Media Centre

Bills Street Community Consultation

Homes Victoria’s community consultation on the Bills Street Housing Project started on 18 March 2021 and closed last Friday, 16 April 2021. The plans for the development have changed and adapted over a number of years and this latest round of community feedback will help to shape the final project. The current plans for the project have taken account of previous community and council feedback by: • Reducing building heights so they are more in line with the surroundings (from 12 storeys maximum to 7 storeys) • a higher number of social dwellings as part of the total dwelling mix • aim to incorporate 15% of the dwellings as 3-bedroom dwellings to provide a diverse apartment offering • no public land sale • below market rentals to provide housing for the lower income groups • realigned Bills Street will act as a primary pedestrian and cycling connection to existing paths. Below is a brief history of the development of the plans for the Bills Street project (adapted from a resource provided by Boroondara Council): • May 2017 – Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) meets with Boroondara Council, flags intention to redevelop Bills St estate for a mix of social and private apartments (10% increase of social housing) • June 2017 – DHHS sketch plans propose 400-450 apartments in buildings up to 12-storeys • July 2017 – Council prepares and adopts Urban Design Framework, approx. 243 apartments in buildings up to 7-storeys • September 2018 – DHHS hosts on-site walk event, consultation plans propose approx. 250-300 apartments in buildings up to 9-storeys, launches Consultative Committee • November 2020 – State Government launches “Victoria’s Big Housing Build”. Identifies Bills St as a “fast start site” • 1 December 2020 – VC190 introduces Clause 52.20, removing need for a planning permit. Makes Minister for Environment responsible authority • March 2021 – Homes Victoria launches online public consultation. 206 apartments, 50% social, 50% affordable. For further updates on this project, monitor my Fortnightly Newsletter, my website and social media pages.

Bills Street Community Consultation

Homes Victoria’s community consultation on the Bills Street Housing Project started on 18 March 2021 and closed last Friday, 16 April 2021. The plans for the development have changed and adapted over a number of years and this latest round of community feedback will help to shape the final project. The current plans for the project have taken account of previous community and council feedback by: • Reducing building heights so they are more in line with the surroundings (from 12 storeys maximum to 7 storeys) • a higher number of social dwellings as part of the total dwelling mix • aim to incorporate 15% of the dwellings as 3-bedroom dwellings to provide a diverse apartment offering • no public land sale • below market rentals to provide housing for the lower income groups • realigned Bills Street will act as a primary pedestrian and cycling connection to existing paths. Below is a brief history of the development of the plans for the Bills Street project (adapted from a resource provided by Boroondara Council): • May 2017 – Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) meets with Boroondara Council, flags intention to redevelop Bills St estate for a mix of social and private apartments (10% increase of social housing) • June 2017 – DHHS sketch plans propose 400-450 apartments in buildings up to 12-storeys • July 2017 – Council prepares and adopts Urban Design Framework, approx. 243 apartments in buildings up to 7-storeys • September 2018 – DHHS hosts on-site walk event, consultation plans propose approx. 250-300 apartments in buildings up to 9-storeys, launches Consultative Committee • November 2020 – State Government launches “Victoria’s Big Housing Build”. Identifies Bills St as a “fast start site” • 1 December 2020 – VC190 introduces Clause 52.20, removing need for a planning permit. Makes Minister for Environment responsible authority • March 2021 – Homes Victoria launches online public consultation. 206 apartments, 50% social, 50% affordable. For further updates on this project, monitor my Fortnightly Newsletter, my website and social media pages.

HAWTHORN CLUBS SCORE SPORT GRANTS   

Five grassroots sport clubs and organisations in the Hawthorn electorate are set to bolster their coaching skills, administration expertise, or score new sports equipment thanks to a share in more than $7,300 from the Victorian Government. Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy this week announced the successful applicants from Hawthorn of the latest round of the Victorian Government’s Sporting Club Grants Program. This is the third group of successful funding recipients to be announced. The grants provide clubs with up to $1,000 for new uniforms and equipment, up to $5,000 for training coaches, officials and volunteers, up to $5,000 to improve club operational effectiveness and up to $5,000 to help sports get back on their feet after the pandemic. Grant recipients include Camberwell South Netball Club who scored $1,000 to purchase new uniforms as well as $1,941 to develop a Play Safe strategic plan. Hawthorn Amateur Football Club is receiving $1,857 to develop a strategic plan to be a CovidSafe Club. Other recipients in our community include St Mary’s Salesian Amateur Football Club, the Victorian Goalball Association, and Ashburton Willows Cricket Club. The Sporting Club Grants Program is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to make sport more accessible and inclusive, stimulate local economies, build sustainable sport and recreation and volunteer opportunities and increase local participation as coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The Sporting Club Grants program is accepting applications until 19 April or when the fund allocation runs out so grassroots clubs and organisations are encouraged to get in quick. Since 2014, the Victorian Government has provided more than 5150 sporting club grants totalling more than $7 million to clubs across the state. For more information on the grants and how to apply go to http://www.sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/sporting-club-grants-program Quotes attributable to Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence “We’re proud to provide this boost that opens up a range of opportunities on and off the field for clubs and their members.”  “The Victorian Government is working hard to encourage and enable all Victorians to embrace a more active and healthy lifestyle and tap into all the sport and career pathways that grassroots community sport can provide.” “Congratulations our latest batch of grant recipients and I look forward to seeing a new generation of local champions get their chance to take their sports to a whole new level.” Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy “The Sporting Club Grants Program is giving grassroots sports clubs in Hawthorn the support they need to grow their ranks and help more people than ever play the sports they love.” “Congratulations to all our local clubs in Hawthorn.”  

HAWTHORN CLUBS SCORE SPORT GRANTS   

Five grassroots sport clubs and organisations in the Hawthorn electorate are set to bolster their coaching skills, administration expertise, or score new sports equipment thanks to a share in more than $7,300 from the Victorian Government. Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy this week announced the successful applicants from Hawthorn of the latest round of the Victorian Government’s Sporting Club Grants Program. This is the third group of successful funding recipients to be announced. The grants provide clubs with up to $1,000 for new uniforms and equipment, up to $5,000 for training coaches, officials and volunteers, up to $5,000 to improve club operational effectiveness and up to $5,000 to help sports get back on their feet after the pandemic. Grant recipients include Camberwell South Netball Club who scored $1,000 to purchase new uniforms as well as $1,941 to develop a Play Safe strategic plan. Hawthorn Amateur Football Club is receiving $1,857 to develop a strategic plan to be a CovidSafe Club. Other recipients in our community include St Mary’s Salesian Amateur Football Club, the Victorian Goalball Association, and Ashburton Willows Cricket Club. The Sporting Club Grants Program is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to make sport more accessible and inclusive, stimulate local economies, build sustainable sport and recreation and volunteer opportunities and increase local participation as coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The Sporting Club Grants program is accepting applications until 19 April or when the fund allocation runs out so grassroots clubs and organisations are encouraged to get in quick. Since 2014, the Victorian Government has provided more than 5150 sporting club grants totalling more than $7 million to clubs across the state. For more information on the grants and how to apply go to http://www.sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/sporting-club-grants-program Quotes attributable to Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence “We’re proud to provide this boost that opens up a range of opportunities on and off the field for clubs and their members.”  “The Victorian Government is working hard to encourage and enable all Victorians to embrace a more active and healthy lifestyle and tap into all the sport and career pathways that grassroots community sport can provide.” “Congratulations our latest batch of grant recipients and I look forward to seeing a new generation of local champions get their chance to take their sports to a whole new level.” Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy “The Sporting Club Grants Program is giving grassroots sports clubs in Hawthorn the support they need to grow their ranks and help more people than ever play the sports they love.” “Congratulations to all our local clubs in Hawthorn.”  

CELEBRATING MENTAL HEALTH CARERS ACHIEVEMENTS IN HAWTHORN ELECTORATE

John Kennedy, Member for Hawthorn, proudly celebrates the achievement of Tania Curlis, who was recognised for their commitment providing care and support of Victorians with mental health issues at the Tandem awards, attended by the Minister for Mental Health, James Merlino. The Tandem Awards celebrate exceptional services to families and friends in mental health - recognising individuals, programs or services that practice compassion and family-inclusive practice. Hawthorn constituent Tania Curlis received the Jackie Crowe Memorial Award, for her time and energy spent on helping families access NDIS support. Celebrating its fourth year, the awards remind us all of vital role of the 60,000 mental health carers and the life-changing work they do every day. The Royal Commission found that carers did not have the support they need, and often were left out of the care management and planning for their loved ones. As we implement every recommendation from the Royal Commission, the Victorian Government is committed to ensuring families, carers and supporters will be involved in designing our services and systems like never before. Examples include families and carers being embedded in key roles throughout the system, eight new family and carer-led services across Victoria, with access to respite services and ways to identify carers needs. The Government will also deliver additional support for young mental health carers, who we know make up a significant part of Victoria’s caring population. A new independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission will be established, which includes a commissioner with carer lived experience, and a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Framework, monitored by the Premier, will create the accountability we need across the sector. Change will take time, and we acknowledge the important role that Tandem is playing in shaping the next stage of this reform as the Government gets on with the new initiatives recommended by the Royal Commission. For more details on the Tandem awards and supports services available for carers visit tandemcarers.org.au   Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy “Tania Curlis receiving the Jackie Crowe Memorial Award is recognition of the dedication and hard work that it takes to help others and the importance of having these voices help shape our new mental health system. “The Victorian Government is committed to having carers at the table as we design and implement the vital reforms recommended by the Royal Commission.” “Congratulations to all those recognised that have dedicated so much of themselves for people with lived experience of mental health.”

CELEBRATING MENTAL HEALTH CARERS ACHIEVEMENTS IN HAWTHORN ELECTORATE

John Kennedy, Member for Hawthorn, proudly celebrates the achievement of Tania Curlis, who was recognised for their commitment providing care and support of Victorians with mental health issues at the Tandem awards, attended by the Minister for Mental Health, James Merlino. The Tandem Awards celebrate exceptional services to families and friends in mental health - recognising individuals, programs or services that practice compassion and family-inclusive practice. Hawthorn constituent Tania Curlis received the Jackie Crowe Memorial Award, for her time and energy spent on helping families access NDIS support. Celebrating its fourth year, the awards remind us all of vital role of the 60,000 mental health carers and the life-changing work they do every day. The Royal Commission found that carers did not have the support they need, and often were left out of the care management and planning for their loved ones. As we implement every recommendation from the Royal Commission, the Victorian Government is committed to ensuring families, carers and supporters will be involved in designing our services and systems like never before. Examples include families and carers being embedded in key roles throughout the system, eight new family and carer-led services across Victoria, with access to respite services and ways to identify carers needs. The Government will also deliver additional support for young mental health carers, who we know make up a significant part of Victoria’s caring population. A new independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission will be established, which includes a commissioner with carer lived experience, and a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Framework, monitored by the Premier, will create the accountability we need across the sector. Change will take time, and we acknowledge the important role that Tandem is playing in shaping the next stage of this reform as the Government gets on with the new initiatives recommended by the Royal Commission. For more details on the Tandem awards and supports services available for carers visit tandemcarers.org.au   Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy “Tania Curlis receiving the Jackie Crowe Memorial Award is recognition of the dedication and hard work that it takes to help others and the importance of having these voices help shape our new mental health system. “The Victorian Government is committed to having carers at the table as we design and implement the vital reforms recommended by the Royal Commission.” “Congratulations to all those recognised that have dedicated so much of themselves for people with lived experience of mental health.”

Re-Opening of Melbourne’s Tram Museum in Hawthorn

The Melbourne Tram Museum is a volunteer-based non-profit group that focuses on the preservation and display of Melbourne’s tramway history. It re-opened on 27 March and from this month will return to its normal operating schedule, with open days on the second and fourth Saturdays each month. It is located at the junction of Power Street and Wallen Road in Hawthorn. The purpose of the Museum is to: establish and operate a volunteer group to assist in the running of the depot and to staff the facility on open days acquire, store and exhibit objects and information about the history of Melbourne’s tramways maintain and develop the display of historic tramcars and similar objects promote Melbourne tramway heritage initiatives and; provide information on the heritage of street tramway services in Melbourne. As an avid user of public transport, I look forward to visiting the Museum and learning more about the history of the world’s most extensive tram network.

Re-Opening of Melbourne’s Tram Museum in Hawthorn

The Melbourne Tram Museum is a volunteer-based non-profit group that focuses on the preservation and display of Melbourne’s tramway history. It re-opened on 27 March and from this month will return to its normal operating schedule, with open days on the second and fourth Saturdays each month. It is located at the junction of Power Street and Wallen Road in Hawthorn. The purpose of the Museum is to: establish and operate a volunteer group to assist in the running of the depot and to staff the facility on open days acquire, store and exhibit objects and information about the history of Melbourne’s tramways maintain and develop the display of historic tramcars and similar objects promote Melbourne tramway heritage initiatives and; provide information on the heritage of street tramway services in Melbourne. As an avid user of public transport, I look forward to visiting the Museum and learning more about the history of the world’s most extensive tram network.

Road Safety Recommendations Arrive

The Andrews Labor Government is investigating how Victoria’s roads can be made safer.  A recently tabled Parliamentary Inquiry considered whether the state’s road toll can be reduced to fewer than 200, every year. The inquiry, chaired by Upper House member for the Eastern-Metropolitan region (which notably includes the Hawthorn electorate) Enver Erdogan, was established in June 2019 to examine the increase in Victoria’s road toll after decades of steady decline. “Victoria has done well over the past 40-50 years to reduce the road toll; however, it has plateaued in recent years,” Chair Enver Erdogan said. “The Committee heard this has happened in many parts of the world. This suggests previous reforms have achieved all they can and it’s time for a fresh push to reduce road trauma even further.” In 2018, in Boroondara alone, car crashes resulted  in 4 fatalities, 55 cases of serious injury, 237 cases with milder injuries and 283 instances where a  crash led to no injury. (Statistics from VicRoads, 2018) The Hawthorn electorate is home to many drivers. 51% of employed people travel to work by car. 47% drive themselves to work. A higher number of dwellings in Hawthorn (11.8%) own three or more motor vehicles compared to dwellings with none at all (11.1%). (Statistics from 2016 Census) Consequently, this inquiry is critical to the ongoing safety of this community. The Committee made 36 recommendations relating to road standards, data collection, driver training and behaviour, and vehicle safety. It has also addressed concerns around a lack of openness among Victoria’s road safety partners. The Inquiry’s recommendations will now be considered by the Government.

