood services through the pandemic from the Victorian Government. Minister for Education James Merlino today announced an extension to the free sessional kinder support and a further $1.6 million in grants, which will be available via the Australian-first School Readiness Funding program for kindergartens to help deliver early childhood education to children learning at home. Kinders can use the extra funding to access a range of online programs containing high-quality play-based learning activities for parents to do with their children at home. This funding will be available to services that are not yet receiving funding through the $160 million School Readiness Funding initiative and already able to access these supports. Under Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, permitted workers are able to access childcare and kinder if there is no one else in their household who is able to supervise their child. This may be for a range of reasons including the other parent could be a full-time student and must attend onsite, has a disability, or be working from home such that they cannot supervise the child, or there may be no other adults in the household. Early childhood care and education services in regional and rural Victoria can continue to operate as normal under Stage 3 restrictions, with appropriate safety measures in place. The Government will increase funding for sessional kinder services across regional and rural Victoria, meaning parents across the state will be able to send their children to kindergarten for free during Term 3. This is already the case for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Sessional kinders in regional and rural areas can also now access support for unfunded three-year-old kindergarten programs. The funding will be available for not-for-profit services, including community-based, local government and school providers that are offering sessional programs and are not already receiving JobKeeper payments. The Government will also provide any funded kindergarten service directed to close due to a confirmed COVID-19 case with extra funding to undertake an infectious clean before re-opening. This is in addition to cleaning grants worth between $900 and $1,500 that have been offered to all services delivering a funded kinder program. This additional funding is part of an up to $45 million support package for sessional kindergarten providers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Respecting and Celebrating Senior Hawthorn Citizens

Note: Featured photo taken before COVID-19 restrictions Some may know that in June 2016 Bronwyn Lane and I moved from Deepdene, our home since 2004, to a retirement village in Hawthorn.  This continues to be a great move for all sorts of reasons including fantastic public transport and other amenities.  However, by far the most important “plusses” are quality friendships.  Time and again we have been struck by their histories of wonderful service to the community in a variety of areas, especially health and education.  They continue to contribute in so many ways to the wider community such as in fundraising for Rotary, weekly hospital visitation and looking after grandchildren.  It is a real delight for me to send personal birthday cards on their 75th, 80th, 90th. 100+ milestones.  So much achieved over those years, especially in the service and love of fellow human beings. There are those who have been adversely affected by circumstances facing aged-care facilities.  It has been extremely saddening to see the effect this awful virus has had on our elderly.  I sympathise with the experience of residents, their families and carers.  It has been a remarkably difficult period for all us, but especially our friends and family in aged care facilities. In my retirement community we have so far been lucky to avoid COVID-19. Yet this does not mean we are immune. The importance of quality community care financed by State and Federal Government is well understood and supported by your Member for Hawthorn.  Such care for some can even be the difference between life and death.  Our priority at the Victorian Government is keeping people safe and healthy. Especially those who are the most vulnerable in our community. We are working with the Australian Governments through the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre, which has been established to co-ordinate and expand resources to respond to outbreaks in residential aged care homes.  The Centre will bring together Commonwealth and State government agencies at the State Control Centre in Melbourne in a co-ordinated effort to manage the impact of the pandemic. We are also assisting with infection control, clinical support, deep cleaning, testing, contact tracing, communications support and replacement workforce where necessary. For senior citizens in our community who do not live in aged care facilities, information and support can be found here: johnkennedymp.com.au/seniors-information I ask you to play your part in showing your gratitude and keeping our older community members safe. Follow the latest health advice and restrictions, stay in touch with those who may be lonely, avoid unnecessary outings and maintain smart hygiene. A Word about Supporting Workers Without Sick Leave We’re providing financial assistance to workers without sick leave or special pandemic leave and no income, so they don’t feel compelled to turn up to work even if they’re unwell.   This is a $1,500 payment – and we’ve extended it to provide these workers with a $300 support payment from the time of testing. For more information please visit: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/covid-19-worker-support-payment   #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name * Birthday / ( mm / dd ) (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';fnames[3]='ADDRESS';ftypes[3]='address';fnames[5]='BIRTHDAY';ftypes[5]='birthday';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);

Respecting and Celebrating Senior Hawthorn Citizens

Note: Featured photo taken before COVID-19 restrictions Some may know that in June 2016 Bronwyn Lane and I moved from Deepdene, our home since 2004, to a retirement village in Hawthorn.  This continues to be a great move for all sorts of reasons including fantastic public transport and other amenities.  However, by far the most important “plusses” are quality friendships.  Time and again we have been struck by their histories of wonderful service to the community in a variety of areas, especially health and education.  They continue to contribute in so many ways to the wider community such as in fundraising for Rotary, weekly hospital visitation and looking after grandchildren.  It is a real delight for me to send personal birthday cards on their 75th, 80th, 90th. 100+ milestones.  So much achieved over those years, especially in the service and love of fellow human beings. There are those who have been adversely affected by circumstances facing aged-care facilities.  It has been extremely saddening to see the effect this awful virus has had on our elderly.  I sympathise with the experience of residents, their families and carers.  It has been a remarkably difficult period for all us, but especially our friends and family in aged care facilities. In my retirement community we have so far been lucky to avoid COVID-19. Yet this does not mean we are immune. The importance of quality community care financed by State and Federal Government is well understood and supported by your Member for Hawthorn.  Such care for some can even be the difference between life and death.  Our priority at the Victorian Government is keeping people safe and healthy. Especially those who are the most vulnerable in our community. We are working with the Australian Governments through the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre, which has been established to co-ordinate and expand resources to respond to outbreaks in residential aged care homes.  The Centre will bring together Commonwealth and State government agencies at the State Control Centre in Melbourne in a co-ordinated effort to manage the impact of the pandemic. We are also assisting with infection control, clinical support, deep cleaning, testing, contact tracing, communications support and replacement workforce where necessary. For senior citizens in our community who do not live in aged care facilities, information and support can be found here: johnkennedymp.com.au/seniors-information I ask you to play your part in showing your gratitude and keeping our older community members safe. Follow the latest health advice and restrictions, stay in touch with those who may be lonely, avoid unnecessary outings and maintain smart hygiene. A Word about Supporting Workers Without Sick Leave We’re providing financial assistance to workers without sick leave or special pandemic leave and no income, so they don’t feel compelled to turn up to work even if they’re unwell.   This is a $1,500 payment – and we’ve extended it to provide these workers with a $300 support payment from the time of testing. For more information please visit: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/covid-19-worker-support-payment   #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name * Birthday / ( mm / dd ) (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';fnames[3]='ADDRESS';ftypes[3]='address';fnames[5]='BIRTHDAY';ftypes[5]='birthday';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);

Business and industry – Stage 4 restrictions update

On Wednesday 5 August, 2020 the Premier announced how each industry will operate during Stage 4 restrictions. All businesses fall into one of three categories: Industries that will continue to operate. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagents and post offices, in addition to everyone involved in our frontline response. Industries that are permitted to operate, but under significantly different conditions. This includes meat works, food production, construction, waste management and supply chain logistics. Industries where onsite operations will have to cease for the next six weeks. Retail stores will be permitted to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place and hardware stores can remain open onsite, but for tradespeople only. Most manufacturing and administration will have to cease. These businesses will all need to close by 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August, unless they have specific circumstances that mean they need longer to shutdown safely. Please note that sole operators can continue to operate, if they do not have contact with the public, or with people other than those persons living in their primary household. For those businesses that suffer significant losses or need to close as a result of the current restrictions, we will provide support through our expanded Business Support Fund. Businesses in regional Victoria can apply for a $5,000 grant while those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 in recognition of spending longer under restrictions. A work permit system will become available online later today - I will update you when I have more information Further information can be found at www.business.vic.gov.au/ and www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus For specific information on how business and industries can operate can be found at: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/business-industry-stage-4-restrictions-covid-19

Business and industry – Stage 4 restrictions update

On Wednesday 5 August, 2020 the Premier announced how each industry will operate during Stage 4 restrictions. All businesses fall into one of three categories: Industries that will continue to operate. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagents and post offices, in addition to everyone involved in our frontline response. Industries that are permitted to operate, but under significantly different conditions. This includes meat works, food production, construction, waste management and supply chain logistics. Industries where onsite operations will have to cease for the next six weeks. Retail stores will be permitted to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place and hardware stores can remain open onsite, but for tradespeople only. Most manufacturing and administration will have to cease. These businesses will all need to close by 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August, unless they have specific circumstances that mean they need longer to shutdown safely. Please note that sole operators can continue to operate, if they do not have contact with the public, or with people other than those persons living in their primary household. For those businesses that suffer significant losses or need to close as a result of the current restrictions, we will provide support through our expanded Business Support Fund. Businesses in regional Victoria can apply for a $5,000 grant while those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 in recognition of spending longer under restrictions. A work permit system will become available online later today - I will update you when I have more information Further information can be found at www.business.vic.gov.au/ and www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus For specific information on how business and industries can operate can be found at: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/business-industry-stage-4-restrictions-covid-19

Schools – Stage 4 restrictions update

Yesterday, the Victorian Government announced that, on the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, regional and rural Victoria will move to Stage 3 restrictions and metropolitan Melbourne will move to Stage 4 restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). As outlined in the Chief Health Officer’s advice on Friday, schools remain safe places for staff and students. However, these steps have been identified as critical measures to reduce the movement of students and families across the State. Summary: All Year 11 and 12 provision for both VCE and VCAL will move to remote and flexible learning. Prep to Year 10 students will continue with remote and flexible learning in metropolitan Melbourne and these students in regional areas will commence remote and flexible learning. Any child enrolled in a specialist school in rural and regional Victoria will be able to continue to attend. These requirements apply to all schools across the government, Catholic and independent sectors and across all metropolitan Melbourne and rural and regional Victoria. The changes to school operations will come into effect from Wednesday 5 August and are likely to apply until the end of Term 3. For students in Hawthorn, the Metropolitan Melbourne restrictions apply and are as follows: PREP TO YEAR 10 Prep to Year 10 students will continue with remote and flexible learning. The criteria for students that can attend on site has changed as follows: Children whose parents are permitted workers. The Victorian Government will provide further advice about this over the coming days Vulnerable children in out of home care, children known to child protection and other agencies and children the school identifies as vulnerable Children with a disability who fit one of the above two categories. Senior Secondary Year 11 and 12 (VCE AND VCAL) All Year 11 and 12 provision for both VCE and VCAL will move to remote and flexible learning. The GAT will be rescheduled from Wednesday 9 September to Wednesday 7 October The schedule for the VCE examinations and release of results will remain as previously advised. Further information about consideration of disadvantage and coronavirus (COVID-19) will be provided shortly. Specialist Schools  On site provision in specialist schools will only be available to children whose parents are permitted workers, and vulnerable children. Timeline - What will happen in the upcoming days. Monday 3 August will be a ‘normal’ day of school under current arrangements, with students attending on site asked to take all their necessary learning materials home. Tuesday 4 August will be a student-free day across Victoria to enable teachers, especially in rural and regional Victoria, to prepare for flexible and remote learning. Wednesday 5 August will be the first day of new arrangements for schools across Victoria. This is a day ahead of the statewide introduction of the Stage 3 restrictions in rural and regional Victoria, but will provide for a smooth transition and will enable as much continuity of learning as possible. For Schools: Schools must ensure sufficient staff are available for necessary on-site supervision. Appropriately qualified school staff, including teachers and education support staff, and CRTs can support the on-site supervision program. Principals should consult with their staff to identify those willing and able to work on-site, either on an ongoing or rostered basis. This should take place in the context of the consultative arrangements in place at each school to ensure staff are consulted on, and have input into, the ways that work may be organised and allocated. Staff not required for on-site supervision must work from home.   This is not an ideal circumstance. We thank all the teacher, support staff, students and parents for their cooperation in keeping our community safe. A focus on health and education remains a top priority for the Andrews Government.

Schools – Stage 4 restrictions update

Yesterday, the Victorian Government announced that, on the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, regional and rural Victoria will move to Stage 3 restrictions and metropolitan Melbourne will move to Stage 4 restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). As outlined in the Chief Health Officer’s advice on Friday, schools remain safe places for staff and students. However, these steps have been identified as critical measures to reduce the movement of students and families across the State. Summary: All Year 11 and 12 provision for both VCE and VCAL will move to remote and flexible learning. Prep to Year 10 students will continue with remote and flexible learning in metropolitan Melbourne and these students in regional areas will commence remote and flexible learning. Any child enrolled in a specialist school in rural and regional Victoria will be able to continue to attend. These requirements apply to all schools across the government, Catholic and independent sectors and across all metropolitan Melbourne and rural and regional Victoria. The changes to school operations will come into effect from Wednesday 5 August and are likely to apply until the end of Term 3. For students in Hawthorn, the Metropolitan Melbourne restrictions apply and are as follows: PREP TO YEAR 10 Prep to Year 10 students will continue with remote and flexible learning. The criteria for students that can attend on site has changed as follows: Children whose parents are permitted workers. The Victorian Government will provide further advice about this over the coming days Vulnerable children in out of home care, children known to child protection and other agencies and children the school identifies as vulnerable Children with a disability who fit one of the above two categories. Senior Secondary Year 11 and 12 (VCE AND VCAL) All Year 11 and 12 provision for both VCE and VCAL will move to remote and flexible learning. The GAT will be rescheduled from Wednesday 9 September to Wednesday 7 October The schedule for the VCE examinations and release of results will remain as previously advised. Further information about consideration of disadvantage and coronavirus (COVID-19) will be provided shortly. Specialist Schools  On site provision in specialist schools will only be available to children whose parents are permitted workers, and vulnerable children. Timeline - What will happen in the upcoming days. Monday 3 August will be a ‘normal’ day of school under current arrangements, with students attending on site asked to take all their necessary learning materials home. Tuesday 4 August will be a student-free day across Victoria to enable teachers, especially in rural and regional Victoria, to prepare for flexible and remote learning. Wednesday 5 August will be the first day of new arrangements for schools across Victoria. This is a day ahead of the statewide introduction of the Stage 3 restrictions in rural and regional Victoria, but will provide for a smooth transition and will enable as much continuity of learning as possible. For Schools: Schools must ensure sufficient staff are available for necessary on-site supervision. Appropriately qualified school staff, including teachers and education support staff, and CRTs can support the on-site supervision program. Principals should consult with their staff to identify those willing and able to work on-site, either on an ongoing or rostered basis. This should take place in the context of the consultative arrangements in place at each school to ensure staff are consulted on, and have input into, the ways that work may be organised and allocated. Staff not required for on-site supervision must work from home.   This is not an ideal circumstance. We thank all the teacher, support staff, students and parents for their cooperation in keeping our community safe. A focus on health and education remains a top priority for the Andrews Government.

Free pads and tampons in all government schools

The Andrews Labor government is celebrating the completion of another Australian-first election commitment: free pads and tampons in Victorian government schools. Free pads and tampons are now available in every government school in Victoria – reducing the discomfort and embarrassment around periods for girls and saving families hundreds of dollars every year. Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to ensure all students attending government schools have access to free pads and tampons – with the initiative now in Victoria’s more than 1500 government schools. The $20.7 million initiative helps students feel more comfortable managing their periods by providing discreet and easy access to products when they need them. Pads and tampons are available free of charge in school bathrooms, relieving anxiety and embarrassment for girls, and ensuring they can get the most from their education. Schools will play an important role in promoting a positive culture around menstrual health and build a supportive environment among the school community. The initiative also aims to reduce the stigma of periods, make school more inclusive and will ease the cost of living on families while helping students focus on their studies. Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students’ participation in sport and everyday school activities. Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether. Sanitary items are a necessity, not a luxury, and this initiative is supporting tens of thousands of girls and young women in schools across the state. As part of this initiative, students also receive important health information about how to manage their periods. For more information, please visit: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/free-sanitary-pads.aspx

Free pads and tampons in all government schools

The Andrews Labor government is celebrating the completion of another Australian-first election commitment: free pads and tampons in Victorian government schools. Free pads and tampons are now available in every government school in Victoria – reducing the discomfort and embarrassment around periods for girls and saving families hundreds of dollars every year. Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to ensure all students attending government schools have access to free pads and tampons – with the initiative now in Victoria’s more than 1500 government schools. The $20.7 million initiative helps students feel more comfortable managing their periods by providing discreet and easy access to products when they need them. Pads and tampons are available free of charge in school bathrooms, relieving anxiety and embarrassment for girls, and ensuring they can get the most from their education. Schools will play an important role in promoting a positive culture around menstrual health and build a supportive environment among the school community. The initiative also aims to reduce the stigma of periods, make school more inclusive and will ease the cost of living on families while helping students focus on their studies. Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students’ participation in sport and everyday school activities. Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether. Sanitary items are a necessity, not a luxury, and this initiative is supporting tens of thousands of girls and young women in schools across the state. As part of this initiative, students also receive important health information about how to manage their periods. For more information, please visit: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/free-sanitary-pads.aspx

Homes for the Homeless

At the start of this pandemic, the Victorian Government acted swiftly to support over 2000 Victorians off the streets and into accommodation in vacant hotels – because you can’t “stay home” if you don’t have one and you can’t “stay safe” if you have nowhere to wash your hands. Now, we’re helping these same Victorians out of homelessness and into their very own homes with the new $150 million From Homelessness to a Home package. This funding will also see the Government extend current hotel accommodation until at least April next year while these 2,000 Victorians are supported to access stable, long term housing. We will lease arrange to lease 1,100 properties from the private rental market, providing a permanent home for people once they leave emergency accommodation. This investment will give Victorians a roof over their head in the short-term, while also providing long-term support to help them find their home – and the security, stability and sense of belonging that goes with it.   If you or someone you know need housing assistance please visit: https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/ #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to our e-Newsletter Here:

Homes for the Homeless

At the start of this pandemic, the Victorian Government acted swiftly to support over 2000 Victorians off the streets and into accommodation in vacant hotels – because you can’t “stay home” if you don’t have one and you can’t “stay safe” if you have nowhere to wash your hands. Now, we’re helping these same Victorians out of homelessness and into their very own homes with the new $150 million From Homelessness to a Home package. This funding will also see the Government extend current hotel accommodation until at least April next year while these 2,000 Victorians are supported to access stable, long term housing. We will lease arrange to lease 1,100 properties from the private rental market, providing a permanent home for people once they leave emergency accommodation. This investment will give Victorians a roof over their head in the short-term, while also providing long-term support to help them find their home – and the security, stability and sense of belonging that goes with it.   If you or someone you know need housing assistance please visit: https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/ #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to our e-Newsletter Here:

Free TAFE for Early Childhood Education courses

The Andrews Labor Government’s Free TAFE initiative – the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and...

So, where is Labor’s Member for Hawthorn?

Throughout COVID your Hawthorn Electorate Office (EO) has remained open during business hours (9-5) for emails (John.Kennedy@parliament.vic.gov.au), phone calls (9882 4088) and mail delivery (325 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell VIC 3124).  Unfortunately, until we return to normal onsite staffing, we are unable to take personal walk-ins. The EO has been proudly “lights on” with staff working full-time from home (26 March – 1 June; and now from 13 July) and onsite skeleton staffing (2 June – 10 July) provided by Senior Electorate Officers and the Member.  We are hoping it will not be too long before we return to onsite skeleton staffing and normal staffing. This Member takes very seriously the role of providing an important and essential social service.  Accordingly, he has been onsite throughout this period personally taking incoming telephone calls, mail and other deliveries as well as other tasks that cannot be accomplished satisfactorily off-site.  Important in these arrangements are provisions for those without IT skills or resources, relying on postal mail.  One such constituent rang me looking for the pattern for her to construct a mask – we were able to google, print and leave info in an envelope for her at our front door. Each business day I have been delighted to give and receive a cheery wave from my next-door neighbour, Dennison’s Dry Cleaners (9813 0091) on my way for coffee at Legacy (9041 1796) and takeaway delicious lunch at Chapter 21 (9042 2477).  Meanwhile the 75 Tram is still able to transport, with spacious distancing on board, this masked non-driver to and from his essential Monday to Friday work for Hawthorn constituents. Work during the week and on weekends includes responding to questions and suggestions from constituents.  These often involve my trusted colleagues and their staffs including: Premier Dan Andrews and Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton Minister for Health, Ambulance Services & Coordination of Health & Human Services: COVID-19: Jenny Mikakos MP Minister for Education: James Merlino MP Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change: Lily D'Ambrosio MP Minister for Planning & Housing: Richard Wynne MP Minister for Police and Emergency Services: Lisa Neville MP Minister for Public Transport, Roads & Road Safety: Ben Carroll MP   In all this you and I are well served by my staff: Anna Gay (Senior Electorate Officer), James Mullan (Electorate Officer) and others appointed over forthcoming months as we ahead towards normal onsite staffing.  Last Friday we farewelled James Carfax-Foster.  I thank James for an excellent contribution over the last 18 months at Hawthorn and wish him well in his new position.

So, where is Labor’s Member for Hawthorn?

Throughout COVID your Hawthorn Electorate Office (EO) has remained open during business hours (9-5) for emails (John.Kennedy@parliament.vic.gov.au), phone calls (9882 4088) and mail delivery (325 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell VIC 3124).  Unfortunately, until we return to normal onsite staffing, we are unable to take personal walk-ins. The EO has been proudly “lights on” with staff working full-time from home (26 March – 1 June; and now from 13 July) and onsite skeleton staffing (2 June – 10 July) provided by Senior Electorate Officers and the Member.  We are hoping it will not be too long before we return to onsite skeleton staffing and normal staffing. This Member takes very seriously the role of providing an important and essential social service.  Accordingly, he has been onsite throughout this period personally taking incoming telephone calls, mail and other deliveries as well as other tasks that cannot be accomplished satisfactorily off-site.  Important in these arrangements are provisions for those without IT skills or resources, relying on postal mail.  One such constituent rang me looking for the pattern for her to construct a mask – we were able to google, print and leave info in an envelope for her at our front door. Each business day I have been delighted to give and receive a cheery wave from my next-door neighbour, Dennison’s Dry Cleaners (9813 0091) on my way for coffee at Legacy (9041 1796) and takeaway delicious lunch at Chapter 21 (9042 2477).  Meanwhile the 75 Tram is still able to transport, with spacious distancing on board, this masked non-driver to and from his essential Monday to Friday work for Hawthorn constituents. Work during the week and on weekends includes responding to questions and suggestions from constituents.  These often involve my trusted colleagues and their staffs including: Premier Dan Andrews and Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton Minister for Health, Ambulance Services & Coordination of Health & Human Services: COVID-19: Jenny Mikakos MP Minister for Education: James Merlino MP Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change: Lily D'Ambrosio MP Minister for Planning & Housing: Richard Wynne MP Minister for Police and Emergency Services: Lisa Neville MP Minister for Public Transport, Roads & Road Safety: Ben Carroll MP   In all this you and I are well served by my staff: Anna Gay (Senior Electorate Officer), James Mullan (Electorate Officer) and others appointed over forthcoming months as we ahead towards normal onsite staffing.  Last Friday we farewelled James Carfax-Foster.  I thank James for an excellent contribution over the last 18 months at Hawthorn and wish him well in his new position.

