The news that the long-called-for upgrade of Miners Rest Primary School is now funded is a great win for the community who have fought for this outcome for many years.
However, Ms Staley said the circumstances under which the funding has finally been forthcoming are disappointing.
“I am happy to finally see the badly-needed upgrade at Miners Rest Primary School has received the funding it needed. It was a fully-funded election promise of mine at the last state election. However, the manner in which it has been funded and the timing leaves a lot to be desired,” Ms Staley said.
“On 18 March of this year I asked the Education Minister, James Merlino, in Parliament about this funding and he confirmed that the upgrade had not been funded. Yet today, in a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearing, he has announced it is now funded.”
Under questioning, Minister Merlino admitted that the funding for the upgrade at Miners Rest, along with other school upgrades across the state would come out of the $24.5 billion the State Government will borrow in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This is a prime example of the Andrews Government and its economic management. Having already put the budget in deficit before the COVID-19 outbreak, now they are using the unprecedented borrowing in response to that outbreak to fund their election promises,” Ms Staley said.
“It is pleasing to see this vital project finally funded. However, it should have already been funded in the last budget, work should have already commenced, and been nearing completion. That the students, parents and teachers of Miners Rest Primary School have had to wait until this health and economic crisis to get this project funding is less than satisfactory.”
The Liberal Party is today proposing a $1 billion Bringing Manufacturing Home Fund to encourage businesses to bring facilities and jobs back to Victoria.
Over the past 20 years, more than 50,000 Victorian manufacturing jobs have been lost. A COVID-19 response is urgently needed to create jobs and boost the economy.
With COVID-19 restrictions easing, now is the time for the Andrews Government to urgently act to get Victorians back to work and back in business.
“Victoria has a real opportunity to create thousands of new jobs, attract millions-of-dollars of investment while regenerating our capability to produce critical supplies that we’ve otherwise lost to overseas – and communities like those in Ripon would benefit from this,” said the Member for Ripon, Louise Staley.
“Rebuilding local economies is a vital piece of Victoria’s recovery, and a boost to manufacturing in a region like ours could be a real boost for local jobs. Victorians now need a government focused on delivering a jobs-led and business-led recovery.”
This pandemic has exposed holes in the national supply chain with an overreliance on too few countries to provide essential supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Bringing Manufacturing Home Fund would prioritise support for industries of national importance such as PPE manufacture, defence procurement and rare earths processing.
The proposed Fund would provide support for businesses seeking to relocate manufacturing facilities and jobs back to Victoria. It would also support existing Victorian manufacturers to expand, as well as supporting innovation, research and development.
“With Victoria losing more jobs than any other state due to the pandemic, we need an urgent and bold plan to turn this around,” said Ms Staley.
“We need to back local businesses to deliver the jobs and investment that Victoria so desperately needs.”
The Bringing Manufacturing Home Fund adds to a number of polices announced by the Liberal Party to get Victoria back to work and back in business after the economic fallout of COVID-19.
It has been almost two years since Labor Premier Daniel Andrews made an election promise that he would provide $100 million to rebuild Maryborough Hospital in this term of government.
Almost two years since Premier Daniel Andrews claimed his government cared about regional Victoria, that they understood the priorities of rural and regional health and that they were delivering for regional Victorians.
Almost two years and what do we see? Nothing. In the middle of the biggest health crisis our State has seen for a century, there is no money for Maryborough Hospital.
Ripon MP Louise Staley has repeatedly called on the Premier and Minister for Health, Hon. Jenny Mikakos MP to explain why the much-needed Maryborough Hospital redevelopment hasn’t been funded and hasn’t commenced.
On 27th May last year, Minister Mikakos claimed that the $100 million redevelopment of Maryborough Hospital is on track.
In February this year, Ms Staley raised funding for Maryborough Hospital again in the Parliament. Ms Staley asked the Minister for Health to ensure that the full $100 million promised by Labor for a new Maryborough hospital will be allocated in the upcoming Budget.
In Parliament, Ms Staley said, “in last year’s budget the hospital was not funded, and so it must be funded in this year’s budget in full if the government is to fulfil its promise to deliver the $100 million hospital to the people of Maryborough in this term of government.”