Road Safety Recommendations Arrive

The Andrews Labor Government is investigating how Victoria’s roads can be made safer.  A recently tabled Parliamentary Inquiry considered whether the state’s road toll can be reduced to fewer than 200, every year. The inquiry, chaired by Upper House member for the Eastern-Metropolitan region (which notably includes the Hawthorn electorate) Enver Erdogan, was established in June 2019 to examine the increase in Victoria’s road toll after decades of steady decline. “Victoria has done well over the past 40-50 years to reduce the road toll; however, it has plateaued in recent years,” Chair Enver Erdogan said. “The Committee heard this has happened in many parts of the world. This suggests previous reforms have achieved all they can and it’s time for a fresh push to reduce road trauma even further.” In 2018, in Boroondara alone, car crashes resulted  in 4 fatalities, 55 cases of serious injury, 237 cases with milder injuries and 283 instances where a  crash led to no injury. (Statistics from VicRoads, 2018) The Hawthorn electorate is home to many drivers. 51% of employed people travel to work by car. 47% drive themselves to work. A higher number of dwellings in Hawthorn (11.8%) own three or more motor vehicles compared to dwellings with none at all (11.1%). (Statistics from 2016 Census) Consequently, this inquiry is critical to the ongoing safety of this community. The Committee made 36 recommendations relating to road standards, data collection, driver training and behaviour, and vehicle safety. It has also addressed concerns around a lack of openness among Victoria’s road safety partners. The Inquiry’s recommendations will now be considered by the Government.

Five Years from the Royal Commission into Family Violence

This fortnight we marked five years since the Royal Commission into Family Violence concluded in Victoria. We established the Royal Commission into Family Violence to shine a light on our biggest law and order issue. Its final report was the beginning of a long and complex journey. Five years on,  we’re still  committed to realising the recommendations of that report. The historic Royal Commission undertook 25 days of public hearings, conversations with over 800 Victorians, and almost 1,000 written submissions. Survivors, families of victims, experts and service providers were called on for their experiences and perspectives. The Andrews Labor Government is, and has been, implementing every single one of the Royal Commission’s 227 recommendations. We have invested more than $3 billion in combatting family violence. More than every government in Australia (state or federal), combined. A key progression has been the establishment of Respect Victoria, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of family violence, focusing on stopping violence before it starts by changing the norms, practices and structures which allow it to occur. (add hyperlink) John Kennedy, the Member for Hawthorn, explained that measures like the founding of Respect Victoria would not have been possible without a Royal Commission into Family Violence. “We know too many women and children continue to suffer and die at the hands of their partners. The services, support and safety this investment is providing is saving lives and protecting women every day,” explained John. “But we know there is so much more to do – and we will do it.”

Five Years from the Royal Commission into Family Violence

This fortnight we marked five years since the Royal Commission into Family Violence concluded in Victoria. We established the Royal Commission into Family Violence to shine a light on our biggest law and order issue. Its final report was the beginning of a long and complex journey. Five years on,  we’re still  committed to realising the recommendations of that report. The historic Royal Commission undertook 25 days of public hearings, conversations with over 800 Victorians, and almost 1,000 written submissions. Survivors, families of victims, experts and service providers were called on for their experiences and perspectives. The Andrews Labor Government is, and has been, implementing every single one of the Royal Commission’s 227 recommendations. We have invested more than $3 billion in combatting family violence. More than every government in Australia (state or federal), combined. A key progression has been the establishment of Respect Victoria, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of family violence, focusing on stopping violence before it starts by changing the norms, practices and structures which allow it to occur. (add hyperlink) John Kennedy, the Member for Hawthorn, explained that measures like the founding of Respect Victoria would not have been possible without a Royal Commission into Family Violence. “We know too many women and children continue to suffer and die at the hands of their partners. The services, support and safety this investment is providing is saving lives and protecting women every day,” explained John. “But we know there is so much more to do – and we will do it.”

Taking Electric Vehicles Seriously

The Andrews Labor Government is investing  $45 million to support the uptake of electric vehicles across Victoria. We’re encouraging the uptake of zero and low emission vehicles with several key initiatives, including: discounted vehicle registration fees and stamp duty concessions, investing in fast charging networks for motorists across major highways and tourism destinations, a state-wide trial to investigate solutions to achieve a zero-emission bus fleet, and funding to introduce electric vehicle-ready provisions in new buildings from 2022. Anthony Albanese and Federal Labor’s plans to slash the price of electric vehicles to accelerate the transition away from petrol-powered cars will complement our State policies Backing  the take-up of electric vehicles as we move closer to net zero emissions by 2050 is about helping more Australians make the move towards electric vehicles, in a way that is more affordable and economically sustainable. Importantly, our package of reforms has been designed so that zero and low emission vehicles (ZLEVs) owners will continue to pay less in road-related taxes and charges than other drivers – around 40 to 50 per cent less than an average driver pays in fuel excise. This is because we know how beneficial these vehicles are to the environment and to public health. Owners of internal combustion engine vehicles currently pay $600 a year in fuel excise. In contrast, electric vehicle owners will only pay $330 per year in distance-based road usage charges and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles owners will only pay $260 a year. This policy actively incentivises electric vehicles but recognises the reality that roads and the infrastructure to support electric vehicles need to be paid for – avoiding a future dilemma where electric vehicles dominate new car purchases, but owners pay little to no tax. We will be releasing our renewed climate change strategy in the coming months, which includes a pledge to reduce emissions in the transport sector. Victoria’s Labor Government already has the strongest climate change legislation in the country. We remain on track to meet our target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Taking Electric Vehicles Seriously

The Andrews Labor Government is investing  $45 million to support the uptake of electric vehicles across Victoria. We’re encouraging the uptake of zero and low emission vehicles with several key initiatives, including: discounted vehicle registration fees and stamp duty concessions, investing in fast charging networks for motorists across major highways and tourism destinations, a state-wide trial to investigate solutions to achieve a zero-emission bus fleet, and funding to introduce electric vehicle-ready provisions in new buildings from 2022. Anthony Albanese and Federal Labor’s plans to slash the price of electric vehicles to accelerate the transition away from petrol-powered cars will complement our State policies Backing  the take-up of electric vehicles as we move closer to net zero emissions by 2050 is about helping more Australians make the move towards electric vehicles, in a way that is more affordable and economically sustainable. Importantly, our package of reforms has been designed so that zero and low emission vehicles (ZLEVs) owners will continue to pay less in road-related taxes and charges than other drivers – around 40 to 50 per cent less than an average driver pays in fuel excise. This is because we know how beneficial these vehicles are to the environment and to public health. Owners of internal combustion engine vehicles currently pay $600 a year in fuel excise. In contrast, electric vehicle owners will only pay $330 per year in distance-based road usage charges and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles owners will only pay $260 a year. This policy actively incentivises electric vehicles but recognises the reality that roads and the infrastructure to support electric vehicles need to be paid for – avoiding a future dilemma where electric vehicles dominate new car purchases, but owners pay little to no tax. We will be releasing our renewed climate change strategy in the coming months, which includes a pledge to reduce emissions in the transport sector. Victoria’s Labor Government already has the strongest climate change legislation in the country. We remain on track to meet our target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Compass Education

Member's Statement Given on 16 March 2021. "I recently visited the offices of Compass Education, an education technology platform, and met with founders John de la Motte and Lucas Filer and their friendly staff. Compass is a popular all-in-one school management system that helps schools to coordinate student administration and compliance, learning management and wellbeing and parent communications as well as finance and payments. It stretches across government and non-government schools. They are a business that started in Victoria and are still located here, right in my electorate of Hawthorn. From small beginnings just over 10 years ago Compass is now used by over 1600 schools, with offices here, in the UK and in Ireland. During COVID Compass was the most widely used student information system in Australia. They believe in local, with most of their 150 staff and all of their school data located in Victoria. Hawthorn is a convenient location for a company like Compass. It is close to public transport, the technology sector in Melbourne and some excellent coffee and restaurants—as a local I know. Compass is a Hawthorn and Victorian success story."

Compass Education

Member's Statement Given on 16 March 2021. "I recently visited the offices of Compass Education, an education technology platform, and met with founders John de la Motte and Lucas Filer and their friendly staff. Compass is a popular all-in-one school management system that helps schools to coordinate student administration and compliance, learning management and wellbeing and parent communications as well as finance and payments. It stretches across government and non-government schools. They are a business that started in Victoria and are still located here, right in my electorate of Hawthorn. From small beginnings just over 10 years ago Compass is now used by over 1600 schools, with offices here, in the UK and in Ireland. During COVID Compass was the most widely used student information system in Australia. They believe in local, with most of their 150 staff and all of their school data located in Victoria. Hawthorn is a convenient location for a company like Compass. It is close to public transport, the technology sector in Melbourne and some excellent coffee and restaurants—as a local I know. Compass is a Hawthorn and Victorian success story."

Bills St Housing Project – Consultation Open

Consultation on the Bills St Housing Project’s plans is now open. The Homes Victoria redevelopment site at Bills Street, Hawthorn, will replace obsolete social housing with well designed, secure, modern social and affordable housing. Homes Victoria want to hear from the community on the Bills Street Hawthorn development plans. We encourage local residents to take part in the community consultation process. You can do so by: - registering for an online community workshop on 25 or 30 March 2021, or - Filling out the online survey. Key features of the Bills Street Development will include: Safe and publicly accessible open and green spaces are a key feature of the redevelopment. Existing trees will be incorporated into the landscape design. The project will promote good design and will incorporate Office of the Victorian Government Architect involvement and expertise in the development of design proposals for the site. Environmentally efficient design, meaning the homes will be more comfortable as well as less expensive to heat and cool carrying a 5-star Green Star rating and a 7-star NatHERS average rating. The redevelopment will include a range of dwellings including 1, 2 and 3 bedroom dwellings, responding to the changing needs of households in Victoria. All new homes built by Homes Victoria as part of the Big Housing Build will have a minimum Silver rating from Livable Housing Australia. At least 5 per cent of the new social housing homes will be easy to access for Victorians with disabilities. This includes drop-off areas, paths, lifts and car parking. Inside the home, kitchens, bathrooms and storage will also be very accessible. For further information and designs visit Engage Victoria’s website.

Bills St Housing Project – Consultation Open

Consultation on the Bills St Housing Project’s plans is now open. The Homes Victoria redevelopment site at Bills Street, Hawthorn, will replace obsolete social housing with well designed, secure, modern social and affordable housing. Homes Victoria want to hear from the community on the Bills Street Hawthorn development plans. We encourage local residents to take part in the community consultation process. You can do so by: - registering for an online community workshop on 25 or 30 March 2021, or - Filling out the online survey. Key features of the Bills Street Development will include: Safe and publicly accessible open and green spaces are a key feature of the redevelopment. Existing trees will be incorporated into the landscape design. The project will promote good design and will incorporate Office of the Victorian Government Architect involvement and expertise in the development of design proposals for the site. Environmentally efficient design, meaning the homes will be more comfortable as well as less expensive to heat and cool carrying a 5-star Green Star rating and a 7-star NatHERS average rating. The redevelopment will include a range of dwellings including 1, 2 and 3 bedroom dwellings, responding to the changing needs of households in Victoria. All new homes built by Homes Victoria as part of the Big Housing Build will have a minimum Silver rating from Livable Housing Australia. At least 5 per cent of the new social housing homes will be easy to access for Victorians with disabilities. This includes drop-off areas, paths, lifts and car parking. Inside the home, kitchens, bathrooms and storage will also be very accessible. For further information and designs visit Engage Victoria’s website.

Local Theatre: ‘A Name for Herself’

Mr Kennedy was delighted to attend the new play, ‘A Name for Herself’, written by Meg McNena and directed by Lynda Fleming, at one of its two premiere shows at the Renaissance Theatre. The play tells the story of a militant rebel and a pacifist poet strive to set women and Ireland free. One sentenced to death – can the other save her? In a centenary year of Irish Independence, this story is all the more compelling. A trail-blazing Irish suffragist, activist, feminist revolutionary, gives women and Ireland a strong voice in a century that started with women having no vote and with Ireland still ruled by England without its own parliament. The director’s grandfather was involved with Liberty Hall, so she is well acquainted with the history not only from her Dublin childhood, but also by family connection. The story of Constance Markievicz and the women of Ireland who fought beside her, is often overlooked. This play put them centre stage and shows the sacrifice and struggle that won Irish Independence in a tradition of Celtic Warrior Women. The professional director, Lynda, spearheaded an accomplished and awarded cast: Stephen Mitchell, Mark Tregonning, Cheryl Walsh and Emma Wood, supported by a skilled team of designers: Shane Grant and Millie Levakis-Lucas. Mr Kennedy thoroughly enjoyed the performance and would recommend that community members keep an eye out for any of Lynda Fleming’s future work.  

Local Theatre: ‘A Name for Herself’

Mr Kennedy was delighted to attend the new play, ‘A Name for Herself’, written by Meg McNena and directed by Lynda Fleming, at one of its two premiere shows at the Renaissance Theatre. The play tells the story of a militant rebel and a pacifist poet strive to set women and Ireland free. One sentenced to death – can the other save her? In a centenary year of Irish Independence, this story is all the more compelling. A trail-blazing Irish suffragist, activist, feminist revolutionary, gives women and Ireland a strong voice in a century that started with women having no vote and with Ireland still ruled by England without its own parliament. The director’s grandfather was involved with Liberty Hall, so she is well acquainted with the history not only from her Dublin childhood, but also by family connection. The story of Constance Markievicz and the women of Ireland who fought beside her, is often overlooked. This play put them centre stage and shows the sacrifice and struggle that won Irish Independence in a tradition of Celtic Warrior Women. The professional director, Lynda, spearheaded an accomplished and awarded cast: Stephen Mitchell, Mark Tregonning, Cheryl Walsh and Emma Wood, supported by a skilled team of designers: Shane Grant and Millie Levakis-Lucas. Mr Kennedy thoroughly enjoyed the performance and would recommend that community members keep an eye out for any of Lynda Fleming’s future work.  

Committee calls to extend anti-vilification protections

The ABC reported that as the COVID-19 pandemic rose in Victoria, a year ago, so did the number of people contacting Victoria's human rights commissioner for advice about racial vilification, and new data shows it is not slowing down. This week the Anti-Vilification Protections Inquiry, which investigated the effectiveness of the current protections against vilification, was tabled in State Parliament, and its recommendations will be considered by the Government. Natalie Suleyman, Chair of the Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee, recently spoke on the rise in far-right extremism which triggered the Anti-Vilification Protections Inquiry. John Kennedy, Member for Hawthorn, was proud to join Natalie shortly after she tabled her report on the anti-vilification inquiry. "The Government created our current anti-vilification laws and stands ready to strengthen them if necessary. This includes looking closely at the recommendation to ban the Nazi swastika," said John. "Like the Nazi swastika, racism has no place in Victoria - there has never been a more vital time for us to unite against prejudice and show compassion for each another." The Government will consider the committee's report and have more to say in due course.

Committee calls to extend anti-vilification protections

The ABC reported that as the COVID-19 pandemic rose in Victoria, a year ago, so did the number of people contacting Victoria's human rights commissioner for advice about racial vilification, and new data shows it is not slowing down. This week the Anti-Vilification Protections Inquiry, which investigated the effectiveness of the current protections against vilification, was tabled in State Parliament, and its recommendations will be considered by the Government. Natalie Suleyman, Chair of the Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee, recently spoke on the rise in far-right extremism which triggered the Anti-Vilification Protections Inquiry. John Kennedy, Member for Hawthorn, was proud to join Natalie shortly after she tabled her report on the anti-vilification inquiry. "The Government created our current anti-vilification laws and stands ready to strengthen them if necessary. This includes looking closely at the recommendation to ban the Nazi swastika," said John. "Like the Nazi swastika, racism has no place in Victoria - there has never been a more vital time for us to unite against prejudice and show compassion for each another." The Government will consider the committee's report and have more to say in due course.