Recognising and Supporting Veterans grants open

Our Veterans simply deserve the best support we can provide. The Andrews Labor Government is making sure veterans get the support they need and that their stories and sacrifice are remembered for future generations. Minister for Veterans Shaun Leane today opened three funding streams that are aimed at improving the lives of veterans and ensuring their legacy lives on, with more than $1 million to be provided to successful recipients. Ex-service organisations, councils and community groups are encouraged to apply for funding under the three streams which include: The Anzac Day Proceeds Fund to assist with direct welfare support, such as living expenses, health and wellbeing, education and school expenses, transport costs and social activities The Restoring Community War Memorials Program to restore or improve memorials, honour rolls and avenues of honour around the state The Victoria Remembers Program, which supports projects that honour or commemorate the service of veterans as well as educate Victorians about their contribution The Anzac Day Proceeds Fund has been bolstered this year to ensure RSLs and veterans impacted by coronavirus are supported. In April, the Government pledged an extra $1.5 million to the Anzac Appeal’s fundraising target, which was significantly down on previous years due to coronavirus restrictions. Applications will close on the following dates: Anzac Day Proceeds Fund - closing 31 August 2020 Victoria Remembers program – closing 31 August 2020 Restoring Community War Memorials - closing 7 September 2020 Ex-service organisations, local governments, educational institutions and not-for-profit organisations are all encouraged to apply. For more information or to apply, visit vic.gov.au/grants-support-and-commemorate-veterans.           #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to our e-Newsletter Here:

Recognising and Supporting Veterans grants open

Our Veterans simply deserve the best support we can provide. The Andrews Labor Government is making sure veterans get the support they need and that their stories and sacrifice are remembered for future generations. Minister for Veterans Shaun Leane today opened three funding streams that are aimed at improving the lives of veterans and ensuring their legacy lives on, with more than $1 million to be provided to successful recipients. Ex-service organisations, councils and community groups are encouraged to apply for funding under the three streams which include: The Anzac Day Proceeds Fund to assist with direct welfare support, such as living expenses, health and wellbeing, education and school expenses, transport costs and social activities The Restoring Community War Memorials Program to restore or improve memorials, honour rolls and avenues of honour around the state The Victoria Remembers Program, which supports projects that honour or commemorate the service of veterans as well as educate Victorians about their contribution The Anzac Day Proceeds Fund has been bolstered this year to ensure RSLs and veterans impacted by coronavirus are supported. In April, the Government pledged an extra $1.5 million to the Anzac Appeal’s fundraising target, which was significantly down on previous years due to coronavirus restrictions. Applications will close on the following dates: Anzac Day Proceeds Fund - closing 31 August 2020 Victoria Remembers program – closing 31 August 2020 Restoring Community War Memorials - closing 7 September 2020 Ex-service organisations, local governments, educational institutions and not-for-profit organisations are all encouraged to apply. For more information or to apply, visit vic.gov.au/grants-support-and-commemorate-veterans.           #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to our e-Newsletter Here:

Hawthorn West Primary School's century-old bell shines again

We are thrilled that students at Hawthorn West Primary School are one step closer to having their much-loved bell tower restored to its former glory following emergency removal works in June. The original bell from the century-old tower is now back at the school and looking fantastic after being professionally polished. The Victorian School Building Authority is continuing to work with the school to rebuild the tower, which will include reinstating the historic bell. We look forward to sharing more updates with you on the rebuild of this iconic structure that means so much to the school and local community. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to our e-Newsletter Here:

Hawthorn West Primary School's century-old bell shines again

We are thrilled that students at Hawthorn West Primary School are one step closer to having their much-loved bell tower restored to its former glory following emergency removal works in June. The original bell from the century-old tower is now back at the school and looking fantastic after being professionally polished. The Victorian School Building Authority is continuing to work with the school to rebuild the tower, which will include reinstating the historic bell. We look forward to sharing more updates with you on the rebuild of this iconic structure that means so much to the school and local community. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;} /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to our e-Newsletter Here:

Face coverings and masks for metro schools

Schools in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be one of the first priority areas to receive reusable face masks in coming weeks as remote...

Gardiner Creek Trail Lighting Survey

The Victorian Government has made the Gardiners Creek Trail safer for cyclists and pedestrians by installing street lighting along the Glen Iris section. The Gardiner Creek Trail​ is one of Melbourne’s most popular trails from the east to the CBD. We’re asking people to complete a short survey to let us know how the lighting has changed their use of the path. We want to continue to improve the safety and the way people experience the trail. The survey takes 5 minutes to complete and will close at midnight on Tuesday 28th July 2020. Click on the image below to take the survey:

Gardiner Creek Trail Lighting Survey

The Victorian Government has made the Gardiners Creek Trail safer for cyclists and pedestrians by installing street lighting along the Glen Iris section. The Gardiner Creek Trail​ is one of Melbourne’s most popular trails from the east to the CBD. We’re asking people to complete a short survey to let us know how the lighting has changed their use of the path. We want to continue to improve the safety and the way people experience the trail. The survey takes 5 minutes to complete and will close at midnight on Tuesday 28th July 2020. Click on the image below to take the survey:

Protect yourself against the flu

Have you had your flu shot this year? Getting a vaccine is fast, easy and affordable. Influenza is highly contagious and develops quickly. It can leave you feeling ill for weeks, meaning a lengthy period of time off work or school and staying away from family and friends. Your best defence against the flu is getting the influenza vaccine. City of Boroondara advises. City of Boroondara is offering advice and information on the flu vaccine. Including information on how you can get a flu shot and on free flu shot eligibility. Our health system is under a lot of pressure at the moment. You can help our health system by staying flu free this season. Importantly you will be protecting yourself and those who are close to you by getting the influenza vaccine.    

Protect yourself against the flu

Have you had your flu shot this year? Getting a vaccine is fast, easy and affordable. Influenza is highly contagious and develops quickly. It can leave you feeling ill for weeks, meaning a lengthy period of time off work or school and staying away from family and friends. Your best defence against the flu is getting the influenza vaccine. City of Boroondara advises. City of Boroondara is offering advice and information on the flu vaccine. Including information on how you can get a flu shot and on free flu shot eligibility. Our health system is under a lot of pressure at the moment. You can help our health system by staying flu free this season. Importantly you will be protecting yourself and those who are close to you by getting the influenza vaccine.    

Cleaning Blitz For Melbourne Waterways

The Cleaning Blitz For Melbourne Waterways is a big win for jobs, community service, protecting our environment and clean exercise spaces! The beautiful Yarra means a lot to the people of Hawthorn. Running up the eastern side of Hawthorn, the Yarra provides great walking, running and bike trails for locals. Also offering our community a connection to the environment.  This is why we are very excited about 110 new jobs cleaning up litter, removing weeds and helping make waterways around Victoria more beautiful. This is just one of many initiatives supporting Victorians in need of work through the coronavirus pandemic. For more information on this please visit: https://cstu.io/65334c

Cleaning Blitz For Melbourne Waterways

The Cleaning Blitz For Melbourne Waterways is a big win for jobs, community service, protecting our environment and clean exercise spaces! The beautiful Yarra means a lot to the people of Hawthorn. Running up the eastern side of Hawthorn, the Yarra provides great walking, running and bike trails for locals. Also offering our community a connection to the environment.  This is why we are very excited about 110 new jobs cleaning up litter, removing weeds and helping make waterways around Victoria more beautiful. This is just one of many initiatives supporting Victorians in need of work through the coronavirus pandemic. For more information on this please visit: https://cstu.io/65334c

ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Education

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is for the minister to provide me with an update on the rollout of the government's mobile phone ban at schools in my electorate of Hawthorn. Last year I visited Auburn High School with the minister, where funding was announced for the provision of lockers so students could secure their phones during school hours. Auburn High was chosen as they had already successfully implemented the mobile phone ban. The mobile ban was implemented in term one this year at state primary and secondary schools and will remove a major distraction from classrooms so students can focus more on learning and in break times socialise more with their classmates. The ban will also be critical in helping to tackle the issue of cyberbullying. The Victorian government takes the safe and responsible use of digital technologies, student safety and wellbeing, and the development of social skills and positive behaviour very seriously. The ban is part of the government's plan to address mental health and bullying, with $51.2 million invested so every government secondary school campus will have a qualified mental health practitioner within the school, as well as $65.5 million in student health and wellbeing, which includes anti-bullying and positive behaviour support. The government's new policy, which it should be noted has been very widely welcomed, acknowledges that technology is increasingly affecting how students learn and communicate. Therefore when a student has been given explicit permission by the classroom teacher to access and use such devices to enhance learning, mobile phones will be permitted for that specific purpose. Schools will also be required to develop a local students using mobile phones policy, which must include how the policy will be implemented. The principal will be responsible for deciding the appropriate storage of mobile phones. Examples of secure storage include student lockers that are lockable or a lockable cupboard stored in an administrative office. The policy will be enforced by schools under their existing student engagement policies; for example, through detention or a loss of school-based privileges where students fail to comply with the local school policy on mobile phones, including if they refuse to hand over their phones to school staff when asked. I look forward to hearing from the minister. Answer.  The Andrews Labor Government takes the issues of the safe and responsible use of digital technologies, student safety and wellbeing, and the development of social skills and positive behaviours in schools very seriously. The new mobile phone policy means that phones brought to school must be switched off and stored securely during the school day, and was introduced for all students at Victorian state primary and secondary schools from Term 1, 2020. The policy has been introduced so schools can best provide a safe environment to learn without inappropriate mobile phone use, including cyberbullying, or distractions. The new policy also provides greater opportunities for social interaction and physical activity during recess and lunchtimes. I am pleased to report that, like Auburn High School and other schools who already had similar local mobile phone policies in place, schools have recognised the benefits of the new policy and are implementing it in their schools. To support this implementation, the Government allocated $12.4 million for schools to provide secure storage for students' mobile phones, the majority of which has now been disbursed. The Hon James Merlino MP Deputy Premier Minister for Education

ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Education

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is for the minister to provide me with an update on the rollout of the government's mobile phone ban at schools in my electorate of Hawthorn. Last year I visited Auburn High School with the minister, where funding was announced for the provision of lockers so students could secure their phones during school hours. Auburn High was chosen as they had already successfully implemented the mobile phone ban. The mobile ban was implemented in term one this year at state primary and secondary schools and will remove a major distraction from classrooms so students can focus more on learning and in break times socialise more with their classmates. The ban will also be critical in helping to tackle the issue of cyberbullying. The Victorian government takes the safe and responsible use of digital technologies, student safety and wellbeing, and the development of social skills and positive behaviour very seriously. The ban is part of the government's plan to address mental health and bullying, with $51.2 million invested so every government secondary school campus will have a qualified mental health practitioner within the school, as well as $65.5 million in student health and wellbeing, which includes anti-bullying and positive behaviour support. The government's new policy, which it should be noted has been very widely welcomed, acknowledges that technology is increasingly affecting how students learn and communicate. Therefore when a student has been given explicit permission by the classroom teacher to access and use such devices to enhance learning, mobile phones will be permitted for that specific purpose. Schools will also be required to develop a local students using mobile phones policy, which must include how the policy will be implemented. The principal will be responsible for deciding the appropriate storage of mobile phones. Examples of secure storage include student lockers that are lockable or a lockable cupboard stored in an administrative office. The policy will be enforced by schools under their existing student engagement policies; for example, through detention or a loss of school-based privileges where students fail to comply with the local school policy on mobile phones, including if they refuse to hand over their phones to school staff when asked. I look forward to hearing from the minister. Answer.  The Andrews Labor Government takes the issues of the safe and responsible use of digital technologies, student safety and wellbeing, and the development of social skills and positive behaviours in schools very seriously. The new mobile phone policy means that phones brought to school must be switched off and stored securely during the school day, and was introduced for all students at Victorian state primary and secondary schools from Term 1, 2020. The policy has been introduced so schools can best provide a safe environment to learn without inappropriate mobile phone use, including cyberbullying, or distractions. The new policy also provides greater opportunities for social interaction and physical activity during recess and lunchtimes. I am pleased to report that, like Auburn High School and other schools who already had similar local mobile phone policies in place, schools have recognised the benefits of the new policy and are implementing it in their schools. To support this implementation, the Government allocated $12.4 million for schools to provide secure storage for students' mobile phones, the majority of which has now been disbursed. The Hon James Merlino MP Deputy Premier Minister for Education

Latest round of grants provide more funding Hawthorn’s Community Clubs during COVID-19

Thirteen more of our local sports clubs and scout groups have received grants as part most recent round of the Victorian Community Sport Sector Short-term Survival Package. This $40 million community package is helping 12,000 clubs and community groups state wide with basic running costs and supporting a return to play. Ensuring community sport and active recreation organisations survive this crisis and come back better than ever is critical to our economic and social recovery, and to our community’s physical and mental wellbeing. Congratulations to the following local community and sporting groups on their successful grant applications: Kirinari Kayak Club Melbourne Cricket Club Croquet, Hawthorn Old Trinity Grammarians Amateur Football Club Swinburne Razorbacks Amateur Football Club 1st City of Camberwell Scout Group 1st Glen Iris Scout Group 19th Camberwell Scout Group Melbourne Cricket Club Target Shooting Section Old Xavierians Association Hawthorn Citizens Youth Club Judo South Camberwell Basketball Club STC South Camberwell Cricket Club South Camberwell Cricket Club

Latest round of grants provide more funding Hawthorn’s Community Clubs during COVID-19

Thirteen more of our local sports clubs and scout groups have received grants as part most recent round of the Victorian Community Sport Sector Short-term Survival Package. This $40 million community package is helping 12,000 clubs and community groups state wide with basic running costs and supporting a return to play. Ensuring community sport and active recreation organisations survive this crisis and come back better than ever is critical to our economic and social recovery, and to our community’s physical and mental wellbeing. Congratulations to the following local community and sporting groups on their successful grant applications: Kirinari Kayak Club Melbourne Cricket Club Croquet, Hawthorn Old Trinity Grammarians Amateur Football Club Swinburne Razorbacks Amateur Football Club 1st City of Camberwell Scout Group 1st Glen Iris Scout Group 19th Camberwell Scout Group Melbourne Cricket Club Target Shooting Section Old Xavierians Association Hawthorn Citizens Youth Club Judo South Camberwell Basketball Club STC South Camberwell Cricket Club South Camberwell Cricket Club

2020 Council Elections Update

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, it is confirmed that all council elections will be by postal ballot in 2020. Regulations for the 2020 Local Government Elections have been formally gazetted and will apply for the forthcoming elections in October and beyond. In this 2020 Boroondara Council election an eleventh ward; the Riversdale Ward, has been added to the electorate. Please CLICK HERE for the updated map.

2020 Council Elections Update

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, it is confirmed that all council elections will be by postal ballot in 2020. Regulations for the 2020 Local Government Elections have been formally gazetted and will apply for the forthcoming elections in October and beyond. In this 2020 Boroondara Council election an eleventh ward; the Riversdale Ward, has been added to the electorate. Please CLICK HERE for the updated map.

Early Childhood Education

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (21:30): I am very pleased to be speaking on this motion. It has been quite some time since I was a three-year-old, and I certainly did not have the benefit of a three-year old kindergarten. It has caused me to think a little bit about my own early education. I remember when I was just maybe a year or two older than three—in the preps—we were all encouraged to sing. It was said to us that if we sang well and with intensity and concentration, there was a statue in our room and that that statue would move. If we sang well, we would see the statue move. So off we went, and the first verse was sung. The person running the class said, ‘Hands up those who saw the statue move’. Well, I certainly was not going to move my hands at all, but a few crawlers and sycophants’ hands went up—just a very small group, mind you. The teacher said, ‘Well, look, we will have another go at this’. So we sang again. She said, ‘You know if you really concentrate, you will see that statue move’. And away we went. Once again we were asked, and this time more hands went up. But I can tell you, mine did not. I just thought, ‘This is ridiculous; I haven’t seen the statue move’. So we were asked to do the third verse, and off we went. I have to confess—and this is the first time I have ever confessed this—the third time around, I put my hand up. And some would say that perhaps typified the rest of my life; I do not know. But it was a strange way of teaching things then, in a way. It is good to see that we have come a long way in those early childhood education experiences. Going forward a number of years, I look at the way we brought up our daughter and son. We were, I suppose, very relaxed, and hopefully they acquired good values and what have you from us. However, I notice now with my own daughter and her daughter—my granddaughter—that I think to myself, ‘My wife and I were as slack as slack’. When I look at the unbelievable business that now goes into the education of a one-year-old or a seven-month-old and what have you and so forth, I understand that and I do see that. We are told, ‘She must have her two sleeps’, and, ‘This must happen, and this must happen’, et cetera and so forth. Sometimes you can stand back and think a bit cynically about all these things and think, you know, ‘Well, is it really necessary?’. But this brings me then to the three-year-old kindergarten. I think that there is no disputing the evidence that those three years, that at age three—I think that I was reading that around 90 per cent of brain development occurs before the age of five, including critical cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural development. And we know about language acquisition and motor skills. We have seen in countries like Finland and Korea the benefits that have accrued not just at that age group but in times thereafter. It was a bit hit and miss in my time and perhaps even in child rearing, but in more recent times I think more research has been done and data has been collected, and this is something that is really, really worthwhile. It is undisputed data that we have. There are a couple of other things that I would just like to mention along the way, if I could. One is the notion of establishing kindergartens on school sites. Now, that does not sound particularly special. It is certainly very convenient in terms of a one-stop shop and so on. But I think what is really important for children—I am just speaking now as an educator, as a former principal and so on—is learning not just in a horizontal way of just one age group only, and that is inevitable when you are talking about three-year-old kinder of course and understandable, but in that sense of recognising that you are part of an age group. When you go there to three-year-old kinder and you are in a primary school of children aged up to 12 years of age, that can be a very important thing. It is a kind of incidental learning if you like. It is an incidental form of socialisation and so on. So when I was reading about that I thought, well, I have seen secondary schools—one that I was a principal of—where we brought along this whole vertical system wherein a kid in year 7 could see what happens to people in year 12, and so on and so forth. Well, it is in the same way here; I think it is very good that three-year-old kinder is not isolated from the rest of the world. I certainly do not think it is, but I just think having it on the same site is a very good thing. I can certainly report, in visiting kindergartens myself in the Hawthorn electorate, the wonderful experience that one finds. If you visit secondary schools, they are happy enough to see you, but they do not show any excitement, whereas if you go into a kindergarten, they are absolutely enthusiastic, particularly if you are prepared to sit and read a book to them and so on. So it has been a joy for me in this job of just 18 months to include the visiting of kindergartens. When I go there I am just amazed at the level of confidence that is often shown by the boys and girls there, the way they have been taught to interrelate, that it is not just survival of the fittest and that you actually learn to listen and to hear people. People often say, ‘You’re not listening’. Well, I think you are listening if you can repeat what a person has said. If you can repeat the reasons for their argument and so on, that is listening. It does not mean you have to agree, and I have seen that demonstrated in the kindergartens that I have been privileged to visit. So I have been delighted by that experience. It means quite a lot to me to see the figures that have been presented there. The government is investing $5 billion over the full rollout this decade, and I think that is just fantastic. This is not something where you think, ‘Well, with a lick and a promise, I hope it turns out’. The other thing about it, too, is that it often occurred to me years ago that when you go to school you have an opportunity for a little bit of a fresh start. There is a bit of an image about you within the family situation. You might be seen as always whingeing or lazy or whatever it might be, and in a way schooling—and I would extend this to three-year-old kinder—is an opportunity for them to move away from Mum and Dad and maybe look at opportunities to, I am not saying bring out their best light, bring out a different light and so on. So that wonderful opportunity that you have in the best schools and in kindergartens is to balance home life and home values with experience of interaction with children in a kind of benignly and professionally controlled atmosphere. So it is not something that necessarily we will see an immediate return for economically—it will not hit the stock market or anything like that—but I think you will recognise it. You cannot define a rhinoceros, but if you come across one in the jungle you will recognise it, and it is the same sort of thing. You might not be able to define what has gone on there, but I think in the interpersonal relationships and what have you, you will see that that will be developed. So I am very pleased to commend the motion.

Early Childhood Education

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (21:30): I am very pleased to be speaking on this motion. It has been quite some time since I was a three-year-old, and I certainly did not have the benefit of a three-year old kindergarten. It has caused me to think a little bit about my own early education. I remember when I was just maybe a year or two older than three—in the preps—we were all encouraged to sing. It was said to us that if we sang well and with intensity and concentration, there was a statue in our room and that that statue would move. If we sang well, we would see the statue move. So off we went, and the first verse was sung. The person running the class said, ‘Hands up those who saw the statue move’. Well, I certainly was not going to move my hands at all, but a few crawlers and sycophants’ hands went up—just a very small group, mind you. The teacher said, ‘Well, look, we will have another go at this’. So we sang again. She said, ‘You know if you really concentrate, you will see that statue move’. And away we went. Once again we were asked, and this time more hands went up. But I can tell you, mine did not. I just thought, ‘This is ridiculous; I haven’t seen the statue move’. So we were asked to do the third verse, and off we went. I have to confess—and this is the first time I have ever confessed this—the third time around, I put my hand up. And some would say that perhaps typified the rest of my life; I do not know. But it was a strange way of teaching things then, in a way. It is good to see that we have come a long way in those early childhood education experiences. Going forward a number of years, I look at the way we brought up our daughter and son. We were, I suppose, very relaxed, and hopefully they acquired good values and what have you from us. However, I notice now with my own daughter and her daughter—my granddaughter—that I think to myself, ‘My wife and I were as slack as slack’. When I look at the unbelievable business that now goes into the education of a one-year-old or a seven-month-old and what have you and so forth, I understand that and I do see that. We are told, ‘She must have her two sleeps’, and, ‘This must happen, and this must happen’, et cetera and so forth. Sometimes you can stand back and think a bit cynically about all these things and think, you know, ‘Well, is it really necessary?’. But this brings me then to the three-year-old kindergarten. I think that there is no disputing the evidence that those three years, that at age three—I think that I was reading that around 90 per cent of brain development occurs before the age of five, including critical cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural development. And we know about language acquisition and motor skills. We have seen in countries like Finland and Korea the benefits that have accrued not just at that age group but in times thereafter. It was a bit hit and miss in my time and perhaps even in child rearing, but in more recent times I think more research has been done and data has been collected, and this is something that is really, really worthwhile. It is undisputed data that we have. There are a couple of other things that I would just like to mention along the way, if I could. One is the notion of establishing kindergartens on school sites. Now, that does not sound particularly special. It is certainly very convenient in terms of a one-stop shop and so on. But I think what is really important for children—I am just speaking now as an educator, as a former principal and so on—is learning not just in a horizontal way of just one age group only, and that is inevitable when you are talking about three-year-old kinder of course and understandable, but in that sense of recognising that you are part of an age group. When you go there to three-year-old kinder and you are in a primary school of children aged up to 12 years of age, that can be a very important thing. It is a kind of incidental learning if you like. It is an incidental form of socialisation and so on. So when I was reading about that I thought, well, I have seen secondary schools—one that I was a principal of—where we brought along this whole vertical system wherein a kid in year 7 could see what happens to people in year 12, and so on and so forth. Well, it is in the same way here; I think it is very good that three-year-old kinder is not isolated from the rest of the world. I certainly do not think it is, but I just think having it on the same site is a very good thing. I can certainly report, in visiting kindergartens myself in the Hawthorn electorate, the wonderful experience that one finds. If you visit secondary schools, they are happy enough to see you, but they do not show any excitement, whereas if you go into a kindergarten, they are absolutely enthusiastic, particularly if you are prepared to sit and read a book to them and so on. So it has been a joy for me in this job of just 18 months to include the visiting of kindergartens. When I go there I am just amazed at the level of confidence that is often shown by the boys and girls there, the way they have been taught to interrelate, that it is not just survival of the fittest and that you actually learn to listen and to hear people. People often say, ‘You’re not listening’. Well, I think you are listening if you can repeat what a person has said. If you can repeat the reasons for their argument and so on, that is listening. It does not mean you have to agree, and I have seen that demonstrated in the kindergartens that I have been privileged to visit. So I have been delighted by that experience. It means quite a lot to me to see the figures that have been presented there. The government is investing $5 billion over the full rollout this decade, and I think that is just fantastic. This is not something where you think, ‘Well, with a lick and a promise, I hope it turns out’. The other thing about it, too, is that it often occurred to me years ago that when you go to school you have an opportunity for a little bit of a fresh start. There is a bit of an image about you within the family situation. You might be seen as always whingeing or lazy or whatever it might be, and in a way schooling—and I would extend this to three-year-old kinder—is an opportunity for them to move away from Mum and Dad and maybe look at opportunities to, I am not saying bring out their best light, bring out a different light and so on. So that wonderful opportunity that you have in the best schools and in kindergartens is to balance home life and home values with experience of interaction with children in a kind of benignly and professionally controlled atmosphere. So it is not something that necessarily we will see an immediate return for economically—it will not hit the stock market or anything like that—but I think you will recognise it. You cannot define a rhinoceros, but if you come across one in the jungle you will recognise it, and it is the same sort of thing. You might not be able to define what has gone on there, but I think in the interpersonal relationships and what have you, you will see that that will be developed. So I am very pleased to commend the motion.

Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (15:02): It is always good when you can get up and speak about bills that you have had some sort of involvement in, and at the end of January I had a few days in hospital—bit of elective surgery—just preparing me for the rigours of 2020. That was a good experience. I was so impressed—I had not been in a hospital for a long time. Seeing all the modern developments, the enthusiasm of the nurses, the highly professional approaches and so on was most impressive—well, so I thought. I do have to record, though, and this is as good a place as any, that one night I was seeking to sleep and I thought, ‘Oh, this will be a simple matter of calling the nurse for a simple sleeping tablet of some kind or other’—which I have not had for years and years. I called the nurse and I said to her, ‘Look I can’t sleep. Could I have a tablet to help me?’, and she turned to me—a nice smile—and said, ‘Just close your eyes’. I thought, ‘Oh, okay’. So I did that, and I went off to sleep. So it shows you it is not all modern medicine there, just a bit of practical awareness and so on. I am proud to speak on the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020, which enshrines in legislation the Andrews Labor government’s commitment, not only to Victorians having access to high-quality and safe health care, but to ensuring improved standards of care. The bill achieves this end by varying and improving the operation of nurse-to-patient and midwife-to-patient ratios. As eloquently noted in the second-reading speech, the bill will deliver on our commitment to ensure safe and high-quality nursing care in our publicly funded health facilities and maternal and child health services. The bill does this, first, by recognising and improving proper minimum staffing arrangements and thereby increasing nursing and midwifery workforce numbers in Victoria’s public hospitals, and, second, by ensuring our maternal and child health nurses are optimally trained to deliver the best child, maternal and family centre practice for the community. It is important that the background to and the need for the amendments set out in the bill is remembered. The Liberals’ callous industrial policy when last in office—that is, their endeavour to lessen the nursing and midwives staffing minima in our public hospitals and clinics—should not be forgotten. Their policies were not only misconceived and unfair but threatened to destroy the harmonious relationship which had developed within the public health system under the previous Labor government. The Liberal method adopted of endlessly delaying the negotiations for a new public health sector agreement for nurses and midwives and other ancillary staff set the sector back in time and in goodwill. Particularly obnoxious was the Liberals’ determination to reduce health standards by linking reductions to the independently established minimum staffing levels and ratios for nurses and midwives with bargaining for the appropriate wage and conditions outcome to apply in our public hospitals and clinics. The Labor government’s determination was and remains to remove nurses’ and midwives’ working conditions and minimum staffing standards from the bargaining table, assuring patient care and improved health outcomes through staffing ratios being enshrined in legislation. The present bill continues the reforms commenced by the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act 2015, amended and improved by this Parliament in March 2019 and now to be further strengthened following extensive consultation with stakeholders. It is important to note the major benefits accruing within the bill result from consideration of some 80 written submissions received from wideranging industry associations, employer and employee representatives and other interested parties, particularly including executive directors of nursing and midwifery at regional and small rural hospitals and clinics. Reflecting stakeholder and community consultation through the Nurse/Midwife to Patient Ratio Improvements Taskforce, the bill delivers sound conclusions following a genuinely consultative approach. The task force was established in 2016 to provide expert advice to the Minister for Health on improvements to ratios and to identify recommendations across a range of clinical areas and settings. The task force recommendations and information provided through such expert collaboration will continue to inform ongoing analysis and monitoring by the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill has as a principal objective the proper application of research-based staffing minima and ratios for application within the public health sector. There can now be no doubt, having regard for the Australian and relevant overseas research findings, that there exists a correlation between nurse staffing levels and improved nursing-sensitive patient outcomes. Essentially these establish a nexus, which should not surprise, between adequate nursing levels and improved health outcomes generally. The English research examining higher nurse staffing levels reflects a reduction in adverse medical outcomes and a significant diminution in the risk of mortality. The bill achieves these objectives by the removal or improvement of the rounding methodology which has applied to staffing ratios to ensure consistency across shifts and settings in determining workload under the safe patient care act. Also beneficial will be alterations in staffing numbers achieved in several ways. Particularly noteworthy is the provision of an in-charge nurse or midwife across a range of settings, predominantly on night shift—I did refer to that night shift at the beginning of my speech—which will reduce clinical risk, improve patient safety and better ensure patient and staff wellbeing. The in-charge nurse or midwife frees nurses and midwives from administrative duties in favour of direct care to patients. This innovation is intended to address the overnight workload seen as an area of high nursing demand and risk. The second major advance in the bill involves the introduction of the supernumerary after-hours coordinator, which will benefit our small and regional hospitals by addressing the problem of increasing complexity in nursing coordination across the range of services in regional health services such as Alexandra District Health, the Mansfield District Hospital and the Terang and Mortlake Health Service. The after-hours coordinator in hospitals with one or two wards which operate birthing suites and/or emergency departments with more than 2500 annual presentations will facilitate effective nursing and midwife duty. The bill also includes the reclassification of Warrnambool Base Hospital from level 3 to level 2 from 1 July 2022—a big year 2022—recognising the district growth of Warrnambool and thereby meeting the anticipated present and future demand consistent with the service plan and feasibility study undertaken in 2019. Fundamental too are the amendments to the Child, Wellbeing and Safety Act 2015 which ensure that the operator of a maternal and child health care centre or a statewide telephone service providing maternal child health advice must in engaging a nurse to provide such service ensure that the nurse possesses the prescribed specialist qualification or its equivalent under the regulations. How appropriate is it that in the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and also marking the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth such magnificent advances in support of our nurses and midwives is to be made. I join with my colleagues to acknowledge the outstanding professionalism and dedication to their work of Victoria’s nurses and midwives, which in the time of COVID-19 has highlighted their selflessness, compassion and care. I commend the bill to the house.

Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (15:02): It is always good when you can get up and speak about bills that you have had some sort of involvement in, and at the end of January I had a few days in hospital—bit of elective surgery—just preparing me for the rigours of 2020. That was a good experience. I was so impressed—I had not been in a hospital for a long time. Seeing all the modern developments, the enthusiasm of the nurses, the highly professional approaches and so on was most impressive—well, so I thought. I do have to record, though, and this is as good a place as any, that one night I was seeking to sleep and I thought, ‘Oh, this will be a simple matter of calling the nurse for a simple sleeping tablet of some kind or other’—which I have not had for years and years. I called the nurse and I said to her, ‘Look I can’t sleep. Could I have a tablet to help me?’, and she turned to me—a nice smile—and said, ‘Just close your eyes’. I thought, ‘Oh, okay’. So I did that, and I went off to sleep. So it shows you it is not all modern medicine there, just a bit of practical awareness and so on. I am proud to speak on the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020, which enshrines in legislation the Andrews Labor government’s commitment, not only to Victorians having access to high-quality and safe health care, but to ensuring improved standards of care. The bill achieves this end by varying and improving the operation of nurse-to-patient and midwife-to-patient ratios. As eloquently noted in the second-reading speech, the bill will deliver on our commitment to ensure safe and high-quality nursing care in our publicly funded health facilities and maternal and child health services. The bill does this, first, by recognising and improving proper minimum staffing arrangements and thereby increasing nursing and midwifery workforce numbers in Victoria’s public hospitals, and, second, by ensuring our maternal and child health nurses are optimally trained to deliver the best child, maternal and family centre practice for the community. It is important that the background to and the need for the amendments set out in the bill is remembered. The Liberals’ callous industrial policy when last in office—that is, their endeavour to lessen the nursing and midwives staffing minima in our public hospitals and clinics—should not be forgotten. Their policies were not only misconceived and unfair but threatened to destroy the harmonious relationship which had developed within the public health system under the previous Labor government. The Liberal method adopted of endlessly delaying the negotiations for a new public health sector agreement for nurses and midwives and other ancillary staff set the sector back in time and in goodwill. Particularly obnoxious was the Liberals’ determination to reduce health standards by linking reductions to the independently established minimum staffing levels and ratios for nurses and midwives with bargaining for the appropriate wage and conditions outcome to apply in our public hospitals and clinics. The Labor government’s determination was and remains to remove nurses’ and midwives’ working conditions and minimum staffing standards from the bargaining table, assuring patient care and improved health outcomes through staffing ratios being enshrined in legislation. The present bill continues the reforms commenced by the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act 2015, amended and improved by this Parliament in March 2019 and now to be further strengthened following extensive consultation with stakeholders. It is important to note the major benefits accruing within the bill result from consideration of some 80 written submissions received from wideranging industry associations, employer and employee representatives and other interested parties, particularly including executive directors of nursing and midwifery at regional and small rural hospitals and clinics. Reflecting stakeholder and community consultation through the Nurse/Midwife to Patient Ratio Improvements Taskforce, the bill delivers sound conclusions following a genuinely consultative approach. The task force was established in 2016 to provide expert advice to the Minister for Health on improvements to ratios and to identify recommendations across a range of clinical areas and settings. The task force recommendations and information provided through such expert collaboration will continue to inform ongoing analysis and monitoring by the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill has as a principal objective the proper application of research-based staffing minima and ratios for application within the public health sector. There can now be no doubt, having regard for the Australian and relevant overseas research findings, that there exists a correlation between nurse staffing levels and improved nursing-sensitive patient outcomes. Essentially these establish a nexus, which should not surprise, between adequate nursing levels and improved health outcomes generally. The English research examining higher nurse staffing levels reflects a reduction in adverse medical outcomes and a significant diminution in the risk of mortality. The bill achieves these objectives by the removal or improvement of the rounding methodology which has applied to staffing ratios to ensure consistency across shifts and settings in determining workload under the safe patient care act. Also beneficial will be alterations in staffing numbers achieved in several ways. Particularly noteworthy is the provision of an in-charge nurse or midwife across a range of settings, predominantly on night shift—I did refer to that night shift at the beginning of my speech—which will reduce clinical risk, improve patient safety and better ensure patient and staff wellbeing. The in-charge nurse or midwife frees nurses and midwives from administrative duties in favour of direct care to patients. This innovation is intended to address the overnight workload seen as an area of high nursing demand and risk. The second major advance in the bill involves the introduction of the supernumerary after-hours coordinator, which will benefit our small and regional hospitals by addressing the problem of increasing complexity in nursing coordination across the range of services in regional health services such as Alexandra District Health, the Mansfield District Hospital and the Terang and Mortlake Health Service. The after-hours coordinator in hospitals with one or two wards which operate birthing suites and/or emergency departments with more than 2500 annual presentations will facilitate effective nursing and midwife duty. The bill also includes the reclassification of Warrnambool Base Hospital from level 3 to level 2 from 1 July 2022—a big year 2022—recognising the district growth of Warrnambool and thereby meeting the anticipated present and future demand consistent with the service plan and feasibility study undertaken in 2019. Fundamental too are the amendments to the Child, Wellbeing and Safety Act 2015 which ensure that the operator of a maternal and child health care centre or a statewide telephone service providing maternal child health advice must in engaging a nurse to provide such service ensure that the nurse possesses the prescribed specialist qualification or its equivalent under the regulations. How appropriate is it that in the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and also marking the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth such magnificent advances in support of our nurses and midwives is to be made. I join with my colleagues to acknowledge the outstanding professionalism and dedication to their work of Victoria’s nurses and midwives, which in the time of COVID-19 has highlighted their selflessness, compassion and care. I commend the bill to the house.

Education and Training Reform Amendment (Regulation of Student Accommodation) Bill 2020

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (14:30): I rise to speak on the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Regulation of Student Accommodation) Bill 2020. As a former school principal and assistant boarding housemaster I appreciate the benefits for the many students across Victoria who attend boarding schools. Students from a wideranging geographical area come together to be educated. Hawthorn’s largest boarding school is Scotch College, with 160 students living across three separate houses—70 per cent of borders are from rural Victoria and New South Wales, while the other 30 come from across the world. Often relationships form across age groups. Rural and suburban students form long-term friendships that benefit the state as they move into adult life. Here I might mention two very fine alumni in the member for Kew and the member for Burwood, who both attended Scotch College. Dedicated staff in these places form meaningful bonds to assist students learning outside regular school hours, and for some their backyards are immaculate sportsgrounds which they use on weekends and after school. Between 1970 and 1975 I served as assistant housemaster at Sydney Church of England Grammar School, more commonly known as Shore. I worked in Hodges House, one of their four boarding houses. I became during those six years very much aware of many of the benefits of boarding school life. However, of course, it was not always the case, and it certainly was true that it did not always suit many, many students. Indeed, when I was growing up, I remember that if we were naughty, we were threatened with ‘I will send you to boarding school if you don’t behave’. Fortunately that was not the only way in which boarding school was regarded. However, when I looked around in those days, it is true that there was a very relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes, for example, a power point could be left exposed for months in a boarding house because everyone told everyone, ‘Don’t put your finger on that power point’ for obvious reasons, and so on. So you could say that some things were done in a very relaxed and friendly way, but they were not always ways which were safe. Benefits then, however, are only possible when safe practices are put in place. Important work was done by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; it made recommendations to improve the safety of boarding houses for students that this bill seeks to implement. The royal commission identified that boarding schools can be a high-risk environment for students, and unfortunately in Victoria some school boarding premises have been the sites of historic cases of child sexual abuse and accidents of various kinds. Currently there are no government regulations that directly monitor the compliance of school boarding premises with the Victorian child safe standards. The bill will expand the regulatory powers of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, the VRQA, to ensure that this is no longer the case. The VRQA will now have powers to regulate school boarding premises and require these premises to be registered with them. It is important to note that the bill is clear in defining what school boarding premises are. The bill broadly defines them as: … premises at which school boarding services are provided or intended to be provided by a person for a fee or reward … This is important as it excludes arrangements such as private residences, students staying with family members, camps et cetera, which are already regulated for compliance with the Victorian child safe standards. While currently there are no private operators running boarding premises in Victoria, unlike  throughout the 19th century, the bill does include provisions to ensure that the registration requirements will also apply to any school building premises which are proposed to be operated by a private provider in the future. This bill will also include the ability of the VRQA to further prescribe minimum standards for registration of school boarding premises. Minimum standards will be consistent with and similar to those for schools already set out in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. These include enrollment policies; student welfare; governance of the school; probity of the proprietor and any person responsible for managing the school; and the processes for review and evaluation of the school. After the passage of this bill the department will commence work on developing the necessary amendments to the regulations which will prescribe the bulk of the minimum standards for registration of school boarding premises. As a former principal I know the hard work that goes into preparing schools for the process of registration. I know, for example, the enormous amount of time and individual effort that is put into ensuring a productive time for students who are boarders. Having said that, there is no way we can say, ‘Oh, well, because of that we can’t complain’, or, ‘We can’t accept lower standards of one kind or another’. By linking wherever appropriate and practicable the requirements and review processes with those already used by the school for registration, the bill seeks to reduce the additional regulatory burden on schools. I think that is important to note, to codify these things as well rather than having some sort of very vague list. The VRQA will align review of schools with those of associated boarding premises to provide a commonsense approach to this. These are simple measures that also seek to reduce the financial burden of any changes. Should a school be found to be non-compliant, the bill also sets out the process for review and grants the VRQA the necessary enforcement powers to ensure compliance. Powers provided to the VRQA include imposing interim conditions on the registration of the premises before completing a review; imposing conditions on the registration of the premises in other circumstances, including after completing a review; prohibiting the premises from accepting any new boarders; requiring the provider to report on the non-compliance to parents of boarders at the premises; and suspending or cancelling the registration of the school boarding premises. Actions taken against providers must be in the interest of the boarders or the greater public, and the provider will be given the opportunity to make a submission to the VRQA and the minister to show cause why any action proposed by the VRQA should not be taken. It is important to note that the registration requirements for school boarding premises will apply to all schools, including government, Catholic and other non-government schools. Therefore, as part of preparing the bill, extensive consultation was conducted in 2019 with schools that have boarding premises, the Australian Boarding Schools Association, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Limited and Independent Schools Victoria. There was in-principle support amongst these organisations. It is important for the house to throw its support behind this bill as the amendments to the regulations need to be developed and made in time for commencement by term 1 2021. Schools associated with existing school boarding premises who were consulted during the development of the bill are expecting these amendments to commence in term 1, and there should not be a delay. We all know in the running of organisations like this the importance of preparation, and there is no difference when it comes to boarding schools. Most importantly, though, if this bill is not passed, we will not be able to acquit the recommendations of the royal commission in the time frames that affected schools expect. I commend this bill to the house as worthwhile regulation of a very important feature of Australian educational life

Education and Training Reform Amendment (Regulation of Student Accommodation) Bill 2020

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (14:30): I rise to speak on the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Regulation of Student Accommodation) Bill 2020. As a former school principal and assistant boarding housemaster I appreciate the benefits for the many students across Victoria who attend boarding schools. Students from a wideranging geographical area come together to be educated. Hawthorn’s largest boarding school is Scotch College, with 160 students living across three separate houses—70 per cent of borders are from rural Victoria and New South Wales, while the other 30 come from across the world. Often relationships form across age groups. Rural and suburban students form long-term friendships that benefit the state as they move into adult life. Here I might mention two very fine alumni in the member for Kew and the member for Burwood, who both attended Scotch College. Dedicated staff in these places form meaningful bonds to assist students learning outside regular school hours, and for some their backyards are immaculate sportsgrounds which they use on weekends and after school. Between 1970 and 1975 I served as assistant housemaster at Sydney Church of England Grammar School, more commonly known as Shore. I worked in Hodges House, one of their four boarding houses. I became during those six years very much aware of many of the benefits of boarding school life. However, of course, it was not always the case, and it certainly was true that it did not always suit many, many students. Indeed, when I was growing up, I remember that if we were naughty, we were threatened with ‘I will send you to boarding school if you don’t behave’. Fortunately that was not the only way in which boarding school was regarded. However, when I looked around in those days, it is true that there was a very relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes, for example, a power point could be left exposed for months in a boarding house because everyone told everyone, ‘Don’t put your finger on that power point’ for obvious reasons, and so on. So you could say that some things were done in a very relaxed and friendly way, but they were not always ways which were safe. Benefits then, however, are only possible when safe practices are put in place. Important work was done by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; it made recommendations to improve the safety of boarding houses for students that this bill seeks to implement. The royal commission identified that boarding schools can be a high-risk environment for students, and unfortunately in Victoria some school boarding premises have been the sites of historic cases of child sexual abuse and accidents of various kinds. Currently there are no government regulations that directly monitor the compliance of school boarding premises with the Victorian child safe standards. The bill will expand the regulatory powers of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, the VRQA, to ensure that this is no longer the case. The VRQA will now have powers to regulate school boarding premises and require these premises to be registered with them. It is important to note that the bill is clear in defining what school boarding premises are. The bill broadly defines them as: … premises at which school boarding services are provided or intended to be provided by a person for a fee or reward … This is important as it excludes arrangements such as private residences, students staying with family members, camps et cetera, which are already regulated for compliance with the Victorian child safe standards. While currently there are no private operators running boarding premises in Victoria, unlike  throughout the 19th century, the bill does include provisions to ensure that the registration requirements will also apply to any school building premises which are proposed to be operated by a private provider in the future. This bill will also include the ability of the VRQA to further prescribe minimum standards for registration of school boarding premises. Minimum standards will be consistent with and similar to those for schools already set out in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. These include enrollment policies; student welfare; governance of the school; probity of the proprietor and any person responsible for managing the school; and the processes for review and evaluation of the school. After the passage of this bill the department will commence work on developing the necessary amendments to the regulations which will prescribe the bulk of the minimum standards for registration of school boarding premises. As a former principal I know the hard work that goes into preparing schools for the process of registration. I know, for example, the enormous amount of time and individual effort that is put into ensuring a productive time for students who are boarders. Having said that, there is no way we can say, ‘Oh, well, because of that we can’t complain’, or, ‘We can’t accept lower standards of one kind or another’. By linking wherever appropriate and practicable the requirements and review processes with those already used by the school for registration, the bill seeks to reduce the additional regulatory burden on schools. I think that is important to note, to codify these things as well rather than having some sort of very vague list. The VRQA will align review of schools with those of associated boarding premises to provide a commonsense approach to this. These are simple measures that also seek to reduce the financial burden of any changes. Should a school be found to be non-compliant, the bill also sets out the process for review and grants the VRQA the necessary enforcement powers to ensure compliance. Powers provided to the VRQA include imposing interim conditions on the registration of the premises before completing a review; imposing conditions on the registration of the premises in other circumstances, including after completing a review; prohibiting the premises from accepting any new boarders; requiring the provider to report on the non-compliance to parents of boarders at the premises; and suspending or cancelling the registration of the school boarding premises. Actions taken against providers must be in the interest of the boarders or the greater public, and the provider will be given the opportunity to make a submission to the VRQA and the minister to show cause why any action proposed by the VRQA should not be taken. It is important to note that the registration requirements for school boarding premises will apply to all schools, including government, Catholic and other non-government schools. Therefore, as part of preparing the bill, extensive consultation was conducted in 2019 with schools that have boarding premises, the Australian Boarding Schools Association, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Limited and Independent Schools Victoria. There was in-principle support amongst these organisations. It is important for the house to throw its support behind this bill as the amendments to the regulations need to be developed and made in time for commencement by term 1 2021. Schools associated with existing school boarding premises who were consulted during the development of the bill are expecting these amendments to commence in term 1, and there should not be a delay. We all know in the running of organisations like this the importance of preparation, and there is no difference when it comes to boarding schools. Most importantly, though, if this bill is not passed, we will not be able to acquit the recommendations of the royal commission in the time frames that affected schools expect. I commend this bill to the house as worthwhile regulation of a very important feature of Australian educational life

