Pages tagged "Media release"


Western Victorian Cross Bench MPs must support their volunteer firefighters

Today the Andrews Labor Government released the 2019 version of their Bill to break apart the CFA and to deny cancer compensation to most volunteer firefighters.

Across Western Victoria, almost all CFA brigades are 100% volunteer, so this legislation makes them second class citizens when it comes to cancer compensation. The legislation also transfers all paid CFA staff, including the vital brigade support staff out of the CFA.

Ever since the government proposed this model – a model rejected by their then Minister Jane Garrett, rejected by the CFA Board, rejected by the volunteer’s association the VFVB, and rejected by the overwhelming majority of CFA volunteers – the government has failed to properly consult or properly listen. Nothing has changed.

Liberal and National MPs across Western Victoria reject this attack on the very brigades and firefighters who have always formed the backbone of firefighting in this highly fire-prone region. We stand with the volunteers and the country communities they protect.

Upper House Crossbench MPs weren’t in the Parliament last time around, but it is imperative they support equal treatment of volunteer and career firefighters for cancer compensation. It’s also imperative that they act to support the structure that volunteers support – which is not what is in this Bill.

Country communities depend on all their elected representatives to act in their best interests, not as lackeys for the government.

Comments attributed to the Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell MP

This is an opportunity for Andy Meddick to extend his repertoire and stand up for the majority of the community he represents – not just the vocal minority. The future of our CFA volunteers in South West Coast is under threat, and Andy Meddick can put a stop to it.

Comments attributed to the Member for Lowan Emma Kealy MP

Lowan has some of the most fire-prone parts of the State including the Grampians, Little Desert and Wyperfield Nationals Parks and many State parks. Our 110 volunteer only CFA brigades do an amazing job - they are always first on the scene and provide the vital surge capacity we rely on to keep our people and property safe. The Nationals and Liberal parties will always support and protect our brave CFA volunteer firefighters who risk their lives to protect us.

Comments attributed to the Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan MP

The seat of Polwarth has some of the highest bush and grass fire districts. From the volcanic plains to the wild Otway Ranges it is entirely serviced by volunteer CFA brigades who have put their lives on the line for decades.  All political representatives are duty bound to support the 1000’s of volunteers and their families that our communities rely on to keep them safe

Comments attributed to the Member for Ripon Louise Staley MP

Ripon has over 90 all-volunteer brigades, and their firefighters must have access to the same cancer compensation as career firefighters. Andy Meddick and Stuart Grimley need to support Ripon’s volunteer firefighters and the existing CFA structure.

Comments attributed to the Member for Western Region Beverley McArthur MLC

If it wasn’t for the CFA volunteers, lives would have been lost in the St Patrick’s Day fires in Western Victoria Region, so it is incumbent on all elected Western Region Upper House Members, including Mr Grimley and Mr Meddick to do all in their power to support our wonderful CFA volunteers.


Andrews Government must deliver for Ripon students

Member for Ripon Louise Staley has demanded that the Andrews Government delivers on three much needed school projects in Ripon.

 

On Monday, Education Minister James Merlino announced the opening of applications for the first round of the Non-Government Schools Capital Fund.

 

Ms Staley said it was critical that Ripon students are not forgotten and that important, priority upgrades are delivered to the non-government schools in the region.

 

“This fund has been created by the Labor Government to finance capital projects solely in non-government schools and Ripon schools must not miss out,”

 

“I am calling on the Minister for Education to make sure that funding flows to schools in Ripon,”

 

“At the 2018 State Election I made funding commitments to Highview College in Maryborough, Marian College in Ararat and Sienna Catholic Primary School in Lucas for much needed upgrades,”

 

“These are all fantastic regional low fee non-government schools who need the funding to grow their schools and the programs they deliver,”

 

“This government has a track record of ignoring anything outside the Melbourne tram tracks, I want them to commit now to delivering these much needed upgrades.”

 

Ms Staley said the Liberal Nationals support a strong public and private education system because we believe in giving parents choice and children the best opportunities.