Supporting COVIDSafe Multicultural Events in Hawthorn

The Andrews Labor Government is helping even more multicultural and multifaith communities hold events to celebrate their culture and traditions, including here in Hawthorn. Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence announced $750,000 for 205 community organisations across the state to deliver COVIDSafe multicultural festivals and events held between now and the end of June. It includes $5,525 for AHEPA Victoria to run their AHEPA Victoria Bi Centenary Lectures in May, and $2,000 for Auburn Road Centre, to run their ARK Centre JCM Podcast event in April. Other events include the Melbourne Italian Fiesta and SalamFest, alongside smaller events like the Geelong Nepalese Association’s Holi Festival, which is expected to attract around 200 people. All events will adhere to COVIDSafe settings, with many organisations choosing to continue hosting digital events. With Victoria’s iconic entertainment and events industry impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, this funding aims to support the safe return of festivals and events to the state’s cultural calendar and support the revitalisation of our economy. The Labor Government is also delivering on its commitments to Greek and Hindu communities, with $200,000 for events celebrating the bicentenary of Greece’s independence and $50,000 to support various Hindu organisations host events. For a full list of events, visit vic.gov.au/multicultural-festivals-and-events-program. Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence “Victorians have a lot to celebrate after a very challenging year and the Multicultural Festivals and Events program will support our communities to safely come together and do just that.”  “We know that sharing and preserving culture is part of what makes Victoria such a successful multicultural society – and this will continue.” Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy “Victoria is made up of many cultures, languages and traditions – one of the best ways to showcase that is by coming together and sharing that with one another.” “It is fantastic news to see AHEPA and the Ark Centre supported to hold events for Hawthorn locals to enjoy – I encourage everyone to get involved.”

Supporting COVIDSafe Multicultural Events in Hawthorn

The Andrews Labor Government is helping even more multicultural and multifaith communities hold events to celebrate their culture and traditions, including here in Hawthorn. Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence announced $750,000 for 205 community organisations across the state to deliver COVIDSafe multicultural festivals and events held between now and the end of June. It includes $5,525 for AHEPA Victoria to run their AHEPA Victoria Bi Centenary Lectures in May, and $2,000 for Auburn Road Centre, to run their ARK Centre JCM Podcast event in April. Other events include the Melbourne Italian Fiesta and SalamFest, alongside smaller events like the Geelong Nepalese Association’s Holi Festival, which is expected to attract around 200 people. All events will adhere to COVIDSafe settings, with many organisations choosing to continue hosting digital events. With Victoria’s iconic entertainment and events industry impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, this funding aims to support the safe return of festivals and events to the state’s cultural calendar and support the revitalisation of our economy. The Labor Government is also delivering on its commitments to Greek and Hindu communities, with $200,000 for events celebrating the bicentenary of Greece’s independence and $50,000 to support various Hindu organisations host events. For a full list of events, visit vic.gov.au/multicultural-festivals-and-events-program. Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence “Victorians have a lot to celebrate after a very challenging year and the Multicultural Festivals and Events program will support our communities to safely come together and do just that.”  “We know that sharing and preserving culture is part of what makes Victoria such a successful multicultural society – and this will continue.” Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy “Victoria is made up of many cultures, languages and traditions – one of the best ways to showcase that is by coming together and sharing that with one another.” “It is fantastic news to see AHEPA and the Ark Centre supported to hold events for Hawthorn locals to enjoy – I encourage everyone to get involved.”

MENTAL HEALTH ROYAL COMMISSION FINAL REPORT WELCOMED IN HAWTHORN

It was my privilege, last week, to join my colleagues for a historic day as the final report of the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System was tabled in parliament. Over the last year we’ve lived through a global pandemic and all the stresses that have come with it. Now, more than ever, we need a new mental health system for all Victorians. I’m proud to be part of the Andrews Labor Government and their commitment to delivering all 65 recommendation in the report. Our new mental health system has to be built from the ground up, for people across Hawthorn and Victoria. As the Premier said, ‘This will change and save lives.’ I had the opportunity to speak on the matter in Parliament on Wednesday, 3 March, to ask the Minister for Mental Health how these new reforms will benefit Hawthorn. See my full speech below. I look forward to the Minister’s response. The report and its findings give us a clear roadmap to rebuild the entire mental health system. Now the real work starts. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. The full transcripts of my question to the Minister My constituency question is to the Minister for Mental Health. Thousands of Victorians have contributed to the report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, and it is only through these stories that the government can truly understand how to fix our mental health system. The government will deliver on every single recommendation from that final report. I am proud to be part of a government that has already committed $868 million, the biggest mental health investment in the history of Victoria. In the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, which captures my electorate, over 1200 hospital admissions are registered every year for intentional self-harm, including attempted suicides. My question is: how will this funding support those accessing self-harm and suicide prevention services in my electorate of Hawthorn?

MENTAL HEALTH ROYAL COMMISSION FINAL REPORT WELCOMED IN HAWTHORN

It was my privilege, last week, to join my colleagues for a historic day as the final report of the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System was tabled in parliament. Over the last year we’ve lived through a global pandemic and all the stresses that have come with it. Now, more than ever, we need a new mental health system for all Victorians. I’m proud to be part of the Andrews Labor Government and their commitment to delivering all 65 recommendation in the report. Our new mental health system has to be built from the ground up, for people across Hawthorn and Victoria. As the Premier said, ‘This will change and save lives.’ I had the opportunity to speak on the matter in Parliament on Wednesday, 3 March, to ask the Minister for Mental Health how these new reforms will benefit Hawthorn. See my full speech below. I look forward to the Minister’s response. The report and its findings give us a clear roadmap to rebuild the entire mental health system. Now the real work starts. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. The full transcripts of my question to the Minister My constituency question is to the Minister for Mental Health. Thousands of Victorians have contributed to the report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, and it is only through these stories that the government can truly understand how to fix our mental health system. The government will deliver on every single recommendation from that final report. I am proud to be part of a government that has already committed $868 million, the biggest mental health investment in the history of Victoria. In the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, which captures my electorate, over 1200 hospital admissions are registered every year for intentional self-harm, including attempted suicides. My question is: how will this funding support those accessing self-harm and suicide prevention services in my electorate of Hawthorn?

Victoria Taking Action on Single Use Plastics

It was announced last week that the Andrews Government will ban specific single-use plastics across Victoria to reduce the significant amount of plastic waste going to landfill each year, and protect our environment long-term. Specific single-use plastics will be phased out and banned by 2023, which will include single-use plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks. In many cases, these single-use plastics can be substituted with readily available, cost-effective alternatives. The phase out and ban will not impact on medical or scientific equipment, emergency services or other activities that require these types of plastics for health and safety reasons. The government will work with the aged care and disability sectors to ensure appropriate exemptions for people who require straws or other single-use plastics. The ban will apply to all cafes, restaurants and organisations in Victoria by 2023. The Government will lead by example by phasing out certain single-use plastic items from government departments and agencies by February 2022. Government bodies like Melbourne Museum, the NGV, TAFEs and Zoos Victoria have already started to phase out these products and replace them with sustainable materials. The Government will consult businesses and the community further with public consultation occurring throughout 2021 as part of a formal regulatory impact statement process. On average, each Victorian sends around 68 kilograms of plastic waste to landfill every year. Victorians can all play a part by avoiding single-use plastics where possible in their daily lives and choosing the sustainable and reusable alternatives available. The ban is a crucial step in protecting our rivers, waterways and oceans from plastic pollution which is killing our turtles, whales, seabirds and other precious marine life. The ban is part of the Andrews Government’s 10-year plan to build our state’s circular economy and transform Victoria's waste and recycling system, supported by an unprecedented $515 million investment and creating thousands of jobs in recycling and manufacturing. For more information on the ban, visit vic.gov.au/plastics.

Victoria Taking Action on Single Use Plastics

It was announced last week that the Andrews Government will ban specific single-use plastics across Victoria to reduce the significant amount of plastic waste going to landfill each year, and protect our environment long-term. Specific single-use plastics will be phased out and banned by 2023, which will include single-use plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks. In many cases, these single-use plastics can be substituted with readily available, cost-effective alternatives. The phase out and ban will not impact on medical or scientific equipment, emergency services or other activities that require these types of plastics for health and safety reasons. The government will work with the aged care and disability sectors to ensure appropriate exemptions for people who require straws or other single-use plastics. The ban will apply to all cafes, restaurants and organisations in Victoria by 2023. The Government will lead by example by phasing out certain single-use plastic items from government departments and agencies by February 2022. Government bodies like Melbourne Museum, the NGV, TAFEs and Zoos Victoria have already started to phase out these products and replace them with sustainable materials. The Government will consult businesses and the community further with public consultation occurring throughout 2021 as part of a formal regulatory impact statement process. On average, each Victorian sends around 68 kilograms of plastic waste to landfill every year. Victorians can all play a part by avoiding single-use plastics where possible in their daily lives and choosing the sustainable and reusable alternatives available. The ban is a crucial step in protecting our rivers, waterways and oceans from plastic pollution which is killing our turtles, whales, seabirds and other precious marine life. The ban is part of the Andrews Government’s 10-year plan to build our state’s circular economy and transform Victoria's waste and recycling system, supported by an unprecedented $515 million investment and creating thousands of jobs in recycling and manufacturing. For more information on the ban, visit vic.gov.au/plastics.

HAWTHORN ONE OF SIX FAST START SITES FOR BIG HOUSING BUILD

More than 200 new houses for people who need it will be built in Hawthorn – some of the first new homes that will be delivered through the Andrews Labor Government’s landmark Big Housing Build. Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy today announced that Bills Street in Hawthorn is one of six fast-start sites for the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, which will deliver more than 12,000 new homes across Victoria and create 10,000 jobs each year over the next four years. The Labor Government will build 206 new dwellings on Bills Street. The new homes will be a mix of mostly one and two-bedroom dwellings. The project will not only create capacity for more than 500 Victorians for whom stable housing would otherwise be out of reach, it will create around 1,050 local jobs. Other fast start sites include Ascot Vale, Ashburton, Flemington, Richmond and West Heidelberg. Together, the $532 million in fast-start projects will build more than 1,000 new homes and kick start the landmark Big Housing Build, which will boost social housing supply by 10 per cent across the state in just four years. Further information regarding when construction will start at Hawthorn will be provided in due course. John Kennedy, the Member for Hawthorn, said the Bills Street development is vital to look after vulnerable people in the Hawthorn community. “It’s great that Bills Street in Hawthorn will be among the first sites underway through this landmark program, which will deliver more than 12,000 new homes across the state, " said John.  “Not only will the project deliver more than 200 new homes in our community, it will create more than 1,000 local jobs – which will be vital as we rebuild from the pandemic.” The Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne, said the Big Housing Build will be remembered as a landmark project. “These fast start sites will deliver more than a thousand new homes and kickstart the biggest social housing build in the state’s history.”

HAWTHORN ONE OF SIX FAST START SITES FOR BIG HOUSING BUILD

More than 200 new houses for people who need it will be built in Hawthorn – some of the first new homes that will be delivered through the Andrews Labor Government’s landmark Big Housing Build. Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy today announced that Bills Street in Hawthorn is one of six fast-start sites for the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, which will deliver more than 12,000 new homes across Victoria and create 10,000 jobs each year over the next four years. The Labor Government will build 206 new dwellings on Bills Street. The new homes will be a mix of mostly one and two-bedroom dwellings. The project will not only create capacity for more than 500 Victorians for whom stable housing would otherwise be out of reach, it will create around 1,050 local jobs. Other fast start sites include Ascot Vale, Ashburton, Flemington, Richmond and West Heidelberg. Together, the $532 million in fast-start projects will build more than 1,000 new homes and kick start the landmark Big Housing Build, which will boost social housing supply by 10 per cent across the state in just four years. Further information regarding when construction will start at Hawthorn will be provided in due course. John Kennedy, the Member for Hawthorn, said the Bills Street development is vital to look after vulnerable people in the Hawthorn community. “It’s great that Bills Street in Hawthorn will be among the first sites underway through this landmark program, which will deliver more than 12,000 new homes across the state, " said John.  “Not only will the project deliver more than 200 new homes in our community, it will create more than 1,000 local jobs – which will be vital as we rebuild from the pandemic.” The Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne, said the Big Housing Build will be remembered as a landmark project. “These fast start sites will deliver more than a thousand new homes and kickstart the biggest social housing build in the state’s history.”

Rocket Park

The Rocket The rocket in Central Gardens has been a defining feature of that park for decades. So much so that we have all come to know it as “Rocket Park”. Boroondara Council is currently planning to renew the playground in Central Gardens.  Community consultation has been via online survey and an on-site drop-in session on Thursday, 11 February.  The preservation and safe operation of the historic and much-loved rocket should be our priority. I am reliably informed that the rocket is highly likely to stay. I will provide you with an update when I know more. Follow my social media pages or contact my office if you have any questions.  For more information from the Council visit this page. Back in the Chamber Last week, it was a pleasure to be back in Parliament proudly speaking on the Spent Convictions Bill. I noted that Victoria is the only Australian state with no legislated approach to protect individuals from needing to disclose old or minor convictions. The requirement to continually disclose minor convictions can have a perpetually harmful effect on a previous offender’s chance of obtaining employment, training and housing. In a fair and humane justice system, people deserve a second chance. The point of conviction and incarceration is not only to punish and to deter – but, wherever reasonably possible, to also rehabilitate. The Spent Convictions Bill will make our system, here in Victoria, more equitable.