Retail Leases Amendment Act 2019

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (15:40): In Hawthorn there are three strips of cafes, shops and what have you—Burke Road, Glenferrie Road and Burwood Road—and these are very lively, very engaging places and very, very popular. However, in Hawthorn and indeed in other parts not too far from Hawthorn there have been an increasing number of shops that have closed. One such example is the Crabapple Kitchen on Glenferrie Road opposite Glenferrie station, where I used to enjoy breakfast every Saturday morning and which suddenly disappeared two years ago—over two years ago in fact.When you ask about why this happened so suddenly or why it even happened at all, of course what you are told is, often, by the trader, ‘Well, the landlord for the next contract wanted more’. Basically it was saying that the productivity of the cafe, if you like, did not justify it. It was an issue hearing, for me anyway, ‘Well, we don’t make enough money to justify the increased rent that’s being asked’ and various other factors and so on. So I am interested in anything that this government can do to improve the relationship between landlord and trader. This bill will do much to assist thousands of Victorian businesses and particularly the small and medium business sectors as we all work towards the rebuild of the Victorian economy. It is to be hoped that through these and other related measures supportive of business and employment growth Victoria can continue its enviable pre-COVID-19 growth rate of some 28 000 businesses annually. Certainly that is the policy of the Andrews government—that through genuine consultation with key stakeholders reforms such as those proposed in this bill can ease and simplify the regulatory obligations required to be met by Victorian business operators. The bill amends the Building Act 1993 and the Retail Leases Act 2003 and broadly has two parts. The first clarifies that landlords can continue to pass on the cost of repairs, maintenance or installation, if mutually agreed, of essential measures to retail tenants. Its main purpose is to enhance the certainty and fairness of retail leasing arrangements between landlords and tenants and to improve the mechanisms available to resolve disputes concerning leases of retail premises. The second provides for fairer retail leases for small businesses by requiring landlords to give more timely information to tenants. This includes setting a time limit for the returning of security deposits, a new early rent review process and setting a cooling-off period in some circumstances. By enacting these reforms the government is implementing two election commitments. The essential safety measures commitment followed an advisory opinion by VCAT in 2015, and the second delivers on a 2014 election commitment to increase fairness and reduce the regulatory burden on lease arrangements for small business owners to help address the imbalance of power between landlords and tenants. The bill’s reforms deal in real terms with several longstanding vexed issues, such as with leases and bonds, and addresses the legitimate concerns of the small business community and their landlords. The changes to improve fairness and certainty of retail leasing arrangements and fair dealing with any disputes which might emerge have resulted from close stakeholder consultation. This thorough consultation has included small businesses in Melbourne and regional cities, targeted engagement with the Small Business Ministerial Council and the Multicultural Business Ministerial Council and written submissions supplied by small businesses. Such a collaborative approach in dealing with difficult and potentially divisive issues is a hallmark of course of the Andrews Labor government. In key amendments to the Retail Leases Act 2003 and to the Building Act 1993 the bill remedies uncertainty created in retail leasing industry practices by the contentious VCAT advisory opinion of May 2015. The provisions relate to the capacity for landlords to pass on as outgoings maintenance and repair costs for essential safety measures (ESMs) to tenants where doing so is provided for in the lease—that is important I think. This key amendment essentially restores the pre-2015 advisory opinion status quo so that leases negotiated in good faith remain valid. The provisions are not retrospective but into the future and provide for the parties to include ESM repairs and maintenance as outgoings should landlord and tenant agree in their lease to do so. The amendments provided as part 2 of the bill stem from the small business regulation review into the retail sector and the retail sector action statement. Importantly, the bill ensures a proper regime for the return or otherwise of security deposits. It does this by setting a reasonable time limit for the return of security deposits and replaces the current security deposit return requirement from the frequently controversial ‘as soon as practicable’ to a maximum of within 30 days. Many of us will know anecdotally of the present terms being open to abuse. The clarity of language within the bill operating with the new reasonable standard will provide greater transparency at that time of lease conclusion, resulting in a reduction in disputes between landlords and tenants. One notes also that the time frame within the bill conforms with times provided for in the Australian supplier payment code, to which the Victorian government is a signatory. Of course it is unlikely that all disputes can be avoided, and it is to be connoted that the landlord and tenant party to a retail lease will be obliged to attempt mediation with the Victorian Small Business Commission before instituting proceedings in a court or tribunal. Although disputing parties involved in non-retail leases are not obliged to mediate unless that be in the term of the lease, they are able to avail of the expert mediation service of the VSBC. The second change arises from consultation undertaken as part of the small business regulation review. It allows for parties having more time to consider new leases, as the small business regulation review found that many small businesses’ leasing issues were caused by businesses not having taken enough time to consider their proposed lease prior to signing. The amendments will increase the minimum time for landlords to provide prospective tenants with a copy of the proposed lease and disclosure from seven to 14 days, which will allow small business owners adequate opportunity to consult expert advice on whether the lease terms proposed by the landlord are right for them. It can be reasonably anticipated that if this further time is taken in considering the proposed lease and for the gaining of advice the present rate of disputes will decline. A further centrally important reform provided for by the bill is the requirement for more information to be provided to commercial tenants considering options to renew their lease. Currently tenants must make a decision to renew their lease without having key information, including what the future rent will be, which has resulted in some business owners only discovering their rent has increased after they have exercised the option to renew. The changes in the legislation seek to ensure that tenants are informed of all key changes to the lease, not only the rate of rent. Consequently the bill will change the timing the landlords have to provide information to tenants from the recurrent requirement of six to 12 months before the option date to a minimum of three months before the option date. This ensures that tenants are in a better position to request information on the current market conditions before signing the lease. This element of unfairness remedied by the relevant amendments will introduce far more stability for small operators when the burden of an unexpected additional cost burden is eliminated. This change will be facilitated through the creation of a new rent review process, the same process used in section 37 of the current act. I commend the bill to the house

Retail Leases Amendment Act 2019

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (15:40): In Hawthorn there are three strips of cafes, shops and what have you—Burke Road, Glenferrie Road and Burwood Road—and these are very lively, very engaging places and very, very popular. However, in Hawthorn and indeed in other parts not too far from Hawthorn there have been an increasing number of shops that have closed. One such example is the Crabapple Kitchen on Glenferrie Road opposite Glenferrie station, where I used to enjoy breakfast every Saturday morning and which suddenly disappeared two years ago—over two years ago in fact.When you ask about why this happened so suddenly or why it even happened at all, of course what you are told is, often, by the trader, ‘Well, the landlord for the next contract wanted more’. Basically it was saying that the productivity of the cafe, if you like, did not justify it. It was an issue hearing, for me anyway, ‘Well, we don’t make enough money to justify the increased rent that’s being asked’ and various other factors and so on. So I am interested in anything that this government can do to improve the relationship between landlord and trader. This bill will do much to assist thousands of Victorian businesses and particularly the small and medium business sectors as we all work towards the rebuild of the Victorian economy. It is to be hoped that through these and other related measures supportive of business and employment growth Victoria can continue its enviable pre-COVID-19 growth rate of some 28 000 businesses annually. Certainly that is the policy of the Andrews government—that through genuine consultation with key stakeholders reforms such as those proposed in this bill can ease and simplify the regulatory obligations required to be met by Victorian business operators. The bill amends the Building Act 1993 and the Retail Leases Act 2003 and broadly has two parts. The first clarifies that landlords can continue to pass on the cost of repairs, maintenance or installation, if mutually agreed, of essential measures to retail tenants. Its main purpose is to enhance the certainty and fairness of retail leasing arrangements between landlords and tenants and to improve the mechanisms available to resolve disputes concerning leases of retail premises. The second provides for fairer retail leases for small businesses by requiring landlords to give more timely information to tenants. This includes setting a time limit for the returning of security deposits, a new early rent review process and setting a cooling-off period in some circumstances. By enacting these reforms the government is implementing two election commitments. The essential safety measures commitment followed an advisory opinion by VCAT in 2015, and the second delivers on a 2014 election commitment to increase fairness and reduce the regulatory burden on lease arrangements for small business owners to help address the imbalance of power between landlords and tenants. The bill’s reforms deal in real terms with several longstanding vexed issues, such as with leases and bonds, and addresses the legitimate concerns of the small business community and their landlords. The changes to improve fairness and certainty of retail leasing arrangements and fair dealing with any disputes which might emerge have resulted from close stakeholder consultation. This thorough consultation has included small businesses in Melbourne and regional cities, targeted engagement with the Small Business Ministerial Council and the Multicultural Business Ministerial Council and written submissions supplied by small businesses. Such a collaborative approach in dealing with difficult and potentially divisive issues is a hallmark of course of the Andrews Labor government. In key amendments to the Retail Leases Act 2003 and to the Building Act 1993 the bill remedies uncertainty created in retail leasing industry practices by the contentious VCAT advisory opinion of May 2015. The provisions relate to the capacity for landlords to pass on as outgoings maintenance and repair costs for essential safety measures (ESMs) to tenants where doing so is provided for in the lease—that is important I think. This key amendment essentially restores the pre-2015 advisory opinion status quo so that leases negotiated in good faith remain valid. The provisions are not retrospective but into the future and provide for the parties to include ESM repairs and maintenance as outgoings should landlord and tenant agree in their lease to do so. The amendments provided as part 2 of the bill stem from the small business regulation review into the retail sector and the retail sector action statement. Importantly, the bill ensures a proper regime for the return or otherwise of security deposits. It does this by setting a reasonable time limit for the return of security deposits and replaces the current security deposit return requirement from the frequently controversial ‘as soon as practicable’ to a maximum of within 30 days. Many of us will know anecdotally of the present terms being open to abuse. The clarity of language within the bill operating with the new reasonable standard will provide greater transparency at that time of lease conclusion, resulting in a reduction in disputes between landlords and tenants. One notes also that the time frame within the bill conforms with times provided for in the Australian supplier payment code, to which the Victorian government is a signatory. Of course it is unlikely that all disputes can be avoided, and it is to be connoted that the landlord and tenant party to a retail lease will be obliged to attempt mediation with the Victorian Small Business Commission before instituting proceedings in a court or tribunal. Although disputing parties involved in non-retail leases are not obliged to mediate unless that be in the term of the lease, they are able to avail of the expert mediation service of the VSBC. The second change arises from consultation undertaken as part of the small business regulation review. It allows for parties having more time to consider new leases, as the small business regulation review found that many small businesses’ leasing issues were caused by businesses not having taken enough time to consider their proposed lease prior to signing. The amendments will increase the minimum time for landlords to provide prospective tenants with a copy of the proposed lease and disclosure from seven to 14 days, which will allow small business owners adequate opportunity to consult expert advice on whether the lease terms proposed by the landlord are right for them. It can be reasonably anticipated that if this further time is taken in considering the proposed lease and for the gaining of advice the present rate of disputes will decline. A further centrally important reform provided for by the bill is the requirement for more information to be provided to commercial tenants considering options to renew their lease. Currently tenants must make a decision to renew their lease without having key information, including what the future rent will be, which has resulted in some business owners only discovering their rent has increased after they have exercised the option to renew. The changes in the legislation seek to ensure that tenants are informed of all key changes to the lease, not only the rate of rent. Consequently the bill will change the timing the landlords have to provide information to tenants from the recurrent requirement of six to 12 months before the option date to a minimum of three months before the option date. This ensures that tenants are in a better position to request information on the current market conditions before signing the lease. This element of unfairness remedied by the relevant amendments will introduce far more stability for small operators when the burden of an unexpected additional cost burden is eliminated. This change will be facilitated through the creation of a new rent review process, the same process used in section 37 of the current act. I commend the bill to the house

AUBURN SOUTH PRIMARY SCHOOL

Mr KENNEDY: Twice in 2019, in February and August, I visited the lively Auburn South Primary School, founded in 1925—with the original two-storey block building still standing—and educating over 600 children 95 years later. The gateway to the school presents a place rich in history, but the school under the leadership of principal Marcus Wicher is not living in the past. In 2004 the school adopted the International Baccalaureate primary years program, which motivates the students to think, create and explore. The school has a rich Mandarin language program, expanded to include two sister schools, located in Nanjing and Beijing. As part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the Andrews Labor government will continue to further the Education State by investing $180 million in a Planning and Acceleration Fund to plan and develop further education projects. I am proud that a great school like Auburn South Primary was included in this program, and I was pleased to announce that they would receive $336 000 to plan for a future upgrade of their original school building—great news indeed.

AUBURN SOUTH PRIMARY SCHOOL

Mr KENNEDY: Twice in 2019, in February and August, I visited the lively Auburn South Primary School, founded in 1925—with the original two-storey block building still standing—and educating over 600 children 95 years later. The gateway to the school presents a place rich in history, but the school under the leadership of principal Marcus Wicher is not living in the past. In 2004 the school adopted the International Baccalaureate primary years program, which motivates the students to think, create and explore. The school has a rich Mandarin language program, expanded to include two sister schools, located in Nanjing and Beijing. As part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the Andrews Labor government will continue to further the Education State by investing $180 million in a Planning and Acceleration Fund to plan and develop further education projects. I am proud that a great school like Auburn South Primary was included in this program, and I was pleased to announce that they would receive $336 000 to plan for a future upgrade of their original school building—great news indeed.

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Education

My constituency question is for the Minister for Education and concerns the upgrading of facilities at one of the many excellent preschools in my electorate of Hawthorn. West Hawthorn Pre-school is a wonderful facility, and on 10 March I was thrilled to be there to announce that the government would be contributing $500 000 towards an extra classroom to increase capacity for three-year-old kindergarten, a meeting room for parents, refurbished toilets and a storeroom. This project was developed to meet the future demands from families in the West Hawthorn precinct and to meet the increased hours and funding of three-year-old kindergarten. My question is: when will the minister or the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education visit West Hawthorn Pre-school to see the new facilities when works are complete? Answer. The Andrews Labor Government is investing almost $5 billion over this decade to deliver funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. The Government's historic commitment includes $1.68 billion for building the Education State, through co-investments in early childhood infrastructure. This will be the largest investment ever in Victoria's early childhood infrastructure. As part of the 2019/20 State Budget, the Victorian Government is already investing $473.2 million over five years in early childhood infrastructure. In planning for how we can best work together to meet demand for kindergarten places, we have been listening closely to our sector, local government partners, and peak bodies, through the Kindergarten Capacity Assessment Program survey, with 95 per cent of early childhood education and care services in Victoria taking part in this survey. To respond to what we heard, the Government launched the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, which sets out the approach for investing the Victorian Government's record infrastructure funding in the most effective ways possible, including providing greater flexibility, certainty and investment to the sector. The Government has also committed to ensuring that there is a kindergarten onsite or next door to every new government primary school that opens from 2021. The Department of Education and Training will continue to work with local government authorities through existing processes to ensure this commitment is supported by effective planning. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten infrastructure investment, the Victorian Government will deliver new kindergartens on a number of existing school sites. Through consultation and planning with local government authorities, schools and existing early childhood providers, new facilities will be delivered in ways that best meet the needs of local communities. Co-locating new kindergartens with primary schools helps reduce the burden on parents and carers by helping them avoid the dreaded ‘double-drop-off', makes the transition to school smoother for children, and will also help Victoria meet future demand for kindergarten places. We are also improving the way we work with our partners to make investment decisions, providing clarity across the sector about which projects need to be prioritised so that the greatest possible number of families and children can enjoy the benefits of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. In consultation with the Municipal Association of Victoria, the Victorian Government is pleased to offer local government authorities a one-off planning grant to support their co-operative work with the Department of Education and Training, as part of a $4.4 million package. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, we also recently launched the new $156.6 million Building Blocks grants program which will streamline all pre-existing kindergarten grants into one process. Building Blocks includes significant increases to the maximum state funding contributions for projects and offers new delivery options such as purpose-built modular kinder facilities. Applications for funding are now open for local councils and not-for-profit organisations delivering kindergarten facilities, who can apply for up to $1.5 million for a New Early Learning Facility, including the new modular kindergarten facility option, up to $600,000 for an expansion, or up to $2 million for a new Integrated Children's Centre. I am pleased to hear about your visit to West Hawthorn pre-school to announce the $500,000 from the Children's Facilities Capital Program towards an extra classroom. This extra classroom will increase capacity for Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. I am advised that West Hawthorn pre-school is in the plann ing phase of this project. Construction is due to be completed in January 2021. Pending on our schedules and subject to COVID-19, myself, or the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education, would be delighted to visit West Hawthorn pre-school once the works are completed. I look forward to hearing about the progress of this project and seeing the benefits it is providing to the families of West Hawthorn. I trust this information is of assistance and thank you for your advocacy of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten in Hawthorn. The Hon James Merlino MP Deputy Premier Minister for Education

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Education

My constituency question is for the Minister for Education and concerns the upgrading of facilities at one of the many excellent preschools in my electorate of Hawthorn. West Hawthorn Pre-school is a wonderful facility, and on 10 March I was thrilled to be there to announce that the government would be contributing $500 000 towards an extra classroom to increase capacity for three-year-old kindergarten, a meeting room for parents, refurbished toilets and a storeroom. This project was developed to meet the future demands from families in the West Hawthorn precinct and to meet the increased hours and funding of three-year-old kindergarten. My question is: when will the minister or the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education visit West Hawthorn Pre-school to see the new facilities when works are complete? Answer. The Andrews Labor Government is investing almost $5 billion over this decade to deliver funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. The Government's historic commitment includes $1.68 billion for building the Education State, through co-investments in early childhood infrastructure. This will be the largest investment ever in Victoria's early childhood infrastructure. As part of the 2019/20 State Budget, the Victorian Government is already investing $473.2 million over five years in early childhood infrastructure. In planning for how we can best work together to meet demand for kindergarten places, we have been listening closely to our sector, local government partners, and peak bodies, through the Kindergarten Capacity Assessment Program survey, with 95 per cent of early childhood education and care services in Victoria taking part in this survey. To respond to what we heard, the Government launched the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, which sets out the approach for investing the Victorian Government's record infrastructure funding in the most effective ways possible, including providing greater flexibility, certainty and investment to the sector. The Government has also committed to ensuring that there is a kindergarten onsite or next door to every new government primary school that opens from 2021. The Department of Education and Training will continue to work with local government authorities through existing processes to ensure this commitment is supported by effective planning. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten infrastructure investment, the Victorian Government will deliver new kindergartens on a number of existing school sites. Through consultation and planning with local government authorities, schools and existing early childhood providers, new facilities will be delivered in ways that best meet the needs of local communities. Co-locating new kindergartens with primary schools helps reduce the burden on parents and carers by helping them avoid the dreaded ‘double-drop-off', makes the transition to school smoother for children, and will also help Victoria meet future demand for kindergarten places. We are also improving the way we work with our partners to make investment decisions, providing clarity across the sector about which projects need to be prioritised so that the greatest possible number of families and children can enjoy the benefits of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. In consultation with the Municipal Association of Victoria, the Victorian Government is pleased to offer local government authorities a one-off planning grant to support their co-operative work with the Department of Education and Training, as part of a $4.4 million package. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, we also recently launched the new $156.6 million Building Blocks grants program which will streamline all pre-existing kindergarten grants into one process. Building Blocks includes significant increases to the maximum state funding contributions for projects and offers new delivery options such as purpose-built modular kinder facilities. Applications for funding are now open for local councils and not-for-profit organisations delivering kindergarten facilities, who can apply for up to $1.5 million for a New Early Learning Facility, including the new modular kindergarten facility option, up to $600,000 for an expansion, or up to $2 million for a new Integrated Children's Centre. I am pleased to hear about your visit to West Hawthorn pre-school to announce the $500,000 from the Children's Facilities Capital Program towards an extra classroom. This extra classroom will increase capacity for Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. I am advised that West Hawthorn pre-school is in the plann ing phase of this project. Construction is due to be completed in January 2021. Pending on our schedules and subject to COVID-19, myself, or the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education, would be delighted to visit West Hawthorn pre-school once the works are completed. I look forward to hearing about the progress of this project and seeing the benefits it is providing to the families of West Hawthorn. I trust this information is of assistance and thank you for your advocacy of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten in Hawthorn. The Hon James Merlino MP Deputy Premier Minister for Education

VICTORIA POLICE DEATHS

With Anzac Day this Saturday I wanted to remember and honour those who served Australia in wars, especially those who died in the line of duty. And then last night, with the tragic news of the deaths of four Victoria Police members, we were further reminded of the ultimate sacrifice paid by those who serve. Every year around Anzac Day I think of a school friend, Peter Eris Murray, who died on 9 July 1968 at the age of 21 from wounds inflicted in Vietnam whilst serving in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment. Peter was a conscript, unlike many of his classmates who were able to defer national service until after university. And now we have this awful news. Next door to the Hawthorn electorate office in Camberwell Road is the Camberwell police station which this morning I visited not only as MP but also as the proud and grateful father of Senior Constable Fionnuala Kennedy, who is currently on maternity leave. There were feelings of hopelessness that hopefully will soon enough turn into thankfulness and gratitude for lives lived generously in the service of others.

VICTORIA POLICE DEATHS

With Anzac Day this Saturday I wanted to remember and honour those who served Australia in wars, especially those who died in the line of duty. And then last night, with the tragic news of the deaths of four Victoria Police members, we were further reminded of the ultimate sacrifice paid by those who serve. Every year around Anzac Day I think of a school friend, Peter Eris Murray, who died on 9 July 1968 at the age of 21 from wounds inflicted in Vietnam whilst serving in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment. Peter was a conscript, unlike many of his classmates who were able to defer national service until after university. And now we have this awful news. Next door to the Hawthorn electorate office in Camberwell Road is the Camberwell police station which this morning I visited not only as MP but also as the proud and grateful father of Senior Constable Fionnuala Kennedy, who is currently on maternity leave. There were feelings of hopelessness that hopefully will soon enough turn into thankfulness and gratitude for lives lived generously in the service of others.

