Pages tagged "Media release"

Time to allow indoor services in regional churches

Churches and places of worship in Ripon and across regional Victoria must be allowed to recommence indoor services with COVID-safe plans, says Member for Ripon Louise Staley.

Religious organisations have been prohibited from holding indoor ceremonies with worshippers for most of the period since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March. Now with case numbers at zero for nearly all of regional Victoria, it is time to allow indoor religious services for worshippers to recommence.

“Right across Ripon, religion is a hugely important aspect of many people’s lives,” Ms Staley said.

“As most of regional Victoria has been COVID-19 free for many weeks now, it is time to allow people of faith to attend indoor services at their local church.”

“I’ve been contacted by both individuals and leaders of faith communities. They are all asking when they will be able to come together indoors to worship and celebrate their beliefs,” Ms Staley said.

Ms Staley said it made little sense for hospitality venues to accommodate customers indoors with density limits but not allow the same for religious gatherings.

“Church leaders have assured me they are ready to hold ceremonies with their communities in attendance again, in a COVID-safe way.”

“If we can support local pubs, cafes, and restaurants by allowing them to have people indoors with density limits of 1 person per 4 square metres, why can’t we allow religious gatherings to do the same under the same rules?”

“This is a time when many people are starting to lose hope. Reconnecting with their faith communities will allow people to support each other and rekindle that hope. It’s time to let faith communities welcome people into their churches safely.”

Victorian job seekers lose hope as employment numbers fall again

Today’s employment figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that Victorians who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to lose hope.

The numbers show that in September, there were 36,000 fewer Victorians in work than in August. Since the pandemic began in March, 219,000 Victorians have lost their jobs.

However, the latest numbers of people looking for work demonstrates that because of the second wave caused by Labor’s bungled hotel quarantine program and inadequate contact tracing, job seekers are losing hope that they can find another job.

In September, over 55,000 more people gave up looking for work compared to August.

Victoria’s labour force has shrunk by over 175,000 people since March as a result of the pandemic and the second wave. The labour participation rate is now 63.0 per cent, which is the lowest level since May 2004.

More worrying is the youth participation rate is now 54.2 per cent, which is the lowest level ever recorded in Victoria by the ABS.

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:

“Today’s figures released by the ABS show that despair in the Victorian community has set in as people give up in trying to find work.

“Another 36,000 people lost their jobs in August, and 219,000 have lost their jobs since this pandemic began.

“Now, Victorians looking for work so they can feed their families and put a roof over their heads, are losing hope that Daniel Andrews will ever be able to get business going again.

“Of colossal concern is young people giving up looking for work, as the youth participation rate has plummeted to its lowest point in 16 years.

“Over 55,000 people giving up looking for work in a month is a tragedy. What Victorians need is hope, not more restrictions that destroy jobs and destroy hope.”

Media contact:   Joshua Morris   0409 931 430

Labor refuses to rule out tax increases in state budget

Labor refuses to rule out tax increases in state budget

Despite the economic devastation that Daniel Andrews and his incompetent government have already inflicted upon Victoria’s economy, he now wants to slug Victorians with higher taxes.

In Question Time in Parliament today Labor’s Treasurer, Tim Pallas, when asked directly to rule out introducing new or increased taxes or charges in the upcoming budget, refused to do so.

Labor’s incompetence has already cost nearly 800 Victorians their lives, closed thousands of businesses and locked up millions of Victorians.

Now, Labor wants to slug Victorians with higher taxes as well.

Victorians can’t afford to pay higher taxes but that’s exactly what Labor wants to do in its upcoming budget – tax, tax, tax.

Victoria is already the highest taxed state in the country, and under Daniel Andrew and Tim Pallas, taxes will just continue to skyrocket.

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:

“Despite the devastation Labor has already caused to Victoria’s economy, Daniel Andrews wants to take more out of family budgets to pay for his mistakes.

“With so many families and businesses struggling to make ends meet its disgraceful Daniel Andrews is even considering increasing taxes.

“Every year and every budget from this Labor government has included new and increased taxes. Victorians were struggling under the taxation weight before the pandemic and now must be given real tax relief in the upcoming state budget.”

Media contact:   Joshua Morris   0409 931 430

Andrews and Allan send train work to banned Chinese company instead of keeping jobs here

Revelations in today’s newspapers that the Chinese company, which was awarded a $2.3 billion contract to build Melbourne’s new trains by the Andrews Labor Government, has been blacklisted by the US government over security and human rights concerns is salt in the wounds of Victorian train builders badly in need of work.

According to today’s Age, Changchun Railway Vehicles, which won the contract to build 65 new high-capacity trains for Melbourne, is a subsidiary of a state-owned Chinese company and has been identified as benefitting from forced labour.

This news will come as another blow for struggling Victorian train building firms like Alstom, based in Ballarat, according to Member for Ripon Louise Staley.

