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Another summer with no Aircranes for Ballarat

The Andrews Labor Government continues to put Ballarat and Western Victorian residents at risk by refusing to station a firefighting Aircrane in Ballarat, says Member for Ripon Louise Staley.

Today Ministers Neville and D’Ambrosio announced that the Andrews Government would station the two Aircranes at Essendon and Moorabbin Airports, with no Aircrane located closer to the bushfire-prone areas of Western Victoria than Essendon Airport, over 100km away from Ballarat.

“This Melbourne-centric Andrews Labor Government have once again put Regional Victorians at risk with this short-sighted decision to locate both the Aircranes in Metropolitan Melbourne,” Ms Staley said.

“It’s yet another decision that endangers people living outside the tram tracks. From attacking the CFA to refusing to release fuel load maps, it is clear that Daniel Andrews and Labor do not care about those Victorians who don’t live in Melbourne.”

“The former Liberal Government and previous Labor Governments stationed an Aircrane at Ballarat that was, therefore, able to attend bushfires in Western Victoria much quicker than one stationed at Essendon or Moorabbin. I call on the Andrews Labor Government to station an Aircrane at Ballarat immediately.”

An Aircrane firefighting aircraft was stationed at Ballarat until the 2016 summer.


Billions spent for slower trains to Ballarat

Commuters from Ballarat to Melbourne are today spending more time on trains and less time at home doing the things they enjoy thanks to Labor’s slowed-down train timetables.

Following months of disruption where commuters have endured terrible train performance, Labor’s answer to make trains meet their timetable targets is to make the timetables slower.

The Ballarat Rail Upgrade Project has cost more than $500 million but for all that money, what commuters have to show for it is slower travel times.

The new timetables, effective today, contain 117 slower services from the Ararat, Ballarat and Maryborough lines.

This is after years of substandard service on those lines, including 35 consecutive months of underperformance on the Maryborough line.

Comments attributable to Member for Ripon, Louise Staley

“Commuters from Ararat, Ballarat and Maryborough deserve a reliable train service to get them to and from work as quickly as possible and under Daniel Andrews, they are not getting this.

“Instead they are getting 117 slower services a week.

“Labor’s rail fail is meaning Victorian commuters are being left at the station, getting home later and spending more time on the already crowded trains.

“It is another example of Daniel Andrews’ arrogant disregard for Victorians who don’t live inside the tram tracks.”


Staley says new data shows the State Government is ignoring Ballarat’s homeless problem

The latest social housing waiting list data released by the Andrews Labor Government reveals that the Government would need to build 74% more social housing properties to house those people on the current waiting list.

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said there are currently 2503 social housing properties in Ballarat, yet there are 1845 applications assessed as needing social housing. Each of these applications represents an entire household, meaning the actual number of people is far higher than 1845.

Under the Andrews Labor Government, the total number of applications on the social housing waiting list in Ballarat has blown out by 117%, from 850 in September 2014 to 1845 in June 2019.

Of even more significant concern is the number of applications on the priority waiting list, which has blown out by 362%, from 227 applications in September 2014 to a massive 1049 applications in June 2019.

The priority-access list includes some of the most vulnerable in our community; these are people suffering domestic violence, the homeless, disabled and those with special housing needs.

These people have been assessed as having priority status, yet the wait for appropriate housing is longer than ever before.

The data for Ballarat is far worse than the state average, which has seen the total social housing waiting list in Victoria increased by nearly 24% and the priority list blow out by a massive 127%, reinforcing the view that the Andrews Labor Government has ignored the problem of homelessness and the need for more social housing.

“The latest social housing data sheets home the need for urgent action by the State Government to address homelessness and the lack of social housing in the Ballarat area,” Ms Staley said.

“The Wendouree electorate remains the number three regional area for homeless persons in Victoria, with 293 local people currently without a roof over their head.”  

Ms Staley said together with the enormous social housing waiting list; it is obvious more support for our homeless and those seeking housing in Ballarat is badly needed.

 “Immediate action is required to help these our most vulnerable people, and I call on Daniel Andrews to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”


Slowing down Remembrance Drive is a band-aid solution

Ripon MP Louise Staley has hit out at the Andrews Government’s half-hearted plans to improve safety on the Remembrance Drive by reducing the speed limit to 60kpm.