 

  • Highview College, Maryborough $4.28 million to construct a Science Complex and modernise the STEM facilities
  • Marian College, Ararat $4 million to fund STEM centre and auditorium
  • Sienna Catholic Primary School, Lucas $1.8 million to build a new gymnasium and bus exchange area

Labor’s new Mining Tax will cost local jobs

Member for Ripon Louise Staley has described the Andrews Government’s latest Mining Tax as a cruel blow to local jobs.

Despite previously promising no new taxes, the Andrews Government yesterday announced a 2.75 per cent Gold Royalty.

The new tax will severely impact mining operations in Stawell, Central Victoria and Ballarat.

Ms Staley said this cruel tax came out of the blue without any consultation.

“240 regional mining jobs are under threat at just one local mine because Labor introduced a new mining tax without any warning.” Ms Staley said.

“Daniel Andrews has learnt nothing from Bill Shortens embarrassing election loss; Labor still refuses to support the mining industry”.

“Labor racked debts during the election campaign and is now turning to the local mining industry to pick up the tab.”

“The Andrews Government can't manage money. That's why they always come after yours. Even if it costs you your job.”

“Daniel Andrews lacks courage, no Gold Mines across Stawell, Ballarat and Central Victoria were briefed before being slugged by this tax”. 

“Labor’s reckless spending is out of control, and it is now set to impact local employment,”

“Any worker that loses their job will have Daniel Andrews to thank.”


Regional Victorians left fending for themselves

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley, has called on the Andrews Government to address the shortfall in Police resources in regional Victoria.

There have been a number of startling incidents across Victoria that have fuelled local concern about police numbers and hours of operation in Ripon.

Reports that the victim a home invasion in Apollo Bay called the police but officers weren’t able to attend the scene has once again underlined the Andrews Labor Government’s lack of support for police in regional Victoria.

This incident comes after a man, who has since been charged with murder, tried to hand himself into the Gisborne police station found that the station was closed. The Gisborne station was closed because there were too few police to keep the station open overnight.

Here in Ripon towns like Creswick are also without a local police presence at night.

Despite Victoria’s population growing by around half a million people in the last five years, frontline police numbers are down over the same period according to The Police Association.

According to The Police Association, there were 190 fewer frontline police in the four year period between 2014 and 2018.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Treasurer Louise Staley:

“Following media coverage of violent incidents going unattended, a number of locals have raised concerns about police numbers in Ripon.”

“Our state’s population is growing but frontline police numbers are shrinking.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is not providing Victoria Police with the resources they need to keep Victorians safe. That puts the safety and lives of Victorians at risk.”

“The Andrews Labor Government must ensure police have adequate resources and processes to respond to serious incidents in regional Victoria.”


Ripon students amongst most bullied in the State

The recently released 2018 Attitudes to School report conducted by the Victorian Education Department report has revealed that government country schools are hotbeds for bullying with rural students more likely to experience bullying than their metropolitan counterparts.

The report reveals some of Ripon local government areas have the highest rates of bullying in schools in Victoria.

Almost 40 percent of grade five and six pupils in Loddon Shire were bullied, followed by almost 30 percent in Central Goldfields.  For years seven to nine, 35 percent of Ararat’s students reported they had been bullied, the highest in the State.

Local Ripon MP, Louise Staley said the results were shocking and accused Labor of failing Ripon students. 

“These results are completely unacceptable,”

“School should be a safe place for all students, it is absolutely disgraceful that Ripon students are not safe from bullying,”

“Labor have been in government for 16 of the past 20 years and what have they done to specifically address bullying in country government schools? Nothing.”

“Labor’s city centric Minister for Education, James Merlino needs a geography lesson – there are schools and students that live outside the tram zone and these students matter,”

“Minister Merlino needs to do more than wave pieces of policy paper around and say that he is working on it – he’s not – and this report shows that,”

“Bullying of any kind is totally unacceptable, the government, schools and community all need to work together to address it,”

“Ripon students have a right to go to school and feel safe.”


