Premier of Victoria » Media ReleasePremier of Victoria Daniel Andrews Sat, 13 Feb 2016 04:58:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Safer Motorcyclists On Victorian Roads Sat, 13 Feb 2016 04:58:31 +0000 The Andrews Labor Government is helping Victorian motorcyclists to be safer on our roads with the introduction of the second phase of the Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS) for motorcyclists.

Phase 2 of the Motorcycle GLS will come into effect in Melbourne and Geelong on 19 March and 2 April across the rest of regional Victoria.

Motorcyclists applying for their learners licence will need to pass a two day training assessment before they are issued with a learner permit. The course will include both classroom and practical training.

The training assessment will include practical and theoretical training. The practical training will include off road exercises in a safe and controlled environment as well as on road training. At the end of the two days applicants will be assessed.

Motorcyclist L Platers will also be required to undertake more extensive training and testing. They will now need to complete a 6 hour training session called Check Ride.

Check Ride will provide advice on safe riding skills and strategies while they are learning. As well, discussions of on-road tactics and strategies are an important focus of the Check Ride.

These discussions provide an opportunity to correct misunderstandings about on-road riding and reinforce the need for safe riding behaviours.

The training will have a greater emphasis not only on basic skills but also higher order skills such as awareness, judgement and decision making.

There will also be an on-road assessment as part of the motorcycle licence application.

Inexperience is a major contributor to motorcycle crashes in Victoria, with learner and first year licensed riders accounting for almost one-third of all motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Roads & Road Safety Luke Donnellan

“Unfortunately this year we’ve already seen eleven motorcyclists die on Victorian roads.”

“One life is too many and that’s why we’re increasing training and support to learners who are our most vulnerable motorcyclists.”

“First time riders require practice in order to be safe on-road and a Graduated Licensing Scheme helps ensure they have the required skills and experience needed to be safe.”

“The GLS scheme is based on evidence and research to specifically target the most common crashes that motorcyclists are involved in.”

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Don’t Fall for Online Dating Scams this Valentine’s Day Sat, 13 Feb 2016 02:30:30 +0000 Victorians going online for love this Valentine’s Day are being warned to watch out for scammers asking for money.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garrett said Victorians were conned out of more than $4 million in 2015 to fraudsters who systematically targeted their victims on online dating sites.

Almost 500 Victorians filed complaints with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ScamWatch last year but that number is likely to be much higher with many scams going unreported.

Nationally, 2,620 Australians lost almost $23 million to romance scams in 2015. More than $4.4 million was lost during the month of February alone.

Ms Garrett said the scammers were often based overseas and preyed on the emotions of vulnerable people before stealing their money.

The online con artists often go to extreme lengths to create realistic profiles and ‘groom’ their victims over many weeks, months or years to build a relationship. Once they have gained their victim’s trust, they start asking for money for a range of emotive reasons.

One woman lost $15,000 to an online scammer after she went on a dating website looking for love. Maria is part of a new campaign run by Consumer Affairs Victoria to warn others of the pitfalls of online dating.

For more information on romance scams and how to avoid them, visit

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming & Liquor Regulation Jane Garrett

“Don’t fall victim to an online romance scams this Valentine’s Day. Look out for the warning signs and never send money to someone you’ve never met.”

“These heartless fraudsters will do everything they can to convince you that the relationship is real before taking your money and running.”

“Romance scams often cause financial and emotional distress. If you think you’re being scammed, report it as soon as possible so we can stop these criminals in their tracks. ”

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Veterans Sector Study Report Released Fri, 12 Feb 2016 23:00:18 +0000 Minister for Veterans John Eren today released the Veterans Sector Study Report – undertaken by the Victorian Veterans Council to refresh Victoria’s understanding of the veterans sector and the welfare and priorities of our veterans.

Victoria boasts the third highest population of veterans in Australia. Some 63,842 known veterans and their families call Victoria home, and 50 per cent are aged 75 or over.

The Veterans Sector Study Report found the veteran community in Victoria is changing, and we need to rethink our strategy to recognise, commemorate and give them the care they deserve.

The Report raises a series of key themes and makes 14 recommendations to help Victoria better assist veterans and commemorate their sacrifice. The Andrews Labor Government will consult with the Veterans Council  and Ex-Service Community on the priorities in the report.