The Andrews Government this week announced their intention to reduce once again the speed limit in the accident-prone stretch of Remembrance Drive near the intersection with Windermere Drive, rather than investing in lasting infrastructure to fix the problem.

Ms Staley said the State Government was looking for a cheap, quick fix to the problem.

“Many members of the local community want to see a roundabout at the dangerous intersection which would have a lasting impact on the traffic flow and reduce the risk of collisions,” Ms Staley said.

“I support calls from the Remembrance Drive Committee to install an appropriately designed roundabout and call on the State Government to deliver a real fix for this dangerous intersection.”

“Instead, the Andrews Government is just going to slap up 60kpm speed signs and walk away.”

“Over the past few years, drivers on Remembrance Drive have been faced with constantly changing speed limits between Lucas and the Western Highway.”

“By continuing to tinker with the limits, without properly addressing the problem, the Government is putting local drivers at risk.”

“This is a cheap and nasty response to a serious problem is yet another disappointment from a Government that continues to underinvest in regional roads.”

 


Greenlight for Western Highway Duplication

Ripon MP Louise Staley said work finally resuming on the Western Highway Duplication is a big win for local drivers.

Ms Staley today welcomed the Federal Government’s move to decline protection restrictions and greenlight work on the long-awaited Western Highway Duplication.

The State Government has also welcomed the Federal Government’s intervention.

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said work on this much-delayed project can now finally proceed.

“The Western Highway Duplication has dragged on for too long; local drivers are now much closer to having a safer and less congested highway.” Ms Staley said.

“Drivers from Stawell, Ararat and Beaufort who use this road everyday know how badly needed a duplication is, this decision brings us closer to a safer commute.”

“Our community has been patient while this badly needed project faced delay after delay, we now look forward to the duplication works finally kicking off.”


Ambulance times blow out in Buloke

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said the Andrews Government needs to do more to combat rising ambulance response times.

Patients in Buloke Shire are being forced to wait longer and longer for an ambulance to arrive.

According to the latest response times released by Ambulance Victoria, response times in Buloke Shire have increased by an average of 2 minutes and 10 seconds over the previous quarter.

Ripon MP Louise Staley said country patients would continue to suffer while the Andrews Government continues its obsession with Melbourne.

“Buloke residents desperate for faster medical treatment are being ignored by Daniel Andrews and his government’s city-centric policies.” Ms Staley said.

“Time is crucial in an emergency, every second is vital, Buloke residents don’t deserve to face massive delays to receive medical attention.”

“Spiralling Ambulance response times is not good enough, residents across Buloke Shire deserve the confidence of knowing that emergency help is available in a timely manner.”

“Time and time again, Daniel Andrews put’s Melbourne first and ignores regional communities like Donald and Charlton.”


Ambulance times blow out in Loddon

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said the Andrews Government needs to do more to combat rising ambulance response times.

Patients in Loddon Shire are being forced to wait longer and longer for an ambulance to arrive.

According to the latest response times released by Ambulance Victoria, response times in Loddon Shire have increased by an average of 53 seconds over the previous quarter, to now sit at 22 minutes and 7 seconds.

Ripon MP Louise Staley said country patients would continue to suffer while the Andrews Government continues its obsession with Melbourne.

“Loddon residents desperate for faster medical treatment are being ignored by Daniel Andrews and his government’s city-centric policies.” Ms Staley said.

“Time is crucial in an emergency, every second is vital, Loddon residents don’t deserve to face massive delays to receive medical attention.”

“Spiralling Ambulance response times is not good enough, residents across Loddon Shire deserve the confidence of knowing that emergency help is available in a timely manner.”

“Time and time again, Daniel Andrews put’s Melbourne first and ignores regional communities like Wedderburn, Inglewood and Bridgewater.”


Ripon locals urged to be wound aware

Ripon MP Louise Staley is urging the local community to take care of chronic wounds before they become a problem.

Wound awareness week, which runs from 1 to 21 July, is an opportunity to raise awareness and remind the community of the importance of being wound aware.