Rocket Park

The Rocket The rocket in Central Gardens has been a defining feature of that park for decades. So much so that we have all come to know it as “Rocket Park”. Boroondara Council is currently planning to renew the playground in Central Gardens.  Community consultation has been via online survey and an on-site drop-in session on Thursday, 11 February.  The preservation and safe operation of the historic and much-loved rocket should be our priority. I am reliably informed that the rocket is highly likely to stay. I will provide you with an update when I know more. Follow my social media pages or contact my office if you have any questions.  For more information from the Council visit this page. Back in the Chamber Last week, it was a pleasure to be back in Parliament proudly speaking on the Spent Convictions Bill. I noted that Victoria is the only Australian state with no legislated approach to protect individuals from needing to disclose old or minor convictions. The requirement to continually disclose minor convictions can have a perpetually harmful effect on a previous offender’s chance of obtaining employment, training and housing. In a fair and humane justice system, people deserve a second chance. The point of conviction and incarceration is not only to punish and to deter – but, wherever reasonably possible, to also rehabilitate. The Spent Convictions Bill will make our system, here in Victoria, more equitable.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY CIRCUIT BREAKER ACTION

We know that last week’s circuit breaker was not easy on anybody, but particularly on small businesses, of which there are many in Hawthorn. Therefore, new support has been announced for small businesses, including sole traders, most impacted by the coronavirus circuit-breaker action – with hospitality, tourism, events and creative industries operators to benefit from grants. The $143 million Circuit Breaker Support Package is expected to help more than 50,000 Victorian businesses – including restaurants, florists, confectioners, hairdressers, accommodation providers, musicians and performers – who incurred costs such as the loss of perishable goods, cancelled gigs and foregone trading. The package contains four initiatives targeted at businesses, including small and micro businesses. The new $92 million Business Costs Assistance Program will offer grants of $2,000 for eligible employing and non-employing businesses in the hospitality, food wholesaling, tourism, events and selected retail industries. Businesses with an annual payroll of up to $3 million will be eligible. A $24.9 million injection to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will give previous recipients of this grant an automatic one-off $3,000 per premises payment. More than $165 million has already been paid to about 7,500 businesses through this fund. The Victorian Accommodation Support Program recognises the impact of cancellations on regional and metropolitan accommodation providers through a $16.2 million commitment. Accommodation providers who had 10 or fewer cancellations can apply for $2,250 per business while providers with more than 10 booking cancellations can apply for $4,500 per business. Building on the success of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, a further $10 million will expand the scheme to include a new Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme, offering 40,000 vouchers for $200 for travel in greater Melbourne, and an additional 10,000 vouchers to support travel in regional Victoria. The Regional Travel Voucher Scheme and Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme now spans 200,000 vouchers for eligible Victorians, providing a vital boost to the tourism sector as the state resumes its recovery. The Andrews Labor Government has provided more than $6 billion in direct economic support for businesses and workers to help them get through the pandemic and recover strongly, including $2.6 billion alone in Business Support Fund grants to 134,000 businesses – more than half of all employing businesses in Victoria. More information about the Circuit Breaker Support Package is available at business.vic.gov.au.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY CIRCUIT BREAKER ACTION

We know that last week’s circuit breaker was not easy on anybody, but particularly on small businesses, of which there are many in Hawthorn. Therefore, new support has been announced for small businesses, including sole traders, most impacted by the coronavirus circuit-breaker action – with hospitality, tourism, events and creative industries operators to benefit from grants. The $143 million Circuit Breaker Support Package is expected to help more than 50,000 Victorian businesses – including restaurants, florists, confectioners, hairdressers, accommodation providers, musicians and performers – who incurred costs such as the loss of perishable goods, cancelled gigs and foregone trading. The package contains four initiatives targeted at businesses, including small and micro businesses. The new $92 million Business Costs Assistance Program will offer grants of $2,000 for eligible employing and non-employing businesses in the hospitality, food wholesaling, tourism, events and selected retail industries. Businesses with an annual payroll of up to $3 million will be eligible. A $24.9 million injection to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will give previous recipients of this grant an automatic one-off $3,000 per premises payment. More than $165 million has already been paid to about 7,500 businesses through this fund. The Victorian Accommodation Support Program recognises the impact of cancellations on regional and metropolitan accommodation providers through a $16.2 million commitment. Accommodation providers who had 10 or fewer cancellations can apply for $2,250 per business while providers with more than 10 booking cancellations can apply for $4,500 per business. Building on the success of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, a further $10 million will expand the scheme to include a new Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme, offering 40,000 vouchers for $200 for travel in greater Melbourne, and an additional 10,000 vouchers to support travel in regional Victoria. The Regional Travel Voucher Scheme and Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme now spans 200,000 vouchers for eligible Victorians, providing a vital boost to the tourism sector as the state resumes its recovery. The Andrews Labor Government has provided more than $6 billion in direct economic support for businesses and workers to help them get through the pandemic and recover strongly, including $2.6 billion alone in Business Support Fund grants to 134,000 businesses – more than half of all employing businesses in Victoria. More information about the Circuit Breaker Support Package is available at business.vic.gov.au.

Why We’re With The ACF

This is the final edition in our series of six articles, written by the members of the Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) Boroondara Branch. This series has been a fantastic collaboration between John Kennedy MP and the Boroondara branch of the ACF to raise awareness and comprehension around the most crucial issues to do with the environment and its preservation. As the Member for Hawthorn, John is passionate about protecting the beautiful environment, locally and beyond. Prior to this final article, ACF Boroondara also brought you: Article One: Introducing Your Local Chapter of the Australian Conservation Foundation Article Two: Handling Heatwaves Article Three: Tips for Going Solar Article Four: Dealing With Waste and Protecting the Environment Article Five: We Need Stronger Environmental Laws for Nature In this edition, members of the Boroondara branch reflect on their reasons for joining the ACF and why fighting climate change is such a priority. Jean ‘I became concerned about protecting the environment back in April, 2013, after being shocked to learn about the possible destruction that awaited both farmland and wilderness areas, due to the demands placed on the environment by the usage of coal, oil, and gas, as sources of the energy we need to conduct and maintain our economy and our lifestyle. And I also learned how solar, wind, and hydro-power can generate electricity without releasing the destructive gases that endanger our health, harm our environment, and cost us so dearly.  By acting with ACF, I hope to protect and nurture the natural environment, for my own enjoyment, and that of generations to come.’ Madeleine ‘When the bushfires raged last year, the Prime Minister finally acknowledged that our climate is changing.  I was so relieved, and I thought that at last the political games over climate change had ended.  I was wrong!  The game changed from denying to delaying.  I am 58 years old, and have spent the majority of my working life as a criminal prosecutor.  I believe in our political system, and much of the time, it works.  When it doesn’t work, I believe it is up to us to convince our elected representatives that this time they haven’t got it right.  I have two sons aged 19 and 21, who are worried about the future of our planet.  They have asked me, how our generation let this happen.  By joining ACF, I added my voice to those of the 700,000 Aussies who are advocating for immediate and effective action on climate change.’ Lahiru ‘Being so fortunate as to travel to 35 countries, I have seen remarkable beauty all around the world.  Yet, I have also seen much suffering as well, which will only intensify as climate change gets worse and worse.  I hope, that by being a part of ACF, I can help nurture and push our transition to a carbon-neutral society, as soon as possible. So we are united by our love and concern for the natural world, and our concern for the health and well-being of generations to come.’ New members are always welcome. If you would like to join the ACF Boroondara branch, please sign-up here and someone will be in touch. ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

Why We’re With The ACF

This is the final edition in our series of six articles, written by the members of the Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) Boroondara Branch. This series has been a fantastic collaboration between John Kennedy MP and the Boroondara branch of the ACF to raise awareness and comprehension around the most crucial issues to do with the environment and its preservation. As the Member for Hawthorn, John is passionate about protecting the beautiful environment, locally and beyond. Prior to this final article, ACF Boroondara also brought you: Article One: Introducing Your Local Chapter of the Australian Conservation Foundation Article Two: Handling Heatwaves Article Three: Tips for Going Solar Article Four: Dealing With Waste and Protecting the Environment Article Five: We Need Stronger Environmental Laws for Nature In this edition, members of the Boroondara branch reflect on their reasons for joining the ACF and why fighting climate change is such a priority. Jean ‘I became concerned about protecting the environment back in April, 2013, after being shocked to learn about the possible destruction that awaited both farmland and wilderness areas, due to the demands placed on the environment by the usage of coal, oil, and gas, as sources of the energy we need to conduct and maintain our economy and our lifestyle. And I also learned how solar, wind, and hydro-power can generate electricity without releasing the destructive gases that endanger our health, harm our environment, and cost us so dearly.  By acting with ACF, I hope to protect and nurture the natural environment, for my own enjoyment, and that of generations to come.’ Madeleine ‘When the bushfires raged last year, the Prime Minister finally acknowledged that our climate is changing.  I was so relieved, and I thought that at last the political games over climate change had ended.  I was wrong!  The game changed from denying to delaying.  I am 58 years old, and have spent the majority of my working life as a criminal prosecutor.  I believe in our political system, and much of the time, it works.  When it doesn’t work, I believe it is up to us to convince our elected representatives that this time they haven’t got it right.  I have two sons aged 19 and 21, who are worried about the future of our planet.  They have asked me, how our generation let this happen.  By joining ACF, I added my voice to those of the 700,000 Aussies who are advocating for immediate and effective action on climate change.’ Lahiru ‘Being so fortunate as to travel to 35 countries, I have seen remarkable beauty all around the world.  Yet, I have also seen much suffering as well, which will only intensify as climate change gets worse and worse.  I hope, that by being a part of ACF, I can help nurture and push our transition to a carbon-neutral society, as soon as possible. So we are united by our love and concern for the natural world, and our concern for the health and well-being of generations to come.’ New members are always welcome. If you would like to join the ACF Boroondara branch, please sign-up here and someone will be in touch. ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

$2k to Support a Hawthorn Multicultural Seniors Group

The Andrews Government is supporting multicultural seniors’ groups across the state, including in Hawthorn, to recover from the lingering impacts of the pandemic. The Coronavirus Support for Multicultural Seniors grants program will be  providing the Chinese Precinct Business Association Victoria with $2,000. After a difficult year, these funds will  enable  the Association  to support their members and build stronger connections with their communities. Situated in the Hawthorn Electorate in Camberwell East, the Chinese Precinct Business Association Victoria has 24 members and provides support to seniors in Boroondara City Council from a predominantly Chinese background. As a recipient of this grant, the Association will also receive Public Liability and Voluntary Workers insurance for the period of 1 January to 31 December 2021, in addition to the grant funds. John  looks forward to safely re-engaging with multicultural seniors’ groups in Hawthorn as soon as possible.

$2k to Support a Hawthorn Multicultural Seniors Group

The Andrews Government is supporting multicultural seniors’ groups across the state, including in Hawthorn, to recover from the lingering impacts of the pandemic. The Coronavirus Support for Multicultural Seniors grants program will be  providing the Chinese Precinct Business Association Victoria with $2,000. After a difficult year, these funds will  enable  the Association  to support their members and build stronger connections with their communities. Situated in the Hawthorn Electorate in Camberwell East, the Chinese Precinct Business Association Victoria has 24 members and provides support to seniors in Boroondara City Council from a predominantly Chinese background. As a recipient of this grant, the Association will also receive Public Liability and Voluntary Workers insurance for the period of 1 January to 31 December 2021, in addition to the grant funds. John  looks forward to safely re-engaging with multicultural seniors’ groups in Hawthorn as soon as possible.

Deadly and Proud.

Victoria has a rich history, a deep history. While Aboriginal people have long preserved and celebrated their history, it is important that all Victorians acknowledge the resilience, pride and achievements of Aboriginal Victorians. This month the Andrews Government launched the Deadly & Proud campaign. Deadly & Proud features the stories of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians such as musician Archie Roach, actor Miranda Tapsell, footballers Courtney Ugle and Tony Armstrong, among many others. The stories cover everything from the ancient eel traps at Budj Bim, to contemporary Aboriginal comic book culture, and are mapped to a place where each storyteller has a unique connection to the land. Deadly & Proud is about getting more Victorians to feel pride in our shared history. You can explore the Deadly and Proud stories further by visiting the new website. [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DPCV221H-Trent-Nelson-2min_23_on-treaty-1.mp4"][/video]

Deadly and Proud.

Victoria has a rich history, a deep history. While Aboriginal people have long preserved and celebrated their history, it is important that all Victorians acknowledge the resilience, pride and achievements of Aboriginal Victorians. This month the Andrews Government launched the Deadly & Proud campaign. Deadly & Proud features the stories of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians such as musician Archie Roach, actor Miranda Tapsell, footballers Courtney Ugle and Tony Armstrong, among many others. The stories cover everything from the ancient eel traps at Budj Bim, to contemporary Aboriginal comic book culture, and are mapped to a place where each storyteller has a unique connection to the land. Deadly & Proud is about getting more Victorians to feel pride in our shared history. You can explore the Deadly and Proud stories further by visiting the new website. [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://www.johnkennedymp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DPCV221H-Trent-Nelson-2min_23_on-treaty-1.mp4"][/video]

WORK STARTS ON AUBURN HIGH SCHOOL UPGRADES

ARCHITECT APPOINTED Students at Auburn High 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. Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy, today announced that Wowowa Architects have been appointed to design the school’s $10.13 million upgrade. The upgrade will see the further modernisation of the school, and expanded and modern learning spaces. This builds on our previous funding of $5.5 million for Stage 1 of the upgrade, which is currently underway. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. The Labor Government is building the Education State to ensure that every student can access a great local school and get a quality education. Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn “We’re making sure that our schools have the best facilities, our classrooms have the best teachers and that every child is given every chance to succeed.” “Hawthorn families are a step closer to getting the great local school facilities their kids need to thrive.”

WORK STARTS ON AUBURN HIGH SCHOOL UPGRADES

ARCHITECT APPOINTED Students at Auburn High 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. Member for Hawthorn, John Kennedy, today announced that Wowowa Architects have been appointed to design the school’s $10.13 million upgrade. The upgrade will see the further modernisation of the school, and expanded and modern learning spaces. This builds on our previous funding of $5.5 million for Stage 1 of the upgrade, which is currently underway. In the past five years, the Labor Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. The Labor Government is building the Education State to ensure that every student can access a great local school and get a quality education. Quotes attributable to Member for Hawthorn “We’re making sure that our schools have the best facilities, our classrooms have the best teachers and that every child is given every chance to succeed.” “Hawthorn families are a step closer to getting the great local school facilities their kids need to thrive.”

The Kennedy Team Serving You

The Kennedy Team, in bringing real life experience to its work at Hawthorn Electorate Office, is here for you. John Kennedy MP, Founding Principal of Loyola College, ex RAAF Officer and resident of Hawthorn and Deepdene since 2004. Active in education, multi-cultural communities, public transport, retirement living provisions and those issues that, in John’s words, foster the world as “fair, productive and compassionate”. Hendrik Jacobs, in overall charge of Hawthorn Electorate Office operation, comes from the tertiary education sector and a variety of employment experiences. His responsibilities include communications, community and post-secondary education, local traders, mental health, public roads and works, recreational and sporting provisions. Anna Gay, as Senior Electorate Officer at reception, attends to the concerns of all constituents in welcoming and encouraging callers onsite at 197 Riversdale Road and remotely via 9882 4088, post and email. As a lifelong resident she knows this area well and brings experience in public service and engagement. Ariel Parker, a recent university graduate, past hospitality worker and secondary school student leader, looks after government and non-government schools and early learning centres and assists in our communications including: the emailed Fortnightly Update, www.johnkennedymp.com.au website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Kennedy Team Serving You

The Kennedy Team, in bringing real life experience to its work at Hawthorn Electorate Office, is here for you. John Kennedy MP, Founding Principal of Loyola College, ex RAAF Officer and resident of Hawthorn and Deepdene since 2004. Active in education, multi-cultural communities, public transport, retirement living provisions and those issues that, in John’s words, foster the world as “fair, productive and compassionate”. Hendrik Jacobs, in overall charge of Hawthorn Electorate Office operation, comes from the tertiary education sector and a variety of employment experiences. His responsibilities include communications, community and post-secondary education, local traders, mental health, public roads and works, recreational and sporting provisions. Anna Gay, as Senior Electorate Officer at reception, attends to the concerns of all constituents in welcoming and encouraging callers onsite at 197 Riversdale Road and remotely via 9882 4088, post and email. As a lifelong resident she knows this area well and brings experience in public service and engagement. Ariel Parker, a recent university graduate, past hospitality worker and secondary school student leader, looks after government and non-government schools and early learning centres and assists in our communications including: the emailed Fortnightly Update, www.johnkennedymp.com.au website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Engaging More Women and Girls in STEM

As the new school year kicks off, the Andrews Government is helping more girls and women across the state engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Girls and women are still vastly underrepresented in STEM fields in Australia, which is why we are putting power behind multiple STEM-based programs, initiatives and events, working closely with industry and STEM organisations for girls and women in school, through university and in the workforce. On January the 28th, at Hawthorn's own Swinburne University of Technology with Victoria’s Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples, Minister Jaala Pulford launched our newest STEM initiative, the Girls in STEM Map. The map is an easy to use online resource listing more than 170 programs and activities designed for girls and women. It can be found here. The map will help girls and women at the primary, secondary, university and professional levels kick off their STEM engagement with categories in events and awards, internships, and development and mentoring opportunities. By 2023 in Australia, STEM jobs are predicted to grow faster than all other occupations, making the fields important contributors to economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities for women and girls.  