Labor Government cannot hide behind Federal Court decision

A recent Federal Court decision that has quashed a previous Federal Government decision to allow the duplication of the Western Highway from Buangor to proceed is not a stop work order on the Western Highway Duplication project.

The Federal Court decision relates to the Djab Wurrung Traditional Owners appeal to the Federal Government, last December, to protect trees they say are sacred under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act, an application that was rejected.

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley said it was critical that the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan work with the Djab Wurrung Traditional Owners to ensure this vital road project continues.

“The Federal Court decision is very clear that this decision is not a stop work order,”

“It specifically notes that the applicants would need to apply, with 24 hours’ notice, to the Federal and State Governments for any urgent relief related to the Major Road Projects Victoria which affects the Western Highway Duplication,

“Plain and simple, work cannot just stop on this project.”

Protestors have been on the ground blocking work for almost a year, causing significant delays to the $670 million project to duplicate the Western Highway.

Ms Staley said residents in Ararat, Stawell and those who regularly commute along that section of the Western Highway have had enough.

“What these residents don’t want to hear is more excuses, they don’t want the Minister hiding behind the Federal Court decision and using it as yet another excuse.

“This project has faced delay after delay, the Labor Government need to get on with it and finish the project.”


Maryborough trains still running late

Passengers on the Maryborough lines are on slow, unreliable trains under the Andrews Government and it’s only getting worse.

VLine figures show the Maryborough lines have continued their poor performance with just 78.1 per cent of services running on time last month, falling far short of the target of 92 per cent. The line has failed to meet punctuality targets every month since October 2016.

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley said unreliable and late train services were making it harder for people in Maryborough and surrounding towns to get to medical appointments and see family and friends.

“A large number of residents who use VLine trains in these communities are people travelling to Melbourne for much needed medical appointments, services that are not available to them locally, they often have to wait months for these appointments only to miss them because the Premier for Melbourne has no idea how to run regional rail on time, Ms Staley said.

“Local passengers are on slow, unreliable trains under the Andrews Government and it’s only getting worse.”

Across all regional lines, just 84.4 per cent of services ran on time in March. VLine figures also show that over the past five years, just 86.2 per cent of services made it to their destination on time, leaving commuters on nearly 57,000 services running late.

VLine also failed to meet the 96 per cent reliability target in March, with 95.2 per cent of services delivered. 

Shadow Minister for Regional Public Transport Steph Ryan said while the Andrews Government poured billions into Melbourne metro projects, it refused to commit to desperately-needed regional rail upgrades.

“The Andrews Government has abandoned regional passengers leaving us with unreliable, slow and uncomfortable trains,” Ms Ryan said.

“Better rail connections between regional communities would transform regional Victoria making it possible to live in one town and work in another but that won’t happen while Labor treats us as second class citizens.”


Ararat trains still running late

Passengers on the Ararat line are on slow, unreliable trains under the Andrews Government and it’s only getting worse.

VLine figures show the Ararat line have continued their poor performance with just 78.1 per cent of services running on time last month, falling far short of the target of 92 per cent. The line has failed to meet punctuality targets every month since October 2016.

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley said unreliable and late train services were making it harder for people in Ararat and surrounding towns to get to medical appointments and see family and friends.

“A large number of residents who use VLine trains in these communities are people travelling to Melbourne for much needed medical appointments, services that are not available to them locally, they often have to wait months for these appointments only to miss them because the Premier for Melbourne has no idea how to run regional rail on time, Ms Staley said.

“Local passengers are on slow, unreliable trains under the Andrews Government and it’s only getting worse.”

Across all regional lines, just 84.4 per cent of services ran on time in March. VLine figures also show that over the past five years, just 86.2 per cent of services made it to their destination on time, leaving commuters on nearly 57,000 services running late.

VLine also failed to meet the 96 per cent reliability target in March, with 95.2 per cent of services delivered. 