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Education

My question is for the Minister for Education. What will the minister do to support the hardworking kindergartens in my electorate of Hawthorn as they are faced with growing demand for four-year-old kindergarten and braced with excitement for the rollout of three-year-old kindergarten? Early childhood education gives our children and grandchildren the best possible start in life, and continued support from the Andrews Labor government shows we are the Education State. I know, locally, West Hawthorn kindergarten has applied for funding towards an extra classroom to increase their capacity in terms of students and hours, to provide a meeting room for parents and to refurbish their toilets. I support this application, and I look forward to the minister's response. Answer. It is great to hear about the excitement in the Hawthorn electorate for the roll-out of funded Three Year Old Kindergarten, which will commence in the electorate in 2022. This landmark $5 billion election commitment will be the biggest reform in early childhood education in the state's history, and is leading the nation. The first stage of the reform has started successfully this year in six Local Government Areas (LGAs), but we know that we must grow and adapt as the scale, size and complexity of the reform increases. Expansion of the kindergarten sector under Three-Year-Old Kindergarten The government's historic commitment includes $1.68 billion for building the Education State, through co-investments in early childhood infrastructure. This will be the largest investment ever in Victoria's early childhood infrastructure. As part of the 2019/20 State Budget, the Victorian Government is already investing $473.2 million over five years in early childhood infrastructure. In planning for how we can best work together to meet demand for kindergarten places, we have been listening closely to our sector and local government partners, and peak bodies, through the Kindergarten Capacity Assessment Program survey, with 95 per cent of early childhood education and care services in Victoria taking part in this survey. To respond to what we heard, the government launched the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, which sets out the approach for investing the Victorian Government's record infrastructure funding in the most effective ways possible, including providing greater flexibility, certainty and investment to the sector. The government has also committed to ensuring that there is a kindergarten onsite or next door to every new government primary school that opens from 2021. The Department of Education and Training will continue to work with local government authorities through existing processes to ensure this commitment is supported by effective planning. As part of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten infrastructure investment, the Victorian Government will deliver new kindergartens on a number of existing school sites. Through consultation and planning with local government authorities, schools and existing early childhood providers, new facilities will be delivered in ways that best meet the needs of local communities. Co-locating new kindergartens with primary schools helps reduce the burden on parents and carers by helping them avoid the dreaded "double drop-off", makes the transition to school smoother for children, and will also help Victoria to meet future demand for kindergarten places. We are also improving the way we work with our partners to make investment decisions, providing clarity across the sector about which projects need to be prioritised so that the greatest number possible of families and children can enjoy the benefits of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. In consultation with the Municipal Association of Victoria, the Victorian Government is pleased to offer local government authorities a one-off planning grant to support their co-operative work with the Department of Education and Training, as part of a $4.4 million package. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, we also recently launched the new $156.6 million Building Blocks grants program, which will streamline all pre-existing kindergarten grants into one process. Building Blocks includes significant increases to the maximum state funding contributions for projects and offers new delivery options such as purpose-built modular kinder facilities. Applications for funding are now open for local councils and not-for-profit organisations delivering kindergarten facilities, who can apply fo r up to $1.5 million for a New Early Learning Facility, including under the new modular kindergarten facility option, up to $600,000 for an expansion, or up to $2 million for a new Integrated Children's Centre. The Andrews Labor Government is also supporting the sector to build the early childhood education workforce, with more than $92.4 million already providing scholarships and incentives. Financial packages are available to those who choose to start studying or upskilling to become early childhood teachers or educators. Since 1 October 2018, more than 900 people have taken up generous financial support to study and work in early childhood. We have also now added the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care courses to the Free TAFE course list, making them tuition fee-free for eligible students. There are also financial incentives on offer for those looking to teach in one of our early roll-out areas. West Hawthorn Kindergarten Subsequently to this question being raised, I am pleased to inform you that West Hawthorn Kindergarten have been successful in receiving $500,000 to contribute to an upgrade at their service. Boroondara City Council applied to the Children's facilities Capital Program, on behalf of West Hawthorn Kindergarten in the latest round of grants. The application sought funding of $500,000 for an Early Learning Facility Upgrade. The project will increase the licensed places of the kindergarten by 22, through the construction of an extra classroom, a meeting room for parents and upgrades to the toilets and storeroom. This upgrade will support the kindergarten to increase the number of places available for their Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program, as well as increasing their hours to 15. Congratulations for recently announcing this much-needed funding for West Hawthorn Kindergarten. Hon James Merlino MP Deputy Premier Minister for Education

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Education

My question is for the Minister for Education. What will the minister do to support the hardworking kindergartens in my electorate of Hawthorn as they are faced with growing demand for four-year-old kindergarten and braced with excitement for the rollout of three-year-old kindergarten? Early childhood education gives our children and grandchildren the best possible start in life, and continued support from the Andrews Labor government shows we are the Education State. I know, locally, West Hawthorn kindergarten has applied for funding towards an extra classroom to increase their capacity in terms of students and hours, to provide a meeting room for parents and to refurbish their toilets. I support this application, and I look forward to the minister's response. Answer. It is great to hear about the excitement in the Hawthorn electorate for the roll-out of funded Three Year Old Kindergarten, which will commence in the electorate in 2022. This landmark $5 billion election commitment will be the biggest reform in early childhood education in the state's history, and is leading the nation. The first stage of the reform has started successfully this year in six Local Government Areas (LGAs), but we know that we must grow and adapt as the scale, size and complexity of the reform increases. Expansion of the kindergarten sector under Three-Year-Old Kindergarten The government's historic commitment includes $1.68 billion for building the Education State, through co-investments in early childhood infrastructure. This will be the largest investment ever in Victoria's early childhood infrastructure. As part of the 2019/20 State Budget, the Victorian Government is already investing $473.2 million over five years in early childhood infrastructure. In planning for how we can best work together to meet demand for kindergarten places, we have been listening closely to our sector and local government partners, and peak bodies, through the Kindergarten Capacity Assessment Program survey, with 95 per cent of early childhood education and care services in Victoria taking part in this survey. To respond to what we heard, the government launched the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, which sets out the approach for investing the Victorian Government's record infrastructure funding in the most effective ways possible, including providing greater flexibility, certainty and investment to the sector. The government has also committed to ensuring that there is a kindergarten onsite or next door to every new government primary school that opens from 2021. The Department of Education and Training will continue to work with local government authorities through existing processes to ensure this commitment is supported by effective planning. As part of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten infrastructure investment, the Victorian Government will deliver new kindergartens on a number of existing school sites. Through consultation and planning with local government authorities, schools and existing early childhood providers, new facilities will be delivered in ways that best meet the needs of local communities. Co-locating new kindergartens with primary schools helps reduce the burden on parents and carers by helping them avoid the dreaded "double drop-off", makes the transition to school smoother for children, and will also help Victoria to meet future demand for kindergarten places. We are also improving the way we work with our partners to make investment decisions, providing clarity across the sector about which projects need to be prioritised so that the greatest number possible of families and children can enjoy the benefits of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. In consultation with the Municipal Association of Victoria, the Victorian Government is pleased to offer local government authorities a one-off planning grant to support their co-operative work with the Department of Education and Training, as part of a $4.4 million package. As part of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten Infrastructure Strategy, we also recently launched the new $156.6 million Building Blocks grants program, which will streamline all pre-existing kindergarten grants into one process. Building Blocks includes significant increases to the maximum state funding contributions for projects and offers new delivery options such as purpose-built modular kinder facilities. Applications for funding are now open for local councils and not-for-profit organisations delivering kindergarten facilities, who can apply fo r up to $1.5 million for a New Early Learning Facility, including under the new modular kindergarten facility option, up to $600,000 for an expansion, or up to $2 million for a new Integrated Children's Centre. The Andrews Labor Government is also supporting the sector to build the early childhood education workforce, with more than $92.4 million already providing scholarships and incentives. Financial packages are available to those who choose to start studying or upskilling to become early childhood teachers or educators. Since 1 October 2018, more than 900 people have taken up generous financial support to study and work in early childhood. We have also now added the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care courses to the Free TAFE course list, making them tuition fee-free for eligible students. There are also financial incentives on offer for those looking to teach in one of our early roll-out areas. West Hawthorn Kindergarten Subsequently to this question being raised, I am pleased to inform you that West Hawthorn Kindergarten have been successful in receiving $500,000 to contribute to an upgrade at their service. Boroondara City Council applied to the Children's facilities Capital Program, on behalf of West Hawthorn Kindergarten in the latest round of grants. The application sought funding of $500,000 for an Early Learning Facility Upgrade. The project will increase the licensed places of the kindergarten by 22, through the construction of an extra classroom, a meeting room for parents and upgrades to the toilets and storeroom. This upgrade will support the kindergarten to increase the number of places available for their Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program, as well as increasing their hours to 15. Congratulations for recently announcing this much-needed funding for West Hawthorn Kindergarten. Hon James Merlino MP Deputy Premier Minister for Education

North East Link Bill 2020

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn): I am very pleased, delighted, excited to speak on the North East Link Bill 2020, a project that will bring many benefits to the east, where my electorate of Hawthorn is situated. This project has been spoken about for many years, but it is the Andrews Labor government that, as we have seen so many times, is getting on with delivering this vital piece of infrastructure. This bill will facilitate tolling on the North East Link and establishes the State Tolling Corporation and necessary toll enforcement and governance regime, to which I will return shortly. Up to 135 000 vehicles will use the North East Link. This will see 15 000 trucks a day off local roads, with significant environmental benefits, while dramatically reducing congestion in the north-east. Additional lanes on the Eastern Freeway will also help ease some of Melbourne’s worst bottlenecks. Not only catering to the many road users, there will also be a range of benefits for cyclists, walkers and public transport users like myself. As I will outline later, this road will also play a vital role in connecting communities. As the Treasurer has outlined, the project will be built to the highest environmental standards, with an emphasis on noise reduction or minimisation and engineered to a higher standard than any previous Victorian road project. Consistent with the project’s environmental credentials are Victoria’s longest road tunnels to protect those key areas of high sensitivity. Of course, Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s role in daily monitoring ambient air quality is recognised by six selected locations. I believe it is also worth highlighting the differences this project has to date from some other roads proposed in this house. Work began on the North East Link on day one of the second term of the Andrews government. To paraphrase a former Prime Minister, this government did not lose a referendum on the North East Link—there was no need for secret side deals. This project was voted on by the Victorian people and endorsed by the Victorian people. While one project was shrouded in secrecy until a new Premier had the guts to release the details, this project worked with local councils for three years—three years—and held an environment effects statement process, which saw 2 000 individual pieces of feedback, 870 submissions, 40 days of exhibitions and 36 days of hearings. Engaging with the grassroots community, working with the people rather than just having a born-torule attitude, ensures this project’s success. Enthusiastic and passionate groups, such as the Boroondara Bicycle Users Group, BBUG, and the Metro East Bicycle User Group, MEBUG, as well as other bike groups and walkers will be able to use more than 25 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths. Whether it is a school fete, mobile office or even on an election day, a passionate member of BBUG or MEBUG will find time to visit and speak with me. It is clear from their dedication and advocacy that there is a need for  more cycling infrastructure around Melbourne. Long have there been complaints that the current eastern route along the Yarra River is indirect, but the eastern bike corridor will provide a direct route for commuters and recreationalists alike.  In addition, the north-east bicycle corridor will be completed, which is a new commuter cycling route to the city along the Eastern Freeway between Chandler Highway and Merri Creek. Bridges will also be upgraded, and more signalised crossings for walkers and bike riders will be provided. This will include upgrading the bridge next to the Koonung Creek wetlands, improving disability access to an incredible local resource. While most of this falls outside my electorate of Hawthorn, it has many benefits to my community. The Anniversary Trail will now be our link to many other parts of Melbourne. Cyclists will be able to come down from the inner north or outer east, stopping along the way at some of the cafes that Canterbury and Camberwell have to offer. They will learn the history of the outer circle railway, with two historic bridges marking the edges of my electorate—the Canterbury Road bridge in the north and the Toorak Road bridge to the south, both built around 1890. Weekends will be better spent on two wheels, exploring Melbourne and its history and culture. So many families and friends, with cycling and walking at the forefront, will be better connected across our city. My grandfather was born in the 1880s and was ahead of his time, driving a car in the 1920s. Alas, this was not a skill passed down the generations, with neither my father, me nor even my son having received their drivers licence. Now, some may be asking why as a non-driver myself am I speaking on a bill about a road I will not be using? Well, of course, like many Victorians, I too will benefit; and as an avid user of public transport I am keen to highlight the important upgrades included as part of the project. The inclusion of Melbourne’s first dedicated busway is a win for public transport users along the Eastern Freeway corridor. The communities of Doncaster, North Balwyn and Bulleen will see improvements in their morning commute, with an upgraded park-and-ride at Doncaster as well as a brand-new park-and-ride at Bulleen. The new busway will feature dedicated connections to both locations, allowing for unimpeded access, cutting delays. By eliminating the need to navigate traffic at on and off-ramps, buses will be able to travel up to l00 kilometres an hour, slashing the morning commute for thousands by up to 30 per cent. It is more than just speed, though. This is connecting more communities. By giving people in Doncaster express trips along new uninterrupted routes, they are given easy and affordable access to more parts of our beautiful city—no more weaving in and out of traffic. This vital road, linking the north to the east, also provides increased economic opportunities for people living in the north, east and south-east. There will be more job choices, and residents will be able to boost income levels and support the development of suburban hubs. Therefore the North East Link will be critical in providing 56 000 more job opportunities for workers in the north-east. I now turn to specific elements of the bill. The government will introduce a new structure where a state tolling corporation, or STC, will be responsible for fixing and collecting toll revenues for the North East Link. The powers and responsibilities of the new statutory body will be managed through a North East Link tolling agreement with the government, with changes to this agreement subject to review and the right to revocation by Parliament. In addition to the many benefits it will bring, the North East Link will change for the better the way we move around Melbourne. I would like to mention briefly some of the wrinkles that were highlighted by the member for Bulleen. Like the member for Bulleen, I have a great love of Marcellin College and a number of other activities and institutions that will be affected by the North East Link. But I believe these are wrinkles that will be settled over time; and there is plenty of time, but we need to get some things settled and organised right now. Whilst I acknowledge that there can be some wrinkles and that there is still work to be done, in consultation and working with various sporting institutions and educational institutions, such as Marcellin College, I believe these are fixable things and that in the long run the whole bill will work for the mutual benefit. So I commend the bill to the house.

North East Link Bill 2020

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn): I am very pleased, delighted, excited to speak on the North East Link Bill 2020, a project that will bring many benefits to the east, where my electorate of Hawthorn is situated. This project has been spoken about for many years, but it is the Andrews Labor government that, as we have seen so many times, is getting on with delivering this vital piece of infrastructure. This bill will facilitate tolling on the North East Link and establishes the State Tolling Corporation and necessary toll enforcement and governance regime, to which I will return shortly. Up to 135 000 vehicles will use the North East Link. This will see 15 000 trucks a day off local roads, with significant environmental benefits, while dramatically reducing congestion in the north-east. Additional lanes on the Eastern Freeway will also help ease some of Melbourne’s worst bottlenecks. Not only catering to the many road users, there will also be a range of benefits for cyclists, walkers and public transport users like myself. As I will outline later, this road will also play a vital role in connecting communities. As the Treasurer has outlined, the project will be built to the highest environmental standards, with an emphasis on noise reduction or minimisation and engineered to a higher standard than any previous Victorian road project. Consistent with the project’s environmental credentials are Victoria’s longest road tunnels to protect those key areas of high sensitivity. Of course, Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s role in daily monitoring ambient air quality is recognised by six selected locations. I believe it is also worth highlighting the differences this project has to date from some other roads proposed in this house. Work began on the North East Link on day one of the second term of the Andrews government. To paraphrase a former Prime Minister, this government did not lose a referendum on the North East Link—there was no need for secret side deals. This project was voted on by the Victorian people and endorsed by the Victorian people. While one project was shrouded in secrecy until a new Premier had the guts to release the details, this project worked with local councils for three years—three years—and held an environment effects statement process, which saw 2 000 individual pieces of feedback, 870 submissions, 40 days of exhibitions and 36 days of hearings. Engaging with the grassroots community, working with the people rather than just having a born-torule attitude, ensures this project’s success. Enthusiastic and passionate groups, such as the Boroondara Bicycle Users Group, BBUG, and the Metro East Bicycle User Group, MEBUG, as well as other bike groups and walkers will be able to use more than 25 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths. Whether it is a school fete, mobile office or even on an election day, a passionate member of BBUG or MEBUG will find time to visit and speak with me. It is clear from their dedication and advocacy that there is a need for  more cycling infrastructure around Melbourne. Long have there been complaints that the current eastern route along the Yarra River is indirect, but the eastern bike corridor will provide a direct route for commuters and recreationalists alike.  In addition, the north-east bicycle corridor will be completed, which is a new commuter cycling route to the city along the Eastern Freeway between Chandler Highway and Merri Creek. Bridges will also be upgraded, and more signalised crossings for walkers and bike riders will be provided. This will include upgrading the bridge next to the Koonung Creek wetlands, improving disability access to an incredible local resource. While most of this falls outside my electorate of Hawthorn, it has many benefits to my community. The Anniversary Trail will now be our link to many other parts of Melbourne. Cyclists will be able to come down from the inner north or outer east, stopping along the way at some of the cafes that Canterbury and Camberwell have to offer. They will learn the history of the outer circle railway, with two historic bridges marking the edges of my electorate—the Canterbury Road bridge in the north and the Toorak Road bridge to the south, both built around 1890. Weekends will be better spent on two wheels, exploring Melbourne and its history and culture. So many families and friends, with cycling and walking at the forefront, will be better connected across our city. My grandfather was born in the 1880s and was ahead of his time, driving a car in the 1920s. Alas, this was not a skill passed down the generations, with neither my father, me nor even my son having received their drivers licence. Now, some may be asking why as a non-driver myself am I speaking on a bill about a road I will not be using? Well, of course, like many Victorians, I too will benefit; and as an avid user of public transport I am keen to highlight the important upgrades included as part of the project. The inclusion of Melbourne’s first dedicated busway is a win for public transport users along the Eastern Freeway corridor. The communities of Doncaster, North Balwyn and Bulleen will see improvements in their morning commute, with an upgraded park-and-ride at Doncaster as well as a brand-new park-and-ride at Bulleen. The new busway will feature dedicated connections to both locations, allowing for unimpeded access, cutting delays. By eliminating the need to navigate traffic at on and off-ramps, buses will be able to travel up to l00 kilometres an hour, slashing the morning commute for thousands by up to 30 per cent. It is more than just speed, though. This is connecting more communities. By giving people in Doncaster express trips along new uninterrupted routes, they are given easy and affordable access to more parts of our beautiful city—no more weaving in and out of traffic. This vital road, linking the north to the east, also provides increased economic opportunities for people living in the north, east and south-east. There will be more job choices, and residents will be able to boost income levels and support the development of suburban hubs. Therefore the North East Link will be critical in providing 56 000 more job opportunities for workers in the north-east. I now turn to specific elements of the bill. The government will introduce a new structure where a state tolling corporation, or STC, will be responsible for fixing and collecting toll revenues for the North East Link. The powers and responsibilities of the new statutory body will be managed through a North East Link tolling agreement with the government, with changes to this agreement subject to review and the right to revocation by Parliament. In addition to the many benefits it will bring, the North East Link will change for the better the way we move around Melbourne. I would like to mention briefly some of the wrinkles that were highlighted by the member for Bulleen. Like the member for Bulleen, I have a great love of Marcellin College and a number of other activities and institutions that will be affected by the North East Link. But I believe these are wrinkles that will be settled over time; and there is plenty of time, but we need to get some things settled and organised right now. Whilst I acknowledge that there can be some wrinkles and that there is still work to be done, in consultation and working with various sporting institutions and educational institutions, such as Marcellin College, I believe these are fixable things and that in the long run the whole bill will work for the mutual benefit. So I commend the bill to the house.

West Hawthorn Pre-school

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) My constituency question is for the Minister for Education and concerns the upgrading of facilities at one of the many excellent preschools in my electorate of Hawthorn. West Hawthorn Pre-school is a wonderful facility, and on 10 March I was thrilled to be there to announce that the government would be contributing $500 000 towards an extra classroom to increase capacity for three-year-old kindergarten, a meeting room for parents, refurbished toilets and a storeroom. This project was developed to meet the future demands from families in the West Hawthorn precinct and to meet the increased hours and funding of three-year-old kindergarten. My question is: when will the minister or the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education visit West Hawthorn Pre-school to see the new facilities when works are complete?

West Hawthorn Pre-school

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) My constituency question is for the Minister for Education and concerns the upgrading of facilities at one of the many excellent preschools in my electorate of Hawthorn. West Hawthorn Pre-school is a wonderful facility, and on 10 March I was thrilled to be there to announce that the government would be contributing $500 000 towards an extra classroom to increase capacity for three-year-old kindergarten, a meeting room for parents, refurbished toilets and a storeroom. This project was developed to meet the future demands from families in the West Hawthorn precinct and to meet the increased hours and funding of three-year-old kindergarten. My question is: when will the minister or the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education visit West Hawthorn Pre-school to see the new facilities when works are complete?

ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Transport Infrastructure

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, who just happens to be here at the moment. The action I seek is that she ensure that the Glen Iris Junior Football Club, the Gladiators, continue to have access to their playing facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park. The Glen Iris Gladiators are a junior football club with over 700 young players, boys and girls, playing in the Yarra Junior Football League. They field a remarkable 31 junior football teams and many of these young footballers live in my electorate of Hawthorn. The only way to get to their ground is via Talbot Crescent. Currently one end of Talbot Crescent, the Toorak Road end, is closed due to the removal of the Toorak Road level crossing. The road was to be reopened when the works are complete. Stonnington City Council then decided that they would permanently close the road, which would make access, particularly for many players from my electorate, much harder. The president of the Glen Iris Gladiators has advised that this sporting club, one of the biggest in Stonnington, was not even consulted. Many Gladiator families have written to Stonnington council seeking that they keep the road open, but to no avail. Additionally, the Gladiators are asking if Stonnington would consider undertaking some additional works at the oval when the removal of the crossings is complete. What action is the minister taking to ensure that hundreds of young footballers are not cut off from their football club? Answer. The member for Hawthorn-the fantastic member for Hawthorn-has raised a very important matter. Mr M O'Brien interjected. Ms ALLAN: I am grateful for the interjection from the Leader of the Opposition, because you know why the member for Hawthorn was motivated to raise this matter tonight-he was deeply concerned that the local member, the member for Malvern, was failing to represent his community. He was deeply concerned on behalf of his community. I think there is a touch of arrogance from the member for Malvern, who seems to think that the impact of the Toorak Road level crossing only exists around the constellation of the electorate of Malvern. Well, he is wrong. The Toorak Road level crossing and the congestion that that level crossing generates impacts on the neighbouring electorate of the member for Hawthorn, and as we know, for so many people who use the Monash Freeway day in, day out, when those boom gates are down on the Toorak Road level crossing the knock-on effects go through the Monash Freeway and have an impact right across the road network. Now, the member for Malvern might want to ignore that. Again, it is up to him to explain to his local community- Mr M O'Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, the minister has spent her time responding to the adjournment debate attacking me, but she should be factual in her comments. If she is to be factual, she should note the fact that I raised the very matter of the closure of Talbot Crescent, which was originally supposed to be done temporarily, then permanently and now temporarily again- The SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. Ms ALLAN: As so often is the case with the poor old Leader of the Opposition, he has been a bit premature in getting to his feet and highlighting his deficiencies as a local member of Parliament, because the member for Hawthorn has quite rightfully raised the issues, not only about the congestion that is caused by the Toorak Road level crossing but also how there is further work that needs to be done. Like so much of the work we do on removing level crossings, we do not just focus on removing that level crossing. We look at what other works need to happen in that local area to improve transport connections. That is why, yes, as part of the removal of the level crossing at Toorak Road we have had to temporarily close Talbot Crescent at the Toorak Road end. There is still access for the community at the Glenferrie Road end, but can I also point out that the detailed plans that have been available for quite some time on the Level Crossing Removal Project website clearly outline how we will permanently reopen Talbot Crescent at Toorak Road. Now, I am also aware that Stonnington council have decided that they would like to see Talbot Crescent permanently closed. As the member for Hawthorn has pointed out quite clearly in his contribution this evening, they did this without consulting the Glen Iris Gladiators football club. The motion that was put forward in the Stonnington council chambers to consider a permanent closure of Talbot Crescent was put forward by a councillor who is a previous member of the Liberal Party. But I appreciate that the member for Hawthorn is a very fair minded fellow and he is prepared to stand up and support the football club-a big club with 700 junior players, and many of them use the Talbot Crescent intersection at Toorak Road to get to and from games for training. They understand, and the member for Hawthorn is prepared to give them a voice. The local member may not; the member for Malvern is choosing not to give them a voice, but the member for Hawthorn is. He understands the impact that this would have on the football club. What then happened, I am pleased to advise, is that the Glen Iris Gladiators contacted my office, and we were very pleased to assist the club. We wrote to the Glen Iris Gladiators indicating that we will rebuild the Talbot Crescent-Toorak Road intersection. We also had the opportunity to point out that this was always the intent as part of this program. Indeed the plans for this have been available on the website and in community newsletters that have been circulating for over a year. We have not changed our position on this for some time. Look, it is up to the member for Malvern to explain to the club and its 700 players and other members in the community why he chooses to take the side of the Liberal councillors on Stonnington council. That is up to him to explain. I do think it is extraordinary that he is choosing that rather than the local club, but it is great to see the member for Hawthorn standing up for the local community and supporting the football club. I would suggest that we do need to get in and understand and take the advice of our expert engineers on what is the right outcome in each of these locations. It is good to see the member for Hawthorn is an evidence-driven politician and an evidence-driven advocate for his community, clearly unlike the member for Malvern. The member for Malvern is choosing to play politics on a level crossing that is going to be removed six months ahead of schedule-and that will relieve congestion in a great way in that local area. I thank the member for Hawthorn for raising that matter this evening. Mr M O'Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, to aid the member for Hawthorn, he also raised a question about the sporting facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park and whether the government would support that. The minister has refused to answer that part of the member for Hawthorn's adjournment debate matter. I invite her to do so, because I have been advocating for that for the Gladiators. So has the member for Hawthorn. It would be great to get a positive answer from you right now, Minister. Right now. The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition can resume his seat. There is no point of order. The minister to continue responding to the issues raised. Ms ALLAN: Thank you, Speaker. The remaining seven members- Members interjecting. The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the call. Ms ALLAN: Mission accomplished. How many of your numbers have you got here tonight?

ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Transport Infrastructure

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, who just happens to be here at the moment. The action I seek is that she ensure that the Glen Iris Junior Football Club, the Gladiators, continue to have access to their playing facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park. The Glen Iris Gladiators are a junior football club with over 700 young players, boys and girls, playing in the Yarra Junior Football League. They field a remarkable 31 junior football teams and many of these young footballers live in my electorate of Hawthorn. The only way to get to their ground is via Talbot Crescent. Currently one end of Talbot Crescent, the Toorak Road end, is closed due to the removal of the Toorak Road level crossing. The road was to be reopened when the works are complete. Stonnington City Council then decided that they would permanently close the road, which would make access, particularly for many players from my electorate, much harder. The president of the Glen Iris Gladiators has advised that this sporting club, one of the biggest in Stonnington, was not even consulted. Many Gladiator families have written to Stonnington council seeking that they keep the road open, but to no avail. Additionally, the Gladiators are asking if Stonnington would consider undertaking some additional works at the oval when the removal of the crossings is complete. What action is the minister taking to ensure that hundreds of young footballers are not cut off from their football club? Answer. The member for Hawthorn-the fantastic member for Hawthorn-has raised a very important matter. Mr M O'Brien interjected. Ms ALLAN: I am grateful for the interjection from the Leader of the Opposition, because you know why the member for Hawthorn was motivated to raise this matter tonight-he was deeply concerned that the local member, the member for Malvern, was failing to represent his community. He was deeply concerned on behalf of his community. I think there is a touch of arrogance from the member for Malvern, who seems to think that the impact of the Toorak Road level crossing only exists around the constellation of the electorate of Malvern. Well, he is wrong. The Toorak Road level crossing and the congestion that that level crossing generates impacts on the neighbouring electorate of the member for Hawthorn, and as we know, for so many people who use the Monash Freeway day in, day out, when those boom gates are down on the Toorak Road level crossing the knock-on effects go through the Monash Freeway and have an impact right across the road network. Now, the member for Malvern might want to ignore that. Again, it is up to him to explain to his local community- Mr M O'Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, the minister has spent her time responding to the adjournment debate attacking me, but she should be factual in her comments. If she is to be factual, she should note the fact that I raised the very matter of the closure of Talbot Crescent, which was originally supposed to be done temporarily, then permanently and now temporarily again- The SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. Ms ALLAN: As so often is the case with the poor old Leader of the Opposition, he has been a bit premature in getting to his feet and highlighting his deficiencies as a local member of Parliament, because the member for Hawthorn has quite rightfully raised the issues, not only about the congestion that is caused by the Toorak Road level crossing but also how there is further work that needs to be done. Like so much of the work we do on removing level crossings, we do not just focus on removing that level crossing. We look at what other works need to happen in that local area to improve transport connections. That is why, yes, as part of the removal of the level crossing at Toorak Road we have had to temporarily close Talbot Crescent at the Toorak Road end. There is still access for the community at the Glenferrie Road end, but can I also point out that the detailed plans that have been available for quite some time on the Level Crossing Removal Project website clearly outline how we will permanently reopen Talbot Crescent at Toorak Road. Now, I am also aware that Stonnington council have decided that they would like to see Talbot Crescent permanently closed. As the member for Hawthorn has pointed out quite clearly in his contribution this evening, they did this without consulting the Glen Iris Gladiators football club. The motion that was put forward in the Stonnington council chambers to consider a permanent closure of Talbot Crescent was put forward by a councillor who is a previous member of the Liberal Party. But I appreciate that the member for Hawthorn is a very fair minded fellow and he is prepared to stand up and support the football club-a big club with 700 junior players, and many of them use the Talbot Crescent intersection at Toorak Road to get to and from games for training. They understand, and the member for Hawthorn is prepared to give them a voice. The local member may not; the member for Malvern is choosing not to give them a voice, but the member for Hawthorn is. He understands the impact that this would have on the football club. What then happened, I am pleased to advise, is that the Glen Iris Gladiators contacted my office, and we were very pleased to assist the club. We wrote to the Glen Iris Gladiators indicating that we will rebuild the Talbot Crescent-Toorak Road intersection. We also had the opportunity to point out that this was always the intent as part of this program. Indeed the plans for this have been available on the website and in community newsletters that have been circulating for over a year. We have not changed our position on this for some time. Look, it is up to the member for Malvern to explain to the club and its 700 players and other members in the community why he chooses to take the side of the Liberal councillors on Stonnington council. That is up to him to explain. I do think it is extraordinary that he is choosing that rather than the local club, but it is great to see the member for Hawthorn standing up for the local community and supporting the football club. I would suggest that we do need to get in and understand and take the advice of our expert engineers on what is the right outcome in each of these locations. It is good to see the member for Hawthorn is an evidence-driven politician and an evidence-driven advocate for his community, clearly unlike the member for Malvern. The member for Malvern is choosing to play politics on a level crossing that is going to be removed six months ahead of schedule-and that will relieve congestion in a great way in that local area. I thank the member for Hawthorn for raising that matter this evening. Mr M O'Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, to aid the member for Hawthorn, he also raised a question about the sporting facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park and whether the government would support that. The minister has refused to answer that part of the member for Hawthorn's adjournment debate matter. I invite her to do so, because I have been advocating for that for the Gladiators. So has the member for Hawthorn. It would be great to get a positive answer from you right now, Minister. Right now. The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition can resume his seat. There is no point of order. The minister to continue responding to the issues raised. Ms ALLAN: Thank you, Speaker. The remaining seven members- Members interjecting. The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the call. Ms ALLAN: Mission accomplished. How many of your numbers have you got here tonight?

GLEN IRIS JUNIOR FOOTBALL CLUB

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_02_05_1734_1737-jWxuO.mp4"][/video] Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (17:34): (2027) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, who just happens to be here at the moment. The action I seek is that she ensure that the Glen Iris Junior Football Club, the Gladiators, continue to have access to their playing facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park. The Glen Iris Gladiators are a junior football club with over 700 young players, boys and girls, playing in the Yarra Junior Football League. They field a remarkable 31 junior football teams and many of these young footballers live in my electorate of Hawthorn. The only way to get to their ground is via Talbot Crescent. Currently one end of Talbot Crescent, the Toorak Road end, is closed due to the removal of the Toorak Road level crossing. The road was to be reopened when the works are complete. Stonnington City Council then decided that they would permanently close the road, which would make access, particularly for many players from my electorate, much harder. The president of the Glen Iris Gladiators has advised that this sporting club, one of the biggest in Stonnington, was not even consulted. Many Gladiator families have written to Stonnington council seeking that they keep the road open, but to no avail. Additionally, the Gladiators are asking if Stonnington would consider undertaking some additional works at the oval when the removal of the crossings is complete. What action is the minister taking to ensure that hundreds of young footballers are not cut off from their football club?

GLEN IRIS JUNIOR FOOTBALL CLUB

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_02_05_1734_1737-jWxuO.mp4"][/video] Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (17:34): (2027) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, who just happens to be here at the moment. The action I seek is that she ensure that the Glen Iris Junior Football Club, the Gladiators, continue to have access to their playing facilities at Sir Zelman Cowen Park. The Glen Iris Gladiators are a junior football club with over 700 young players, boys and girls, playing in the Yarra Junior Football League. They field a remarkable 31 junior football teams and many of these young footballers live in my electorate of Hawthorn. The only way to get to their ground is via Talbot Crescent. Currently one end of Talbot Crescent, the Toorak Road end, is closed due to the removal of the Toorak Road level crossing. The road was to be reopened when the works are complete. Stonnington City Council then decided that they would permanently close the road, which would make access, particularly for many players from my electorate, much harder. The president of the Glen Iris Gladiators has advised that this sporting club, one of the biggest in Stonnington, was not even consulted. Many Gladiator families have written to Stonnington council seeking that they keep the road open, but to no avail. Additionally, the Gladiators are asking if Stonnington would consider undertaking some additional works at the oval when the removal of the crossings is complete. What action is the minister taking to ensure that hundreds of young footballers are not cut off from their football club?

WEST HAWTHORN KINDERGARTEN

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_03_05_1144_1145-7LrA2.mp4"][/video] Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (11:44): (2017) My question is for the Minister for Education. What will the minister do to support the hardworking kindergartens in my electorate of Hawthorn as they are faced with growing demand for four-year-old kindergarten and braced with excitement for the roll out of three-year-old kindergarten? Early childhood education gives our children and grandchildren the best possible start in life, and continued support from the Andrews Labor government shows we are the Education State. I know, locally, West Hawthorn kindergarten has applied for funding towards an extra classroom to increase their capacity in terms of students and hours, to provide a meeting room for parents and to refurbish their toilets. I support this application, and I look forward to the minister’s response.

WEST HAWTHORN KINDERGARTEN

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_03_05_1144_1145-7LrA2.mp4"][/video] Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (11:44): (2017) My question is for the Minister for Education. What will the minister do to support the hardworking kindergartens in my electorate of Hawthorn as they are faced with growing demand for four-year-old kindergarten and braced with excitement for the roll out of three-year-old kindergarten? Early childhood education gives our children and grandchildren the best possible start in life, and continued support from the Andrews Labor government shows we are the Education State. I know, locally, West Hawthorn kindergarten has applied for funding towards an extra classroom to increase their capacity in terms of students and hours, to provide a meeting room for parents and to refurbish their toilets. I support this application, and I look forward to the minister’s response.

ROSSBOURNE SCHOOL

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_03_05_0951_0952-StOcz.mp4"][/video] Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (09:51): Last week it was a delight to meet parents, staff and students of Hawthorn’s Rossbourne School and present student representative badges to Amy, Jake, Ariel, Bella, Elliott, Chris, Sam, Nikita, Ella, Jack and Jake. Rossbourne is a non-government school for students aged 11 to 17. Principal Shane Kamsner took over from Linden Hearn, who retired last year after 30 years of sterling service. Rossbourne specifically assists students with identifiable learning issues to achieve their full potential, both educationally and socially. Regretfully, it is a fact that not all students can be adequately supported and provided for in mainstream schools. Rossbourne caters for individual learning needs through broad-based education programs specifically designed to promote each student’s development. Students achieve a sense belonging, cooperation and success. I really compliment Rossbourne on their successes. When you meet Rossbourne students in the street they always greet you by name, which is probably more than any other student would. I am always delighted to meet them as I get on the train and they get off the train. I send congratulations to Rossbourne on the beginning no doubt of another successful year.

ROSSBOURNE SCHOOL

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_03_05_0951_0952-StOcz.mp4"][/video] Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (09:51): Last week it was a delight to meet parents, staff and students of Hawthorn’s Rossbourne School and present student representative badges to Amy, Jake, Ariel, Bella, Elliott, Chris, Sam, Nikita, Ella, Jack and Jake. Rossbourne is a non-government school for students aged 11 to 17. Principal Shane Kamsner took over from Linden Hearn, who retired last year after 30 years of sterling service. Rossbourne specifically assists students with identifiable learning issues to achieve their full potential, both educationally and socially. Regretfully, it is a fact that not all students can be adequately supported and provided for in mainstream schools. Rossbourne caters for individual learning needs through broad-based education programs specifically designed to promote each student’s development. Students achieve a sense belonging, cooperation and success. I really compliment Rossbourne on their successes. When you meet Rossbourne students in the street they always greet you by name, which is probably more than any other student would. I am always delighted to meet them as I get on the train and they get off the train. I send congratulations to Rossbourne on the beginning no doubt of another successful year.

JESUIT SOCIAL SERVICES

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (09:45): Sitting opposite the Hawthorn electorate office is Ignite Cafe, next door to the Camberwell library, where my staff team and I gather at 8.30 am for tea and coffee every Monday to plan the week ahead. Jesuit Social Services run Ignite Cafe as a not-for-profit training enterprise, giving young people valuable and useful skills in the catering industry, which often leads them into stable employment. This is just one of many highly successful projects undertaken by Jesuit Social Services since it commenced in 1977 working with people who are the most marginalised. It continues to look forward with hope and courage, in the words of its CEO, Julie Edwards, ‘as we strive to build a just society’. Saturday night, 14 March, is the annual Jesuit Social Services dinner in the members dining room at the MCG. My wife Bronwyn Lane and I have a table of 10, with two spare places. Parliamentary colleagues would be most welcome to join us. Send me an email of interest and I will send details and a TryBooking link if you decide to come along for a little fun and a great cause. It is always a good night. I commend Jesuit Social Services. [video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_02_20_0945_0946-Zi3dW.mp4"][/video]  

JESUIT SOCIAL SERVICES

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (09:45): Sitting opposite the Hawthorn electorate office is Ignite Cafe, next door to the Camberwell library, where my staff team and I gather at 8.30 am for tea and coffee every Monday to plan the week ahead. Jesuit Social Services run Ignite Cafe as a not-for-profit training enterprise, giving young people valuable and useful skills in the catering industry, which often leads them into stable employment. This is just one of many highly successful projects undertaken by Jesuit Social Services since it commenced in 1977 working with people who are the most marginalised. It continues to look forward with hope and courage, in the words of its CEO, Julie Edwards, ‘as we strive to build a just society’. Saturday night, 14 March, is the annual Jesuit Social Services dinner in the members dining room at the MCG. My wife Bronwyn Lane and I have a table of 10, with two spare places. Parliamentary colleagues would be most welcome to join us. Send me an email of interest and I will send details and a TryBooking link if you decide to come along for a little fun and a great cause. It is always a good night. I commend Jesuit Social Services. [video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_02_20_0945_0946-Zi3dW.mp4"][/video]  

OWNERS CORPORATIONS AND OTHER ACTS AMENDMENT BILL 2019

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (18:15): This bill sees changes to the Owners Corporations Act 2006 and the Retirement Villages Act 1987. I point out that for the past four years I have lived in a retirement village myself; however, these legislative changes will not directly impact me. In due course I will say more about retirement villages. My electorate of Hawthorn is 19 square kilometers of lively activity, restful beauty, history, many sporting options and great educational opportunities, from primary schools to tertiary level. More and more people are coming to live in my community, and therefore our housing is changing. While we are conscious and respectful of our architectural heritage and are home to many beautiful Victorian-era villas and some mansions, change is apparent, with around 60 per cent of people in my electorate now choosing to live in an apartment, unit or type of townhouse. Over the past 20 years that proportion has increased by over 10 per cent. This bill reflects these changes in housing and will accordingly improve the regulation of owners corporations. Gone are the days when a major apartment or unit development consisted of four or five dwellings. In fact just down the road from my electorate office in Camberwell Road a development of 345 dwellings is nearing completion. Common sense from a commonsense government will see a new five-tier system of owners corporations based on size, introduced because the needs of a 345-dwelling development and those with four units are vastly different, calling for different provisions. The bill is informed by common sense and will introduce new thresholds relevant for larger owners corporations, subjecting them to more requirements regarding committees and annual financial statements while relaxing regulation on smaller owners corporations. The decision to require owners corporations to deposit fees into a maintenance fund will ensure equity between past, present and future owners of each property. With many first home buyers purchasing apartments or units, money can be tight. The maintenance fund ensures adequate funds are in place to implement an approved maintenance plan, ensuring new and future owners are not bearing unexpected costs and fee increases. This amendment ensures a fairer system now and into the future. Meeting with constituents I have often heard complaints regarding owners corporation managers, so changes to improve the quality of owners corporation managers will certainly be well received in my electorate and no doubt in many others. The changes will mandate a requirement for managers to hold professional indemnity insurance. This will ensure that managers are answerable to and always acting on behalf of the owners corporation. Further, the registration scheme will be strengthened to ensure that certain criminal offences will disallow such a person from becoming an owners corporation manager. Our aim is to ensure that complaints of cowboy managers will be a thing of the past thanks to modernised legislation. Logical changes will also be made to ensure that developers cannot appoint themselves or their associates as owners corporation managers and they cannot vote on any resolution relating to building defects. Simple changes such as this ensure that there are no conflicts of interest and that there is a better system for all. Under the current legislation, all lot owners are equal, but some lot owners are more equal than others—to quote. These amendments will change this. New requirements for the initial settings of lot liability and entitlement are to be set up according to specific settings. Most importantly though the amendments remove the ability for a majority lot owner to prevent an application to VCAT for changes to settings where all other lot owners have consented, enhancing equity between lot owners. Changes to proxies will see greater strength given to lot owners. Term limits and new restrictions on what a proxy can vote on give assurances and support to owners corporations. Constituents often bring complaints about proxies, and I believe these changes will alleviate some fears. There are many other reforms this bill enacts, such as improving the governance through enabling owners corporations to make rules controlling smoke drift from private lots and improving the financial administration of owners corporations by enabling owners corporations to separately levy lot owners for a range of costs directly attributable to the particular user of certain lots. However, I now turn to speak on a particular and important section of the bill—that relating to retirement villages. The bill proposes to amend the Retirement Villages Act 1986 to enable residents of a retirement village to elect a resident committee to represent the interests of residents who do not own their lots. This has proven invaluable at my own retirement village, and I have had the opportunity to serve on one of these resident committees in one of the years there. The bill will also improve the regulation of owners corporations in retirement villages by providing for a clearer separation between owners corporations meetings, retirement village meetings and village resident committees. The bill will also align the powers of village operators who control owners corporations in retirement villages with the aims of the Retirement Villages Act 1986, which is currently under review. These reforms will, amongst other things, ensure the policy objective of the Retirement Villages Act to protect retirement village residents from increases in their cost of living without their consent by preventing retirement village owners or their close associates from voting on fee resolutions where they control a majority of lot entitlements; and ensure that control over the rules for use of village facilities is not undermined by village operators who control the owners corporation by preventing them from voting on the making, amendment or revocation of rules. I will now discuss the suggestions received from the community that will strengthen the bill. In its consultative mode the government has listened to feedback provided by various stakeholders in the retirement village sector, such as Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria, who requested fine-tuning of the various exemptions for owners corporations in retirement villages, and these are contained in the bill. Further adjustments have been made to the retirement village exemptions to address concerns raised by stakeholders, with several provisions either changed or removed. However, it is not appropriate to grant leasehold residents voting rights on financial matters, given they do not have the same property rights and interests as lot owners. Over the last year or so it has been a privilege of mine to represent the minister at various forums, including one here in Melbourne last November and others as well, because, as you know, there has been a review process. An issues paper was produced, which marked the beginning of public consultation for the review of the Residential Villages Act. It is very obvious that there are still many unresolved issues, particularly in regard to the rights of residents. I was only just speaking to someone today as a matter of fact who was trying to get some clarification on the difference between capital costs and recurrent costs, whose responsibility it is to replace fences and whose responsibility it is to replace a call system. Who should pay for those capital works? It seems that we still have a long way to go, but setting up that issues paper and now this particular bill represents a first step. I am sure we will see lots of other reforms to legislation as time goes on in regard to these residential villages. Accordingly, I commend this bill, and I look forward to future ones.

OWNERS CORPORATIONS AND OTHER ACTS AMENDMENT BILL 2019

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (18:15): This bill sees changes to the Owners Corporations Act 2006 and the Retirement Villages Act 1987. I point out that for the past four years I have lived in a retirement village myself; however, these legislative changes will not directly impact me. In due course I will say more about retirement villages. My electorate of Hawthorn is 19 square kilometers of lively activity, restful beauty, history, many sporting options and great educational opportunities, from primary schools to tertiary level. More and more people are coming to live in my community, and therefore our housing is changing. While we are conscious and respectful of our architectural heritage and are home to many beautiful Victorian-era villas and some mansions, change is apparent, with around 60 per cent of people in my electorate now choosing to live in an apartment, unit or type of townhouse. Over the past 20 years that proportion has increased by over 10 per cent. This bill reflects these changes in housing and will accordingly improve the regulation of owners corporations. Gone are the days when a major apartment or unit development consisted of four or five dwellings. In fact just down the road from my electorate office in Camberwell Road a development of 345 dwellings is nearing completion. Common sense from a commonsense government will see a new five-tier system of owners corporations based on size, introduced because the needs of a 345-dwelling development and those with four units are vastly different, calling for different provisions. The bill is informed by common sense and will introduce new thresholds relevant for larger owners corporations, subjecting them to more requirements regarding committees and annual financial statements while relaxing regulation on smaller owners corporations. The decision to require owners corporations to deposit fees into a maintenance fund will ensure equity between past, present and future owners of each property. With many first home buyers purchasing apartments or units, money can be tight. The maintenance fund ensures adequate funds are in place to implement an approved maintenance plan, ensuring new and future owners are not bearing unexpected costs and fee increases. This amendment ensures a fairer system now and into the future. Meeting with constituents I have often heard complaints regarding owners corporation managers, so changes to improve the quality of owners corporation managers will certainly be well received in my electorate and no doubt in many others. The changes will mandate a requirement for managers to hold professional indemnity insurance. This will ensure that managers are answerable to and always acting on behalf of the owners corporation. Further, the registration scheme will be strengthened to ensure that certain criminal offences will disallow such a person from becoming an owners corporation manager. Our aim is to ensure that complaints of cowboy managers will be a thing of the past thanks to modernised legislation. Logical changes will also be made to ensure that developers cannot appoint themselves or their associates as owners corporation managers and they cannot vote on any resolution relating to building defects. Simple changes such as this ensure that there are no conflicts of interest and that there is a better system for all. Under the current legislation, all lot owners are equal, but some lot owners are more equal than others—to quote. These amendments will change this. New requirements for the initial settings of lot liability and entitlement are to be set up according to specific settings. Most importantly though the amendments remove the ability for a majority lot owner to prevent an application to VCAT for changes to settings where all other lot owners have consented, enhancing equity between lot owners. Changes to proxies will see greater strength given to lot owners. Term limits and new restrictions on what a proxy can vote on give assurances and support to owners corporations. Constituents often bring complaints about proxies, and I believe these changes will alleviate some fears. There are many other reforms this bill enacts, such as improving the governance through enabling owners corporations to make rules controlling smoke drift from private lots and improving the financial administration of owners corporations by enabling owners corporations to separately levy lot owners for a range of costs directly attributable to the particular user of certain lots. However, I now turn to speak on a particular and important section of the bill—that relating to retirement villages. The bill proposes to amend the Retirement Villages Act 1986 to enable residents of a retirement village to elect a resident committee to represent the interests of residents who do not own their lots. This has proven invaluable at my own retirement village, and I have had the opportunity to serve on one of these resident committees in one of the years there. The bill will also improve the regulation of owners corporations in retirement villages by providing for a clearer separation between owners corporations meetings, retirement village meetings and village resident committees. The bill will also align the powers of village operators who control owners corporations in retirement villages with the aims of the Retirement Villages Act 1986, which is currently under review. These reforms will, amongst other things, ensure the policy objective of the Retirement Villages Act to protect retirement village residents from increases in their cost of living without their consent by preventing retirement village owners or their close associates from voting on fee resolutions where they control a majority of lot entitlements; and ensure that control over the rules for use of village facilities is not undermined by village operators who control the owners corporation by preventing them from voting on the making, amendment or revocation of rules. I will now discuss the suggestions received from the community that will strengthen the bill. In its consultative mode the government has listened to feedback provided by various stakeholders in the retirement village sector, such as Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria, who requested fine-tuning of the various exemptions for owners corporations in retirement villages, and these are contained in the bill. Further adjustments have been made to the retirement village exemptions to address concerns raised by stakeholders, with several provisions either changed or removed. However, it is not appropriate to grant leasehold residents voting rights on financial matters, given they do not have the same property rights and interests as lot owners. Over the last year or so it has been a privilege of mine to represent the minister at various forums, including one here in Melbourne last November and others as well, because, as you know, there has been a review process. An issues paper was produced, which marked the beginning of public consultation for the review of the Residential Villages Act. It is very obvious that there are still many unresolved issues, particularly in regard to the rights of residents. I was only just speaking to someone today as a matter of fact who was trying to get some clarification on the difference between capital costs and recurrent costs, whose responsibility it is to replace fences and whose responsibility it is to replace a call system. Who should pay for those capital works? It seems that we still have a long way to go, but setting up that issues paper and now this particular bill represents a first step. I am sure we will see lots of other reforms to legislation as time goes on in regard to these residential villages. Accordingly, I commend this bill, and I look forward to future ones.