Engaging More Women and Girls in STEM

As the new school year kicks off, the Andrews Government is helping more girls and women across the state engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Girls and women are still vastly underrepresented in STEM fields in Australia, which is why we are putting power behind multiple STEM-based programs, initiatives and events, working closely with industry and STEM organisations for girls and women in school, through university and in the workforce. On January the 28th, at Hawthorn's own Swinburne University of Technology with Victoria’s Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples, Minister Jaala Pulford launched our newest STEM initiative, the Girls in STEM Map. The map is an easy to use online resource listing more than 170 programs and activities designed for girls and women. It can be found here. The map will help girls and women at the primary, secondary, university and professional levels kick off their STEM engagement with categories in events and awards, internships, and development and mentoring opportunities. By 2023 in Australia, STEM jobs are predicted to grow faster than all other occupations, making the fields important contributors to economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities for women and girls.  

Hawthorn Students are Back to School for 2021!

More than one million students headed back to school last fortnight across Victoria. Congratulations to all Preps and Year Sevens on the beginning of a new journey, and to Grade Six and Year 12 students on an exciting final year ahead. Congrats also to parents on the return to school after a year dominated by home learning and followed by summer holidays. The future of Hawthorn education is brighter than ever, with outstanding VCE results achieved by our students at the end of 2020, and with three Hawthorn schools currently undergoing works, or about to under recent  funding. Bialik College, on Auburn Road in Hawthorn, outshone every other school in the state with its Year 12 results in 2020. Auburn High School received in the State Budget of 2020, $10.13 million to deliver Stage 2 of the school's master plan, which will improve the existing building. This builds on the $5.5 million funding for Stage 1, which was delivered in the previous Budget. Notably, Auburn High School students excelled in 2020 as well, with 8.7% of study scores at 40 or above, and with their Dux achieving the school's highest ever ATAR at 98.9. Auburn South Primary School will be undergoing an upgrade and modernisation of its main wing, using $3.3 million delivered in the 2020 State Budget. Hawthorn West Primary School has just appointed a builder for the upcoming commencements of its works under the State Government's Inclusive Schools Fund. I look forward to seeing what 2021 has in store for the students and schools of the Hawthorn electorate.  

Hawthorn Students are Back to School for 2021!

More than one million students headed back to school last fortnight across Victoria. Congratulations to all Preps and Year Sevens on the beginning of a new journey, and to Grade Six and Year 12 students on an exciting final year ahead. Congrats also to parents on the return to school after a year dominated by home learning and followed by summer holidays. The future of Hawthorn education is brighter than ever, with outstanding VCE results achieved by our students at the end of 2020, and with three Hawthorn schools currently undergoing works, or about to under recent  funding. Bialik College, on Auburn Road in Hawthorn, outshone every other school in the state with its Year 12 results in 2020. Auburn High School received in the State Budget of 2020, $10.13 million to deliver Stage 2 of the school's master plan, which will improve the existing building. This builds on the $5.5 million funding for Stage 1, which was delivered in the previous Budget. Notably, Auburn High School students excelled in 2020 as well, with 8.7% of study scores at 40 or above, and with their Dux achieving the school's highest ever ATAR at 98.9. Auburn South Primary School will be undergoing an upgrade and modernisation of its main wing, using $3.3 million delivered in the 2020 State Budget. Hawthorn West Primary School has just appointed a builder for the upcoming commencements of its works under the State Government's Inclusive Schools Fund. I look forward to seeing what 2021 has in store for the students and schools of the Hawthorn electorate.  

Honouring Hawthorn’s Citizen of the Year

It was my pleasure on Thursday the 4th of February 2021, to take a moment in Parliament to honour Yvonne Giltinan, a Hawthorn constituent who was recognised by the City of Boroondara on the 26th of January as both Citizen of the Year, and Outstanding Local Hero. As I said to my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly, I have always been proud of the bright community spirit within Hawthorn. Yvonne is one of the area's key contributors to this spirit. Yvonne is the founder and choral director of the Yarra Gospel Community Choir. 17 years ago, she established the choir with only 4 members. Today, it sits at 70. Although COVID threatened the viability of choirs, Yvonne dedicated countless hours to keeping choir members connected. Yarra Gospel became an online hub for cooking videos, singing videos, and interviews with composers. When asked what motivated her to create a community choir from nothing, Yvonne responds that she saw an opportunity to bring people together through music. Regardless of your faith, Yvonne believes that gospel speaks to each life in ways we could never imagine, passing hope through generations. The thriving community of Yarra Gospel and its endurance in as trying a year as 2020 demonstrates this. Congratulations Yvonne, and thank you all for that you do in Hawthorn. Pictured: Yvonne, Choral Director and Founder, Yarra Gospel Photo from https://www.yarragospel.org/

Honouring Hawthorn’s Citizen of the Year

It was my pleasure on Thursday the 4th of February 2021, to take a moment in Parliament to honour Yvonne Giltinan, a Hawthorn constituent who was recognised by the City of Boroondara on the 26th of January as both Citizen of the Year, and Outstanding Local Hero. As I said to my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly, I have always been proud of the bright community spirit within Hawthorn. Yvonne is one of the area's key contributors to this spirit. Yvonne is the founder and choral director of the Yarra Gospel Community Choir. 17 years ago, she established the choir with only 4 members. Today, it sits at 70. Although COVID threatened the viability of choirs, Yvonne dedicated countless hours to keeping choir members connected. Yarra Gospel became an online hub for cooking videos, singing videos, and interviews with composers. When asked what motivated her to create a community choir from nothing, Yvonne responds that she saw an opportunity to bring people together through music. Regardless of your faith, Yvonne believes that gospel speaks to each life in ways we could never imagine, passing hope through generations. The thriving community of Yarra Gospel and its endurance in as trying a year as 2020 demonstrates this. Congratulations Yvonne, and thank you all for that you do in Hawthorn. Pictured: Yvonne, Choral Director and Founder, Yarra Gospel Photo from https://www.yarragospel.org/

Making Renting Fairer for All Victorians.

The Andrews Labor Government is taking another step towards making renting fairer for all Victorians, with new rules to ensure every rental property meets basic standards. With more than one in four people renting in Victoria, it’s crucial that basic amenities such as hot and cold water in the bathroom and laundry, functioning ovens, stovetops and sinks in the kitchen, a permanent – and working—heater in the living room, are available to all tenants. In the Hawthorn electorate, 39% of homes are rented, which is an increase of 11% compared to the state-wide average, so as your local Member it is important to me that our Government ensures renters do not live in sub-standard homes. These minimum standards are the things most people would reasonably expect in a house – and most rental properties already have them – but we are now enshrining these standards in law with new regulations. We are also increasing the ways in which renters can make their house feel like a home by setting out simple modifications they can make to their rental property. Further detail will be in the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021, which will be mandatory from 29 March 2021.

Making Renting Fairer for All Victorians.

The Andrews Labor Government is taking another step towards making renting fairer for all Victorians, with new rules to ensure every rental property meets basic standards. With more than one in four people renting in Victoria, it’s crucial that basic amenities such as hot and cold water in the bathroom and laundry, functioning ovens, stovetops and sinks in the kitchen, a permanent – and working—heater in the living room, are available to all tenants. In the Hawthorn electorate, 39% of homes are rented, which is an increase of 11% compared to the state-wide average, so as your local Member it is important to me that our Government ensures renters do not live in sub-standard homes. These minimum standards are the things most people would reasonably expect in a house – and most rental properties already have them – but we are now enshrining these standards in law with new regulations. We are also increasing the ways in which renters can make their house feel like a home by setting out simple modifications they can make to their rental property. Further detail will be in the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021, which will be mandatory from 29 March 2021.

ACF Boroondara: We Need Stronger Environmental Laws for Nature

The law created to protect the Australian environment is known as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – quite a mouthful.  It is usually referred to as the EPBC Act, and has just been reviewed for the second time since its passage twenty years ago. Sadly, according to Professor Graeme Samuel, who reviewed and reported on the Act, it is not doing its job.  Our beloved species and ecosystems are in decline, and the Act must be overhauled to make it effectively serve both the environment and Australian communities. Unique critters like the iconic koala, majestic red goshawk and charismatic greater glider have suffered huge losses of habitat and these losses are contributing significantly to population decline, threatening with extinction. These are just a few examples of how the act isn’t doing its job. Here are recommendations on how we can strengthen it so it protects nature and communities: We need national environmental standards, which apply to the whole of Australia, and are enforceable. This is so we can make sure we’re consistently protecting our wonderful wildlife and rugged places across the whole country. We need independent oversight and enforcement at the national level, consisting of an Assurance Commissioner, as well as a Compliance and Enforcement office. The report also contains recommendations concerning the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) that contribute to climate change. Currently, Regional Forest Agreements between the Federal Government and State Governments effectively exempt native forest logging from our national environment laws. Allowing our gorgeous native forests to be logged, thus damaging our ecosystems, and destroying animal habitat. The report states that the new national standards should apply to native forests logging and the exemption should be abolished. ACF Boroondara loves nature, and we want to see the act strengthened so that it can effectively protect our unique plants and animals. We encourage you to contact your federal and state members of parliament, to express your support for protecting the environment through the implementation of the final report recommendations.  Our environmental laws need to be strong, consistent, and national, overseen by an independent regulator, and firmly enforced.  Let’s get going, and contact our MPs and local councillors by email, letter and telephone, to let them know that we love our environment and our native creatures, and we really support an overhauled and effective EPBC Act. Jean, on behalf of ACF Community Boroondara ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

ACF Boroondara: We Need Stronger Environmental Laws for Nature

The law created to protect the Australian environment is known as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – quite a mouthful.  It is usually referred to as the EPBC Act, and has just been reviewed for the second time since its passage twenty years ago. Sadly, according to Professor Graeme Samuel, who reviewed and reported on the Act, it is not doing its job.  Our beloved species and ecosystems are in decline, and the Act must be overhauled to make it effectively serve both the environment and Australian communities. Unique critters like the iconic koala, majestic red goshawk and charismatic greater glider have suffered huge losses of habitat and these losses are contributing significantly to population decline, threatening with extinction. These are just a few examples of how the act isn’t doing its job. Here are recommendations on how we can strengthen it so it protects nature and communities: We need national environmental standards, which apply to the whole of Australia, and are enforceable. This is so we can make sure we’re consistently protecting our wonderful wildlife and rugged places across the whole country. We need independent oversight and enforcement at the national level, consisting of an Assurance Commissioner, as well as a Compliance and Enforcement office. The report also contains recommendations concerning the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) that contribute to climate change. Currently, Regional Forest Agreements between the Federal Government and State Governments effectively exempt native forest logging from our national environment laws. Allowing our gorgeous native forests to be logged, thus damaging our ecosystems, and destroying animal habitat. The report states that the new national standards should apply to native forests logging and the exemption should be abolished. ACF Boroondara loves nature, and we want to see the act strengthened so that it can effectively protect our unique plants and animals. We encourage you to contact your federal and state members of parliament, to express your support for protecting the environment through the implementation of the final report recommendations.  Our environmental laws need to be strong, consistent, and national, overseen by an independent regulator, and firmly enforced.  Let’s get going, and contact our MPs and local councillors by email, letter and telephone, to let them know that we love our environment and our native creatures, and we really support an overhauled and effective EPBC Act. Jean, on behalf of ACF Community Boroondara ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

Empowering Students to Stop Violence

Victorian school students will learn about the impact of violence and coward punches through a series of Be Wise Education presentations, supported by the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino yesterday announced a $150,000 investment to support the Pat Cronin Foundation to expand its Be Wise Education program. The funding would assist in the delivery of 200 presentations to government and non-government schools in 2021. The Pat Cronin Foundation was established by Matt and Robyn Cronin in memory of their 19-year-old son who died from a coward punch on a night out in Diamond Creek in 2016. The Pat Cronin Foundation and the Be Wise Education program were established to help end the coward punch by empowering young people to make wise decisions. The program complements the Victorian Curriculum F–10 delivery of personal and social capability curriculum and provides students with resources and presentations to raise awareness about the drivers and consequences of social violence and how their actions could impact on other people. Ambassadors of the Pat Cronin Foundation include sporting heroes Matthew Richardson, Kevin Sheedy and Andrew Gaze.

Empowering Students to Stop Violence

Victorian school students will learn about the impact of violence and coward punches through a series of Be Wise Education presentations, supported by the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Education James Merlino yesterday announced a $150,000 investment to support the Pat Cronin Foundation to expand its Be Wise Education program. The funding would assist in the delivery of 200 presentations to government and non-government schools in 2021. The Pat Cronin Foundation was established by Matt and Robyn Cronin in memory of their 19-year-old son who died from a coward punch on a night out in Diamond Creek in 2016. The Pat Cronin Foundation and the Be Wise Education program were established to help end the coward punch by empowering young people to make wise decisions. The program complements the Victorian Curriculum F–10 delivery of personal and social capability curriculum and provides students with resources and presentations to raise awareness about the drivers and consequences of social violence and how their actions could impact on other people. Ambassadors of the Pat Cronin Foundation include sporting heroes Matthew Richardson, Kevin Sheedy and Andrew Gaze.

26th January: Words and Deeds

How and when one observes a national day is of importance and significance to us and the rest of our world.  For the time being “Australia Day” is held on 26 January, the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet in NSW and raising of the British flag.  There are indigenous and non-indigenous Australians who believe “Invasion Day” is a more apt title and that “Australia Day” should be on a more suitable date; eg 2 January as the anniversary of Australian Parliament commencement in 1901. In word and deed I am concerned about the suitability of 26 January.  I am in favour of Australia Day on a date that takes account of our First Nation Peoples.  If possible, it might also celebrate the long multi-cultural history of the Australian population, not just the British heritage. In the meantime, tonight I will reflect with Aunty Jean Phillips as she leads us in prayer on the eve of a day of mourning for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.  This Christian service will be simulcast nationally on television (ACCTV), online and on radio at 7.30pm (to 8.30pm). Tomorrow, it will be an honour to attend Boroondara Council’s “Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony” in welcoming, congratulating and thanking our new Australian citizens. Reference:  A useful brief history by academic Henry Reynolds in today’s Age. Click here.