“The story in today’s Age just shows the lengths Daniel Andrews and his Transport Infrastructure Minister, Jacinta Allan, will go to keep the Chinese Communist Party happy, even if it means selling train builders in Victoria down the river,” Ms Staley said.

A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute listed Changchun Railway Vehicles’ parent company as benefitting from the use of forced labour from Uighur workers.

Ms Staley said that Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan needed to come clean about the awarding of this contract to Changchun Railway Vehicles.

“Jacinta Allan, who claims to represent regional Victorians, now must tell us why she supported these trains being built in China instead of locally with a company such as Alstom located in Ballarat.”

Time for Victoria to take the manufacturing lead

Today's welcome announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the Federal Government will create a $1.3 billion "Modern Manufacturing Initiative" must be supercharged with a $1 billion Victorian "Bringing Manufacturing Home" fund. 

Back in May, the Victorian Liberal Nationals called for the creation of a $1 billion “Bringing Manufacturing Home" fund as part of Victoria's recovery plan. To date, the Andrews Labor Government has refused to adopt this concrete and positive plan to revitalise Victorian manufacturing and create thousands of Victorian jobs. 

With the Prime Minister's announcement today, it is even more critical that Victoria is not left behind due to the continued closure of much of Victoria's manufacturing because of the second wave caused by the Andrews Labor Government. 

Victoria is a world leader in medical products, food and beverage manufacturing, and we also have world-leading firms in resource technology and defence manufacturing. We mustn't lose these industry clusters and innovation hubs to other states. 

Victorians have lost confidence in Daniel Andrews and his government, while the rest of Australia is getting Back to Work and Back in Business, Victoria continues to lag behind. 

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley: 

"The Victorian Liberal Nationals welcome the Federal Government's $1.3 billion "Modern Manufacturing Initiative" and call on Daniel Andrews to turbocharge Victorian manufacturing by adopting our call for a $1 billion Victorian “Bringing Manufacturing Home" fund. 

"It is lousy enough Victoria is still losing jobs while the rest of Australia is recovering, but Victoria mustn't also lose out to other states building their manufacturing while we remain locked down due to Labor’s second wave. 

“Victoria is already a world leader in several sectors being prioritised by the Prime Minister and a $1 billion “Bringing Manufacturing Home” fund will ensure Victoria remains the preeminent manufacturing state." 

Media contact:   Joshua Morris   0409 931 430 

Labor’s incompetence causes Victoria’s unemployment to skyrocket while the rest of Australia recovers

Victorians are suffering the cruel effects of Daniel Andrews’ second wave of coronavirus with today’s ABS Labour Force figures showing that Victoria lost 42,400 jobs in August.

Half of these job losses have been are Victorians under the age of 25, young people who are at risk of long term unemployment due to Daniel Andrews’ incompetence.

188,400 jobs have been lost in Victoria since the start of the pandemic in March.

In stark contrast, New South Wales is now 107,700 jobs ahead of Victoria in its recovery from the pandemic.

Victoria was also the only state to lose jobs in August, with other states gaining a combined 117,500 jobs.

Figures released also show a huge increase in Victorians not getting hours of work, with 113,000 Victorians reported as working ‘zero hours for economic reasons’ in August. This was up from 65,600 people in July.

By comparison, only 45,800 people in New South Wales worked zero hours for economic reasons.

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:

“Today’s unemployment figures are devastating and are a direct result of Daniel Andrews stuffing up hotel quarantine and contact tracing.

“Why should Daniel Andrews keep his job when his incompetence has cost so many Victorians their jobs?

“As terrible as these unemployment figures are, they are set to get worse if Daniel Andrews doesn’t ease his cruel restrictions.”

Media contact:   Joshua Morris   0409 931 430

New VicHealth Funding to support Ripon in local health recovery

Local community groups in Ripon can now apply for funding to assist in their local health recovery from the
COVID-19 pandemic, says Member for Ripon Louise Staley.

VicHealth has announced $2.5 million in new funding to support local organisations to address the
immediate health and wellbeing concerns of Victorians hardest hit by the impact coronavirus pandemic.

Applications for VicHealth’s Reimagining Health grants open today, with funding amounts of $3K, $10K or
$50K available for local organisations whose ideas can support their communities to create meaningful
social connections, get active and access healthy, affordable food.

Ms Staley said “the call is going out to a diverse range of organisations, such as sporting clubs and leagues,
community gardens, arts organisations, local groups, and youth services, to act fast and apply for
$2.5million in grants.

“We know there are hardworking organisations in Ripon that could use this funding to make a significant
impact on the health of people living in our community in the next 12 months and beyond”, Ms Staley said.

“I encourage local organisations in Ripon, such as sporting clubs, community gardens, arts organisations,
community groups, and youth services to apply for funding so our communities can recover.”

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s vital that we
work quickly to protect the health and wellbeing of Victorians.