HON. JOHN CAIN

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (16:20): As principal of Loyola College, Watsonia, I knew John Cain for a long time as the member for Bundoora. He was a diligent local member and most supportive of constituents and the local community, including Loyola. Ceremonial duties that he put up with, I should say, ranged from opening Loyola’s B block in 1983 to being the guest of honour at annual art shows and presiding at debutante balls at Heidelberg town hall. Indeed it was the work of John Cain and Jenny Macklin that inspired much of my initial regard for the Labor Party, I have to say. It was lovely for Bronwyn and me to catch up with Nancye and John in the parliamentary gardens after the opening of the 59th Parliament. Having accepted the invitation to my inaugural speech in the Legislative Assembly, health issues precluded John’s attendance on the actual day, with apologies delivered as always by personal contact, such was his style. Very briefly I will just read from the message that was left in my office, and you will recognise this as vintage form and content, I am sure: John Cain called the office and is an apology for Wednesday night. He wishes you his best but has mobility issues post an orthopaedic operation and 6.30 is quite late for him. He did want to pass on however that he believes you have a real role to play— and it then went on about various things in possible association between government and non-government schools and so on. That was the sort of trouble someone like that would take when many of us would simply hand in the apology and be done with it. I just felt that in some ways the tone of it all summed him up. Whilst awaiting a flight I remember bumping into John and Nancye at Sydney Airport. They were also en route to Melbourne but their journey had originated in Brisbane. John explained that the direct Brisbane–Melbourne flights were full. I was surprised that Qantas could not have found something or helped the busy Premier in this respect. That is John explained. Nancye explained, ‘You don’t know him. John will simply not do that sort of thing’. Point taken. John Cain chose not to belong to a political faction as such, but his Labor values were unmistakable in word and deed. We salute him as a person of integrity with abundant and generous leadership vision and achievement. [video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_02_04_1620_1624-L37ac.mp4"][/video]

HON. JOHN CAIN

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (16:20): As principal of Loyola College, Watsonia, I knew John Cain for a long time as the member for Bundoora. He was a diligent local member and most supportive of constituents and the local community, including Loyola. Ceremonial duties that he put up with, I should say, ranged from opening Loyola’s B block in 1983 to being the guest of honour at annual art shows and presiding at debutante balls at Heidelberg town hall. Indeed it was the work of John Cain and Jenny Macklin that inspired much of my initial regard for the Labor Party, I have to say. It was lovely for Bronwyn and me to catch up with Nancye and John in the parliamentary gardens after the opening of the 59th Parliament. Having accepted the invitation to my inaugural speech in the Legislative Assembly, health issues precluded John’s attendance on the actual day, with apologies delivered as always by personal contact, such was his style. Very briefly I will just read from the message that was left in my office, and you will recognise this as vintage form and content, I am sure: John Cain called the office and is an apology for Wednesday night. He wishes you his best but has mobility issues post an orthopaedic operation and 6.30 is quite late for him. He did want to pass on however that he believes you have a real role to play— and it then went on about various things in possible association between government and non-government schools and so on. That was the sort of trouble someone like that would take when many of us would simply hand in the apology and be done with it. I just felt that in some ways the tone of it all summed him up. Whilst awaiting a flight I remember bumping into John and Nancye at Sydney Airport. They were also en route to Melbourne but their journey had originated in Brisbane. John explained that the direct Brisbane–Melbourne flights were full. I was surprised that Qantas could not have found something or helped the busy Premier in this respect. That is John explained. Nancye explained, ‘You don’t know him. John will simply not do that sort of thing’. Point taken. John Cain chose not to belong to a political faction as such, but his Labor values were unmistakable in word and deed. We salute him as a person of integrity with abundant and generous leadership vision and achievement. [video width="640" height="360" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/LA_Kennedy_J_2020_02_04_1620_1624-L37ac.mp4"][/video]

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

My constituency question is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes and is about the solar panel rebate scheme. The Andrews Labor government's $1.3 billion Solar Homes program will install solar panels, solar hot water or solar batteries at 770 000 homes over the next 10 years, saving Victorian households more than $890 a year on their energy bills. My question is: how many homes in my climate-conscious electorate of Hawthorn have received a rebate since the scheme commenced? Answer The Victorian Government's landmark Solar Homes Program is making it easier for Victorian households, including those residing in the electorate of Hawthorn, to install a solar system. Since August 2008 over 57,000 Victorians have installed a solar system through the Solar Homes Program.  In Hawthorn, 128 households have received a solar PV or hot water rebate. Typical households can save up to $890 per year on their electricity bills when they install solar panels. To date, the Victorian Government is helping eligible Victorian households save up to an estimated $45 million annually on their energy bills and reduce over 406,000 tonnes annually of greenhouse gas emissions. To meet community demand, we expanded the program to include rebates for rental properties and in August announced an extra 23,420 rebates for the 2019-20 financial year. The expanded program will be of great value to the residents of Hawthorn and is part of a major push for Victoria to reach its target of 50 per cent of its energy to be provided by renewables by 2030. The $1.3 billion program is investing in our energy future and helping Victorians with a household income of up to $180,000, who live in their own home or a tenanted property valued up to $3 million, take control of their energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I thank the member for his question. Hon Lily D'Ambrosio MP Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister for Solar Homes

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

My constituency question is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes and is about the solar panel rebate scheme. The Andrews Labor government's $1.3 billion Solar Homes program will install solar panels, solar hot water or solar batteries at 770 000 homes over the next 10 years, saving Victorian households more than $890 a year on their energy bills. My question is: how many homes in my climate-conscious electorate of Hawthorn have received a rebate since the scheme commenced? Answer The Victorian Government's landmark Solar Homes Program is making it easier for Victorian households, including those residing in the electorate of Hawthorn, to install a solar system. Since August 2008 over 57,000 Victorians have installed a solar system through the Solar Homes Program.  In Hawthorn, 128 households have received a solar PV or hot water rebate. Typical households can save up to $890 per year on their electricity bills when they install solar panels. To date, the Victorian Government is helping eligible Victorian households save up to an estimated $45 million annually on their energy bills and reduce over 406,000 tonnes annually of greenhouse gas emissions. To meet community demand, we expanded the program to include rebates for rental properties and in August announced an extra 23,420 rebates for the 2019-20 financial year. The expanded program will be of great value to the residents of Hawthorn and is part of a major push for Victoria to reach its target of 50 per cent of its energy to be provided by renewables by 2030. The $1.3 billion program is investing in our energy future and helping Victorians with a household income of up to $180,000, who live in their own home or a tenanted property valued up to $3 million, take control of their energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I thank the member for his question. Hon Lily D'Ambrosio MP Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister for Solar Homes

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Mental Health for the Minister for Health

My question is for the Minister for Health in the other place. What will the minister do to assist community groups in my Hawthorn electorate to provide shade and sun-protective items in their outdoor spaces and for events? The Andrews Labor government has an ambitious goal of saving 10 000 lives from cancer, and key to that is the prevention of cancer. Skin cancer is prevalent in the community, but it is so, so preventable. I know several sporting clubs, kinders and groups, like the Camberwell Hockey Club and the Hawthorn Bowling Club, in my electorate that have been proactive and have applied for shade grants. As we head into summer we need to remember to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. Having shade and sun-protective items like hats and sunscreen will give a helping hand to ticking off three of those five skin cancer prevention tasks. I support these applications, and I look forward to the minister's response. Answer. I thank the member for raising this issue with me and would like to note the Member's tireless advocacy for his local constituents. In particular, I note your support towards your local community groups, sporting clubs and early childhood services. The Andrews Labor Government continues to deliver on the election commitment to provide $15.1 million dollars for Shade Grants and community awareness campaigns over 2019 - 2023. The Shade Grants Program provides grants to Victorian government schools and community organisations for shade development and sun protection items, including hats and sunscreen. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70. Through this program, the Labor Government is supporting more Victorians to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer. Round four of the Program generated a large amount of interest, reflecting the need for greater shade availability in schools. In December 2019, I announced that 164 community groups will share in almost $1 million from the latest round of the Andrews Labor Government's Community Shade Grants program. I am pleased to note that Camberwell Hockey Club, Hawthorn Bowling Club and West Hawthorn Pre-School Centre were successful in their applications for funding. Jenny Mikakos MP Minister for Health Minister for Ambulance Services

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Mental Health for the Minister for Health

My question is for the Minister for Health in the other place. What will the minister do to assist community groups in my Hawthorn electorate to provide shade and sun-protective items in their outdoor spaces and for events? The Andrews Labor government has an ambitious goal of saving 10 000 lives from cancer, and key to that is the prevention of cancer. Skin cancer is prevalent in the community, but it is so, so preventable. I know several sporting clubs, kinders and groups, like the Camberwell Hockey Club and the Hawthorn Bowling Club, in my electorate that have been proactive and have applied for shade grants. As we head into summer we need to remember to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. Having shade and sun-protective items like hats and sunscreen will give a helping hand to ticking off three of those five skin cancer prevention tasks. I support these applications, and I look forward to the minister's response. Answer. I thank the member for raising this issue with me and would like to note the Member's tireless advocacy for his local constituents. In particular, I note your support towards your local community groups, sporting clubs and early childhood services. The Andrews Labor Government continues to deliver on the election commitment to provide $15.1 million dollars for Shade Grants and community awareness campaigns over 2019 - 2023. The Shade Grants Program provides grants to Victorian government schools and community organisations for shade development and sun protection items, including hats and sunscreen. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70. Through this program, the Labor Government is supporting more Victorians to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer. Round four of the Program generated a large amount of interest, reflecting the need for greater shade availability in schools. In December 2019, I announced that 164 community groups will share in almost $1 million from the latest round of the Andrews Labor Government's Community Shade Grants program. I am pleased to note that Camberwell Hockey Club, Hawthorn Bowling Club and West Hawthorn Pre-School Centre were successful in their applications for funding. Jenny Mikakos MP Minister for Health Minister for Ambulance Services

ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Mental Health for the Minister for Health

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Health and concerns the government's SunSmart program. The action I seek is that she approves the school shade grants application of Hawthorn West Primary in my electorate. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in three Australians being diagnosed with the disease before age 70. In 2017 melanoma was the fourth-most common cancer in Victoria, and yet it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The Labor government's Victorian Cancer Plan has a target to halve the proportion of Victorians diagnosed with preventable cancers by 2040. We know that shade used in combination with other sun protection measures, including protective clothing, broadbrimmed hats, sunglasses and SPF 30 plus or higher sunscreen, provides the best protection from harmful UV radiation exposure, which is responsible for the majority of skin cancer. The Andrews Labor government last term delivered $15 million in SunSmart programs, including $10 million for the oversubscribed school and community shade grants program. In the budget this year the government has delivered on an election commitment and funded $15.1 million in SunSmart programs, including another $10 million for the hugely successful school and community shade grants program. The SunSmart campaign has a long history in Victoria. Originally it was funded by the Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation in 1988. The SunSmart program leads the world in skin cancer prevention. Today SunSmart is a multifaceted program recognised for providing leadership and innovation in ultraviolet radiation protection. Programs operate in each state and territory of Australia by respective cancer councils, all using common principles but tailored to jurisdictional priorities. The sun protection message has expanded to ‘slip, slop, slap, seek, slide'. SunSmart's mission is to reduce skin cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality through a targeted prevent ion and early detection program. The SunSmart objectives for 2016 to 2019 are to improve skin cancer prevention awareness, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in priority populations; support priority populations to detect skin cancers earlier; and advocate for measures that aim to reduce the health and economic burdens of skin cancer. The shade grants program provides further funding for new permanent shade, natural shade, portable shade and sun protective items. Answer. I thank the member for raising this issue with me and would like to note the Member's tireless advocacy for his local constituents. In particular, I note your support towards Hawthorn West Primary School. The Andrews Labor Government continues to deliver on the election commitment to provide $15.1 million dollars for Shade Grants and community awareness campaigns over 2019 - 2023. The Shade Grants Program provides grants to Victorian government schools and community organisations for shade development and sun protection items, including hats and sunscreen. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70. Through this program, the Labor Government is supporting more Victorians to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer. Round four of the Program generated a large amount of interest, reflecting the need for greater shade availability in schools. In November 2019, I announced that 77 schools will share in almost $1 million from the latest round of the Andrews Labor Government's School Shade Grants program. I am pleased to note that Hawthorn West Primary School was successful in its applications for funding. Jenny Mikakos MP Minister for Health Minister for Ambulance Services

ADJOURNMENT MATTER — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Mental Health for the Minister for Health

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Health and concerns the government's SunSmart program. The action I seek is that she approves the school shade grants application of Hawthorn West Primary in my electorate. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in three Australians being diagnosed with the disease before age 70. In 2017 melanoma was the fourth-most common cancer in Victoria, and yet it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The Labor government's Victorian Cancer Plan has a target to halve the proportion of Victorians diagnosed with preventable cancers by 2040. We know that shade used in combination with other sun protection measures, including protective clothing, broadbrimmed hats, sunglasses and SPF 30 plus or higher sunscreen, provides the best protection from harmful UV radiation exposure, which is responsible for the majority of skin cancer. The Andrews Labor government last term delivered $15 million in SunSmart programs, including $10 million for the oversubscribed school and community shade grants program. In the budget this year the government has delivered on an election commitment and funded $15.1 million in SunSmart programs, including another $10 million for the hugely successful school and community shade grants program. The SunSmart campaign has a long history in Victoria. Originally it was funded by the Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation in 1988. The SunSmart program leads the world in skin cancer prevention. Today SunSmart is a multifaceted program recognised for providing leadership and innovation in ultraviolet radiation protection. Programs operate in each state and territory of Australia by respective cancer councils, all using common principles but tailored to jurisdictional priorities. The sun protection message has expanded to ‘slip, slop, slap, seek, slide'. SunSmart's mission is to reduce skin cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality through a targeted prevent ion and early detection program. The SunSmart objectives for 2016 to 2019 are to improve skin cancer prevention awareness, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in priority populations; support priority populations to detect skin cancers earlier; and advocate for measures that aim to reduce the health and economic burdens of skin cancer. The shade grants program provides further funding for new permanent shade, natural shade, portable shade and sun protective items. Answer. I thank the member for raising this issue with me and would like to note the Member's tireless advocacy for his local constituents. In particular, I note your support towards Hawthorn West Primary School. The Andrews Labor Government continues to deliver on the election commitment to provide $15.1 million dollars for Shade Grants and community awareness campaigns over 2019 - 2023. The Shade Grants Program provides grants to Victorian government schools and community organisations for shade development and sun protection items, including hats and sunscreen. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70. Through this program, the Labor Government is supporting more Victorians to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer. Round four of the Program generated a large amount of interest, reflecting the need for greater shade availability in schools. In November 2019, I announced that 77 schools will share in almost $1 million from the latest round of the Andrews Labor Government's School Shade Grants program. I am pleased to note that Hawthorn West Primary School was successful in its applications for funding. Jenny Mikakos MP Minister for Health Minister for Ambulance Services

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Public Transport

My constituency question is for the Minister for Public Transport. As many in this place know, I am an avid user of public transport. My question to the minister is: what is the time line for the rollout of the new myki gates, particularly in the seat of Hawthorn? The next-generation myki reader gates scan cards instantly, minimising potential delays at the station gates, particularly during peak times. Camberwell station in my electorate has older myki gates, and I think installing new gates with quick touch-on readers would make a real difference for commuters like me, whether they be people heading into work in the morning, students or people heading to the shops. Answer. The Andrews Labor Government is rolling out new faster myki readers at the majority of stations across the network. To date, over 688 new units already installed at railway stations. The next generation myki readers scan cards instantly, minimising potential delays at the station gates, particularly during peak times. These fast myki readers are proven to reduce dwell times and passenger movements. Myki readers are updated based on usage levels. Faster card readers were installed at Camberwell station on 2 August 2019. The myki gates at Camberwell were also upgraded late last month to include this new technology, and have been in service since 27 November 2019. Hon Melissa Horne MP Minister for Public Transport Minister for Ports and Freight

CONSTITUENCY QUESTION — Mr Kennedy to ask the Minister for Public Transport

My constituency question is for the Minister for Public Transport. As many in this place know, I am an avid user of public transport. My question to the minister is: what is the time line for the rollout of the new myki gates, particularly in the seat of Hawthorn? The next-generation myki reader gates scan cards instantly, minimising potential delays at the station gates, particularly during peak times. Camberwell station in my electorate has older myki gates, and I think installing new gates with quick touch-on readers would make a real difference for commuters like me, whether they be people heading into work in the morning, students or people heading to the shops. Answer. The Andrews Labor Government is rolling out new faster myki readers at the majority of stations across the network. To date, over 688 new units already installed at railway stations. The next generation myki readers scan cards instantly, minimising potential delays at the station gates, particularly during peak times. These fast myki readers are proven to reduce dwell times and passenger movements. Myki readers are updated based on usage levels. Faster card readers were installed at Camberwell station on 2 August 2019. The myki gates at Camberwell were also upgraded late last month to include this new technology, and have been in service since 27 November 2019. Hon Melissa Horne MP Minister for Public Transport Minister for Ports and Freight

Shade Grants

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (11:47:56): (1778) My question is for the Minister for Health in the other place. What will the minister do to assist community groups in my Hawthorn electorate to provide shade and sun-protective items in their outdoor spaces and for events? The Andrews Labor government has an ambitious goal of saving 10 000 lives from cancer, and key to that is the prevention of cancer. Skin cancer is prevalent in the community, but it is so, so preventable. I know several sporting clubs, kinders and groups, like the Camberwell Hockey Club and the Hawthorn Bowling Club, in my electorate that have been proactive and have applied for shade grants. As we head into summer we need to remember to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. Having shade and sun-protective items like hats and sunscreen will give a helping hand to ticking off three of those five skin cancer prevention tasks. I support these applications, and I look forward to the minister’s response.