26th January: Words and Deeds

How and when one observes a national day is of importance and significance to us and the rest of our world.  For the time being “Australia Day” is held on 26 January, the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet in NSW and raising of the British flag.  There are indigenous and non-indigenous Australians who believe “Invasion Day” is a more apt title and that “Australia Day” should be on a more suitable date; eg 2 January as the anniversary of Australian Parliament commencement in 1901. In word and deed I am concerned about the suitability of 26 January.  I am in favour of Australia Day on a date that takes account of our First Nation Peoples.  If possible, it might also celebrate the long multi-cultural history of the Australian population, not just the British heritage. In the meantime, tonight I will reflect with Aunty Jean Phillips as she leads us in prayer on the eve of a day of mourning for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.  This Christian service will be simulcast nationally on television (ACCTV), online and on radio at 7.30pm (to 8.30pm). Tomorrow, it will be an honour to attend Boroondara Council’s “Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony” in welcoming, congratulating and thanking our new Australian citizens. Reference:  A useful brief history by academic Henry Reynolds in today’s Age. Click here.

Last Chance to Nominate For the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Do you know a trailblazer, a local champion, a change agent, an emerging leader, or someone who has led the way through our disaster response?#HonourHer with a nomination for the 2021 Victorian Honour Roll of Women. Each year, the Honour Roll recognises women who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in the community. This year, more than ever, we have seen the invaluable contribution that women make to our community – as leaders, carers, health and social services workers. Since 2001, over 600 women have been recognised for their extraordinary contributions to Victoria, Australia and beyond. They each represent the courage and determination of women across Victoria using their unique skills, experiences and insights to forge a brighter path for everyone. This year, Victorian women may be nominated for their achievements across five categories: trailblazer, change agent, local champion, emerging leader, and leading through disaster. Our Government is committed to promoting gender equality in every setting – that means giving outstanding women in our community the recognition they deserve. Nominations close on 31 January 2021. For more information, click here.

Last Chance to Nominate For the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Do you know a trailblazer, a local champion, a change agent, an emerging leader, or someone who has led the way through our disaster response?#HonourHer with a nomination for the 2021 Victorian Honour Roll of Women. Each year, the Honour Roll recognises women who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in the community. This year, more than ever, we have seen the invaluable contribution that women make to our community – as leaders, carers, health and social services workers. Since 2001, over 600 women have been recognised for their extraordinary contributions to Victoria, Australia and beyond. They each represent the courage and determination of women across Victoria using their unique skills, experiences and insights to forge a brighter path for everyone. This year, Victorian women may be nominated for their achievements across five categories: trailblazer, change agent, local champion, emerging leader, and leading through disaster. Our Government is committed to promoting gender equality in every setting – that means giving outstanding women in our community the recognition they deserve. Nominations close on 31 January 2021. For more information, click here.

Hawthorn Shoppers – Some of The Most Generous in the State!

Shoppers in the Coles Community in Hawthorn were some of Australia's most generous this Christmas, with customers at the Camberwell supermarket donating $7,815 to Coles' Christmas Appeal, placing ninth among Coles Stores in Victoria. The team at Coles passed on to the Hawthorn Electorate Office their thanks and congratulations to the community of Hawthorn for their generous contributions in supporting the valuable causes of SecondBite and Redkite this past Christmas. SecondBite is a leading national food rescue organisation. The organisation works with a range of food suppliers to rescue surplus fresh food from across the network, and redistribute it to local charities and non-profits around Australia. These groups run food programs to support people in need in their communities. Redkite is an organisation which provides emotional, financial and practical support for families who have a child with cancer.    

Hawthorn Shoppers – Some of The Most Generous in the State!

Shoppers in the Coles Community in Hawthorn were some of Australia's most generous this Christmas, with customers at the Camberwell supermarket donating $7,815 to Coles' Christmas Appeal, placing ninth among Coles Stores in Victoria. The team at Coles passed on to the Hawthorn Electorate Office their thanks and congratulations to the community of Hawthorn for their generous contributions in supporting the valuable causes of SecondBite and Redkite this past Christmas. SecondBite is a leading national food rescue organisation. The organisation works with a range of food suppliers to rescue surplus fresh food from across the network, and redistribute it to local charities and non-profits around Australia. These groups run food programs to support people in need in their communities. Redkite is an organisation which provides emotional, financial and practical support for families who have a child with cancer.    

Dealing with Waste and Protecting the Environment

By the Australian Convservation Foundation (ACF), Boroondara Chapter To prevent our waste from harming the environment, we need to understand the difference between biodegradable items, and compostable items. A car is biodegradable.  It will corrode, degrade, and break down into its components.  The process is lengthy, but inevitable.  Unfortunately, some materials damage the environment as they break down.  These include some plastics, which release the harmful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, as they break down.  So even if packaging material is labelled as ‘biodegradable’, it might still harm the environment, despite breaking down in landfill.  Most plastic is made from natural gas or oil products.  The bonds in the polymers fall apart during the degrading process, resulting in microplastics.  These can be consumed by animals, then enter ecosystems, and be passed along food chains, to the significant detriment of all three.  So biodegradable products are not always the best choice. A compostable item consists of organic materials, which decompose into natural fertilisers.  This process is nature’s way of recycling and reusing organic waste.  Compostable items will break down through natural processes, into non-toxic components, within around 90 days.  Carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass are the result.  So compostable items do not contain microplastics or dangerous chemicals. While food scraps and lawn clippings readily break down in our home compost heaps, some certified compostable substances might not do so.  This is because they require the hotter and higher pressure conditions present in commercial and industrial composting. So if we want to protect our flora and fauna, it is a good idea to try to minimize our use of packaging materials and disposable products.  For example, investing in a ‘keep cup’ for takeaway coffee will minimise rubbish volumes, and the likelihood of microplastics entering the environment.  Shops or suppliers who use paper bags rather than plastic to provide fruit and vegetables should be encouraged, and we should definitely save those plastic bags that we do receive, and return them to a location (such as your local supermarket) which will recycle them.  Happy recycling! ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

Dealing with Waste and Protecting the Environment

By the Australian Convservation Foundation (ACF), Boroondara Chapter To prevent our waste from harming the environment, we need to understand the difference between biodegradable items, and compostable items. A car is biodegradable.  It will corrode, degrade, and break down into its components.  The process is lengthy, but inevitable.  Unfortunately, some materials damage the environment as they break down.  These include some plastics, which release the harmful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, as they break down.  So even if packaging material is labelled as ‘biodegradable’, it might still harm the environment, despite breaking down in landfill.  Most plastic is made from natural gas or oil products.  The bonds in the polymers fall apart during the degrading process, resulting in microplastics.  These can be consumed by animals, then enter ecosystems, and be passed along food chains, to the significant detriment of all three.  So biodegradable products are not always the best choice. A compostable item consists of organic materials, which decompose into natural fertilisers.  This process is nature’s way of recycling and reusing organic waste.  Compostable items will break down through natural processes, into non-toxic components, within around 90 days.  Carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass are the result.  So compostable items do not contain microplastics or dangerous chemicals. While food scraps and lawn clippings readily break down in our home compost heaps, some certified compostable substances might not do so.  This is because they require the hotter and higher pressure conditions present in commercial and industrial composting. So if we want to protect our flora and fauna, it is a good idea to try to minimize our use of packaging materials and disposable products.  For example, investing in a ‘keep cup’ for takeaway coffee will minimise rubbish volumes, and the likelihood of microplastics entering the environment.  Shops or suppliers who use paper bags rather than plastic to provide fruit and vegetables should be encouraged, and we should definitely save those plastic bags that we do receive, and return them to a location (such as your local supermarket) which will recycle them.  Happy recycling! ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

“Busman’s Holiday!”

This has been a great time to continue enjoying the local traders and their splendid services.  To name just a few: Sunday breakfast at Axil Coffee Roasters, after church at Immaculate Conception. Popping in for coffee and delicious food at Saint Helen Café at 173 Riversdale Road, just a few doors from Hawthorn Electorate Office. The Dry at Lido Cinema followed by dinner at Viet Star in Glenferrie Road. A sneaky ice cream at Baskin Robins in Burke Road on the way to helpful advice from JB HiFi in Camberwell Place (previously, The Well). And a welcome opportunity to meet colleagues and learn more about their vision and modus operandi. Juliana Addison, Member for Wendouree, as we made our way along the magnificent Prime Ministers Avenue at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Victorian Federal Senator Raff Ciccone over several cups of coffee in Muharam Cafe on Burwood Road, opposite Hawthorn Place shopping centre. My cousin, Leon Kennedy Bignell, Member for Mawson in the South Australian Parliament. In close communication (some speak about Hawthorn here) in planning the continuing Covid recovery and the 2021 Budget due in May. We all looking forward to returning to Parliament from Tuesday, 2 February.

“Busman’s Holiday!”

This has been a great time to continue enjoying the local traders and their splendid services.  To name just a few: Sunday breakfast at Axil Coffee Roasters, after church at Immaculate Conception. Popping in for coffee and delicious food at Saint Helen Café at 173 Riversdale Road, just a few doors from Hawthorn Electorate Office. The Dry at Lido Cinema followed by dinner at Viet Star in Glenferrie Road. A sneaky ice cream at Baskin Robins in Burke Road on the way to helpful advice from JB HiFi in Camberwell Place (previously, The Well). And a welcome opportunity to meet colleagues and learn more about their vision and modus operandi. Juliana Addison, Member for Wendouree, as we made our way along the magnificent Prime Ministers Avenue at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Victorian Federal Senator Raff Ciccone over several cups of coffee in Muharam Cafe on Burwood Road, opposite Hawthorn Place shopping centre. My cousin, Leon Kennedy Bignell, Member for Mawson in the South Australian Parliament. In close communication (some speak about Hawthorn here) in planning the continuing Covid recovery and the 2021 Budget due in May. We all looking forward to returning to Parliament from Tuesday, 2 February.

Congratulations, Class of 2020!

On the 30th of December, more than 64,800 Victorian students received their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) results after an unprecedented year for students. I am so proud of Hawthorn students and the way that they, along with their peers statewide, demonstrated commitment and resilience as they moved between on-site and remote and flexible learning due to the pandemic. This year, 50,284 students will graduate with their VCE, which represents an increased completion rate of 98.3% of students. A record number of 14,529 students will receive their VCAL. The release of VCE and VCAL results by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and ATARs by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) ensures that Victorian Year 12 students can plan their next step, regardless of whether it involves further education or employment. Every student has been individually assessed via the “Consideration of Educational Disadvantage” process to calculate VCE scores ensuring any adverse impacts of the pandemic or bushfires were mitigated to produce fair, valid and accurate results that are the basis of a student’s ATAR ranking. Excitingly, Round 1 offers from Victorian tertiary institutions will go out to students on 14 January 2020. Students with questions about their results can call (03) 9637 3877 (metropolitan callers), 1800 653 080 (free call) from now until the end of January 2021. To our year 12s – a massive congratulations. In a truly extraordinary year, you should be proud of yourself, no matter your results. Do not forget that your results do not define you – there are many opportunities and pathways available for young people to achieve their goals.  

Congratulations, Class of 2020!

On the 30th of December, more than 64,800 Victorian students received their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) results after an unprecedented year for students. I am so proud of Hawthorn students and the way that they, along with their peers statewide, demonstrated commitment and resilience as they moved between on-site and remote and flexible learning due to the pandemic. This year, 50,284 students will graduate with their VCE, which represents an increased completion rate of 98.3% of students. A record number of 14,529 students will receive their VCAL. The release of VCE and VCAL results by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and ATARs by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) ensures that Victorian Year 12 students can plan their next step, regardless of whether it involves further education or employment. Every student has been individually assessed via the “Consideration of Educational Disadvantage” process to calculate VCE scores ensuring any adverse impacts of the pandemic or bushfires were mitigated to produce fair, valid and accurate results that are the basis of a student’s ATAR ranking. Excitingly, Round 1 offers from Victorian tertiary institutions will go out to students on 14 January 2020. Students with questions about their results can call (03) 9637 3877 (metropolitan callers), 1800 653 080 (free call) from now until the end of January 2021. To our year 12s – a massive congratulations. In a truly extraordinary year, you should be proud of yourself, no matter your results. Do not forget that your results do not define you – there are many opportunities and pathways available for young people to achieve their goals.  

Building Inclusive Schools in Hawthorn

I am pleased to announce that a builder has been appointed as part of a $200k upgrade to make Hawthorn West Primary School more inclusive with the development of an accessible playground. The Inclusive Schools Fund builds on the unprecedented investment of nearly $1.6 billion in the state budget to support students with a disability or additional needs and is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to inclusive education. An additional $20 million was announced in the 2020-21 State Budget as part of the Labor Government’s $60 million Inclusive Schools Fund. Since its inception in 2015, the Fund has supported 234 creative projects to build inclusive indoor and outdoor learning spaces as well as accessible playgrounds have been announced. Inclusive education is about ensuring that all students, regardless of disabilities or other differences, can fully participate, learn, develop and succeed in Victorian government schools. The Labor Government is building the Education State to ensure every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Strengthening inclusive education for all students, including those with disabilities and additional learning needs, is fundamental to an equitable and excellent school system. In the past five years, the Victorian Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quotes attributable to John Kennedy, State Member for Hawthorn “This new space will make a real difference to students at Hawthorn West Primary School, who will get the benefits of new inclusive spaces to cater for a wider range of options for teaching and learning.” “As we build the Education State, we’re continuing to invest in schools to ensure students of all abilities can access a great education – no matter their circumstances.”

Building Inclusive Schools in Hawthorn

I am pleased to announce that a builder has been appointed as part of a $200k upgrade to make Hawthorn West Primary School more inclusive with the development of an accessible playground. The Inclusive Schools Fund builds on the unprecedented investment of nearly $1.6 billion in the state budget to support students with a disability or additional needs and is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to inclusive education. An additional $20 million was announced in the 2020-21 State Budget as part of the Labor Government’s $60 million Inclusive Schools Fund. Since its inception in 2015, the Fund has supported 234 creative projects to build inclusive indoor and outdoor learning spaces as well as accessible playgrounds have been announced. Inclusive education is about ensuring that all students, regardless of disabilities or other differences, can fully participate, learn, develop and succeed in Victorian government schools. The Labor Government is building the Education State to ensure every student can access a great local school and get a great education. Strengthening inclusive education for all students, including those with disabilities and additional learning needs, is fundamental to an equitable and excellent school system. In the past five years, the Victorian Government has invested more than $9 billion in more than 1,600 school upgrades – creating more than 10,000 construction jobs – and is now ahead of schedule its commitment to open 100 new schools by 2026, with 48 new schools opening between 2019 and 2022. Quotes attributable to John Kennedy, State Member for Hawthorn “This new space will make a real difference to students at Hawthorn West Primary School, who will get the benefits of new inclusive spaces to cater for a wider range of options for teaching and learning.” “As we build the Education State, we’re continuing to invest in schools to ensure students of all abilities can access a great education – no matter their circumstances.”

Supporting Multicultural Events

The Andrews Government's newly announced Multicultural Festivals and Events Program recognises the important role of community connection and celebration and will support events held either in person or in a digital format. Any in-person event must adhere to the COVIDSafe Public Events Framework. With the entertainment and events industry one of the hardest hit because of the pandemic, this funding will help bring more life and colour to the state,celebrating our vibrant cultural diversity, whilst ensuring the health and safety of all Victorians. In March, Victoria’s Greek community will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Greek independence –a significant occasion on the cultural calendar. Delivering on an election commitment, the Labor Government is investing $200,000 to support celebrations.Victoria is home to the largest Greek population in the world outside of Greece. This year’s funding also includes$50,000 to support organisations holding Hindu celebrations, events and festivals. Applications close 3pm on Wednesday, 3 February. For more information or to apply, click here.