Shadow Minister for Regional Public Transport Steph Ryan said while the Andrews Government poured billions into Melbourne metro projects, it refused to commit to desperately-needed regional rail upgrades.

“The Andrews Government has abandoned regional passengers leaving us with unreliable, slow and uncomfortable trains,” Ms Ryan said.

“Better rail connections between regional communities would transform regional Victoria making it possible to live in one town and work in another but that won’t happen while Labor treats us as second class citizens.”


Ripon drivers pay for Labor’s Transurban deal

Ripon motorists can’t get local pot holes fixed, but Daniel Andrews is shamelessly forcing them to pay for his West Gate Tunnel deal.

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said drivers going in to Melbourne via CityLink will take a hip pocket hit after the Andrews Labor Government signed a secretive deal with Transurban that will increase tolls to pay for a completely different new road – the West Gate Tunnel.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has released a report into the West Gate Tunnel Project and CityLink tolls which estimates the deal struck by the Andrews Labor Government will cost motorists an extra $37.3 billion in tolls.

The analysis shows that $26.5 billion of that increase (around 71 per cent) will come exclusively from CityLink users – and that includes Ripon drivers who use the tollway when coming in to the city via the Monash or Tullamarine Freeways.

“Our local country roads are in appalling condition due to funding cuts by the Andrews Labor Government yet the arrogant Premier for Melbourne is making us help pay for his new Melbourne tunnel.

“We can’t even get pot holes fixed on our crumbling country roads but under Daniel Andrews’ sneaky deal with Transurban, we’ll be forced to pay for city infrastructure we aren’t even using.

“This is hugely unfair, especially when in Ripon we have country roads with much needed repairs being consistently ignored by this Labor Government,”

“It is gobsmacking that while refusing to fix country roads, Daniel Andrews is arrogantly slugging country drivers to pay for his Melbourne tunnel deal.”

Labor has axed the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program and slashed hundreds of thousands more from VicRoads country maintenance budget.

Last year Labor MPs refused to support a Liberal Nationals’ amendment to the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill that would have increased funding for country roads.

Ms Staley said the cost of doing business would also skyrocket as a result of Labor’s deal.

“Commercial vehicles already pay higher tolls, so any movement of fresh produce or freight that goes across the state via Melbourne will also cost more with Labor’s toll increases, and there will be a third commercial category added under this new deal.” Ms Staley said.

“The last thing farmers and regional businesses need is escalating costs, but that’s exactly what the Premier for Melbourne’s dodgy Transurban deal delivers.”


Price relief for Wimmera Grampians gas consumers

Ripon MP Louise Staley has welcomed the announcement by Origin and Red Energy that they are considering entering the Wimmera Grampians gas market.

EnergyAustralia currently has a monopoly on the region, consumers have no option but to use EnergyAustralia for natural gas.

Ms Staley said EnergyAustralia’s monopoly on the region was an issue that was regularly raised by her constituents.

“This news will be very much welcomed by residents of Ararat and Stawell,”

“For too long EnergyAustralia has held the monopoly on this region, it is completely unfair, consumers have no ability to shop around suppliers and get a better price,”

“Competition is important and potentially adding Origin and Red Energy to the market supplying gas will provide a choice of retailer for gas customers.” Ms Staley said.

EnergyAustralia has been the only retailer in the region since the gas market was privatised in the 1990s.

Only one pipeline serves the area – the Carisbrook to Horsham pipeline. It is a 182 kilometre pipeline privately owned by Gas Pipelines Victoria, who has an agreement solely with Energy Australia.

“I am particularly pleased to hear that EnergyAustralia has been open to negotiations with the other gas retailers,”

“Residents of Ararat and Stawell shouldn’t be disadvantaged because it is a small market,”

“I have repeatedly raised this issue with the Labor Government’s Minister for Energy, her response “shop around”, it’s pretty hard to do that when there is no other option!”

“Labor has been in power for most of the past 20 years and have failed to do anything about this, residents of Ararat and Stawell should be able to access the same energy deals as those available in Melbourne.”