“Victorians spoke, and we listened. Many communities were already fighting an uphill battle before the
pandemic hit and are now facing greater challenges when it comes to putting healthy food on the table,
keeping active and staying connected to others in their community,” Dr Demaio said.

“We want successful organisations to get the support they need to do what they do so well – make a
difference in their communities, as soon as possible. We’ve made it easier to apply, with quicker
turnarounds to a notification.

“Our grants will support new or existing ideas and help amplify projects already in place, to reach more
members of the Victorian community and help them improve their health and wellbeing on our path to

Vacant Land Tax suspended after call from Liberal Nationals

The Andrews Labor Government has succumbed to pressure from the Liberal Nationals and announced it is suspending the Vacant Residential Land Tax for 2020.

Last month the Liberal Nationals called for this tax grab to be halted for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tax, imposed on properties in inner and middle Melbourne that are vacant for six months in any calendar year, was introduced by the Andrews Labor Government in 2017.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions associated with the second wave caused by Labor’s incompetent handling of its hotel quarantine program and its inadequate contact tracing have meant that ensuring properties are not vacant for six months has been impossible for many owners.

This move is overdue and will come as some relief to many people struggling in the current economic climate.

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:

“Many who own a property in inner or middle Melbourne are unable to reside in their properties or find someone else to do so, due to the pandemic. That’s why the Liberal Nationals called for this relief weeks ago

“Many regional Victorians who own properties in Melbourne can’t travel for regular appointments due to Stage 4 restrictions or their children are home from uni so are not using the property. They should never have had to face this tax in the first place, and unquestionably not this year.

“This move will provide some relief to these Victorians who can’t use their city property because Daniel Andrews’s iso-hotel failures caused the second wave, and his botched contact tracing has prolonged the misery.”

Media contact:   Joshua Morris   0409 931 430

Victorians keep losing jobs while the rest of the country recovers

Figures released by the ABS today show that Victorians are continuing to lose jobs, while at the same time, the rest of Australia has started to recover from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Payroll jobs data for the month up to 22 August shows that in Victoria payroll jobs fell by a further 2.3 per cent. While in the rest of Australia they rose by 0.1 per cent.

Overall since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, payroll jobs have fallen 7.9 per cent in Victoria, compared with 2.9 per cent in the rest of Australia.

These figures reveal that while Australians in other states are getting back to work, Victorians keep losing their jobs, with no end in sight.  Livelihoods have been lost because of the Andrews Labor Government’s bungled hotel quarantine program, which caused Victoria’s second wave.

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:

“Today’s payroll jobs figures show that while the rest of Australia has started their economic recovery, the news goes from bad to worse for Victorians who have lost their jobs.

“More Victorians have lost their jobs in August, while jobs have started to grow elsewhere in Australia. This is with weeks and maybe months left to go in Daniel Andrews’ lockdown.

“The Andrews Labor Government caused this catastrophic second wave due to its bungling of hotel quarantine, and prolonged it by its inept contact tracing.”

Media contact:  Tineka Everaardt   0408 210 293

Dan fails country Victoria’s economic recovery

Today’s announcement by Daniel Andrews says the trigger to move to the “Last Step” restrictions is no new COVID cases for 14 days across the whole of Victoria (including Metropolitan Melbourne).

31 country local government areas have not had a new case for at least two weeks, and three local government areas have never had a COVID case.

The Andrews Labor Government is forcing all country areas to remain in Stage 3 restrictions despite most regional areas meeting the “Last Step” test.

Under the current Stage 3 restrictions, country people still can only have ten people at a funeral or five people at a wedding. Only single people can have a social visitor who has to be a “nominated person.” Travel within Victoria is not allowed. Personal services, such as indoor personal training and beauty services, are not allowed. Sport is not allowed. Schools are shut. Restaurants are take-away only.

Under the Government’s plan for the “Last Step”, the economy and communities begin to function again. Schools are open and so are adult education and universities. Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed subject to density rules. People can visit each other at home. Sport is back. Gyms and personal training inside is allowed. Funerals and weddings can have more attendees. Churches, mosques and temples reopen for services. Travel and accommodation are permitted.

Regional Victoria’s businesses are on their knees due to restrictions that clearly don’t apply to their local communities.

Comments Attributable to the Shadow Treasurer

“Daniel Andrews’s city-centric plan consigns all country Victorians to the remainder bin. It’s time he delivered a plan to protect our COVID-free communities and let them reopen area by area instead of lumping everyone together.

“Most of country Victoria hasn’t seen a new case for at least 14 days. We need to reopen restaurants, small businesses such as personal trainers, personal services and shuttered shops.

“It’s time for Daniel Andrews to treat regional Victorians as more than one undifferentiated mass. What’s right for Donald, where there’s never been a case is different to Colac where there are still new cases occurring.

“It’s time to let regional Victorians with no new COVID cases for 14 days live again.”

Media contact: Emma Manser   0437 225 386