Supporting Multicultural Events

The Andrews Government's newly announced Multicultural Festivals and Events Program recognises the important role of community connection and celebration and will support events held either in person or in a digital format. Any in-person event must adhere to the COVIDSafe Public Events Framework. With the entertainment and events industry one of the hardest hit because of the pandemic, this funding will help bring more life and colour to the state,celebrating our vibrant cultural diversity, whilst ensuring the health and safety of all Victorians. In March, Victoria’s Greek community will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Greek independence –a significant occasion on the cultural calendar. Delivering on an election commitment, the Labor Government is investing $200,000 to support celebrations.Victoria is home to the largest Greek population in the world outside of Greece. This year’s funding also includes$50,000 to support organisations holding Hindu celebrations, events and festivals. Applications close 3pm on Wednesday, 3 February. For more information or to apply, click here.

GOING SOLAR: TIPS FROM ACF BOROONDARA

Happy New Year!  It’s a beautiful sunny morning in Melbourne, and the temperature will reach 26 degrees.  This summer is certainly more agreeable than that of 2020, when I recall the temperature reaching 43 degrees on 31st January, and much of our continent was in the grip of savage and destructive bushfires. Abnormally high temperatures, and the resulting bushfires, are caused by climate change, which in turn is brought about by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  When we generate heat using coal, oil, and gas, and also when we drive vehicles, carbon dioxide and other gases, or emissions, are released into the atmosphere.  The large amounts of carbon trap heat, and warm the surface of the earth.  Consequently, our droughts get more severe, and our bushfire threat more likely. So to protect our environment and our food sources, we need to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and this comes at a cost.  Suppose a household transfers to using private electric vehicles.  Although emissions are thus reduced, the household will be using more electricity, and so have a larger power bill.  Furthermore, a larger amount of electricity must be generated, which actually increases the emissions of power stations as well as those of the transmission infrastructure! There is a solution – the installation of solar panels on the roofs of houses, public buildings and industrial sites.  The panels convert sunlight into electricity, and no emissions are released.  Prevention of climate change is not the only benefit.  Solar panels provide shade, and actually keep your roof space cooler.  The effect of the urban heat island decreases, and so less air-conditioning is needed to keep the building interiors at a comfortable temperature. So solar panels can be a great investment, for the environment, your electricity bill, and your comfort.  Information on going solar can be found at www.acf.org.au if you type ‘solar panels’ into the search facility.  Have a great summer! ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

GOING SOLAR: TIPS FROM ACF BOROONDARA

Happy New Year!  It’s a beautiful sunny morning in Melbourne, and the temperature will reach 26 degrees.  This summer is certainly more agreeable than that of 2020, when I recall the temperature reaching 43 degrees on 31st January, and much of our continent was in the grip of savage and destructive bushfires. Abnormally high temperatures, and the resulting bushfires, are caused by climate change, which in turn is brought about by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  When we generate heat using coal, oil, and gas, and also when we drive vehicles, carbon dioxide and other gases, or emissions, are released into the atmosphere.  The large amounts of carbon trap heat, and warm the surface of the earth.  Consequently, our droughts get more severe, and our bushfire threat more likely. So to protect our environment and our food sources, we need to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and this comes at a cost.  Suppose a household transfers to using private electric vehicles.  Although emissions are thus reduced, the household will be using more electricity, and so have a larger power bill.  Furthermore, a larger amount of electricity must be generated, which actually increases the emissions of power stations as well as those of the transmission infrastructure! There is a solution – the installation of solar panels on the roofs of houses, public buildings and industrial sites.  The panels convert sunlight into electricity, and no emissions are released.  Prevention of climate change is not the only benefit.  Solar panels provide shade, and actually keep your roof space cooler.  The effect of the urban heat island decreases, and so less air-conditioning is needed to keep the building interiors at a comfortable temperature. So solar panels can be a great investment, for the environment, your electricity bill, and your comfort.  Information on going solar can be found at www.acf.org.au if you type ‘solar panels’ into the search facility.  Have a great summer! ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, non-partisan, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community.

Youth Crime Prevention Over Summer

For Hawthorn young people, a key program still running over Summer in Metropolitan Melbourne is: Youth Justice Community Support Service (YJCSS) & the YJCSS After-Hours Service The Youth Justice Community Support Service (YJCSS) provides intensive support for young people aged 10-21 engaged with the youth justice system in Victoria. They are operating as usual, including their after-hours service, through the December-January period. As per the usual operation of the program, young people will be supported to engage in pro-social activities. To find out more about YJCSS, click here.

Youth Crime Prevention Over Summer

For Hawthorn young people, a key program still running over Summer in Metropolitan Melbourne is: Youth Justice Community Support Service (YJCSS) & the YJCSS After-Hours Service The Youth Justice Community Support Service (YJCSS) provides intensive support for young people aged 10-21 engaged with the youth justice system in Victoria. They are operating as usual, including their after-hours service, through the December-January period. As per the usual operation of the program, young people will be supported to engage in pro-social activities. To find out more about YJCSS, click here.

The End of 2020.

New Year’s Eve is nearly upon us! Bronwyn and I sat down on Christmas Day with son Patrick, daughter Fionnuala and husband Dominic together with the“star of the show”, 14-month-old granddaughter Elsie! We hope your time with loved ones is also extra special this year especially given the separation we all had to endure in 2020. This is the time to thank my wife, Bronwyn Lane and children for their love and support. I particularly acknowledge Patrick for his voluntary professional support in the onsite skeleton staffing of my Electorate Office. Apart from an interlude of a little over one week his contribution over these six months has been unpaid. Patrick’s well-developed skills, especially in social media and productive relationships with constituents, are now being put to good use in other Electorate offices. Many thanks, Pat. Hawthorn Electorate staff – Anna Gay as full-time Senior Electorate Officer since January 2019 and Ariel Parker who joined us last October as part-time Electorate Officer – have given much appreciated support as they continue to grow in skills and expertise in their respective roles. On February 1st they will be joined by Hendrik Jacobs as our appointed Chief Electorate Officer. In expressing gratitude to my team, I can confidently look forward to even bigger things in 2021 in Hawthorn, Camberwell, Canterbury and Glen Iris. My fellow MPs are inspiring and a joy in their friendship and leadership. I thank them for these gifts throughout 2019-2020 and, just recently, for their kind thoughts on the attached video. Fellow residents (65,331: 48% men and 52% women) and constituents (45,252): thank you for marvellous spirit, goodwill, resilience and cooperation in these extraordinarily difficult times. This has certainly brought out our best efforts; for example, Roy Kuruppu, the “Boy under the Bridge” poet who left verses in various places for us to enjoy. I wish you all a fulfilling 2021 and invite you to join me in delivering for schools, providing more social housing and in other ways responding to Hawthorn, Victorian, Australian and global needs.

The End of 2020.

New Year’s Eve is nearly upon us! Bronwyn and I sat down on Christmas Day with son Patrick, daughter Fionnuala and husband Dominic together with the“star of the show”, 14-month-old granddaughter Elsie! We hope your time with loved ones is also extra special this year especially given the separation we all had to endure in 2020. This is the time to thank my wife, Bronwyn Lane and children for their love and support. I particularly acknowledge Patrick for his voluntary professional support in the onsite skeleton staffing of my Electorate Office. Apart from an interlude of a little over one week his contribution over these six months has been unpaid. Patrick’s well-developed skills, especially in social media and productive relationships with constituents, are now being put to good use in other Electorate offices. Many thanks, Pat. Hawthorn Electorate staff – Anna Gay as full-time Senior Electorate Officer since January 2019 and Ariel Parker who joined us last October as part-time Electorate Officer – have given much appreciated support as they continue to grow in skills and expertise in their respective roles. On February 1st they will be joined by Hendrik Jacobs as our appointed Chief Electorate Officer. In expressing gratitude to my team, I can confidently look forward to even bigger things in 2021 in Hawthorn, Camberwell, Canterbury and Glen Iris. My fellow MPs are inspiring and a joy in their friendship and leadership. I thank them for these gifts throughout 2019-2020 and, just recently, for their kind thoughts on the attached video. Fellow residents (65,331: 48% men and 52% women) and constituents (45,252): thank you for marvellous spirit, goodwill, resilience and cooperation in these extraordinarily difficult times. This has certainly brought out our best efforts; for example, Roy Kuruppu, the “Boy under the Bridge” poet who left verses in various places for us to enjoy. I wish you all a fulfilling 2021 and invite you to join me in delivering for schools, providing more social housing and in other ways responding to Hawthorn, Victorian, Australian and global needs.

More Locals in Boroondara Get Back to Work

  Locals who have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic will have the chance to fill new positions that provide significant community benefits through the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria initiative. The Boroondara Council is one of 16 new councils to sign up to the Andrews Labor Government initiative and will offer around 20.5 jobs. More than 360 workers across the state will perform new roles in environmental management, upgrading community facilities and infrastructure, community support and outreach, arts programs, economic development and tourism recovery. The Boroondara Council will see workers in planning and design, recycling education, horticultural and outdoor work, library support, sports development, community development and visual arts in outdoor trade areas, parks and arts centres, and project implementation. More than 900 businesses have signed up to find staff through Working for Victoria and more are encouraged to get on board. For more information and to register for employment, go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.Working for Victoria has created more than 11,000 jobs since the fund launched in April. The initiative also provides people with access to training where required to take on new positions. The Working for Victoria initiative has already partnered with 53 councils across Victoria creating more than 5,100 jobs in local communities. The roles include land and asset management, aged care and community support, hardship relief delivery, crisis co-ordination, road and urban maintenance, small business support, natural reserve maintenance and tree planting. Quotes attributable to John Kennedy, Member for Hawthorn “This support will deliver crucial jobs in Boroondara, including Hawthorn, helping people who have lost their job due to no fault of their own who in turn will help their fellow community members.” “We’re backing and supporting people when they need it most and fighting for every local job.”

More Locals in Boroondara Get Back to Work

  Locals who have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic will have the chance to fill new positions that provide significant community benefits through the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria initiative. The Boroondara Council is one of 16 new councils to sign up to the Andrews Labor Government initiative and will offer around 20.5 jobs. More than 360 workers across the state will perform new roles in environmental management, upgrading community facilities and infrastructure, community support and outreach, arts programs, economic development and tourism recovery. The Boroondara Council will see workers in planning and design, recycling education, horticultural and outdoor work, library support, sports development, community development and visual arts in outdoor trade areas, parks and arts centres, and project implementation. More than 900 businesses have signed up to find staff through Working for Victoria and more are encouraged to get on board. For more information and to register for employment, go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.Working for Victoria has created more than 11,000 jobs since the fund launched in April. The initiative also provides people with access to training where required to take on new positions. The Working for Victoria initiative has already partnered with 53 councils across Victoria creating more than 5,100 jobs in local communities. The roles include land and asset management, aged care and community support, hardship relief delivery, crisis co-ordination, road and urban maintenance, small business support, natural reserve maintenance and tree planting. Quotes attributable to John Kennedy, Member for Hawthorn “This support will deliver crucial jobs in Boroondara, including Hawthorn, helping people who have lost their job due to no fault of their own who in turn will help their fellow community members.” “We’re backing and supporting people when they need it most and fighting for every local job.”

Building and Upgrading Kinders across Hawthorn

The Andrews Labor Government will build and upgrade kindergartens across Victoria – creating thousands of new kinder places and hundreds of jobs as Victoria rolls out funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. 127 kinders across Victoria will share in $46.9 million through the Building Blocks programs – which works to boost kindergarten places and improve learning spaces. Seven new early learning facilities, five new integrated children’s centres, three modular buildings and 20 building expansions are among the projects funded. More than 90 kinders will also share in almost $8 million to improve existing early-learning facilities. Projects range from upgrades to the outdoor play spaces, landscaping improvements and much needed refurbishment of bathrooms. These projects will create an almost 2,200 funded kindergarten places across 32 local government areas. Four well-deserving Hawthorn kindergartens or early learning centres will share in this investment. We are investing $300,000 in Bialik College Early Learning Centre, $300,000 in Fordham Avenue Kindergarten, almost $150,000 in Robert Cochrane Kindergarten, and over $20,000 in St Paul’s Anglican Kindergarten. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest a further $38.5 million into the Building Blocks grants program, which offers early childhood providers funding towards building, expanding, improving and creating more inclusive early learning facilities. The Building Blocks program supports early childhood providers create infrastructure capacity for three and four-year-old funded kindergarten services, improves early learning facilities, creates inclusive kindergarten settings and delivers information technology devices to eligible services. In an Australian-first, the Labor Government is investing $5 billion this decade to deliver two years of funded kindergarten for all Victorian children, with the roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten underway this year. The Labor Government has committed $1.68 billion over 10 years to support the reform’s required infrastructure expansion to meet the demand for three-year-old enrolments and population growth.  

Building and Upgrading Kinders across Hawthorn

The Andrews Labor Government will build and upgrade kindergartens across Victoria – creating thousands of new kinder places and hundreds of jobs as Victoria rolls out funded universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten. 127 kinders across Victoria will share in $46.9 million through the Building Blocks programs – which works to boost kindergarten places and improve learning spaces. Seven new early learning facilities, five new integrated children’s centres, three modular buildings and 20 building expansions are among the projects funded. More than 90 kinders will also share in almost $8 million to improve existing early-learning facilities. Projects range from upgrades to the outdoor play spaces, landscaping improvements and much needed refurbishment of bathrooms. These projects will create an almost 2,200 funded kindergarten places across 32 local government areas. Four well-deserving Hawthorn kindergartens or early learning centres will share in this investment. We are investing $300,000 in Bialik College Early Learning Centre, $300,000 in Fordham Avenue Kindergarten, almost $150,000 in Robert Cochrane Kindergarten, and over $20,000 in St Paul’s Anglican Kindergarten. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest a further $38.5 million into the Building Blocks grants program, which offers early childhood providers funding towards building, expanding, improving and creating more inclusive early learning facilities. The Building Blocks program supports early childhood providers create infrastructure capacity for three and four-year-old funded kindergarten services, improves early learning facilities, creates inclusive kindergarten settings and delivers information technology devices to eligible services. In an Australian-first, the Labor Government is investing $5 billion this decade to deliver two years of funded kindergarten for all Victorian children, with the roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten underway this year. The Labor Government has committed $1.68 billion over 10 years to support the reform’s required infrastructure expansion to meet the demand for three-year-old enrolments and population growth.  

It Has Been A Momentous Fortnight!