Key themes and issues raised include:

  • Older veterans’ service needs generally relate to health and aged service, while younger veterans’ priorities relate to employment and families.
  • While the majority of veterans manage to transition to civilian life with minimal disruptions, a small number experience issues and service gaps that include income security, homelessness, domestic violence support, social isolation, mental health and substance abuse services.
  • A need for better communication and information sharing among the ex-service community and veterans, improving access to services for regionally based veterans, and a need to map and identify priority service gaps and requirements of the veteran community.

The Labor Government is giving our veterans the fitting tribute and support networks that they deserve.

The Government’s 2015-16 Victorian Budget includes $400,000 to support the wellbeing of veterans and their families, working with the RSL to safeguard the welfare of the men and women who served our country.

The Victorian Government provided $1.35 million to Housing Choices Australia to deliver the Veterans Accommodation Project in Richmond, where veterans facing hardship will be able to find their feet again in emergency accommodation.

A copy of the Report can be found at:

Quotes attributable to Minister for Veterans, John Eren

“There are  63,842 known veterans and their families living in Victoria, and each and every one of them deserves our care and respect.”

“We’ll consider this report carefully, because our veterans deserve the greatest respect.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Veterans Council Chair, Rear Admiral John Lord AM

“The Veteran Sector Study Report provides the Veterans Council and Victorian Government with an up to date picture on the existing and emerging issues facing our veteran community.”

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Cutting Sexual Assault Support Service Waiting Lists Fri, 12 Feb 2016 22:30:11 +0000 Children and adults who have experienced sexual assault will have better access to support services, with a $1.35 million funding boost that will reduce waiting lists across Victoria’s Centres Against Sexual Assault.

Visiting the Royal Children’s Hospital Gatehouse Service today, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said a priority of the funding is addressing the waitlist of children and young people.

The funding will be provided to 17 sexual assault support service providers across Victoria and will deliver services to an extra 815 children, young people and adults.

The funding is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s $16 million Family Violence Fund, established to respond to increased demand for services as a result of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Sexual assault support services provide crisis care responses, counselling, casework, group-work, advocacy and a statewide after-hours telephone crisis service for children, young people and adults who have experienced recent or past sexual assault.

Agencies also provide community awareness, education and professional consultation services that work towards the prevention and early identification of sexual assault.

In its first budget the Labor Government announced an $81.3 million package to boost family violence services, including the establishment of Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The Royal Commission is due to hand down its findings in March 2016.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“We are working to reduce waiting lists for Victorians who have suffered the terrible impacts of sexual assault so they get the timely access to support and appropriate counseling that they need.”

“This vital funding boost will help clear the waiting lists for children and young people to ensure they can access services as soon as possible.”

“The CASAs in Victoria offer invaluable support to Victorians in times of terrible trauma – we are committed to helping them continue this work in communities across Victoria.”

“We are helping address the scourge of sexual assault and family violence which impacts on too many Victorians.”

Quotes attributed to Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson

“Providing tailored support for those impacted by sexual assault is critical in helping to overcome the trauma associated with this harm.”

“Our government is working to ensure that Victoria has a system of best practice and that support is provided for those who require it.”

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Help Shape The Future Of Your Region Fri, 12 Feb 2016 04:00:59 +0000 Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford today called for nominations from business and community leaders to join the Andrews Labor Government’s new Regional Partnerships.

The Regional Partnerships will provide a platform for communities to have a greater say in issues that matter and ensure their needs are heard by Government.

We recognise that each region is different, and will ensure decisions and investments reflect the priorities of local families, workers and businesses, to provide a real voice to regional  communities.

Regional Partnerships will be established in Barwon, Great South Coast, Central Highlands, Wimmera Southern Mallee, Mallee, Loddon Campaspe, Goulburn, Ovens Murray and Gippsland to drive local action around regional priorities and to direct them straight into the heart of the Labor Government.

The Partnerships will build on the work of existing regional leadership and advocacy groups, looking at the strategic priorities local communities have identified across economic, social and environmental issues.

Each Regional Partnership will include a number of business and community members, from which the chair and deputy chair will be selected. Partnerships will also include representatives and links to the three levels of government.

We are looking for applications from people with a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing their region, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate across community and industry groups.

People with experience working within and across sectors such as tourism, food and fibre, health and education may be particularly suited for the role.

Women, Aboriginal people, people with a disability and those from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

People interested in nominating should visit and search for Regional Partnerships under the vacancies tab.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford

“This is a great opportunity for passionate locals to represent their region and help direct regional priorities straight into the heart of State Government decision making.”

“These roles present an opportunity to collaborate with your community, identify regional priorities, influence government and positively shape the outcomes of your region.” 