Shade Grants

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (11:47:56): (1778) My question is for the Minister for Health in the other place. What will the minister do to assist community groups in my Hawthorn electorate to provide shade and sun-protective items in their outdoor spaces and for events? The Andrews Labor government has an ambitious goal of saving 10 000 lives from cancer, and key to that is the prevention of cancer. Skin cancer is prevalent in the community, but it is so, so preventable. I know several sporting clubs, kinders and groups, like the Camberwell Hockey Club and the Hawthorn Bowling Club, in my electorate that have been proactive and have applied for shade grants. As we head into summer we need to remember to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. Having shade and sun-protective items like hats and sunscreen will give a helping hand to ticking off three of those five skin cancer prevention tasks. I support these applications, and I look forward to the minister’s response.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL 2019

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (12:20:07): I rise to speak on the Local Government Bill 2019, and I would like to begin by just saying a few words about one of the great marriages in heaven. One of the great marriages in heaven is the fact that the Labor member for Hawthorn is located in Camberwell Road immediately opposite Boroondara council. Boroondara council has an ascendancy of councillors from the Liberal side, probably of the Michael Kroger faction, but notwithstanding, we have a wonderful balance; we meet every month from both sides of the political spectrum. And I am just delighted with this bill because it means that we can see firsthand that there are some things that need to be improved and acted upon. Before going on about some of the fine features of this bill, I would just like to refer to the member for Euroa, who spoke earlier in this debate. She generously and kindly acknowledged consultation. She said, 'Yes, there has been consultation’, and she said—with some reservations and so on—she recognises consultation when she sees it, as indeed do we all. That was her judgement. Her judgement started to fail a little bit there because then she was full of congratulations for the member for Kew, a previous speaker. I was a little disappointed with the member for Kew, a dear neighbour, a next-door neighbour, who allowed himself to get caught up in the what he called confusion, which I would call mayhem. It seemed to me that he was caught up in dinners, the Australian Republican Movement, debating societies, pill testing and so on and so forth, and I think we have just got to get out of that sort of rut and get on with: what does the bill do? What is the bill offering? That is the important thing here. Mr T Smith: Read my amendment. Read my amendment. Mr KENNEDY: I love that response. The bill is proposed to replace the Local Government Act of 1989 with a modern, principles-based legislative framework for the establishment and administration of a system of local government in Victoria. There is a need for the bill. Other speakers have already spoken about society having changed so much and the technology and so on since the 1989 act. Over 100 amendments have been made, and now these need to be codified and put into some sort of logical order so that you can have a more even and better application. In vitally important respects it applies reform and standards of principle, such as more equitable wards, a transparent remuneration policy, long-needed behavioural conduct standards and induction training to assist councillors in reaching and applying minimum standards to which most aspire. It introduces a sensible gift policy with a transparent register to permit local oversight and has foreshadowed a further major reform intention relating to the vexed question of foreign and local donations, for later implementation after the IBAC review is concluded. The bill now represents the Local Government Act being replaced to bring local government governance into the 21st century, reflecting progressive values and lessons learned from the past, and through the thorough consultation which has been undertaken—and so generously mentioned by the member for Euroa—giving communities the strong, accountable and efficient local councils that they deserve. So just to repeat—we have heard it before, but it is always good to hear these things again—the five themes around which this bill is centred are, one, to allow councils to improve the services they deliver for communities through better financial management and engagement with the community; two, the provision of stronger local democracy with direct accountability to the community; three, the improvement of councillor conduct with clear standards of behaviour and stronger mechanisms to address poor conduct; four, giving the community confidence by making reforms to election processes and candidate requirements; and five, providing a new relationship between state and local government and the community. The 2019 bill retains the substance of and builds on the previously prepared 2018 bill by incorporating additional reforms to simplify elections, strengthen community engagement and address councillor conduct. The new laws are a culmination of extensive consultation with the local government sector and the wider community over three years. As the second-reading speech so eloquently provides: It enshrines in law a contemporary, principles-based framework that determines how councils are created and elected; empowers councils to innovate and operate to the best of their ability; significantly improves how councils are governed; and sets out clear processes and planning tools to support and guide councils as they deliver responsive services and represent their communities. Importantly, too, the bill introduces much-needed reform to improve service delivery, strengthen local democracy, improve councillor conduct and the like. I now turn to specific elements of reform provided for in the bill now before this Assembly. There are many possible examples. Of prime importance is the single voting method—attendance, postal or online—to be now applied. By improving electoral security, the possibility of multiple voting is eliminated. With all constituents being equally represented, community confidence in the integrity of the voting method is strengthened. Consistent with the government’s efforts to call on the expertise of the local government stakeholders, so too does the bill call for local government to increasingly consult with its electors. Directly relevant to this ideal is the bill obliging councils to develop a community engagement policy that actively involves the community in the development of major council policies and plans. By this means citizens will have meaningful performance information through reporting of council performance relevant to the performance measures readily accessible on the Know Your Council website. Through the mechanism of councils being obliged to maintain a four-year council plan and budget, electors will be able to observe their council’s performance, the work of council’s audit and risk committees and the council’s community engagement policies. In a similarly transparent fashion, the bill obliges councils to develop and adopt a procurement policy that is financially sound and capable of review by electors. The expectation is that councils’ procurement policies will require councils to have public policies detailing the thresholds which oblige them to go to tender for the provision of goods and services; the tendering process itself; and how it is, shortly described, that value for money has been ensured. In focusing on best practice and sound governance, the bill obliges councils to self-regulate in important ways and to develop specific governance rules in relation to decision-making as to what matters could be delegated and as to conduct at council meetings. Having learned from the lessons of the past, the rules to be devised and applied by each council should include limits upon decision-making during an election period. As in other detailed elements of the bill, all councils will be obliged to acknowledge in their annual report compliance or otherwise with their procurement policy. The intention of such measures is to ensure that there is enhanced community engagement and reporting of the budgets and strategic plans developed by councils as they perform their work. The public sector values to which we subscribe are again at the forefront of these reforms. They are: responsiveness, integrity, impartiality, accountability, respect and human rights. The community consultation, engagement and oversight provisions within the bill reflect, in our view, contemporary expectations which are reasonable, particularly when one considers the scale of many council projects requiring complex service delivery and the effects upon the community of many public infrastructure projects. This legislation will beneficially affect all Victorians I believe, and I commend the bill to the house.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL 2019

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (12:20:07): I rise to speak on the Local Government Bill 2019, and I would like to begin by just saying a few words about one of the great marriages in heaven. One of the great marriages in heaven is the fact that the Labor member for Hawthorn is located in Camberwell Road immediately opposite Boroondara council. Boroondara council has an ascendancy of councillors from the Liberal side, probably of the Michael Kroger faction, but notwithstanding, we have a wonderful balance; we meet every month from both sides of the political spectrum. And I am just delighted with this bill because it means that we can see firsthand that there are some things that need to be improved and acted upon. Before going on about some of the fine features of this bill, I would just like to refer to the member for Euroa, who spoke earlier in this debate. She generously and kindly acknowledged consultation. She said, 'Yes, there has been consultation’, and she said—with some reservations and so on—she recognises consultation when she sees it, as indeed do we all. That was her judgement. Her judgement started to fail a little bit there because then she was full of congratulations for the member for Kew, a previous speaker. I was a little disappointed with the member for Kew, a dear neighbour, a next-door neighbour, who allowed himself to get caught up in the what he called confusion, which I would call mayhem. It seemed to me that he was caught up in dinners, the Australian Republican Movement, debating societies, pill testing and so on and so forth, and I think we have just got to get out of that sort of rut and get on with: what does the bill do? What is the bill offering? That is the important thing here. Mr T Smith: Read my amendment. Read my amendment. Mr KENNEDY: I love that response. The bill is proposed to replace the Local Government Act of 1989 with a modern, principles-based legislative framework for the establishment and administration of a system of local government in Victoria. There is a need for the bill. Other speakers have already spoken about society having changed so much and the technology and so on since the 1989 act. Over 100 amendments have been made, and now these need to be codified and put into some sort of logical order so that you can have a more even and better application. In vitally important respects it applies reform and standards of principle, such as more equitable wards, a transparent remuneration policy, long-needed behavioural conduct standards and induction training to assist councillors in reaching and applying minimum standards to which most aspire. It introduces a sensible gift policy with a transparent register to permit local oversight and has foreshadowed a further major reform intention relating to the vexed question of foreign and local donations, for later implementation after the IBAC review is concluded. The bill now represents the Local Government Act being replaced to bring local government governance into the 21st century, reflecting progressive values and lessons learned from the past, and through the thorough consultation which has been undertaken—and so generously mentioned by the member for Euroa—giving communities the strong, accountable and efficient local councils that they deserve. So just to repeat—we have heard it before, but it is always good to hear these things again—the five themes around which this bill is centred are, one, to allow councils to improve the services they deliver for communities through better financial management and engagement with the community; two, the provision of stronger local democracy with direct accountability to the community; three, the improvement of councillor conduct with clear standards of behaviour and stronger mechanisms to address poor conduct; four, giving the community confidence by making reforms to election processes and candidate requirements; and five, providing a new relationship between state and local government and the community. The 2019 bill retains the substance of and builds on the previously prepared 2018 bill by incorporating additional reforms to simplify elections, strengthen community engagement and address councillor conduct. The new laws are a culmination of extensive consultation with the local government sector and the wider community over three years. As the second-reading speech so eloquently provides: It enshrines in law a contemporary, principles-based framework that determines how councils are created and elected; empowers councils to innovate and operate to the best of their ability; significantly improves how councils are governed; and sets out clear processes and planning tools to support and guide councils as they deliver responsive services and represent their communities. Importantly, too, the bill introduces much-needed reform to improve service delivery, strengthen local democracy, improve councillor conduct and the like. I now turn to specific elements of reform provided for in the bill now before this Assembly. There are many possible examples. Of prime importance is the single voting method—attendance, postal or online—to be now applied. By improving electoral security, the possibility of multiple voting is eliminated. With all constituents being equally represented, community confidence in the integrity of the voting method is strengthened. Consistent with the government’s efforts to call on the expertise of the local government stakeholders, so too does the bill call for local government to increasingly consult with its electors. Directly relevant to this ideal is the bill obliging councils to develop a community engagement policy that actively involves the community in the development of major council policies and plans. By this means citizens will have meaningful performance information through reporting of council performance relevant to the performance measures readily accessible on the Know Your Council website. Through the mechanism of councils being obliged to maintain a four-year council plan and budget, electors will be able to observe their council’s performance, the work of council’s audit and risk committees and the council’s community engagement policies. In a similarly transparent fashion, the bill obliges councils to develop and adopt a procurement policy that is financially sound and capable of review by electors. The expectation is that councils’ procurement policies will require councils to have public policies detailing the thresholds which oblige them to go to tender for the provision of goods and services; the tendering process itself; and how it is, shortly described, that value for money has been ensured. In focusing on best practice and sound governance, the bill obliges councils to self-regulate in important ways and to develop specific governance rules in relation to decision-making as to what matters could be delegated and as to conduct at council meetings. Having learned from the lessons of the past, the rules to be devised and applied by each council should include limits upon decision-making during an election period. As in other detailed elements of the bill, all councils will be obliged to acknowledge in their annual report compliance or otherwise with their procurement policy. The intention of such measures is to ensure that there is enhanced community engagement and reporting of the budgets and strategic plans developed by councils as they perform their work. The public sector values to which we subscribe are again at the forefront of these reforms. They are: responsiveness, integrity, impartiality, accountability, respect and human rights. The community consultation, engagement and oversight provisions within the bill reflect, in our view, contemporary expectations which are reasonable, particularly when one considers the scale of many council projects requiring complex service delivery and the effects upon the community of many public infrastructure projects. This legislation will beneficially affect all Victorians I believe, and I commend the bill to the house.

CAROLINE CHISHOLM SOCIETY

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (09:48:10): In another place far from here we are offered the simplistic mantra of 'A fair go for those who have a go’. This morning I join members in paying tribute to the Caroline Chisholm Society on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its provision of pregnancy and family support services to those in need in Moonee Ponds, Caroline Springs, Shepparton and Essendon. These services time and time again have been accepted by those in no position to 'have a go’, as the sales pitch runs. It was my privilege to serve on its board of directors for five years from 2007 to 2011. This was followed by five months, from November 2011 to March 2012, as interim CEO on a pro bono basis whilst a permanent CEO was found and appointed. During 10 years as a self-funded retiree prior to last November, it was my good fortune to undertake a variety of projects. My time at Caroline Chisholm was a highlight. I witnessed great work undertaken by counsellors, social workers and other supporters. I commend the Caroline Chisholm to the house. Ad multos annos.

CAROLINE CHISHOLM SOCIETY

Mr KENNEDY (Hawthorn) (09:48:10): In another place far from here we are offered the simplistic mantra of 'A fair go for those who have a go’. This morning I join members in paying tribute to the Caroline Chisholm Society on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its provision of pregnancy and family support services to those in need in Moonee Ponds, Caroline Springs, Shepparton and Essendon. These services time and time again have been accepted by those in no position to 'have a go’, as the sales pitch runs. It was my privilege to serve on its board of directors for five years from 2007 to 2011. This was followed by five months, from November 2011 to March 2012, as interim CEO on a pro bono basis whilst a permanent CEO was found and appointed. During 10 years as a self-funded retiree prior to last November, it was my good fortune to undertake a variety of projects. My time at Caroline Chisholm was a highlight. I witnessed great work undertaken by counsellors, social workers and other supporters. I commend the Caroline Chisholm to the house. Ad multos annos.

Campaigns

Local Mental Health Support for Hawthorn

During the COVID-19 virus pandemic we have all had to compromise our lives. Lockdowns, working from home or losing work, caring for others and mourning tragedy; it has been a difficult period. With all these factors and more considered it is easy to find yourself experiencing trouble with your mental health. In fact, this is quite normal. Not everyone will experience mental health the same but it is something that effects a lot of people. I would like to offer my support to you. If you are experiencing hardship, be it mental or otherwise, please feel free to contact my office, and we can put you in touch with support. My office phone number, email and other contact details are available here. Moreover, in our area there is support available for everyone who needs it. Below is a list of local that can help you. Headspace Hawthorn 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn Phone: 9006 6500 Hotline: 1800 650 890 Email: enquiries@headspacehawthorn.org.au Website: headspace.org.au Headspace offers tailored and holistic mental health support to 12 - 25 year olds. With a focus on early intervention, they work with young people to provide support at a crucial time in their lives, to help get them back on track and strengthen their ability to manage their mental health in the future. During COVID-19 Headspace is still offering support to young people aged 12-25 over the phone and using video conferencing. eheadspace provides free online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12 - 25 and their families and friends. If you’re based in Australia and going through a tough time, eheadspace can help.   Steps Mental Health Hawthorn 378 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn East Hotline: 1800 378 377 Website: stepsmentalhealth.org.au Steps Mental Health offers a range of mental health services: Mental Health Nursing: Mental Health Nurses are nurses specifically trained to help support people’s mental health while considering other physical, social and cultural needs Psychology: Registered psychologists who provide therapy, support, advice and treatment Mental Health Social Work: Social workers with specialist training in mental health Peer Support: Peer support workers are staff members with a ‘lived experience’ of mental health and recovery. Dual Diagnosis: Workers with experience in mental health and substance misuse Care Coordination and Case Management: Care coordinators and case managers help coordinate a person’s care by liaising with all professionals involved Group Programs: Group-based treatment and support programs They provide services for the Inner East and Outer East of Melbourne, and is a free service, supported by funding from the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network. This service is available for free to people who live or work in the Inner and Outer East of Melbourne in the Cities of Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges, and are unable to access similar services elsewhere. To find out more about eligibility, please check out the eligibility page here. Hawthorn Community House 32 Henry Street & 584 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn Phone: 9819 5758 Website: info@hch.org.au As we all know connecting with others and sharing positive experiences can help our mental health considerably. Hawthorn Community House is a not-for-profit community based organisation. They are a friendly, vibrant, inclusive community house that provides interesting programs for all residents. The house offers affordable and fun classes throughout the year. Classes are accessible to all members of our community, and we try and operate within the means of most people and keep our classes and workshops affordable. Throughout COVID-19 Hawthorn Community House has developed a Virtual Group Activity Program to help you stay active and engaged while you are at home. Camcare Camberwell 51 St Johns Avenue, Camberwell Phone: 9831 1900 Website: camcare.org.au Camcare is a not-for-profit, community based organisation. They assist people from Boroondara and neighbouring areas who are facing personal hardship or difficult life circumstances. Camcare offer the following services: Information, referral and advocacy Support for older people in the community to build connections Emergency relief: donated food, small grants for students and fresh produce from our kitchen garden Family support Support and connections to services for families with a history or current experience of family violence Wellbeing counselling services for people in the community who are facing challenging times, from new parents, to school students, to those experiencing past or present relationship issues Parenting groups to build strategies and confidence to become effective parents and for vulnerable new mothers to make connections and share information Practical assistance to prepare tax returns or learn how to use the internet via the Be Connected program (previously called Broadband for Seniors) Monthly community BBQ to bring people together for a meal and friendship short-term, goal-oriented psychological support, including PS4Kids, youth and adult services.   Medication Support and Recovery Service 378 Burwood Road Hawthorn Hotline: 1800 931 101 Phone: 9810 3080 Website: msrs.org.au The Medication Support and Recovery Service (MSRS) is a new treatment service for people who are dependent on, or having problems with, their use of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Our service includes specialist counsellors, nursing staff and peer support workers, and we are based within local community health services.   National Mental Health Support: There are plenty of ways to get help both locally and nationally. These hotlines are open 24/7.

Local Mental Health Support for Hawthorn

During the COVID-19 virus pandemic we have all had to compromise our lives. Lockdowns, working from home or losing work, caring for others and mourning tragedy; it has been a difficult period. With all these factors and more considered it is easy to find yourself experiencing trouble with your mental health. In fact, this is quite normal. Not everyone will experience mental health the same but it is something that effects a lot of people. I would like to offer my support to you. If you are experiencing hardship, be it mental or otherwise, please feel free to contact my office, and we can put you in touch with support. My office phone number, email and other contact details are available here. Moreover, in our area there is support available for everyone who needs it. Below is a list of local that can help you. Headspace Hawthorn 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn Phone: 9006 6500 Hotline: 1800 650 890 Email: enquiries@headspacehawthorn.org.au Website: headspace.org.au Headspace offers tailored and holistic mental health support to 12 - 25 year olds. With a focus on early intervention, they work with young people to provide support at a crucial time in their lives, to help get them back on track and strengthen their ability to manage their mental health in the future. During COVID-19 Headspace is still offering support to young people aged 12-25 over the phone and using video conferencing. eheadspace provides free online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12 - 25 and their families and friends. If you’re based in Australia and going through a tough time, eheadspace can help.   Steps Mental Health Hawthorn 378 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn East Hotline: 1800 378 377 Website: stepsmentalhealth.org.au Steps Mental Health offers a range of mental health services: Mental Health Nursing: Mental Health Nurses are nurses specifically trained to help support people’s mental health while considering other physical, social and cultural needs Psychology: Registered psychologists who provide therapy, support, advice and treatment Mental Health Social Work: Social workers with specialist training in mental health Peer Support: Peer support workers are staff members with a ‘lived experience’ of mental health and recovery. Dual Diagnosis: Workers with experience in mental health and substance misuse Care Coordination and Case Management: Care coordinators and case managers help coordinate a person’s care by liaising with all professionals involved Group Programs: Group-based treatment and support programs They provide services for the Inner East and Outer East of Melbourne, and is a free service, supported by funding from the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network. This service is available for free to people who live or work in the Inner and Outer East of Melbourne in the Cities of Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges, and are unable to access similar services elsewhere. To find out more about eligibility, please check out the eligibility page here. Hawthorn Community House 32 Henry Street & 584 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn Phone: 9819 5758 Website: info@hch.org.au As we all know connecting with others and sharing positive experiences can help our mental health considerably. Hawthorn Community House is a not-for-profit community based organisation. They are a friendly, vibrant, inclusive community house that provides interesting programs for all residents. The house offers affordable and fun classes throughout the year. Classes are accessible to all members of our community, and we try and operate within the means of most people and keep our classes and workshops affordable. Throughout COVID-19 Hawthorn Community House has developed a Virtual Group Activity Program to help you stay active and engaged while you are at home. Camcare Camberwell 51 St Johns Avenue, Camberwell Phone: 9831 1900 Website: camcare.org.au Camcare is a not-for-profit, community based organisation. They assist people from Boroondara and neighbouring areas who are facing personal hardship or difficult life circumstances. Camcare offer the following services: Information, referral and advocacy Support for older people in the community to build connections Emergency relief: donated food, small grants for students and fresh produce from our kitchen garden Family support Support and connections to services for families with a history or current experience of family violence Wellbeing counselling services for people in the community who are facing challenging times, from new parents, to school students, to those experiencing past or present relationship issues Parenting groups to build strategies and confidence to become effective parents and for vulnerable new mothers to make connections and share information Practical assistance to prepare tax returns or learn how to use the internet via the Be Connected program (previously called Broadband for Seniors) Monthly community BBQ to bring people together for a meal and friendship short-term, goal-oriented psychological support, including PS4Kids, youth and adult services.   Medication Support and Recovery Service 378 Burwood Road Hawthorn Hotline: 1800 931 101 Phone: 9810 3080 Website: msrs.org.au The Medication Support and Recovery Service (MSRS) is a new treatment service for people who are dependent on, or having problems with, their use of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Our service includes specialist counsellors, nursing staff and peer support workers, and we are based within local community health services.   National Mental Health Support: There are plenty of ways to get help both locally and nationally. These hotlines are open 24/7.

Level Crossings Removal Project

The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to remove dangerous and congested level crossings by 2025.  The Victorian Labor Government has now awarded 50 level crossing removal contracts since it came to office – in line with its signature 2014 election commitment to remove 50 level crossings by 2022. At the last election Labor went further – committing to get rid of a further 25 crossings, with 75 gone by 2025. We can see the positive impact of this huge project just south of Hawthron East at the Toorak Road, Kooyong level crossing. The crossing was removed in April 2020, with trains now travelling on the new rail bridge. Removing the major bottleneck reduces congestion and improves safety for those travelling through the area. New and improved walking and cycling paths will also be created as part of the project, connecting nearby parklands. - Level Crossing Removal Project on the Toorak Rd project. All over metro and regional Melbourne level crossings are being removed. This not only improves traffic and transport flow but makes our communities safer. To stay up to date with the Level Crossing Removal Project and for more information on this remarkable project please click below: https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/    

Level Crossings Removal Project

The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its promise to remove dangerous and congested level crossings by 2025.  The Victorian Labor Government has now awarded 50 level crossing removal contracts since it came to office – in line with its signature 2014 election commitment to remove 50 level crossings by 2022. At the last election Labor went further – committing to get rid of a further 25 crossings, with 75 gone by 2025. We can see the positive impact of this huge project just south of Hawthron East at the Toorak Road, Kooyong level crossing. The crossing was removed in April 2020, with trains now travelling on the new rail bridge. Removing the major bottleneck reduces congestion and improves safety for those travelling through the area. New and improved walking and cycling paths will also be created as part of the project, connecting nearby parklands. - Level Crossing Removal Project on the Toorak Rd project. All over metro and regional Melbourne level crossings are being removed. This not only improves traffic and transport flow but makes our communities safer. To stay up to date with the Level Crossing Removal Project and for more information on this remarkable project please click below: https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/    

Our Education

John began his career in education as a teacher at St. Ignatius College, Sydney in 1969. His journey in education saw him serve as dean of studies and deputy across various schools. This experience led to John's appointment as founding Principal of Loyola College, Watsonia working at the school from 1979 to 2008. After a 39 year career in education John understands the empowering effect of a quality education. Now as part of the Andrew's Government, John continues to campaign for education. We believe: Education benefits everyone Make education more accessible Cutting education has never been the answer Education opens doors Read more and add you name to our campaign to protect our education here:   #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Email First Name Last Name Birthday / ( mm / dd ) (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';fnames[3]='ADDRESS';ftypes[3]='address';fnames[4]='PHONE';ftypes[4]='phone';fnames[5]='BIRTHDAY';ftypes[5]='birthday';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);    

Our Education

John began his career in education as a teacher at St. Ignatius College, Sydney in 1969. His journey in education saw him serve as dean of studies and deputy across various schools. This experience led to John's appointment as founding Principal of Loyola College, Watsonia working at the school from 1979 to 2008. After a 39 year career in education John understands the empowering effect of a quality education. Now as part of the Andrew's Government, John continues to campaign for education. We believe: Education benefits everyone Make education more accessible Cutting education has never been the answer Education opens doors Read more and add you name to our campaign to protect our education here:   #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Email First Name Last Name Birthday / ( mm / dd ) (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';fnames[3]='ADDRESS';ftypes[3]='address';fnames[4]='PHONE';ftypes[4]='phone';fnames[5]='BIRTHDAY';ftypes[5]='birthday';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);    

Protect our ABC

A healthy independent and comprehensive national public broadcaster is critical to Australian democracy and culture. The ABC’s independence – from political and commercial influence – enables it to report without fear or favour. The ABC’s responsibilities are to promote Australian culture and, as a comprehensive broadcaster, to cater for a diversity of interests in the community. Importantly, it broadcasts programs to other countries that encourage awareness of Australia. In modern times, media is the gateway to information. It determines what the public will and will not know about all range of matters. Television, in particular, has a significant influence on our culture. Sign our petition to show you support for our public broadcaster: ABC Friends ABC Friends represents the community’s interest in its independent national public broadcaster. It comprises independent organisations which exist in each state and territory and work together in national campaign. You can find out more information at: https://me.abcfriendsvic.org.au/    

Protect our ABC

A healthy independent and comprehensive national public broadcaster is critical to Australian democracy and culture. The ABC’s independence – from political and commercial influence – enables it to report without fear or favour. The ABC’s responsibilities are to promote Australian culture and, as a comprehensive broadcaster, to cater for a diversity of interests in the community. Importantly, it broadcasts programs to other countries that encourage awareness of Australia. In modern times, media is the gateway to information. It determines what the public will and will not know about all range of matters. Television, in particular, has a significant influence on our culture. Sign our petition to show you support for our public broadcaster: ABC Friends ABC Friends represents the community’s interest in its independent national public broadcaster. It comprises independent organisations which exist in each state and territory and work together in national campaign. You can find out more information at: https://me.abcfriendsvic.org.au/