Two Fridays ago, the 4th of December, marked the second anniversary of the declaration that I had won the seat of Hawthorn, following election on the 24th of November 2018.  Reflecting on this surprising and exciting time, I recall initial shock which soon turned into joy at this wonderful gift from the constituents of Hawthorn – the opportunity to stand up in Parliament on their behalf.  I will always be grateful for this and, since that election, have continued to work hard for every one of you.  The best is yet to come! Following this anniversary, we sat in Parliament for the final time in 2020.  Again, after the year we have had, and how frequently our reality has completely changed, it is such a wonder to be looking ahead to a somewhat normal summer.  Who would have thought one year ago that the Victorian Parliament would have ever been held partially via video call – but then again, who would have thought in August that we would safely be resuming normality by now?  A key event of this final sitting week was the opportunity to speak in reply to the Victorian Budget 2020/21.  You will find in this edition of The Fortnightly the highlights of my speech, or you can watch it!  This was my final speech this year and it was a proud moment in celebrating our Government’s deliveries to Hawthorn.

It Has Been A Momentous Fortnight!

Two Fridays ago, the 4th of December, marked the second anniversary of the declaration that I had won the seat of Hawthorn, following election on the 24th of November 2018.  Reflecting on this surprising and exciting time, I recall initial shock which soon turned into joy at this wonderful gift from the constituents of Hawthorn – the opportunity to stand up in Parliament on their behalf.  I will always be grateful for this and, since that election, have continued to work hard for every one of you.  The best is yet to come! Following this anniversary, we sat in Parliament for the final time in 2020.  Again, after the year we have had, and how frequently our reality has completely changed, it is such a wonder to be looking ahead to a somewhat normal summer.  Who would have thought one year ago that the Victorian Parliament would have ever been held partially via video call – but then again, who would have thought in August that we would safely be resuming normality by now?  A key event of this final sitting week was the opportunity to speak in reply to the Victorian Budget 2020/21.  You will find in this edition of The Fortnightly the highlights of my speech, or you can watch it!  This was my final speech this year and it was a proud moment in celebrating our Government’s deliveries to Hawthorn.

On Behalf of Hawthorn: Budget Reply

It was an honour on Wednesday to make my final speech in Parliament for the year of 2020, and in doing so, to reply to the fantastic Budget that the Andrews Government delivered last fortnight. When Governments hand down budgets, they reveal two important things; their values and their priorities. I am very pleased that the Budget handed down on Tuesday November 24 absolutely makes these revelations about the Andrews Labor Government and speaks to my vision, on which I was elected, for a Victoria and a Hawthorn that is Fair, Productive and Compassionate. This budget puts people at the centre of our economic recovery. I am delighted that it particularly puts a high value on education and school infrastructure – with the single biggest investment in our State’s history. In my inaugural speech in this place just under two years ago, I can be quoted as having said that it was, “a delight for staff and I to visit, get to know and support parents, staff and students of our government and non-government schools, which without exception we observe, do excellent work with and for young people.” Among those schools I visited was Auburn High School, Auburn South Primary School and Camberwell Primary School. All three schools had a lot of potential still to unleash. I am delighted that this Government has backed them in. $10.13 million to deliver Stage Two of Auburn High’s masterplan, $3.3 million to upgrade Auburn South Primary School’s Main Wing, and $700,000 to deliver new green, natural play-space to Camberwell Primary School makes the priorities of this Government pretty clear. Beyond infrastructure, Vocational Education will be receiving necessary reforms through this Budget – ones I’m proud to say I participated in recommending to the Government. It was my honour to accept the invitation of the Minister for Education to chair the expert Reference Group for the review, conducted by John Firth, into Vocational Education 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 in this Budget with a $38 million investment to develop a new single VCE integrated senior secondary certificate. This Budget doesn’t stop benefitting Hawthorn at education. The $5.3 billion Big Housing Build represents the biggest investment in public and community housing ever in this country, building more than 12,000 new homes which will ensure more Victorians have a place to call home. Of these new homes, 2,000 will be allocated for Victorians living with a mental illness, once again reflecting this Government’s commitment to mental health and to fixing a broken system. This Housing Build shows the heart of the Andrews Government, and lets Hawthorn take a leading role, as Bills Street, Hawthorn will be home to some of the first community and social houses to be developed. Further, as someone who at 73 has never driven a car, I’m also passionate about public transport, which is why I am delighted that the Government is investing $2.2 billion to kickstart work on the Suburban Rail Loop. This will include project development, initial land assembly, construction power works, utility relocations and protection works, geotechnical investigations and precinct aviation measures. And finally, aligning with my exclusive use of public transport, is my personal investment in the future of our environment. A particular point of pride, consequently, in this Budget, is the Government’s unprecedented investment of $1.6 billion to create renewable energy hubs across the state. Effective action on climate and investing in renewable energy is something the people of Hawthorn expect, and it is something they demand – and so they should. Hence, I am ecstatic that this investment in renewable energy will improve crucial grid infrastructure, decarbonise our energy system, drive down emissions and support more Solar Homes. This 3 in 1 investment will create local jobs, reduce power prices and advance our work in tackling climate change, it is very warmly welcomed in my community. Speaker, this is a Budget with Labor values write large and it is a Budget that gets to the heart of what the Andrews Labor Government values and prioritises. I welcome the boldness and creativity of this Government and continue to be proud of the work being done for the people of Hawthorn.

On Behalf of Hawthorn: Budget Reply

It was an honour on Wednesday to make my final speech in Parliament for the year of 2020, and in doing so, to reply to the fantastic Budget that the Andrews Government delivered last fortnight. When Governments hand down budgets, they reveal two important things; their values and their priorities. I am very pleased that the Budget handed down on Tuesday November 24 absolutely makes these revelations about the Andrews Labor Government and speaks to my vision, on which I was elected, for a Victoria and a Hawthorn that is Fair, Productive and Compassionate. This budget puts people at the centre of our economic recovery. I am delighted that it particularly puts a high value on education and school infrastructure – with the single biggest investment in our State’s history. In my inaugural speech in this place just under two years ago, I can be quoted as having said that it was, “a delight for staff and I to visit, get to know and support parents, staff and students of our government and non-government schools, which without exception we observe, do excellent work with and for young people.” Among those schools I visited was Auburn High School, Auburn South Primary School and Camberwell Primary School. All three schools had a lot of potential still to unleash. I am delighted that this Government has backed them in. $10.13 million to deliver Stage Two of Auburn High’s masterplan, $3.3 million to upgrade Auburn South Primary School’s Main Wing, and $700,000 to deliver new green, natural play-space to Camberwell Primary School makes the priorities of this Government pretty clear. Beyond infrastructure, Vocational Education will be receiving necessary reforms through this Budget – ones I’m proud to say I participated in recommending to the Government. It was my honour to accept the invitation of the Minister for Education to chair the expert Reference Group for the review, conducted by John Firth, into Vocational Education 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 in this Budget with a $38 million investment to develop a new single VCE integrated senior secondary certificate. This Budget doesn’t stop benefitting Hawthorn at education. The $5.3 billion Big Housing Build represents the biggest investment in public and community housing ever in this country, building more than 12,000 new homes which will ensure more Victorians have a place to call home. Of these new homes, 2,000 will be allocated for Victorians living with a mental illness, once again reflecting this Government’s commitment to mental health and to fixing a broken system. This Housing Build shows the heart of the Andrews Government, and lets Hawthorn take a leading role, as Bills Street, Hawthorn will be home to some of the first community and social houses to be developed. Further, as someone who at 73 has never driven a car, I’m also passionate about public transport, which is why I am delighted that the Government is investing $2.2 billion to kickstart work on the Suburban Rail Loop. This will include project development, initial land assembly, construction power works, utility relocations and protection works, geotechnical investigations and precinct aviation measures. And finally, aligning with my exclusive use of public transport, is my personal investment in the future of our environment. A particular point of pride, consequently, in this Budget, is the Government’s unprecedented investment of $1.6 billion to create renewable energy hubs across the state. Effective action on climate and investing in renewable energy is something the people of Hawthorn expect, and it is something they demand – and so they should. Hence, I am ecstatic that this investment in renewable energy will improve crucial grid infrastructure, decarbonise our energy system, drive down emissions and support more Solar Homes. This 3 in 1 investment will create local jobs, reduce power prices and advance our work in tackling climate change, it is very warmly welcomed in my community. Speaker, this is a Budget with Labor values write large and it is a Budget that gets to the heart of what the Andrews Labor Government values and prioritises. I welcome the boldness and creativity of this Government and continue to be proud of the work being done for the people of Hawthorn.

Handling Heatwaves: Tips from the Australian Conservation Community in Boroondara

Heatwaves are a common occurrence in hot Aussie summers. Lots of us are familiar with the exhaustion that comes from feeling awfully sticky and sweaty for the third or fourth day in a row. But besides being uncomfortable, heatwaves are actually really bad news for human health. For example, in 2014 Melbourne experienced a four-day heatwave that saw many people suffer from heat stroke, which can come on quickly and be fatal. Tragically, the average number of deaths caused by heatwaves more than doubled. It was a disaster. The state saw temperatures in excess of 41°C each day, with maximum temperatures 12°C or more above average across much of Victoria. Ambulance Victoria received a 700% rise in the number of call-outs it received for cardiac arrests when temperatures spike at almost 44°C. We are experiencing longer and hotter heatwaves each year as a result of climate change. Not only that, but urban areas can be more than 5°C hotter than rural areas. This is because concrete, brick, and asphalt hold heat, a phenomenon know as the urban heat island effect. For tips to manage heatwaves this summer: Be sun smart. Stop work or do not ride your bike when the weather is very hot. Take care to drink enough cool water to remain hydrated and cool down. Check on the elderly. Check the cooling fluids in your car. Make sure our pets have enough shade and cool water to drink. Our pets’ feet can be burned by hot asphalt surfaces, so avoid these. Spare a thought for wildlife. Volunteers saved thousands of grey headed flying foxes in 2019 by spraying water mist to help cool the colony down. Get a free copy of ACF’s wildlife care guide here: www.acf.org.au/wildlife_care_guide During the day, shade your pool with a pool cover or float reflective insulation when you are not using it. Pool water is heated all day and is hottest an hour before sunset. The ACF Boroondara group engages in democracy and is calling on all parties to take strong action on climate, because climate change is making heatwaves worse. To connect with more like minded ACF members join our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/acfboroondara Or join here: www.acf.org.au/group_boroondara ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community. ACF will pass on your contact details to the host for the purpose of running the event.   Sources: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-23/heatwave-death-toll-expected-to-top-almost-400/5214496 https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/environmental-health/climate-weather-and-public-health/heatwaves-and-extreme-heat/heatwave-research

Handling Heatwaves: Tips from the Australian Conservation Community in Boroondara

Heatwaves are a common occurrence in hot Aussie summers. Lots of us are familiar with the exhaustion that comes from feeling awfully sticky and sweaty for the third or fourth day in a row. But besides being uncomfortable, heatwaves are actually really bad news for human health. For example, in 2014 Melbourne experienced a four-day heatwave that saw many people suffer from heat stroke, which can come on quickly and be fatal. Tragically, the average number of deaths caused by heatwaves more than doubled. It was a disaster. The state saw temperatures in excess of 41°C each day, with maximum temperatures 12°C or more above average across much of Victoria. Ambulance Victoria received a 700% rise in the number of call-outs it received for cardiac arrests when temperatures spike at almost 44°C. We are experiencing longer and hotter heatwaves each year as a result of climate change. Not only that, but urban areas can be more than 5°C hotter than rural areas. This is because concrete, brick, and asphalt hold heat, a phenomenon know as the urban heat island effect. For tips to manage heatwaves this summer: Be sun smart. Stop work or do not ride your bike when the weather is very hot. Take care to drink enough cool water to remain hydrated and cool down. Check on the elderly. Check the cooling fluids in your car. Make sure our pets have enough shade and cool water to drink. Our pets’ feet can be burned by hot asphalt surfaces, so avoid these. Spare a thought for wildlife. Volunteers saved thousands of grey headed flying foxes in 2019 by spraying water mist to help cool the colony down. Get a free copy of ACF’s wildlife care guide here: www.acf.org.au/wildlife_care_guide During the day, shade your pool with a pool cover or float reflective insulation when you are not using it. Pool water is heated all day and is hottest an hour before sunset. The ACF Boroondara group engages in democracy and is calling on all parties to take strong action on climate, because climate change is making heatwaves worse. To connect with more like minded ACF members join our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/acfboroondara Or join here: www.acf.org.au/group_boroondara ACF Community Boroondara is part of a network of independently organised, volunteer-run groups in the ACF community. ACF will pass on your contact details to the host for the purpose of running the event.   Sources: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-23/heatwave-death-toll-expected-to-top-almost-400/5214496 https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/environmental-health/climate-weather-and-public-health/heatwaves-and-extreme-heat/heatwave-research

Commending State Schools’ Relief for their Support in Hawthorn

It’s a global reality that education hung in the balance this year while the world navigated (and continues to navigate) a public health crisis. Education is one of Victoria’s biggest assets, and one we worked hard to protect through 2020, though it wasn’t easy. It ‘takes a village’, and that’s why I’d like to celebrate and appreciate the contributions that State Schools’ Relief made to Hawthorn this year. Celebrating their 90th Anniversary in 2020, State Schools’ Relief is a not-for-profit organisation that improves the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged Victorian students every year. These students were the most vulnerable to falling behind during home learning without adequate resources, and that’s where State Schools’ Relief came in. During remote learning, the organisation provided students in need across the state with thousands of Internet USBs and stationary packs, as well as almost a thousand desk and chair study packs, and laptops. In the Hawthorn electorate, they supported 85 students, by providing hundreds of items across these categories. Visible seeing the impact that State Schools’ Relief makes, particularly in times of crisis, is a point of pride for the Victorian Government. As of 2019, we were providing upwards of $22 million to assist their Affordable School Uniforms Program, and my colleague Sonia Kilkenny serves as the Victorian Government Ambassador for the organisation. Once again, a warm thank you to State Schools’ Relief for the way that they collaborate with our Government to help and support Victorian families in accessing education without barriers, and a congratulations on ninety years of this wonderful service.

Commending State Schools’ Relief for their Support in Hawthorn

It’s a global reality that education hung in the balance this year while the world navigated (and continues to navigate) a public health crisis. Education is one of Victoria’s biggest assets, and one we worked hard to protect through 2020, though it wasn’t easy. It ‘takes a village’, and that’s why I’d like to celebrate and appreciate the contributions that State Schools’ Relief made to Hawthorn this year. Celebrating their 90th Anniversary in 2020, State Schools’ Relief is a not-for-profit organisation that improves the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged Victorian students every year. These students were the most vulnerable to falling behind during home learning without adequate resources, and that’s where State Schools’ Relief came in. During remote learning, the organisation provided students in need across the state with thousands of Internet USBs and stationary packs, as well as almost a thousand desk and chair study packs, and laptops. In the Hawthorn electorate, they supported 85 students, by providing hundreds of items across these categories. Visible seeing the impact that State Schools’ Relief makes, particularly in times of crisis, is a point of pride for the Victorian Government. As of 2019, we were providing upwards of $22 million to assist their Affordable School Uniforms Program, and my colleague Sonia Kilkenny serves as the Victorian Government Ambassador for the organisation. Once again, a warm thank you to State Schools’ Relief for the way that they collaborate with our Government to help and support Victorian families in accessing education without barriers, and a congratulations on ninety years of this wonderful service.

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]

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.

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

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.

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.

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/