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Labor Government To Cover Cost Of Texting Parents During An Emergency Fri, 12 Feb 2016 03:55:20 +0000 The Andrews Labor Government will fund text messages sent out to parents during emergency situations at Victorian government schools.

All schools across the state have access to software that enables them to communicate with parents and carers via SMS text message.

This service provides the ability to send SMS text message notifications of student absences, sick bay attendances and emergencies.

This software has been operating successfully in 121 schools and has been available to all schools since September 2015, however there was an associated cost.

Schools do not have to pay any set up costs for the service but there was previously a cost of 7 cents per SMS.

This cost will now be covered by the Labor Government in the event of an emergency.

All Victorian Government schools have emergency management plans and this SMS service is available for schools to use in their planning and response to emergencies.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education, James Merlino

“We’re making sure that schools can get in contact with parents straight away if anything goes wrong. It’s a little thing – but it will make a big difference to every parent’s peace of mind.”

“The service will be able to be used for free in any type of emergency situation including bushfires.”

“The latest hoaxes have been a timely reminder about the importance of schools quickly notifying their parent communities, after first ensuring the safety of students and staff.” 

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Victorian Innovation Takes An Expert Lead Thu, 11 Feb 2016 22:30:24 +0000 The Andrews Labor Government has appointed an Innovation Expert Panel to strengthen Victoria’s position as Australia’s innovation and tech hub.

Speaking at the PauseFest innovation festival in Melbourne, Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis said the Labor Government had secured some of the country’s leading innovators, company directors and CEOs, with women again dominating the panel’s make-up.

Two-thirds of the appointed panel will be entrepreneurs with experience in turning bright ideas into commercial realties – and they will share the table with some of the country’s key drivers of technology innovation from the university and private sectors.

The Innovation Expert Panel will analyse and provide advice to the Government about new models for innovation, emerging trends and issues, disruptive technologies and their potential to impact business growth across all industry sectors.

Victoria’s Lead Scientist Dr Leonie Walsh will chair the panel, with other members including:

  • Brett Adam, VP Engineering and Managing Director, Zendesk
  • Dr Joanna Batstone, Vice President and Lab Director IBM Research – Australia and CTO IBM Australia and New Zealand
  • Marita Cheng, Founder, 2Mar Robotics
  • Dr Kate Cornick, Managing Director, Rision
  • Tessa Herd Court, CEO and Director, IntelligenceBank
  • Mohinder Jaimangal, Director and Principal, Curve Tomorrow
  • Jonathan Jeffries, Co-founder, Onestack
  • Emily Lee, Managing Director, Mercer Capital, Non-Executive Director at TBG Diagnostic Limited and Managing Director, Lanka Graphite Limited
  • Adam Nowiski, Director (APAC), Nitro, Inc.
  • Dr Buzz Palmer, CEO, STC Australia
  • Dr Melis Senova, Founder and Chief Entrepreneur, Huddle
  • Kerri Lee Sinclair, CEO, QSR International
  • Chris Thomas, Managing Partner, Differential
  • Adrian Turner, CEO, Data61

Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis

“This new Panel is not just about leading Australia on innovation, which we are, it’s about helping us become the number one tech destination in the Asia Pacific region.”  

“We are well on our way to building a very strong innovation system here in Victoria and this talented group of industry leaders will help strengthen our position as a serious global competitor.”

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Second Round Of Quality Blitz To Target High Risk Qualifications Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:00:31 +0000 The Andrews Labor Government’s quality blitz is turning its attention to providers who deliver training in high risk qualifications, to give students certainty the qualification they receive is worth the paper it is written on.

The second round of the Labor Government’s quality blitz is focusing on a number of key concerns including high risk qualifications like security training, early childcare education and building and construction courses.

Investigations will also focus on courses with short durations, providers with high student withdrawal rates and other anomalies in data reported to the Department of Education and Training.

Twelve providers, including six RTOs who offer Early Childhood Education and three who offer Building and Construction courses, are currently under scrutiny as part of the second round of the blitz.

At the same time, more than $12 million in Government funding is being withheld while investigations are underway.

The Labor Government’s quality blitz has already started to clean up the state’s training system with ten providers having their government-funded contracts terminated under the blitz.

Since the blitz began in July last year, 43 investigations have commenced and $30 million in funds are now in the process of being recovered.

We’re spending an additional $39 million over the next three years, including the $9 million quality blitz, to ramp up quality checks and investigate providers who aren’t giving Victorian students the skills they need to get and retain jobs.