“Last week I finally received a response from the Minister, a response that simply said that planning had been done, but did not commit to constructing the hospital,” Ms Staley said.
“Yet again the Minister is refusing to promise that the hospital will be funded. Hospitals are not built overnight, and unless construction money is made available, this project will not be finished by the next election and the Premier’s promise will be broken,” Ms Staley said.
Last week’s news that Victoria’s 50,000-plus recreational game hunters will be compensated for lost hunting opportunities with an extension to current game licences by one year has been welcomed by the Member for Ripon, Louise Staley.
Under the State Government’s mandatory social distancing measures, game hunting has been banned. The game hunting seasons for hog and sambar deer, stubble quail and gamebirds have already been impacted and the upcoming duck hunting season will only be allowed on the property that you live on.
Ms Staley was pleased that the expiry date of all current game licences administered by the Game Management Authority will be extended by 12 months, allowing hunters to get the full value of their licence fee.
“Ripon has many local hunters, and this announcement will ensure those hunters can resume their sport when it is safe to do so,” Ms Staley said.
“Disappointingly though this decision has taken far too long to come. I have received many emails and calls from frustrated hunters across Ripon wanting to know what is happening with the season, their licences and whether they can legally hunt,”
“Game hunting is a sport that many people in Ripon participate in and enjoy every year. I know this year has been challenging and frustrating for many people,”
“I remind all hunters that Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has advised that to help slow the spread of coronavirus, people must not leave their property to go hunting.”
People in Ripon are being encouraged to commemorate our servicemen and women from home this year.
All public ANZAC Day services have been cancelled this year as we all continue to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, but Louise Staley MP is urging the community to come together still to reflect and remember.
“This year’s ANZAC Day is going to be like no other, with traditional services not proceeding and the opportunity to attend and pay respects at the local cenotaph not allowed,” Ms Staley said.
“However, while confined to our own homes, it simply means we can, and should, reflect in a different way.
“The RSL is encouraging Victorians to ‘Light up the Dawn’ for ANZAC Day, by standing in their driveways at 6 am for a minute’s silence under the light of a candle, torch, or even a mobile phone.”
Ms Staley said this was a fitting way to recognise the sacrifices made by past servicemen and servicewomen and those who continue to serve our nation today.
“People can then choose to stay and reflect for a while, or tune into the live televised service from the Australian War Memorial that is proceeding without veterans or public in attendance,” Ms Staley said.
“Our communities are facing difficult times at present and in this situation we are facing, it is perhaps more pertinent than ever to give thought to the brave men and women who served, the challenges they faced and hardships they endured.”
This Easter, we are calling on everyone in Maryborough and Central Goldfields to “Be the One” to help keep our community safe.
The COVID-19 Maryborough Taskforce is Louise Staley MP, Member for Ripon, Noel Harvey OAM, Chief Administrator Central Goldfields Shire Council, Lucy Roffey CEO Central Goldfields Shire Council, Windsor Main, Chair Committee for Maryborough, Garry Higgins OAM Deputy Chair Committee for Maryborough, Terry Welch CEO Maryborough & District Health Service, and Inspector Donna Mitchell Goldfields Division Police.
Every one of us can help defeat the virus by ensuring that they remain vigilant and stay home to save lives.
Easter is a time of year that many families get together to celebrate and many families also travel throughout the state to enjoy the extended break, to visit relatives, go camping and visit other parts of Victoria. This year, we are asking everyone to put those plans on hold. We know that it is hard and for many people, it is an occasion that they look forward to every year, but this year is different. This year we just cannot take the risk. We all need to “Be the One” to help keep our communities safe and ensure that the virus doesn’t spread.
We remind everyone that Stage 3 restrictions are now in place and that staying home is enforceable. A reminder that under Stage 3 restrictions you should only be leaving the house to:
- Shop for what you need – food and essential supplies
- Medical, care or compassionate needs
- Exercise in compliance with the public gatherings requirements
- Work and study if you can’t work remotely
Anyone caught breaching these directions can face on-the-spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and $9,193 for businesses.