Each year, around 420,000 people suffer from some kind of chronic wound. People struggle with pain as well as embarrassment, large treatment costs and being unable to enjoy normal work or social activities.

However, the vast majority don't have to suffer. If people are ‘wound aware’, they can spot the warning signs and understand that treatment is available.

“A chronic wound is a skin break that doesn't heal normally or without complications. If that happens to you or a family member, you must see a healthcare professional immediately,” Ms Staley said.

“If a chronic wound is not treated quickly and properly it could lead to severe illness, amputations and even death.”

According to Wounds Australia, you should take action if a wound:

  • becomes red, swollen, hot or very painful
  • bleeds regularly
  • becomes black or yellow
  • has a thick, yellowish fluid or unpleasant smell
  • takes longer than a month to heal or has not decreased in size.

Ms Staley is encouraging locals to check in with older relatives because people over 65 are more likely to develop a chronic wound.

“As a community we tend not to talk about these types of medical concerns, but it’s important not to suffer in silence,” Ms Staley said.

If you think you might have a chronic wound you should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible.

More information on Wound Awareness Week is at www.WoundAware.com.au


Gold tax puts Stawell jobs on shaky ground

Member for Ripon and Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley MP this week visited the Stawell Goldmine to discuss the impact of the Andrews Labor Government’s new gold mining tax on local jobs. 

Ms Staley and Shadow Resources Minister Ryan Smith met with Campbell Olsen, CEO and Troy Cole, General Manager of Stawell Goldmine.

Ms Staley said the meeting with Mr Olsen and Mr Cole confirmed that this is a tax on regional employers that puts local jobs at risk.

“The Treasurer, Tim Pallas needs to take into account the risk that this royalty poses to jobs in Stawell and the consequent loss of wealth injected every year into the local Stawell economy.”

“The gold industry is an important part of Stawell’s economy, and Labor’s latest big new tax is going to make life even tougher for regional Victoria.”

Stawell Goldmine directly employs local staff and contractors as well as supporting jobs at several local suppliers.

Mr Olsen said Stawell Goldmine was already being impacted by Labor’s new gold tax.

“Labor’s new gold tax has had a direct impact on our businesses current and future operations – we have been forced to carefully consider our forward investment and operations strategy.”

Despite the uproar from Victoria’s gold mining industry, Treasurer Tim Pallas is standing by his new 2.75% Gold Mining Royalty. The Treasurer is running out of ways to prop up his Government’s overspending and cost blowouts on major projects in Melbourne. He is now risking regional jobs to raid the pockets of Victorian gold miners. 

Shadow Resources Minister Ryan Smith said “Daniel Andrews and Tim Pallas have sprung this new tax on our gold mining industry without warning and without consultation,”

“The Stawell Goldmine deserves a fair hearing into the implementation of this Royalty.”

As many workers in Stawell face an uncertain future, the Treasurer has shown a complete disregard for the consequences these men and women face as a result of his decision. When asked recently at the Melbourne Press Club why he suddenly imposed a new gold tax, the Victorian Treasurer said: “because I could”.


Grants to help women and girls to get active in Ripon

VicHealth grants will create more opportunities for women and girls in Stawell and Creswick to become more active by participating in sport.

The Stawell Soccer Club and the Creswick Football Netball Club have both been successful in their applications for Active Club Grants.

Stawell Soccer Club will receive $3,000 for equipment, uniforms and promotion of new girls’ soccer teams. The Stawell Soccer Club will introduce at least two new girls’ teams with minimal financial barriers for participants.

The Creswick Football Netball Club will receive $1,564 for new uniforms and to support their This Girl Can program and a new D Grade netball competition. The new competition will encourage local women and girls to get involved in a more social netball competition.

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley MP, welcomed the funding, saying that support for local sporting clubs was a vital way to keep Ripon communities healthy and connected.

“Sport is a fun, social way to improve your fitness and overall health,” Ms Staley said.

“I spend a lot of time visiting sporting clubs across the Ripon electorate and it is always incredible to see how sport brings the community together and helps create a true sense of community.”

“It’s wonderful that these two Ripon sporting clubs will have the opportunity to extend their programs to include a wider range of women and girls in sport.”

For more information about VicHealth’s Active Club Grants visit http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/activeclub