It is now time for the Turnbull Government to stop dancing around the issue of quality in the federal training system, in particular VET FEE-HELP, and follow the Labor Government’s lead in cracking down on rogue training providers.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert

“The Andrews Labor Government is working to restore student and employer confidence in the training system, something the former Liberal Government couldn’t achieve.”

“Students should receive the training they need to do their jobs properly like building our homes and looking after our children.”

“Every Victorian no matter their circumstances should be able to access quality training with confidence their qualification is worth the paper it is printed on.”


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Horsham’s New Town Hall And Art Gallery Opened Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:30:58 +0000 Horsham is set for a cultural revitalisation, thanks to the opening today of the redeveloped Town Hall and Art Gallery by Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford.

Ms Pulford said the redeveloped Horsham Town Hall and Regional Art Gallery will provide high-quality cultural facilities for the Horsham community, boost visitor numbers to the region and create more local jobs.

The facility is designed to be used for conferences, large events and community activities. The redevelopment has delivered:

  • a new 500-seat performing arts auditorium
  • rehearsal studio/ function room
  • refurbishment works to the existing heritage listed Town Hall and Regional Art Gallery
  • expansion of the art gallery exhibition space and collection storage
  • a new foyer running the length of the building and connecting Wilson and Pynsent Streets.

The new 500-seat auditorium will showcase local and touring performing and visual arts – bringing the best to the region and showcasing the region’s talent.

As a significant civic building in the town centre, the redeveloped Town Hall and Art Gallery will stimulate community and economic activity on the surrounding streets during the day, in the evening and on weekends.

Economic modelling of the redevelopment indicated that investment during the construction phase for goods and services in Horsham was worth more than $13 million, and the flow on consumption was worth $5.5 million.

The new Town Hall and Performing Arts Centre will provide an additional 3.4 full time jobs, and further casual staff for specific events. The new café connected to the Performing Arts Centre will also employ approximately 5 new staff once opened.

The Andrews Labor Government recognises that creative industries and cultural events can enhance liveability, grow local economies and bring the community together.

Through the Government’s $971,000  Touring Victoria program, producers can access grants to help take visual arts, music, circus, theatre, comedy and dance performances to regional audiences.

Horsham Rural City Council are already experiencing a healthy level of bookings for touring shows, local community events and conferences.

The $19.8 million redevelopment was funded by the Victorian Government ($6.5 million), Australian Government ($5 million), Horsham Rural City Council ($7.3 million), and community fundraising  ($1 million).

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford

“This state-of-the-art regional performing arts and art gallery complex will serve the communities of the Wimmera region for many years to come, attracting visitors and driving economic and cultural activity.”  

“We are putting Horsham on track to be the Arts and Culture hub of the Wimmera.”

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New Laws Tighten Net On Drug Dealers And Protect Kids Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:39:19 +0000 Ice dealers who peddle drugs to children in or near schools will spend up to 25 years in prison under new laws to clamp down on drug suppliers and dealers.

The Victorian Parliament today passed the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment Bill 2015, which introduces seven new drug offences that give police additional powers to arrest criminals involved in the supply and manufacture of illicit drugs.

These new laws send a clear message that drug dealing around schools is an especially serious crime and peddlers who do it deserve to be held to full account.

Under the new laws, anyone who traffics drugs to a child at a school or in a public place within 500m of a school will face up to 25 years in jail.

Specific offences will also now make it illegal to:

  • traffic illicit drugs to anyone, or supply illicit drugs to a child, at a school or in a public place within 500m of a school (up to 20 years’ jail)

  • use violence or threats to force someone to traffic illicit drugs (up to 5 years’ jail)

  • possess instructions for trafficking or cultivating illicit drugs (up to 5 years’ jail)

  • publish instructions for trafficking or cultivating illicit drugs (up to 10 years’ jail)

  • intentionally allow a property to be used for trafficking or cultivation (up to 5 years’ jail)

The Andrews Labor Government has taken strong action to reduce the harm caused by ice and to hold to account those responsible for manufacturing and dealing this deadly drug.

The Government’s $45.5 million Ice Action Plan also provides additional support for families, treatment for users and funding to protect frontline workers.

Victoria Police has also been given additional forensics staff to help police close clandestine labs, as well as a new drug and booze bus fleet and more drug-drive tests.

Quotes attributable to Acting Minister for Police Robin Scott

Ice is an insidious drug – we are taking action against those who profit from its misery, while providing better treatment for users.”

While we can’t simply arrest our way out of the ice problem, these new laws will give police tougher powers to catch anyone involved in the drug trade.”

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