This Easter we are calling on residents of Central Goldfields Shire to “Be the One”. Be the One who leads by example, Be the One who looks after the family, Be the One who spreads the word about staying home to save lives.
We wish you all a Happy Easter. Please, stay home, stay safe and stay well.
The Victorian Government should urgently provide council rates relief for residents struggling with the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, says Member for Ripon Louise Staley.
With many rural and regional residents already dealing with higher rates than their Melbourne counterparts, Ms Staley said the economic effects of the current pandemic would hit those outside Melbourne even harder.
“Many people in rural and regional have lost their livelihoods or have been stood down from work due to this outbreak. The State Government should step in and support councils to provide rates relief to residents struggling to pay them”, Ms Staley said.
“We also know that local rural and regional councils, like those in Ripon, want to be helping residents and providing essential services. The State Government needs to provide this support so that rural and regional councils and their residents can survive.”
“Councils are currently in the process of preparing their budgets for the next financial year. This move would give councils certainty about their financial position at a time of great uncertainty, and enable them to guarantee that they will continue to provide essential services to residents.”
“This pandemic and its economic outcomes affect all Victorians, not just those living along the tram tracks in Metropolitan Melbourne. Providing rates relief is a meaningful way to ease the strain on rural and regional families who are really struggling.”
Small businesses have been crying out for a comprehensive relief package to stop them closing their doors and cutting Victorian jobs as a result of the unprecedented pressure of COVID-19.
All other states and the Federal Government have already announced small business relief packages, but the Andrews Labor Government’s delays left Victorian jobs and the future of too many of our small businesses on the line.
The small business package the Andrews Labor Government has announced today leaves many questions unanswered.
Daniel Andrews says this package includes funding for small businesses that don’t pay payroll tax, but couldn’t say what measures they will be able to access.
Our smallest businesses, particularly those in the entertainment, hospitality and tourism sectors, are some of the most vulnerable to the pressures of COVID-19.
Comment attributable to Leader of the Opposition Michael O’Brien
Unprecedented times require an unprecedented response. Victorian small businesses have had to wait for an announcement from Daniel Andrews.
I was hoping to see land tax relief for tenanted residential properties, as tenants and their landlords need support. Questions also remain about exactly what support sole traders and micro businesses under the payroll tax threshold will receive.
Small businesses and their staff are among the most vulnerable to the economic pressure created by the COVID-19 crisis.
This announcement is a start, but it is only a start. More will need to be done to protect small businesses and save jobs.
Comment attributable to Shadow Treasurer Louise Staley
The COVID-19 pandemic has already forced many small businesses in the entertainment, hospitality and tourism sector to their knees while Daniel Andrews failed to follow the lead of every other state with direct support for business.
Small businesses that don’t pay payroll tax are suffering now. They are being forced to lay off workers now. They can’t afford to wait for assistance.
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V/Line commuters in the Ararat, Ballarat and Maryborough lines have been left waiting for the bus due to industrial action today, says Member for Ripon Louise Staley.
All trains on Thursday on the Ararat, Ballarat and Maryborough line were cancelled and replaced by buses in the second day of a ten-day industrial campaign by the RTBU.
“Once again, passengers in Ripon have borne the brunt of Labor’s mismanagement of Victoria’s regional passenger rail,” Ms Staley said.
“Daniel Andrews and Labor have arrogantly ignored regional rail commuters for too long. This is yet another example of their attitude towards those Victorians who don’t live on the tram tracks.”
V/Line performance has been suffering under Labor. The Maryborough line has endured 35 consecutive months of sub-standard performance, and the Ballarat Rail Upgrade project has resulted in 117 slower services on the Ararat, Ballarat and Maryborough lines.
Also, customer satisfaction with V/Line is at a 10-year low, and V/Line’s annual budget showed that Labor had cut $149 million from the rail operator.
“Labor invested just 4% of the total capital funding for public transport from this year’s budget in regional Victoria. This is not good enough.
“People in Ripon need reliable and safe public transport to go about their daily lives, but Labor does not care about this. It is high time Daniel Andrews and Labor listened to regional Victorians and ensures this vital service operates as it is needed.”